Archive for the ‘Spice and Wolf’ Category

Qualms regarding Horo’s development in Spice and Wolf 2

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

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.

Capsule of a time bygone

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

I have not been able to watch any anime after more than a month.

It’s not that I don’t want to; it’s just that there are more pressing matters to attend to. My life transited from a more sedentary existence to something far more active: despite sucking at different sports, I participate in them anyway (for our intramurals). It has served well as experience and as enjoyment: I haven’t been able to do much of that during my university days, primarily because my capacity for sports was miniscule compared to most of the people in the Ateneo. I have also been returning to playing DotA, and practicing for a competitive one at that: in a few days, I will be playing my first competitive game of DotA. To top all this off, there’s also medical school to deal with, something that is tiring and enervating but is ultimately rewarding. I’m still in first-year, and yet even I recognize my knowledge regarding the human body has dramatically increased.

mmm ... purple

mmm ... purple

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The Wolf and Amber Melancholy: love and the Other

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

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:

Yes. She loves him.

Yes. She loves him.

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.