Thursday, 20 August 2009

Spice and Wolf II - Episode 7

After all the trials, tribulations, arguments, panic and plotting of the last few episodes, Spice and Wolf II's seventh instalment brings us a welcome return to the more traditional format which revolves almost entirely around Lawrence and Horo (although I'm starting to think that their trusty horse deserves a spin-off series, he never gets any good lines - Spice and Horse anyone?).

That isn't to say that wider issues are neglected entirely here, as once again our duo manage to plant themselves in a town where strange goings-on are afoot, from a mass of what seem to be other merchants "parked up" outside the town through to a distinctly unwelcome tone towards travellers, complete with the dishing out of some kind of medieval ID card to anyone new in town - Some things never change, I guess... There's also one other traveller who seems to be taking an interest in Horo in particular, which looks likely to be extrapolated upon next episode.


As is so often the case with Spice and Wolf however, such items of interest pale into the wonderful dialogue between the new characters, and following the trauma of recent times between the pair we see a whole new angle to Lawrence and Horo's relationship springing forth. For starters, Lawrence is finally starting to find the confidence and peace of mind to engage in a few witty comebacks of his own (with one fantastic one sticking out in mind; I won't spoil it here), although he still can't quite match Horo on that front. He does however manage to get one-up on her in the flirting department, albeit only temporarily, which brings us to perhaps the biggest shift in character of the lot - These two are acting far more like a couple these days, to the point of goofing around like a couple of lovestruck teenagers. All the teasing and knowing comments would seem cheesy elsewhere, but somehow these two make it all seem rather adorable, probably because we've been rooting for them as a pairing for so long now.

So, despite what I would argue to be a dip in animation quality this time around, Spice and Wolf II is right back where we expected it to be - A few mysteries and economically-bound stories about a visiting town which prove to be eclipsed almost entirely by the dynamite that is allowing a wolf deity and her humble merchant travelling partner take centre stage. As per usual, it's beautiful stuff in its own unique way.

7 comments:

keikakudoori said...

It worries me that Horo lets her guard down whenever Lawrence is around. Someone is going to eventually notice that she isn’t what you would call “normal” and tell on her to the church. Well, it looks like someone in this town already noticed something unusual about her.

You’re right about the Lawrence and Horo's relationship. I think that in any other show I’d find such lines cheesy but Spice and Wolf makes it look so incredibly good.

Putang said...

GOD, after all the stuff we went through last week and the weeks before this episodes certainly is a welcome change... i was fairly surprised to see merchants in face masks and how he even identified them as merchants I don't know lol...

now that the blonde girl has finally been added to the story im pretty excited ):3... she gives off this sexy mysterious tough girl kinda image which I can't wait for them to go into detail on...

Hanners said...

@keikakudoori: I think you've quite possibly nailed what we might see later in this series - Between Horo's discussion of how none of their previous predicaments weren't really her fault, and those ever-more frequent moments when she forgets herself and lets her tail/ears show, we could well be moving towards a story along those lines.

crazy dave said...

"Your spell was too strong, you fool" has to be one the best part of the episode. The whole exchange between them was just amazing.

Martin said...

I often find myself checking the timer but in this episode I went for a good ten minutes or so before realising I was utterly engrossed in Horo and Lawrence just sitting in a cart talking. Yeah, the horse is a little under-represented but I think I've found another series where character dynamics offer all the entertainment value I need.

Their relationship is much more solid now - perhaps recent events cemented that almost-romance and reminded them both about why they enjoy each other's company so much.

The 'storyline' is a bonus for me then, but I must say I'm intrigued by the Fifty Men meeting and that shady woman (who pops up in the op sequence and looks even shadier).

Anonymous said...

@keikakudoori: I think you're right. A lot of their "throw-away" setup dialog in this episode hints that the plot is likely to explore some very dark things in this story arc.

I can't help but feel sorry for Lawrence, I get the impression that he's in for an ever rougher ride than before. Horo was right, though, he has been through some truly wicked stuff since she started to travel with him.

I agree with the other posters, though, that this episode wouldn't fit in another series. The writing and characters are just too well-written.

Ojisan said...

It's a little chilling to think that the last arc - with that awful scene of Horo (seeming to) lose it entirely - was the warmup for the present one, with very VERY good slap-and-banter offset with lots of foreboding. Both of them seem to be so busy doing snappy Gable & Lombard dialogue that they don't even notice they're in a town entirely made of menacing shadows -
Nice Lawrence & Horo banner, BTW -