Qualms regarding Horo’s development in Spice and Wolf 2

The past week has actually just been one long joyride for me: after I realized that anime, after all, is not as harmful an addiction, I have enjoyed the free time that would be absent until perhaps Christmas. A day after I watched Bakemonogatari, I started watching a series I vowed to finish when it aired, and it was the second season of Spice and Wolf. As a show fuelled by character development, the show was solid and quite well-done. However, I did not like it as much as the first season because it seemed as if the second season revealed a cornucopia of Lawrence’s character: despite being a merchant, he has grown to be kinder and more caring as well as knowing what his real priority in life is. On the other hand, I felt Horo remained relatively staid: nothing really developed from her, and from what I observed she has changed little from her actuations during the first season. This has been most obvious especially during the final arc of the second season, where while Lawrence pours his entire heart and soul just to have Horo as a companion, and finally realizes his own feelings towards her, Horo nonchalantly remains the same knowledgeable, kind, but flirtatious character.

I thought this scene was especially sweet.

I thought this scene was especially sweet.

It is undeniable that Horo has feelings for Lawrence. Even when he felt she was going away from him, she was actually trying to assure his victory over Amati. Her loyalty lies with Lawrence, and it reflects in her actions that she treasures Lawrence beyond just a friend, or even a best friend. However, she keeps on dragging Lawrence, playing with him, and never telling him what she truly feels for him. While this unwillingness to open herself up is extremely understandable (she has loved before, and it has ultimately ended up with the death of her love), I was just thinking that she should stop toying Lawrence around. If she could perhaps curb her tongue when she speaks, and perhaps just cherish their moments together it would probably be better.

It is no longer Lawrence’s turn to act. He has willingly sacrificed everything he had valued before because he loves Horo, and he has put that into words. He lost a significant amount of money, could no longer be a town merchant, but he was willing to give all of his previous apices just to be with her. Even with that, Horo barely reciprocates his emotions. I just don’t really find it funny, sweet, or heartening.

Has anyone watched the second season and observed this? Perhaps actions speak louder than words, but words are still important to convey one’s truth in one’s emotions. One cannot live with actions alone, and it is with this reason that people get mad when they have no one to talk to. Madness arises from the inability of people to reach out to others and to ask for help through their own words. Horo may have been hurt in the past, but I don’t think that’s an excuse to skirt the truth of the matter regarding Lawrence.

The second season remained to be an eminent show. But for all its beauty, a unidirectional development will eventually be tiring. My own ranking of the season would be an 8/10.

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5 Responses to “Qualms regarding Horo’s development in Spice and Wolf 2”

  1. Scamp Says:

    Getting annoyed at the characters rather than the anime itself eh?

    I totally agree with the fact that Horo did little to no development this season. However last season it was Lawrence who had minimal development. In the first season, Horo’s mindset changed from being a travelling companion to a dear friend and possibly lover, something that the episode 0 OVA highlighted. Last season was about the change of Horo’s views. This season was far more about Lawrence realising how much Horo trusted him and how much he needed Horo himself. It’s a bit of an odd approach to story-telling but I think it works.

  2. Michael Says:

    I disagree, Scamp.

    Last season, Lawrence was purely a merchant at the beginning. But as he and Horo traveled together he also started to care more for others, especially Horo. That was evident enough when he was willing to be hurt just to protect Horo. Whereas he continued his progression, and ultimately represented the climax of the second season, Horo remained to be the playful, flirtatious, yet kind wolf. Nothing much changed from the first season. Lawrence already realized he needed Horo the previous season. The second season was merely a crystallization of his transformation from mere merchant to caring and concerned human being. He had already sacrificed everything for Horo.

    Even if she was afraid … I don’t think what he had done should be taken lightly. That’s the thing.

  3. relentlessflame Says:

    I always felt that some of Horo’s “unchangingness” is supposed to be a representation of her considerable age (when you’ve lived that long, change doesn’t come easy), whereas Lawrence’s continued development is also a representation of his comparatively young age. Her reluctance to open up to him and admit her feelings is also portrayed as a result of the same “wisdom that comes with age”; no one knows more than her that his existence is a mere flash compared to her overall lifetime. She’s hesitant to open up, because the more she opens up the more it will hurt later (but at the same time, she likes him too much to stay away — a moth drawn to flame?)

    But part of this is also undoubtedly the author’s own sense of “save some of that for the sequel”; wanting the readers to idolize Horo, so not mess with what they like about her personality, and identify with the development in Lawrence. The first two novels (covered in the first season) are usually written with some uncertainty over how long this story will last. Not that we’re getting into novels 3 & 5, he knows he’s in it for the long haul, so keeping Horo and the overall situation kind of static, while moving the plot forward in other ways, leaves the door open for future novels and gives readers something to look forward to.

    So basically, I think you’re right that, despite all of Lawrence’s sacrifices, she’s hasn’t totally opened up to him and accepted his feelings for her. At the same time, I think the author is saving that sort of development for later in the story, so until then things will remain as is and Lawrence will just have to put up with it (though I’m sure this will frustrate him eventually — a key plot point I’m sure). Save some of that for the sequel! :p

  4. Michael Says:

    relentlessflame:

    I would be the first to admit that one of the reasons why she acts so slowly with regard to Lawrence is due to her age and agelessness. She has experienced much in her life, and Lawrence’s appearance as well as his being her complement does not come easy for her. That was the predominant image in the first episode of the first season: she knows that it would be too soon when Lawrence will pass away from this world.

    From my perspective, however, it seems as if she is merely toying around with Lawrence, who, as we have clearly seen, is willing to give up basically his entire previous raison d’etre just to be with Horo. She treasures his goodness, his kindness, and his existence (that much is undeniable), but she is unwilling to be snagged by the corresponding tragedy that every human being will ultimately face, which is death. This is quite unlike other prominent protagonists like Arcueid, and one can even see a being similar to Horo who has taken the risk of loving another human being despite being a demigod in Dian.

    It is all a matter of choice, and not loving, at least in my humble opinion, is tantamount to cowardice. Comparing it to a reality, it’s as if a guy chooses to have sex with a girl he knows loves him but does not want any commitment or any responsibility for his actions. I feel as if that is what Horo’s currently doing to Lawrence. What makes Arcueid currently more heroic than Horo was that she knew both her and Shiki’s love were doomed, but she chose to love him anyway.

    Of course it may be the mechanism of the author to prolong the story and make a little more cash from his highly successful franchise. My point is that tragedy is ultimately inevitable because every human being dies. I would just rather for Horo to choose to fight than cower just because she does not want to get hurt. Lawrence went to hell and back for her; I think it’s little repayment just to say that she loves him as well. Even if it will hurt later. Even if he will die. Even if it’s ultimately tragic.

  5. Adonis Says:

    do you know that weed can make you wanna to eat?

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