Reviewed by: Priss
Released by: Manga Entertainment UK
Age Rating: 12
Region: 2 - UK
Length: 325 minutes
Audio: Japanese 2.0 Stereo
The journey through the wild countryside continues for the merchant Lawrence and his traveling companion, Holo, the untamed harvest goddess. As their winding path takes them from village to village, Lawrence and Holo reap the bounty of an ever-strengthening bond, depending on his street smarts and her animal instincts to lead them to the feisty deity’s northern home.
The collection starts with episode 00, a little bonus that serves as bridge between the events of season one and touches upon the most prominent themes of season two. It is an endearing instalment, showing the milder side of the wise wolf as she takes a break from life on the road and languishes in Lawrence's care as she nurses a fever.
The story from the novels continues at a meandering pace and retains the consistent production quality from the first season. More aspects of Holo's personality are revealed and the connection between the wolf and merchant deepens. There are testing times that call into question their personal goals and whether they or not they can continue their time together. The deepening of the relationship and the relative transience of human lives to those of gods makes for some meaty food for Holo's thoughts.
These musings cause Holo to seek knowledge about her history and the legends of spirit gods who ventured into human realms and human form.
In season two, less time is spent on the road and travel is restricted while the pair try to uncover more clues about Holo's past and homeland. The drama plays out in fewer locations and many of the questions are left unanswered. As a result, there is significantly less energy and quite a different feel to the second series. The duo are still faced with danger, intrigue and altercations but these are confined more to the social realms of merchants and townships.
The characters' pursuit of knowledge is the driving force behind the narrative - histories are uncovered and a wealth of new characters are introduced. This helps to give shape and depth to the world of Spice and Wolf with its gods, men and beasts.
Season two is perhaps a less exciting viewing experience but no less engaging or charming than the first. I think that any fans of the original episodes will be hard pressed not to enjoy seeing Holo in all her glory once again. It is a bittersweet tale that is well worth seeing through the end.