Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the light novel series by Isuna Hasekura, Spice and Wolf is a thirteen episode series that deals in a very intriguing world that mostly involves trade. It's an unusual series in that regard, though it delves into other things along the way such as what it means to be human and how the world itself works. Broadcast as twelve episodes with episode seven being a DVD only release afterward, fitting in a small tale of happiness in the middle of everything, Spice and Wolf is a surprisingly engaging story that primarily revolves around two characters as they travel, make deals and talk of their dreams and their pasts. Of course, with one of them being a goddess of sorts, the kind of stories are a bit tilted in one direction.
Set in a medieval world that plays things very straight by and large, Spice and Wolf tells a somewhat leisurely tale over its thirteen episodes but one that is quite tense at times. The story revolves around a man named Craft Lawrence, a traveling peddler in his mid twenties who works across numerous towns transporting goods and selling his wares when and where he can. His main goal is to one day save up enough money so he can open a store in a decent sized town and build a full life. But until then, he's the kind of peddler that's very happy doing what he does, figuring out the tricks of particular trades and spending time with people that he does get to know during his travels. The show opens with him visiting one particular town at harvest time where a young woman named Chloe is someone he has a bit of a fancy for, but nothing altogether too serious at the moment. It certainly has potential though and that has kept him interested and looking at the town as a potential place to settle.
Lawrence's life takes an interesting turn while in this town as he's getting ready to go as a young woman mysteriously appears in his wagon. As it turns out, the girl is named Holo, which is the name of the goddess of the region that is responsible for the health of the crops. Her influence has been dwindling among the farmers for some time as the Earl of the area has provided new ways and means for ensuring better crops, so they haven't been needing Holo like she was. Holo reveals that she truly is the goddess in question, though the details seem to paint her more as a godling of sorts in that she's not as eternal and is part of a larger family from the far north of where she's been operating out of for so long. Lawrence doesn't need too much convincing to grasp that Holo is that same Holo, since she does have the ears and quite the bushy tail, but his mercantile ways serve him well here as he agrees to travel north with her to find where she came from while taking advantage of her ability to read others in his business. Since that facilitates her living conditions along the way, as well as food and clothes, it's a good agreement they reach.
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