The Wolf and Amber Melancholy: love and the Other
After quite some time of not writing about anime I decided to return to it with a series I’m really fond of, and that is Spice and Wolf. I have watched a lot of anime series (although not as much as some), and I must say the dialogue in this series is one of the most scintillating I have ever seen in any medium. It’s ultimately still a tale of a quasi-forbidden love (a wolf-deity and a mere mortal), but it doesn’t really focus on that aspect and instead centers on the dynamic exchange and the nuances between the two protagonists, Horo and Craft Lawrence. There is none of the puerile, sophomore, and angst-ridden romances characteristic of most high-school anime: there is only the maturity and insight by a wolf-deity captivated by love yet reined in by intelligence and (dare I say it) age, and the aloof, human, yet insightful nature of a considerate merchant.
It is ostensibly a tale of economics: a tale of exchanges, of trades and commerce. However, beneath the veneer of market powers lies a wonderful, character-driven story on two people who love each other yet are unwilling to admit it, one because of pride, and the other because of something more originary. Ensconced and entrenched in the dialogue, however (and of course in the expressions), is the love that these two beings share for one another. The Wolf and Amber Melancholy is no exception: in fact, it is I believe the first time where the true nature of feeling by Horo towards Lawrence is exposed. She loves him, and indeed, she loves him very much. Of course, being a series directed at more cognitive and refined viewers, there is little epiphanic rejoicing and no anxious scene of confession. There is merely the realization and understanding of Horo that she has been taken in by the charms of Lawrence and yet could not express it because of her stature. It is most evident in this statement of hers:
This could only mean that she is quite besotted with Lawrence: the ‘illness’ is the both damning and redemptive idea of love. The reasons are implied with her dream-sequence: she will live, while Lawrence will die. Somehow, 25 to 50 years appear short and quick to an entity that has lived at least six times that long. Yet she has already chosen. She has chosen to be with Lawrence, and despite her teases and bickering with him she recognizes that he has a stake in her heart, and a very sharp one at that.
I believe the rest of the series will revolve on their continual journey to the place of Horo (and the OP of the first season puts it excellently), where they would have to make their choice: face the fact of Lawrence’s oblivion together, or finally part ways after their most meaningful journey, and that journey is their journey towards themselves.