If there’s one type of era that I enjoy, it’s the medieval times. Not because of the disease, restrictions, prejudice, few opportunities, and lack of technology. No, I like that time because of the marketplace. Yes, the hustling and bustling of merchants trying to sell their wares is for some reason entertaining to me. But frankly, I just never owned any manga like that. Until now.
Spice & Wolf (or, as I like to call it, “Wolf & Spice… actually, pronounced with a German accent, which is “Vulf und Schpice”) takes place in such a time. Back when apples were the grandest of delicacies, people make their livelihood from a-workin’, and beautiful ancient wolf spirits would ask merchants to take them to their homeland. It’s an enjoyable tale with little action, but it still keeps me entertained. I don’t know what it is. But it’s not the nudity, if that’s what you’re implying.
Plot: Kraft Lawrence is a young merchant on his way to sell his wares. Surprisingly, a beautiful young woman with wolf ears and tail is in his cart, asking if he has any wine. Then she pleads that she be brought to her homeland, since she’s been stuck in a wheat field for centuries. He agrees, cautiously, but she must agree to help out with sales. The wolf spirit (named Holo) goes along with this, and, with her wisdom, helps him with his job. Not much else occurs, but it’s still fun.
I didn’t expect to enjoy this. The plastic around the volume is always a warning of nudity. But aside from the breast shots and such, I have to concede defeat… this is a pleasant experience. Holo’s wits and Lawrence’s… well, being a normal human beingness, is a good match made in Manga Heaven. They play off of each other well and don’t get into the angsty arguments that so many teenage manga characters have nowadays. I mean, neither of them are teenagers, but that’s also a relief.
It’s a pretty sincere series. There are a few complaints on my end, like “why do these characters expressions fluctuate so often”, but it’s unnecessary nit-picking, generally. The art is fresh, the characters are strong, and the plot, while slim, is great and easy to follow. I’d definitely recommend this series to fans of wolves, breasts, medieval times, and manga.
Favorite Character: Holo. Her ancient knowledge and sayings are interesting to read. Sure, she could be goofy sometimes, and that seems out of character for her. But it’s nice to read about a wise character who isn’t always saying “you must beware of the dangerous shadows that befall you, young hero”. Instead, she justifies devouring apples by saying “while one may lose much because of avarice, nothing was ever accomplished by abstinence”. Now I feel like I can commit all the evil that I want! Thanks, Holo!
Overall Opinion: Vulf und Schpice is a charming series of medieval proportions. Definitely check it out.
Rating: Two Thumbs Up, Four Stars, and a “B+”.