Spice & Wolf’s first season was released by Funimation in an efficient solid package. Personally this is the way I like to buy anime DVDs. I get the whole season collected together in a space-saving package; I don’t want the tchotkes (hairbands and what not), or the special boxes. I don’t mind getting only minimal extras, as I really came for the show, not the interview with the guy who mastered the discs. I also really appreciated that the discs were solidly set in the 2-disc packaging, as opening up a new purchase only to find it scratched to hell is utterly dispiriting.

The show itself is rather unusual. I guess I am not alone in having avoided the title at first because it looked like a silly show about a guy who ends up with a magical girlfriend whose charm point is her animal ears. Eventually I started noticing online comments that it was mostly people rambling on about economics. Wha? This show is quite interesting because it doesn’t fit easy genre classifications. The relationship between the main characters plays an important but secondary part in generating the tension. Physical violence is rarely brought to the fore, but when it does, it actually seems like a credible threat. And, yes, a fair amount of time is spent discussing currency exchange rates and other elements of commerce.

On the whole I found this a very enjoyable watch. The ending was fairly satisfying as is, and a second season has aired in Japan. It was really nice to see a show that was about somebody who had a job to do for a change (other than “save the world”). I thought the relationship between Holo and Lawrence was very well handled; unlike most shows with romantic elements the characters actually seemed to spend time getting to know each other, rather than instantly realizing their undying love (but spending 24 episodes agonizing whether they should admit it).

I am very happy with my purchase of this show, and would recommend it to others, especially those who have enjoyed a game of Settlers of Catan, and won’t mind a little fantasy and a little romance mixed in.

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