Thursday, 24 September 2009

Spice and Wolf II - Episode 12 (Completed)

Just as Lawrence's deal seemed to be going so swimmingly (for once), so everything suddenly threatened to fall apart in the climax to Spice and Wolf II's penultimate episode, with a revolt instigated by the town's fur traders in the wake of the announcement of the fifty-man meeting's results.

While blood is being spilled and fires burn all over, Fruhl is confident that the deal can still be done and so carries on as before; Lawrence on the other hand is still clearly having doubts on account of the true nature of the statue he saw last episode - Doubts that Horo quickly picks up on, but Lawrence point blank refuses to tell her about. Furthermore, his suggestion that she's in a win-win situation no matter what he does results in a (quite deserved if you ask me) slap from Horo... The beginning of a long episode of violence against our favourite merchant.

Once Horo is given away as insurance as that particular part of the deal, Lawrence confronts Fruhl and so the whole truth of the matter comes out, from her plans through to her reasoning for it. Come the end of it all, it seems that Lawrence is left alone and without any money, but Fruhl does at least come good on one part of her end of the deal, leaving him the deeds for the old man's inn.

So, does Lawrence accept those deeds gracefully and set up shop in town? Of course not... Instead, he uses the deeds to effectively buy back Horo, and despite some more physical violence against the hapless chap normal service is resumed come the end of the episode, and indeed the series. Well, not quite normal service, as Lawrence finally gets to voice his true feelings in some emotional scenes towards the end of the episode.

You know, at first glance I actually too sure what to make of this final instalment of Spice and Wolf II - Perhaps it's because I was actually nervous as to how it would all end, envisioning a tale of death and sorrow, but in the end such nerves were banished by a climax that leaves the door well and truly open for a third season; a result which I certainly have no qualms about. However, after sitting down for a few minutes and letting my memory of the episode wash over me, I'm starting to realise that it was in fact yet another brilliant example of Lawrence and Horo's relationship at work. To see Lawrence actually express (and arguably actually properly realise) his feelings was a great moment in itself, that was thrown into the mix in the kind of understated fashion you'd expect from him, while Horo's flustered and emotional responses before she eventually reigned herself in were priceless.

Perhaps this isnt the ending I'd have chosen personally (simply because I hadn't really thought of it working out this way for some reason), but overall it was a great end to an absolutely brilliant series, and anything which gives me hope of being regaled once again with the joys of Horo, Lawrence and some decidedly confusing economics can only be hailed as a good thing.


Anonymous said...

This really was a great end to arguably my favorite series. Although i agree with you, i expected more of a cliffhanger ending than a emotional confession. I honestly don't think i can wait a year for S3 to come out...

Anonymous said...

What deed? I watched the last couple of episodes and heard nothing about a deed. =(

Hanners said...

The most important part of the deal with Fruhl for Lawrence is that he would be given ownership of the old man's inn, and when he came round after being knocked out he found that he'd been left with the deeds to that property - It was that which he used to effectively "buy back" Horo.

Martin said...

Ah yes, it was a really sweet ending, wasn't it? I believe the light novels are still ongoing, or at the very least finish quite a long way after the events of this episode. So yeah, I'd love to see more since the stuio staff have hit their stride and worked out how to get everything just right.

It was fitting to wrap up things this way I think. Most questions are explained, enough are left open for a third season and the development of their relationship flows smoothly to a wonderful final scene. I'm going to miss it.

As for the novels, I don't like the look of the cover art but hey, it's good to know it's being released soonish (by Yen Press iirc).

Anonymous said...

Finally an anime that can do an ending... This series is brilliant because of the consistant quality... All the eps are very good, no really downers.. The characters evolve at realistic pace. Even the side characters are brilliantly enjoyable.

I can't wait for the 3rd season, i got to know what happens when they finally reach the north..

Unknown said...

I'm new here. But we all are here united for a common love, aren't we?
Spice and Wolf is not only brilliant it's complete. Until now at least It is the most "complete" anime I've ever seen! It's like getting inside that world and, in every way you look, you just can't see a fissure. Few series can do that. Hanner, my thoughts of you are of of equal brightness. I live at the metropole São Paulo in Brasil. And because of your blog new's I could watch almost in real time Spice and wolf!
You posted. I downloaded from a diferent and also brillant blog.
Thank you! And sorry for that bad english of mine. I'm still practising.

Chris Martarano said...

Loved the season, but I wanted a little more from the ending as far as their relationship goes. It looks like Lawrence kissed her at the end, but it felt like such a non-thing!

Well, really hoping they announce the 3rd season soon! Loved your blog for this Hanners!

Sorrow-kun said...

I'm not big on the fact that this didn't really have a strong sense of finality. Once one starts suspecting that they were going to leave the door open for a new season, it becomes clearer that any threat on them continuing their shared journey is kinda empty, so it becomes a little easier to predict what's going to happen. There are still too many loose threads for my liking at the end of this season. I'm not a huge fan of open endings in a plot-driven series like this.

Anonymous said...

Roll on season 3! :)

BashZeStampeedo said...

SaW is a great anime if you have the patience for a slowly paced story and can look past the obviously low-budget issues. The voice acting alone makes it worthwhile for me.

It's been suggested to me that this stretch of the story is probably the most tedious and bland. It's nice that they still managed to pull it off successfully.

It was nice to see Lawrence trap Horo in her own logic, and defeat her so completely and defiantly. She's been getting more and more unfair and cruel in her treatment of the guy, and he's come a long way in a single season.

I wonder what they are foreshadowing with her asking him to "take responsibility" for whatever problems she thinks this event will cause (despite not even hinting at what those problems may be).

Anonymous said...

I think Lawrence wasn't suggesting that SHE was in a win-win situation. He was suggesting that HE was in a lose-lose situation, with only one way out.. and he was asking her one last time for what she really wanted.

He knew this wasn't a deal he could afford to miss out on if she didn't really love him.. she isn't the easiest girl to get along with, and he's fallen for her pretty quickly in the grand scheme of things.

I think Horo read it the way you did, and didn't stop to think that he was crying out for help. Even when she slapped him, he slapped her back verbally: "this is what you really wanted, right?". It was only when she couldn't even say something at that provocation that he "gave up" and let her win.

But Lawrence ended up standing up to her for once, and despite the fact that everything really was a lose-lose situation for him he still chose her (again). I think that's when Horo realized what he had really been asking, and finally fell apart. Once Lawrence realizes that she can't really read him, it will get interesting.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, interesting comments all around. It seemed more to me that Horo slapped Lawrence for daring to try to read her mind again (and he was right on the money, as usual).

I agree with Anonymous above me, Lawrence was pointing out that he was in a lose-lose situation, and in fact he hid just how bad it really was from Horo. In the end, he chose he worst option, to try to win her back.

Honestly, it is a very clever story under the hood/bonnet. The surface stories are contrived and convenient this season, but the romantic tale being told under those is slowly turning into something very special and quite unique.

The cliffhanger felt annoying at first, but since we've only seen one character truly go anywhere this season it was nice to know that there is more to the story and that there is an intent to continue telling it. Many series suffer by trying too hard to provide forced closure just in case, although the seasons themselves were rather weak.

Anonymous said...

hey what happened after Lawrence tasted the salt on the religious sculpture?? what did that mean??