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-   -   Spice and Wolf - Overall Series Impressions & Total Series Rating (http://forums.animesuki.com/showthread.php?t=64366)

Klashikari 2008-03-28 08:58

Spice and Wolf - Overall Series Impressions & Total Series Rating
 
This thread is to be used for discussing the entire 12/13 episodes of Spice and Wolf... your thoughts about the show, overall impressions, speculation on the possible DVD only bonus episodes, etc., etc…

A few subjects you might want to ramble on about:
  • General impression of the series.
  • Opinions on the overall story, writing & plot devices.
  • Thoughts about the animation quality.
  • Will there be additional DVD only episodes and what will they contain.
  • How did the anime compare with the game?
  • Characters/Character Design
  • What the show meant to you.
  • What could the creators/animators/writers could have done better.
And so on.

The poll represents your total series rating. In other words, how you would rate all the episodes combined (1-10)? If you'd rather rate the whole series by technical/artistic merits, you can do so. An example:

Animation Quality: 1-10
Voice Actors: 1-10
Script: 1-10
Adaptation from Game: 1-10
Editing: 1-10

Average = Total Series Rating

Or a combination of the two. Or your general gut feeling.

Khaos 2008-03-28 10:53

Spice and Wolf gets a 10/10 from me.

+ Horo is an outstanding female character, it is so refreshing to see her compared to all the other generic anime-females
+ Lawrence is an outstanding male character, it is so refreshing to see him compared to all the other generic anime-males
+ Their interaction is awesome, funny, beautiful, complicated, realistic and if somewhere a stereotype pops up, then it's not meant serious.
+ Good story arcs, it is however not easy to understand the backgrounds of the economical stuff, but on the positive that adds some more complexity to the story.
+ No clear good-bad-differences...Horo ate humans before, Lawrence gets deceived but ends up not taking revenge.
Only drawback:
- Cloe didn't fit in that well and she didn't appear in the second arc.

On the technical side, animation was decent but not outstanding, however it didn't attract attention negatively, so I don't mind. The music is nothing to remember apart from the Op and Ed songs, which are great.
Horo's voice acting was outstanding, Ami Kochimizu did an awesome job! Her voice in wolf form, when she was raging and wild sent shivers down my spine!
The other voices were good, too.

Westlo 2008-03-28 11:05

I loved the show, it was a joy to watch thanks to the wonderful interaction between the two leads Horo and Lawrence. Listening to their conversations you can see why the novels this is based on is an award winner. Horo is one of the best female lead characters I've seen in a long time, in some episodes she showed more range than most lead females show in an entire series. Ami Kochimizu did a wonderful job voicing her, she was already one of my fav up and coming VA's but this role really cemented her as one of my fav VA's period. Lawrence was another great character and complemented Horo nicely.

I'm not quite sure which story arc I prefer out of novel 1 and novel 2, I guess I will have to rewatch the show to decide that. The economical stuff was interesting since you rarely if ever see such a focus on it in anime.

The animation quality of the series was far from stellar but IMAGIN did a nice solid job, hopefully if they do a second series they can get a budget increase, one thing they did do really well was the backgrounds. Music was very fitting and suited the show perfectly, OP was just beautiful and the ED while jarring at first quickly become one of my favs from the season. Anyway I'm really looking forward to the DVD only episode and I'm hoping that a second series can be green lit for the Fall season later this year. Make it happen IMAGIN!

Overall Score: 9/10.

serenade_beta 2008-03-28 12:02

10/10

A great series all the way through.

-The music was good. OP/ED were great.
-Loved the interactions between Horo and Lawrence, and Nora.
-Horo and Lawrence are great characters.
-The plot was wonderful too, from the economics to action/climax.
-Animation was satisfying to me.

Personally, I prefer the second half of the series over the first half.


Anyways, a very enjoyable series. I wouldn't mind having a second season, but I'm not going to stress myself over such a thing.

Deus ex Digital Boy 2008-03-28 12:51

I can't really judge this show easily because it's hard to compare to anything. I made the official decision to only rate it once I've rewatched Kino's Journey.

Vexx 2008-03-28 13:32

I tend to categorize this series as "romance" in the classical meaning. There is the development of a deep relationship, but also adventure and the encounter of new things. With that, I tried to come up with similar anime series --- and came up with very few.

Tsukuyomi Moon Phase was one. Not quite human female, earnest guy, a mixture of romance, comedy, verbal jousting, and dangerous adventure. The romance aspect wasn't quite as mature as S&W, so I'd say S&W compares quite favorably in that company.
The others (REC, Lovely*Complex, etc) had the focus on one couple, the verbal jousting, but none of the unique elements and less of the mature level of interaction. So, just out of the door - S&W is relatively "special".

The music: 9
It had a "8" til I got the OST and saw they were using actual instruments rather than synthesizers. On the OST, I counted only about 4 or 5 tracks that were really BGM and not terribly listenable on their own (out of 30 tracks). I thought the long version of the OP was a bit over-produced which interfered with the singer's wonderful voicing. The ED remains wacky as ever.

The animation quality: 7
This was all over the place. For critical moments (e.g. Horo closeups) they'd crank up the quality -- but often it was below average (the dancers in the town market scene). However, I cut it some slack because of the art style which I characterized as an homage to the woodcut and stained glass sort of work from the medieval period. Also, even though the animating budget was starved -- the artists stayed on-model quite nicely.

The Voice acting: 10
The VAs for Horo and Lawrence were just magnificent. I barely noticed whether anyone was speaking at times. Nora and Chloe - their VAs gets some points though.

The script: 8 or 10
Argh... it should be a "10" for forcing the writers to work in such an insufficient time budget. But it was exceptionally difficult for many people to follow the schemes or what just transpired in particular scenes. What made it *great* though was the source material.
The discussion between Horo and Lawrence in the courtyard at sunrise with the clock bell was possibly my favorite anime moment of the year.

Overall.... I really *want* to give it a "10" but despite my love of the show I have to drag it down to a "9". Unlike REC, which thrived on its compactness, the compression here really hurt the accessibility of the series for many viewers. The animation quality (e.g. in-betweens count, etc) also chipped it down though the artwork was appealing.

A fairly unique show -- one that you can tell the producers considered to be rather risky given the conservative production budget. But one of my favorites (sheesh I hope this gets a long post-season life and an R1 release). I enjoyed this series much more than some of the so-called 'popular blockbusters'.

LKK 2008-03-30 15:18

I gave Spice and Wolf a rating of 8 for the series as a whole. It wasn't difficult a rating to pick since the majority of the episodes earned an 8 rating on their own.

Breaking down the series into a few lowlight and highlights -->

Lowlights:
* The animation itself was the series' weakest point. True, S&W is a series that focuses on script and character interplay. It's not a series where you would expect the animation to shine. But that's no excuse for animation that detracts from the viewers enjoyment of an episode. Episode 8 in particular comes to mind. It's almost unwatchable. If I could understand the dialogue without reading the subtitles, I would prefer to close my eyes and just listen to that episode rather than actually watch the episode.

* Another lowlight was the story compression. Other people have said it before. The writers tried to squeeze too much into too small an episode space. The aspect that suffered the most was the explanation of the economic storylines. Merchant machinations at that level are not something most viewers are familiar with. More time was needed for better more thorough explanations.

Highlights:
* Horo and Lawrence's banter was the series' stellar quality. I've said before that I would thoroughly happy just seeing those two trading quips, barbs, philosophies in their room. Nothing more was needed. Watching the two reminded me of the golden era of Hollywood and some of the great screen couples of that bygone era.

* The music was a wonderful help to the show. The TV version of the OP doesn't thrill me all that much; I'll admit that. (I prefer the full version.) But other than that, I was happy to hear any snatch of music the show offered. I liked that the music not only fit the tone of the show but fit the era as well. A show set during a Renaissance-like era should have Renaissance-like sounding music.

I join the call for a second season. I don't really care if Horo and Lawrence ever reach her homeland in the North. Spice and Wolf isn't about the destination and what will happen once its reached. It's about the journey on the way to the destination. I'll happily journey along with them for as along as they want to travel.

be0wulf 2008-03-30 18:41

After watching the ending, it's almost as if this season was merely a set-up to the movie/season 2 of Spice and Wolf.

I learned a lot about economics. Like silver coins, bartering, etc. Lawrence and Horo are probably the best anime characters in quite awhile. The music was well done, dialogue was excellent, and Horo's ears....so....fuzzy...

The animation does leave lots to be desired though. Reused scenes, shoddy lighting, etc. Horo was drawn fairly well, and I liked how they integrated the fanservice scenes without making it blatantly obvious (unlike, say, Elfen Lied).

According to some who read the novel beforehand, the anime stayed relatively true to the original script, but there were some points where changes were made. The link to the blog where the writer dissects this is somewhere in this forum, I forget the link...

Overall, best series this season. Greatly looking forward to the next installment.

Sorrow-K 2008-03-30 22:29

I'm somewhere between "7" and "8" and leaning slightly towards "8".

The thing I loved most about this series is how unique the premise is. I'll be completely redundant and ask a pointless rhetorical question just to make my point, but how many other series can you name that involve a merchant traveling with a supernatural partner, and the two taking part in trades and talking heavy economics?

The characters are great, and their back-and-forth relationship was fascinating, just fascinating. The plot was well written, and very intelligent without being pretentious, but it demanded you to pay attention to every detail, and it certainly didn't cater for short attention spans. The seiyuu were almost universally fantastic, and the soundtrack is unique and wholeheartedly underrated, IMO. The directing was great (even if there were a few minor things that I wasn't totally happy about), and the atmosphere was always suitable, and got surprisingly intense at some stages (see the penultimate episode).

On the flip-side, I was rather disappointed with what happened to Chloe. They really were too quick to sideline what could have been a very fascinating character. The ending was reasonable, but there was obviously that big "inconclusive" feeling that went along with it, owing to the fact that this clearly is no where near the end of Horo and Lawrence's tale. That's obvious, even for someone like me who has no experience with the source material.

Full review to come later. Overall, a very enjoyable and very creative series that had a lot to say. What's not to like?

Westlo 2008-03-31 02:27

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sorrow-K (Post 1499810)
On the flip-side, I was rather disappointed with what happened to Chloe. They really were too quick to sideline what could have been a very fascinating character.

I agree but since IMAGIN followed the source material they really couldn't do much with her. Nearly every novel reader I've seen talk about Chloe agree that she was much better than the generic dude from the company that Lawrence knew in the novels.

Vexx 2008-03-31 02:54

yeah... frankly I wouldn't mind the author rewriting and rereleasing volume 1 to insert Chloe. It was actually quite an improvement over the first volume source (which is still great but Chloe was a "BAMM!" ingredient addition)

BigGimp77 2008-03-31 08:13

+ Great interaction and well written dialog between the main characters.
+ Solid Voice Acting
+ Good music throughout the series
+ Smart storyline that had a unique outlook on the old days of economics and had great plot twist...
- ...but the storyline seemed condensed and rushed in some areas
- Animation was pretty weak

I pretty much just pointed out what everyone has already stated. This was defiantly my favorite anime of the winter season. It was very enjoyable to watch, but this show isn't for everybody. The writing and character interaction really shines throughout the entire 13 episodes. IMAGIN did a nice job converting the source material into an anime, but they really could have used an extra 2 episodes for each novel. Hopefully if they make a second season they will make a 24 episode season and cover 3 novels. The animation was pretty weak, but in a series like this it's really not that big of a deal. There is room for improvement though.

All in all, it was just a really fun show to watch and I'm crossing my fingers for a second season/movie.
Overall score: 8.4/10(sorry i like 100 point scales.. I rounded down to 8 for the poll tho :heh:)

KholdStare 2008-04-01 15:45

Hm, it all comes down to taste, since this anime really had not much to analyze. I simply wasn't very interested in it, and since 75% of this anime for me is enjoyment, I could not give it a very good score.

Animation Quality: 8
Voice Actors: 8
Script: 9
Adaptation from Game: No clue, but shouldn't this be novel?
Editing: 3

Total rating: 6.3 => 6.0

I admit, there was one point where I was really interested in this series and thought that it was the season's best. However, I let my ignorance be a major factor for this show. I did not understand many of the dealings or the importance of smuggling, and I think the anime did a terrible job at that. From a literature analyst's views, when you are telling a story, you cannot assume that the audience can read your mind. You have to be in the shoes of the audience and explain enough so that they can understand. I will not be soft and just rate this anime on its plot. Oh yes, it had a wonderful and unique plot with a promising premise at that. However, its storytelling was all over the place, and the confusion caused by the business dealings was a major obstacle in the enjoyment of the series.

And yes, I have no clue what happened to Chloe either, nor what she was doing/thinking at the very end. I once gave this anime a 9/10, and I simply believe that this anime could jump up three ratings if it wasn't just a 12 episode series.

Final score: 6/10, "Good"


Spoiler for My Rating Scale:


And I see that my score isn't very popular. This series had more fans than I thought.

Vexx 2008-04-01 18:05

A lot of the rating (including mine) is a bit more about the *glimpse* of great things than the actual execution. Outside of the main characters and some fabulous voice acting - there were some failings mostly due to an overly cautious budget in my opinion. (which led to the animation and writing shortcuts).

ApostleOfGod 2008-04-01 21:57

Animation Quality : 10 (Very good imo, not many cut-corners from what I seen)
VA : 10 - Splendid... Then again, if I understood the language, I might be able to judge more fairly :p
Script : 10 - This one definitely gets the most points. Script was brilliant and thought-provoking.
Edit and Adaptation I cannot rate, I don't know much about those two external sources.

Maybe my rating of Spice and Wolf is absurd, and I'm simply overrating it, but in this case, it comes down to Originality for me. This is a one of a kind. No doubt.

Kazuma77 2008-04-11 01:57

well it was pretty good, even though i expected a kiss between those two

9/10

TinyRedLeaf 2008-04-11 09:32

Animation Quality: 5
Voice Actors: 9
Script: 7
Adaptation from Novel: 5? (I haven't read the novels, can only compare against the manga)
Editing: 6

Result: 6.4, rounded down to 6 (Average).

========

Unlike KholdStare, I started the show with reservations. I liked the premise, which felt very original (in the way Sorrow-K had described), and I thought it had a lot of potential for being an intelligent and entertaining show that mixed romance with a medieval setting. However, I had mixed feelings about Horo right from the start. She simply did not behave the way I would imagine an ancient goddess to do so, and it rapidly became apparent to me that her design was meant to appeal to a very different audience.

However, I was soon drawn into the first arc, about silver speculation, about Horo's background. And as many of you could tell, I was especially excited to discover the history, economics and mythology that inspired the author to create this story.

So, by the mid-point of the series, I thought, ah well, even though I may not personally like Horo very much (and it was clear by this point that she was the major attraction of the show), at least I enjoyed how the story was unfolding.

But the second arc let me down. As many people have pointed out, the shoddy editing and story compression in the second arc was very apparent, and all the flaws in art, animation and character development began showing itself. The pacing was off in several areas and Horo increasingly came across as a jealous, clingy, tempermental courtesan, which made me dislike her even more. Correspondingly, the interaction between Horo and Lawrence in the gold smuggling arc felt contrived and forced, and it didn't flow as naturally as it did in the first arc.

More disappointingly, the clever socio-economic aspects seen in the first arc just didn't come across as convincingly in the second arc. I get the feeling that too many details were lost in the adaptation and the story suffered because of it.

So, taken altogether, I regret that Spice and Wolf had only been an average show for me, at best. It failed to live up to its full potential.

deathsvengeance 2008-04-11 16:16

I rated 5/10 seeing as I was very disappointed.

The animation itself was good, the story, had a LOT of potential, but then it just, BAM ended out of no where.

I don't know, perhaps the missing episode 7 will fill in some blanks when its available.

Westlo 2008-04-11 16:29

^ It won't because episode 7 has nothing to do with the first two light novels which Spice and Wolf is based on. Light Novel 1 is episodes 1-6 and Light Novel 2 is 8-13. 5 more novels to go with more on the way, if this sells decently/well expect the rest (or at least the next 2) to be animated.

Vexx 2008-04-11 18:10

The anime is based on the novels, which are a collection of chained adventures. At the end of the second adventure, our heroes were closer in relationship, but there's a long way to go yet ( last half of the series was a very condensed version of volume 2 and the 8th novel is coming out this May). Lawrence has to grapple with the real problems that this is an otherworldly lady he's getting emotionally tangled with. Lifespan, value system, etc. all make the conservative Lawrence very carefully about where he throws his heart. Horo experiences the same hesitation on her end but being a different personality - reacts in her own way.

I was actually betting they'd do an anime-only ending --- but the fact they didn't may mean that they may have had one in their back pocket but the indication is strong that another season of two adventures is possible.

The novels seem to be flying off the shelf at least and the few models are pre-ordering quickly. I don't know how well the CD OST did but its a nice listen.


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