If you’ve seen the first season of Spice and Wolf, then you already have a good idea of what Spice and Wolf II is about. Like the first season, the second season follows the merchant Lawrence and his companion, the wolf deity Horo, as they journey to find Horo’s home in the north. Wikipedia has a pretty good plot summary of the series.
Once again viewers are exposed to the basics of trade such as supply and demand, which is useful to know if you happen to be a merchant in the middle ages. I didn’t think Spice and Wolf II had much to offer in terms of educating the average Joe about economics compared to the first season. There was a bit about timing the market, but I’m sure anyone with experience doing that can tell you how things usually end up. The rest of Lawrence’s business dealings seemed to deal more with trusting the other party and had very little explanation of his profit-making techniques.
Although I was upset that there was less emphasis on economics this season, it was mainly due to spending more time developing the relationship between Lawrence and Horo. The romance factor wasn’t very prominent in the first season, but they did bump it up a bit in Spice and Wolf II. At the beginning of the series, Lawrence wouldn’t have made any deals that didn’t make any profit, and Horo just cared about getting back to her hometown. As the show progresses, Lawrence starts to take risks in order to keep Horo close, and whenever he’s alone with a woman Horo starts to get suspicious. It’s not the kind of romance you’d find in a movie, but a jealous Horo is cute sometimes.
The animation for Spice and Wolf II wasn’t the greatest, but it was better than the average anime. The backgrounds had quite a bit of detail to them and really helped set the atmosphere in some parts of the series. The characters could have used a little improvement though. At some points Lawrence’s unshaved facial hair just looked like a kid scribbled on his chin. On the other hand, I thought Horo looked perfect throughout the series, not to mention I really like her character design; I guess it’s not surprising considering she’s the main selling point of Spice and Wolf. I’m sure many otaku would like to have their girlfriends (or imaginary girlfriends) dress up as a nekomimi, or in this case an okamimimi (okami = wolf).
The music really didn’t stand out all that much for me. Most of it was really soft and relaxing-sounding, not something I really notice when watching anime. I didn’t find the opening and ending songs were any better either, but if I had to pick one to listen to, it would probably be the ending song since it’s a little bit happier sounding.
Spice and Wolf II is just one of those laid-back anime that you probably wouldn’t regret not watching, but if you’re bored and stuck at home one day it’s a good way to pass the time without boring you even more. Then again, if you’re really into anime girls with animal ears and a tail, then this is a must-watch for you.