Spice and Wolf is a Japanese light novel series written by Isuna Hasekura, with illustrations by Jū Ayakura. ASCII Media Works has published 21 novels since February 2006 under their Dengeki Bunko imprint. ASCII Media Works reported that as of October 2008, over 2.2 million copies of the first nine novels have been sold in Japan. 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 is releasing them in English in North America. ASCII Media Works has published three volumes of a spin-off light novel series titled Wolf and Parchment since September 2016.
A manga adaptation illustrated by Keito Koume began serialization in the November 2007 issue of ASCII Media Works’ seinen manga magazine Dengeki Maoh. The manga was licensed by Yen Press, which has begun releasing the volumes in English. A 12-episode anime adaptation aired between January and March 2008, plus a single original video animation (OVA) episode released in May 2008. A second OVA was released in April 2009 as a prequel to the second anime season Spice and Wolf II, which aired 12 episodes between July and September 2009. Both anime seasons were released in English by Kadokawa Pictures USA and Funimation. Two visual novels based on the series for the Nintendo DS were released by ASCII Media Works in June 2008 and September 2009.
An anime adaptation produced by the animation studio Imagin aired in Japan between January 9 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 were released between April 2, 2008 and August 29, 2008 by Pony Canyon in Japan; volume three contains an original video animation (OVA) episode in addition to episode six of the television broadcast. A Blu-ray Disc box set of the series was released on January 30, 2009. 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 opening theme is “Tabi no Tochū” by Natsumi Kiyoura, and the ending theme is “Ringo Hiyori: The Wolf Whistling Song” by Rocky Chack; both maxi singles were released on February 6, 2008. The anime’s original soundtrack was released on March 12, 2008. The anime is licensed for release in English by Kadokawa Pictures USA and Funimation Entertainment, and a complete thirteen-episode DVD box set was released on December 22, 2009. The series made its North American television debut on November 16, 2010 on the Funimation Channel.
A second season of the anime titled Spice and Wolf II aired twelve episodes in Japan between July 9 and September 24, 2009. Most of the staff from the first season returned, except for Toshimitsu Kobayashi replacing Kazuya Kuroda as the character designer and chief animation director, and Spice and Wolf II is animated by Brain’s Base instead of Imagin. The voice actors from the first season retained their roles. Another OVA, animated by Brain’s Base, was released bundled with a picture book entitled Spice and Wolf: Wolf and Gold Wheat written and illustrated by the same creators of the light novels and was released by ASCII Media Works on April 30, 2009 under their Dengeki Bunko Visual Novel imprint. Funimation licensed Spice and Wolf II and released the series in English on August 30, 2011. The second season made its North American television debut on August 31, 2011 on the Funimation Channel. On September 11, 2012, Funimation released a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack of both seasons. The April 30, 2009 OVA is included on the season two disc as episode 00.
- Kraft Lawrence
- is a 25-year-old traveling merchant 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. Although Lawrence rarely shows different facial expressions, he truly cares for Holo. He shows his affection through his actions, such as when Holo gets captured by the Church and Lawrence completely panics.
- is a wolf harvest deity originally from a place in the north known as Yoitsu, which draws parallels to the legendary land of Hyperborea. She made a promise with inhabitants from a town called Pasloe that 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, regard her as unnecessary, and to resent the occasional bad harvests that Holo told Lawrence are necessary to rest the land. 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 Pasloe. Holo has chosen the form of a 15-year old girl, though she still retains her large white-tipped wolf tail, ears, and two sharp fangs. At times she can produce an ear-shattering howl. Her true form is that of a very large wolf which many people feared. In the anime she as a wolf looks to be about 30 feet high from the ground to her shoulders in episode 1, and about 10 feet high in the sewer in episode 6. In the novels she is large enough that she can carry Lawrence like a horse, and she can easily leap the walls of Ruvinheigen, but small enough to fit in Hans Remelio’s office with Remelio and Lawrence. In human form, she has a peculiar way of speaking, modeled after that of the oiran high-class courtesans. She is able to speak to humans as a wolf. Holo is fond of delicious food and alcohol, but especially loves something new in each novel. In volume 1 it is apples. In volume 2 it is apples preserved in honey. In volume 3 it is eel (i.e. lamprey). She takes pride in her tail and takes special care of it, constantly combing and maintaining it. In the novel, volume 1, page 65, it is described as hanging past the back of her knees. In the anime it is longer and reaches nearly to her ankles.
- Holo refers to herself as “Holo The Wise Wolf”. She is typically very haughty and self-sufficient, though due to her isolation for hundreds of years in Pasloe, she gradually feels very lonely, and sometimes shows a more fragile side of herself. She relies on Lawrence for company as she fears loneliness, which is something that Lawrence is very aware of and tries to comfort her in his own way. Holo is also very aware of the different time spans that she and Lawrence have, as a human lifespan is like a blink of an eye for her kind. Holo is quite scared of that fact, but hides it with jokes. Although she jokes about her affections for Lawrence at first, she slowly but surely falls in love with him. At the end of the series, Holo settles down with Lawrence and they have a daughter, Myuri, who inherits her mother’s traits and is the main character of the sequel light novel Wolf and Parchment.