is a Japanese light novel series written by Isuna Hasekura, with illustrations by Jū Ayakura. The first novel was released on February 10 2006, and as of September 10 2008, nine volumes have been published by ASCII Media Works under their Dengeki Bunko label. The Mainichi Shimbun reported that as of August 2007, over 500,000 copies of the novels have been sold. The series has been called a "unique fantasy" by Mainichi Shimbun due to the plot focusing on economics, trade, and peddling rather than the typical staples of fantasy such as swords and magic. Yen Press licensed the light novels and will be releasing them in English in North America.
A manga adaptation illustrated by Keito Kōme began serialization in the Japanese seinen magazine Dengeki Maoh on September 27 2007, published by ASCII Media Works. The obi strip on the fifth novel announced the anime adaptation which aired between January 9 2008 and March 26 2008, containing twelve aired episodes, plus a single original video animation episode. The anime will be released in English by Kadokawa USA. A second season of the anime series titled Spice and Wolf II has been confirmed for production. A visual novel based on the series for the Nintendo DS was released on June 26 2008 by ASCII Media Works.
Spice and Wolf
's story revolves around Craft Lawrence, a twenty-five-year-old peddler
traveling from town to town buying and selling various things to make a living in a stylized historical setting with European influences. His main goal in life is to gather enough money to start his own shop, and he already has been traveling for seven years while gaining experience in the trade. One night when stopped at the town of Pasroe, he finds in his wagon a pagan
wolf-deity girl named Holo who is over six hundred years old. She appears to be a fifteen-year-old girl, except for a wolf's tail and ears. She introduces herself as the town's goddess of harvest, who has kept it blessed with good harvests of wheat for many years. Despite having the responsibility to watch over the town, she wants to go back to her homeland in the north called Yoitsu; she believes the people have already forsaken her and that she has kept her promise to maintain the good harvests. Holo wants also to travel to see how the world has changed while she has remained in one place for years. She manages to bargain her way out of the village by making a deal with Lawrence to take her with him. As they travel, her wisdom helps increase his profits, but at the same time, her true nature draws unwanted attention from the church.
- Craft Lawrence, who chiefly goes by his surname, is a twenty-five-year-old traveling peddler who goes from town to town buying and selling various things in order to make a living. When he was twelve, he became an apprentice to a merchant relative, and set out on his own at eighteen. His goal in life is to gather enough money to start his own shop, and he has already been traveling for seven years while gaining experience in the trade. He meets Holo one night and eventually agrees to her traveling with him. She helps him by providing her wisdom which helps to increase his profits and get him out of jams. As the series progresses, both Lawrence and Holo demonstrate a growing affection toward each other. Lawrence mentions he has been attacked by wolves eight times.
- Holo or Horo, is a wolf harvest deity originally from a land in the north known as Yoitsu. She made a promise with men from a town called Pasroe where she would ensure the town would have good wheat harvests year after year. However, as time went on, the townspeople slowly started to forsake Holo and did not rely on her as they once did. As such, Holo escapes from town in Lawrence's wagon and started traveling with him to see how much the world has changed since she has been in Pasroe. Holo has chosen the form of a girl younger than Lawrence, though she still retains her large white-tipped wolf tail, and ears. Her true form is that of a very large wolf which many people revered and feared.
- She refers to herself as the . She is typically very haughty and self-sufficient, though due to her isolation for hundreds of years in Pasroe, she came to feel very lonely, and sometimes shows a more fragile side of her. She has a peculiar way of speaking, modeled after that of the oiran high-class courtesans. She is fond of delicious food and alcohol, though especially loves apples. She takes pride in her tail and takes special care of it, constantly combing and maintaining it.
- Chloe is an anime-original character. She is a villager of Pasroe and has known Lawrence for a long time. In fact, Lawrence taught her how to be a merchant. Despite still not knowing how she should feel about him, she respects him as her teacher and a good friend. They later break off their friendship when Chloe allies with the church to capture and kill Holo.
- Nora makes her first appearance in volume two of the novels. She is a skilled shepherdess from a church-town named Rubinhaigen. Her companion in this profession is a well-trained sheep dog named Enekk. She entrusts Lawrence with a task after they meet.
- Fermi makes his first appearance in volume three of the novels. He is a young man who works as a fish broker.
- Dian, who first appears in volume three of the novels, is an alchemist. She is in the process of chronicling pagan tales and beliefs so as to print them in books. She carries information about Holo's birthplace Yoitsu.
Spice and Wolf
began as a light novel
series written by Isuna Hasekura
, with illustrations by Jū Ayakura
. Originally, Hasekura entered the first novel in the series into ASCII Media Works
' twelfth Dengeki Novel Prize
in 2005 and the novel won the Silver Prize. Afterwards, the first novel was published on February 10 2006
, and as of September 10 2008
, nine volumes have been published under ASCII Media Works' Dengeki Bunko
label. The tagline
for the novels is "Merchant meats spicy wolf.", an example of Engrish
. The author of the novels has commented that what "meats" in the tagline really means is kept a secret, alluding to a possible intentional misspelling of "meets". In September 2008, the novels were licensed by Yen Press
for distribution in English. The first volume will be released in December 2009, and a new volume will be released every six months.
adaptation illustrated by Keito Kōme
began serialization in the Japanese seinen
magazine Dengeki Maoh
on September 27 2007
, published by ASCII Media Works
. The last four pages of chapter one were in full color. The first bound volume
containing the first six chapters was released by ASCII Media Works under their Dengeki Comics
label on March 27 2008
Internet radio show
An Internet radio
show hosted by Animate
called began airing on December 7 2007
. One episode is broadcast every other week on Friday, and the show is meant to mainly promote the anime series. The show is hosted by Jun Fukuyama
who plays Craft Lawrence in the anime, and Ami Koshimizu
who plays Holo. The show contains eight corners, or parts to each broadcast which includes news about the series, comments and submissions from listeners, and a radio drama
adaptation produced by the animation studio Imagin
aired in Japan between January 9 2008
and March 26 2008
on the Chiba TV
Japanese television network
; twelve of the thirteen episodes were broadcast, with episode seven being a DVD exclusive. The episodes are being released in six DVD compilation volumes in Japan; volume one contains three episodes while the subsequent volumes contain two episodes each. The volumes are being released between April 2 2008
and August 29 2008
by Pony Canyon
in Japan; volume three contains an original video animation
episode in addition to episode six of the television broadcast. The series is directed by Takeo Takahashi
, written by Naruhisa Arakawa, and character designs are provided by Kazuya Kuroda
. Takahashi was quoted as being a big fan of the novels. The anime has been licensed for release in English
by Kadokawa USA
. The opening theme is by Natsumi Kiyoura, and the ending theme is by Rocky Chack; both maxi singles
were released on February 6 2008
. The anime's original soundtrack was released on March 12 2008
A second season of the anime has been confirmed for production and will be titled Spice and Wolf II. Most of the staff from the first season will return, except for Toshimitsu Kobayashi replacing Kazuya Kuroda as the character designer and chief animation director, and Spice and Wolf II will be animated by Brain's Base instead of Imagin. The voice actors from the first season will retain their roles.
and business simulation visual novel
based on the series was released on June 26 2008
under the title . The game is made by ASCII Media Works
playable on the Nintendo DS
. The player assumes the role of Craft Lawrence as he travels around with Holo for a period of one year in the game. The story differs from that of the original novels or anime and is presented as an additional Spice and Wolf
world. Ami Koshimizu
provides the voice of Holo in the game. The game was released on the same day in limited and regular editions; the limited edition was sold at a higher price, but comes with a life-sized poster of Holo.
The Mainichi Shimbun
reported that as of August 2007, over 500,000 copies of the novels have been sold. The light novel series has ranked twice in Takarajimasha's light novel guide book Kono Light Novel ga Sugoi!
published yearly: first in 2007, and fifth in 2008; in the 2007 issue, Holo won Best Female Character. In April 2008, the maid café
Cafe with Cat in Akihabara
hosted a specially themed event called Cafe with Wolf for a period of three days between April 4
and April 6
. The event included three new items on the menu and tied in with the sale of the first anime DVD volume which went on sale on April 2 2008
. People who bought the DVD from the Comic Toranoana Akihabara Honten store (which is on the first floor below Cafe with Cat) and brought the receipt with them into Cafe with Wolf were entered into a lottery to win rare Spice and Wolf