For once, this volume actually turned up on release day rather than a week or so afterwards like it normally does in the UK, hurrah!
With their troubles in Ruvinheigen solved, Lawrence and Holo continue their travels to the small farming village of Tereo in the hope of finding out more about Holo's homeland of Yoitsu. However, something seems amiss and as outsiders in a small village they come under suspicion - especially after [spoiler]some of the wheat the town sold was found to be poisoned[/spoiler].
This volume starts adapting Volume 3 of the light novel, which was not animated and sits between seasons 1 and 2 of the anime. The relative lack of action in that volume was likely the reason why it was not animated despite there being a fair amount of content in it. However, the manga adapts this light novel volume at a very rapid pace, skipping a lot of the initial introductions and intrigue and skipping straight in to the more action-y part of the story. Again, I can understand why this was done but for anyone that has not read the light novel they may have some difficulty understanding the flow of the story presented in the manga as it jumps between some pretty important plot points.
As always however, I have to praise the quality of the artwork in this volume. The light novel for this arc had some adorable scenes and illustrations, and Keito Koume, the artist for the manga, has done an excellent job of illustrating them. If only it was also in full colour, it would be fantastic! If you don't mind spoilers, have a look at some of the pictures of the artwork over on Aka's blog (click the spoiler toggle to see them).
Despite my complaints about how the story was adapted in this volume, I still quite enjoyed it. However, I would strongly recommend that anyone reading this volume first read volume 3 of the light novel so that they completely understand the story. I suspect that volume 8 of the manga will complete the Tereo storyline (there's not much left after all). Volume 8 has a tentative "June 2013" release in English, which isn't too surprising since it only came out in Japan a month ago. Don't forget that Volume 7 of the light novel, which contains a few side stories, is also out later this month.
Spice and Wolf Manga Volume 7 is available at Amazon, ISBN 9780316229111.
Volume 5 left us on a bit of a cliffhanger, but thankfully Volume 6 picks up right where we left off and straight back in to the action with the conclusion of the Gold Smuggling plot. Keito Koume has excelled once again and illustrates scenes such as the [spoiler]battle between Holo and the Remelio Company[/spoiler] and [spoiler]Holo's state of undress[/spoiler] rather well. The cover illustration also excels, showing Holo in both her forms rather well.
Volume 6 finishes up Volume 2 of the light novel, and as only a small amount of story was left for Volume 6, there are two spare chapters. Rather than starting Volume 3 of the light novel early, the Melancholy of Wolf and Amber side story is instead adapted, where [spoiler]Holo gets sick[/spoiler]. When this side story was animated (Season 2, Episode 00), it was rather adorable and the manga manages to also achieve this to an extent. It is rather amusing to see Holo looking meek for once rather than her usual proud self.
is due for release was released in November. At the moment, i'm not sure if this will adapt Volume 3 of the light novel (which wasn't animated), or skip to Volume 4 (which was animated in season 2). It would be nice to Volume 3 of the light novel adapted simply because there are some adorable scenes and great dialogue between Holo and Lawrence which I think could be adapted rather well. I shall have to wait and see!
Spice and Wolf Manga Volume 6 is available from Amazon. ISBN 9780316210324.
Yotsuba is so enjoyable that i'm getting through them rather quickly for a change. A sudden increase in spare time may also be a factor...
The humour is definitely in full swing now after a bit of an iffy start in volume 1, although I can forsee some recurring jokes (for example, Jumbo's romance issues) becoming tiring if they go on much longer, but I can't tell if they will yet. My favourite chapter from this volume is a toss up between Yotsuba & Flowers and Yotsuba & Obon. In Yotsuba & Flowers I loved the way Yotsuba suddenly jumped on to the bus after learning it didn't cost her anything, and poor Fuka desperately trying to keep up on her bicycle. In Yotsuba & Obon however, I found the concept of Yotsuba the Flower Cupid hilarious, especially considering her outfit and her usual way of interacting with people.
And with that, on to volume 4!
Yotsuba Volume 3 is available from Amazon. ISBN 9780316073905.
I'm currently re-reading the Yotsuba&! series, which gives me the perfect opportunity for me to write about it. I originally wrote about volume 1 when reading it for the first time, but I never got around to writing about any of the subsequent volumes.
Volume 2 continues in the same fashion as volume 1, but with less character introduction since this has already been acheived. Like volume 1, the artwork isn't stunning but is perfectly sufficent for what it's trying to illustrate. One of my complaints about volume 1 was that while it's humour was good, there was nothing that made me laugh out loud. This was not the case with volume 2 which had several things which caused an outburst of laughter.
My favourite chapter from volume 2 has to be Yotsuba & Vengeance. Seeing her run around with a water pistol imitating action films was far too funny!
Onwards to volume 3!
Yotsuba&! Volume 2 is available from Amazon. ISBN 9780316073899.
It's been a busy few months and the release of the 5th volume of the Spice and Wolf manga almost missed me, thankfully Amazon decided to remind me of such important things and I received it, as usual, on the release date. This post has also been sitting in my Drafts folder for quite some time, so long in fact that the 6th volume has now arrived!
Volume 5 picks up where Volume 4 left off, with Lawrence being asked to repay his huge debt just after the armour prices have crashed in Ruvinheigen. Again, we've got a lovely full colour image of Holo relaxing, albeit with an unusually large apple (much to her delight?). The cover image is also fantastic, with Holo putting on quite a cunning grin. This volume also contains the [spoiler]argument scene between Lawrence and Holo[/spoiler], this was very well done in the light novel and the manga has done a fantastic job of illustrating their behaviour and expressions. As usual, the very high standards of artwork have been maintained thought this volume. Keito Koume is truly one of the best mangaka i've ever seen.
The bonus track in this volume takes a bit of an unusual turn and abandons the traditional setting of Spice and Wolf. Entitled K9-ON, it puts Holo and Nora in a band with Lawrence as their manager. I'm not making this up - go read it!
is due for release was released on the 27th of March 2012, hopefully this will conclude the Ruvinheigen arc. I'm keen to see how some of the scenes are handled.
Spice and Wolf Manage Volume 5 is available from Amazon. ISBN 9780316210324.