Anime Contemplation Carefully considering the world of Anime, episode by episode.


Spice and Wolf Manga Volume 4

Spice and Wolf Manga Volume 4 Cover

Volume 4 starts around where Volume 3 left off, with Holo and Lawrence finishing up their deal in Poroson. This volume stays mostly true to the original light novel, but adds a few minor things in here and there.

There is one full colour image in this volume, right at the start just like in Volume 3. The image itself is quite a nice one of Holo and Nora together, although Nora looks somewhat uncomfortable with Holo's sudden presence! The bonus track in this volume is a small Nora side story which I found slightly confusing to follow towards the end, the artwork depicting Nora and Enek together though is adorable! Indeed, this volume continues the same high standards of artwork seen in the previous volumes.

Oddly enough, this volume still carries the explicit content warning, despite the fact there is absolutely nothing explicit or even questionable in this volume at all, unlike the previous volumes.

Volume 4 of the manga covers the end of chapter 1 to the end of chapter 3 in volume 2 of the light novel. It would be nice to think that Volume 5 of the manga, set for release on the 25th of October 2011, would cover the remainder of Volume 2 of the light novel but i'm doubtful that they'd be able to fit 3 chapters of content and the epilogue into one volume of manga. Perhaps the recently released (in Japan) Volume 6 of the manga will end Volume 2 of the light novel?

Volume 4 of the light novel is set for release later this month, on the 28th of June 2011. As usual, I can hardly wait. It's always such a long time between each volume's release and this is perhaps my favourite novel series!

Spice and Wolf Manga Volume 4 is available from Amazon. ISBN 9780316178266


Spice and Wolf Manga Volume 3

Spice and Wolf Manga Volume 3 Cover

Volume 3 picks up where Volume 2 left off, with Lawrence and Holo in Pazzio's sewers attempting to escape the Medio company after figuring out their plan. It continues all the way through to the sale of the pepper in Poroson. While mostly true to the original light novel, this volume of the manga adds in scenes of Nora, the shepherdess, before Lawrence and Holo have met her. This works fairly well as we're able to understand her background and previous life as seen by her, rather than as told by her.

Volume 3 has one full colour page right at the start of Holo partially covered by a few furs. I find this a little strange, as they sold the furs all the way back in Volume 1! I would have much preferred to have seen one of the scenes in full colour instead of a picture. The "Bonus Track" chapter in Volume 3 really is a bonus, in the previous volume the bonus track simply continued the story. However, this time we've got a short story set in Japan's Edo period where Holo is a courtesan and Laurence is (still) a merchant. The bonus track was an amusing, if somewhat different, read. As with the previous two volumes, the artwork is extremely detailed thought the manga.

Volume 3 of the manga covers chapter 6 and the epilogue of Volume 1 of the light novel and chapter 1 of Volume 2 of the light novel. Volume 4 of the manga has no release date on the Yen Press website, but Amazon lists it as the 31st of May 2011. Volume 3 of the light novel is set for release very soon, on the 7th of December 2010 - I can hardly wait!

Spice and Wolf Manga Volume 3 is available from Amazon. ISBN 9780316102346.


Yotsuba&! Volume 1

Yotsuba&! Volume 1 Cover

This was recommended to me by a friend who thought I might enjoy the humour in it. Since it wasn't too expensive, I decided to go ahead and buy it. Yotsuba follows a small girl who goes by the same name who has just moved to a new town with her Dad. Overall, the humour was pretty good and kept me entertained but there where no scenes that made me laugh out loud like I was expecting. I suspect that either the humour value was over-hyped to me or the person who recommended it to me was taking the series as a whole in to account rather than just volume 1, perhaps the next volume will improve?

Yotsuba's artwork is fairly standard and suits the style of the manga perfectly - I wasn't expecting hugely detailed drawings for a comedy manga after all. However, some sections are quite detailed, for example the view of the city from the shrine. It's good to see that the artist has done detailed artwork where appropriate.

At 224 pages, Yotsuba is quite long for a manga and hence represents pretty good value for money. Despite the humour not completely living up to my expectations I have already ordered Volume 2. Volume 1 was plenty enough to keep me entertained and who knows, Volume 2 might be even better!

Yotsuba Volume 1 is available from Amazon, ISBN 0316073873


Spice and Wolf Manga Volume 2

Spice and Wolf Manga Volume 2 Cover

Volume 2 of the Spice and Wolf Manga was released a few days ago, after reading Volume 1 a few months ago and being amazed at the quality of the manga I instantly put volume 2 on pre-order. Like volume 1, it has a  small parental advisory imprint on the cover but if anything, volume 2 is far more 'safe' than the first volume. Like volume 1, the artwork is superbly detailed - Keito Koume is an outstanding artist.

Unusually, volume 2 contains no full-colour pages - unlike volume 1 and almost all other mangas. I was somewhat disappointed at their absence but nevertheless I thoroughly enjoyed reading volume 2.

In relation to the light novels, volume 2 of the manga covers volume 1, chapters 4-5 of the light novel. Considering that volume 1 of the manga covered volume 1, chapters 1-3 of the light novel I was expecting volume 2 of the manga to finish off volume 1 of the light novel. However, it seems like we'll have to wait for volume 3 of the manga to see the ending of volume 1 of the light novel! I suspect the reason for this is the extra content that volume 2 of the manga has added to the story. While the story line in the manga stays true to the original, there is an extra scene of Holo conversing with her [spoiler]captors[/spoiler] - something that isn't in the original light novel.

Volume 3 is set for release on the 16th of November 2010 Update: Amazon now lists it as the 20th of January 2011, not heard confirmation from Yen Press about this yet Update 2: Amazon dispatched this on the 23rd of November 2010 so I can expect it soon (and Volume 3 of the light novel is set for release on the 7th of December 2010) - i've got my copy pre-ordered in anticipation!

Spice and Wolf Manga Volume 2 is Available from Amazon, ISBN 9780316102322.


Spice and Wolf Manga Volume 1

Spice and Wolf Manga Volume 1 Cover

In preparation for the upcoming release of volume 2 of the Spice and Wolf  light novel, I wanted to refresh myself of the storyline of the volume 1. As the first volume of the Spice and Wolf manga was recently released, I decided to read it in order to refresh myself.

The front cover has a "Parental Advisory/Explicit Content" label on it and I did initially fear that the manga might be full of Holo fanservice and ignore the original story. Thankfully though, the manga only has a few Holo fanservice scenes - primarily when Laurence first finds her in his cart. Normally in manga, the first 4 pages are in full colour. However, in this case the 4 colour pages are Holo's discovery instead, which I think was a very good choice. At the very beginning, there is a brief introduction to each character and a map of the area within which the story is set in. The artwork is absolutely stunning - it is perhaps the most detailed i've ever seen in any manga. This level of quality is maintained thorough the manga.

The manga stays true to the original story and doesn't skip any major parts and acutally explains some of the more difficult economic concepts in the story quite well. However, it only covers chapters 1-3 of the Volume 1 light novel - up to where Laurence goes off to make a proposal to the Milone Company. I presume that Volume 2 will cover chapters 4-6 - if/when Volume 2 of the manga becomes available i'll be sure to purchase it!

Available from Amazon.