Spice and Wolf Season 2 Review (TV)

DirectorTakeo Takahashi

Animation ProductionBrain’s Base

Brain’s Base is getting a lot of attention now with the excellent Durarara!!, but before this have done some other well-regarded series such as Baccano, Kurenai and the first season of Spice and Wolf. If anything Spice and Wolf is an interesting premise for a show that on the surface seem dull. With Brain Base’s excellent ability to craft a story they are able to make the life of a merchant trader in the medieval times full of drama and suspense. The second season of Spice and Wolf continues the same formula with merchant Kraft Lawrence and companion wolf god Horo going town to town making high risk trades. In this season there is an overall plot of Horo wanting to return back to her home town of Yoitsu, but this doesn’t happen in S2 so expect at least another season in the future. In fact in this season there are really only two arcs each 6 episodes which surround two different towns and trades.

I found that one the biggest draws of the show for me was the medieval fantasy setting. Seeing the architecture, churches, roads and the lifestyle in this time period is always interesting. It is all beautifully animated and has great detailed still shots every so often (some included in the screenshot gallery). Unlike other shows with a fantasy setting you get a different perspective of the period as you are following a merchant and not a warrior. You get a view into the lifestyle of merchants which is full of bartering, relationships, tricks and opportunities. In particular you get a good sense of the mind games that are played between merchants. For example they talk about future contracts in episode 4 along with some basic economics principles and market manipulation.

The romantic element of the show involving Lawrence and Horo is genuinely played out with enjoyable dialogue and dynamic between the two. Lawrence is less awkward this season as he has more confidence and ability to make quick comments and remarks.

Overall an enjoyable show, nothing that stands out as unbearable but also nothing spectacular.

Rating – B+

Year – 2009 Length – 12 Episodes

Genre – Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Romance

Moyashimon (Tales of Agriculture) Review

Moyashimon

Director – Yuchiro Yano

Animation Production – Shirogumi Inc.

This is the type of show that I very much enjoy,  it is the definition of a niche show that takes a concept and builds an anime around it. The director Yuchiro Yano it not very well known but one of the other shows he has directed (Mujin Wakusei Survive) has me interested.

Moyashimon microbe

The show involves science/micro biology set in an agriculture university in Tokyo. The focus of the show is centered around a young man who can see microbes. This ability makes him a wanted man as others want to utilize it for various scientific and monetary gains. However it is a light hearted show with plenty of comedy while making the science aspects interesting.

 Other notable points about this show is the exploration of university life in Japan and what an agriculture university would be like. It manages to throw in the theme of  choices in life which is relevant to almost all the characters in the anime. 

It is a short show leaving plenty of questions unanswered while there is no second season announced. They go so far as to say that after the 11th episode that it was the final episode of the series. The problem with a short episode count with these sort of shows (slice of life) is that there isn’t enough time to develop characters. But the comedic and bizarre elements of the show along with the science aspect are what I enjoy about it.  I can’t recommend this to everyone but if what you have read so far interests you it is a must watch.

Side note Shirogumi is a animation and special effects studio. Only other previous anime work has been on Antique Bakery. They have worked on movies and game cut scenes such as in Soul Calibur 3, Baten Kaitos and FF7 Dirge of Cerberus.

Rating – B+

Genre – Comedy, Slice of Life Episodes – 11 Year – 2007

Currently not licensed in the U.S.