Like the first season, Spice and Wolf II is a “talky.” There is less suspense than in the first season and more focus on Holo and Lawrence’s relationship. Most of the action is done through back and forth banter and mercantile maneuvers. That said, the dub has to be well done. Luckily it is.
The series delves deeper into Holo’s feelings and thoughts than the first season. She isn’t as mysterious…although she is still her usual wise-wolf self. Lawrence slowly admits to himself where exactly his feelings and priorities lie.Holo is more vulnerable in this season too. For some viewers, she may seem to act out of character ( there is a different studio producing this season); however, the first season alludes to how her bristly overly capable facade hides a deep seated sorrow and loneliness. Her vulnerabilities in this season develops that part of her character. The very first episode, Wolf and Amber Melancholy, in particular shows her buried concerns.
Holo isn’t nude very often in this season ( too bad for those who like fan service). However, her moments of vulnerability and fear leaves her more exposed than all the proud nudity of the first season. The contrast is very well handled.
The season is divided into 2 arcs centering around political and money hijinks. Lawrence still hasn’t learned his lessons from the first season or where his true priorities are. The omnipresent church plays a stronger, but still indirect, role in the second arc.
Despite a different studio handling production, the show retains the same feel. The main problem with Spice and Wolf is its all or nothing nature. The entire story hinges on how well you like Holo and Lawrence. If you don’t care for one or the other, you can’t get into the story. However, if you greatly enjoy their characters like I do, you get sucked into the story completely. There is very little middle ground.
Spice and Wolf remains one of the most thoughtful and well done anime I’ve seen. The animation isn’t flashy. It doesn’t have to be. The dialogue is carefully handled and lacks the awkwardness most anime have. Of course, since the anime is all about the dialogue, any fault would shatter the illusion.
I eagerly await the next installment.