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

4Dec/120

Spice and Wolf Manga Volume 7

Spice and Wolf Manga Volume 7 Cover

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.

4Dec/120

Spice and Wolf Manga Volume 6

Spice and Wolf  Manga Volume 6 Cover

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.

Volume 7 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.

10Apr/120

Spice and Wolf Manga Volume 5

Spice and Wolf Volume 5 Manga Cover

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!

Volume 6 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.

28Feb/120

Kotobukiya Holo Figure

Face and Wheat Pouch

Face and Wheat Pouch

I am a huge Spice and Wolf fan. I fell in love with the Spice and Wolf universe via the light novels and the anime only made it sweeter. While I own a lot of the novels, manga and the US DVDs/Blurays, disappointingly I do not own any character goods or merchandise. Sadly, this holds true for a lot of my favourite series, which tend to be popular among a more mature, and richer, subset of the anime fanbase and hence merchandise for these series tends to sell out extremely quickly. Holo figures are one such notable example.

Kotobukiya has re-released their Holo figure twice now and it has sold out very quickly both times. I almost came close to obtaining her at the start of this year, but the site I bought her from later informed me that she had sold out.

Recently, I discovered a new site - Plamoya. They seem to stock a lot of rarer, but still new, figures including the re-re-release of Kotobukiya's Holo. Part of the reason for this is that their prices are a bit higher, but they are also less known. I'm not going to complain though as it's allowed me to obtain a lovely figure! Plamoya dispatched Holo very quickly and packed her fairly well - the box was a standard cardboard box with some paper buffering, but Holo's box was wrapped within bubblewrap. Consequently, her box is in a perfect condition, more so than any other figure i've ever had. Unfortunately, I was charged for customs and Parcelforce here in the UK charge you the customs duty and £13.50 extra for the privilege for having customs duty charged. Anyway, enough complaining about Parcelfarce and on to the figure itself!

The figure's pose shows Holo running through a wheat field with her arms outstreched. The figure has been posed very well, although as her face looks downwards you may wish to place her at eye-level rather than below in order to see Holo properly. A great amount of attention has been placed on the hair which flows out behind her. Holo's distinctive white-tipped tail pokes out from her dress and is also modelled very well. Her outfit is a green top and dress complete with a sash. While this suits her well, I prefer the blue dress and top that you normally see her in. There are figures of Holo in that outfit, such as this one by Good Smile Company but they are very expensive - at least £250!

Holo's skirt is removable and the underside is actually tasteful unlike some Holo figures. Of course, I still think she looks much better with her skirt on. The paintwork and attention to detail is good, for example the wheat pouch's string is actual string rather than being painted on. One downside of this figure is the base. While it looks reasonably good and suits the 'scene', it is made out of plastic. Holo's legs are also quite difficult to push on to the base and I had to use a significant amount of force to get them on. While doing this, I made sure to support the base from underneath to prevent it from breaking as it is hollow.

Overall, I am extremely pleased with the figure and Plamoya, who i'm sure will be getting a lot more of my money very soon! At the time of writing, they still have Kotobukiya's Holo in stock - grab her while you still can! I also ordered one of the Spice and Wolf phone straps, despite my phone not having anywhere to attach a strap. However, I plan to hang the strap with the rest of my anime connection.

Unfortunately, my camera isn't great but i've done my best to take some pictures of my new Holo figure.

Complete Figure - beautiful!

Tail and Skirt.

Holo's Face

Face, Wheat Pouch and Hair.

Feet and base, one foot is still not fully on but this is not noticeable from above.

Parts - looks extremely odd when separated like this!

Holo's Box - unusual to see multiple languages.

Plamoya's Packaging - There is some paper buffering under the box.

Phone Strap

27Oct/110

Spice and Wolf Volume 4

Spice and Wolf Volume 4 Cover

It's been a while, but Volume 4 of Spice and Wolf has finally been released. It should have been released at the start of this month (June) but all UK outlets had a delay in receiving it. I then decided it would be a good idea to pre-order from two places and cancel whichever dispatched first... but it seems that the first place who dispatched it never told me when they dispatched it and consequently i've now got two copies. I'm already planning to give the spare away to a friend, so no loss overall!

As usual, there are the 3 beautiful full colour illustrations at the front of the book. The 2nd one features Holo lying down, with Lawrence's arm resting on her, extremely adorable! The 3rd one however seems to have Holo putting on a very disinterested face in the background.

Volume 4 picks up where Volume 3 left off, with Lawrence and Holo travelling ever further in search of Holo's homeland. As they stop off in Tereo to find out more however, things are do not seem entirely normal. Indeed, the plot line of this volume takes on a much more mysterious theme. Economics does not play as much as a role as in the previous volumes, but nevertheless it is an interesting plot line with lots of witty dialogue between Lawrence and Holo. There where also many 'sweet' scenes in this volume and I'm curious to see how they've handled this in the anime series, which i'll be catching up on soon. For reference, this volume takes us covers the mid point of Season 2 until the end of Season 2.

Volume 5 is due out on the 6th of December 2011. As usual, my preorder has been submitted since long ago. Hopefully this winter the weather won't delay it's arrival.

Spice and Wolf Volume 4 is available from Amazon.

Note: Most of this post was written shortly after Volume 4 was released in July, it was only in October that I actually got around to publishing it...