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Loneliness is a sickness that leads to death.
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In order to turn a profit, traveling merchant Kraft Lawrence has to wander around the world, his horse his only constant companion. His work leads him back to the town of Pasloe, where the villagers used to worship a harvest goddess called Holo.

Unbeknownst to them is the fact that Holo is very much real. Lawrence even inadvertently frees her by having some wheat as part of his cargo, allowing Holo to escape from the field she's been living in for centuries. Lawrence initially mistakes her as a human girl that's been possessed by a demon on account of her wolf ears and tail. However, he becomes convinced that she's the same Holo as Pasloe's goddess when she shows him a portion of her true form, that being a giant wolf.

Long ago, she made a promise to one of Pasloe's citizens to oversee their crops, but recent generations disregard Holo, thinking her as nothing more than a capricous god. Since it's clear she's no longer wanted, Holo intends to leave Pasloe and return to her distant hometown of Yoitsu. Before that though, she wants to travel the world and see what she's missed.

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Though hesitant at first, Lawrence ultimately agrees to assit Holo on the condition that she use her cunning wit to help him in his monetary dealings. Holo readily accepts, leading the pair to go on a journey filled with business intrigue, colorful characters, and even some romance.

Spice and Wolf is a fantasy light novel series, created and written by Isuna Hasekura with illustrations by Jyuu Ayakura. The light novels began in 2006 and originally ended in 2011 with a total of seventeen volumes. Hasekura would later return to the series in 2016 to celebrate its tenth anniversary. Volumes 18 and over include the subtitle Spring Log, with each one being a collection of short stories and novellas. The series has been ongoing since then.

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Additional material includes:

  • A manga adaptation with art by Keito Koume (2007 to 2017)
  • An anime adaptation (Season 1 in 2008, Season 2 in 2009)
  • Wolf And Parchment (2016 to present), a Spin-Off focusing on a separate but still recognizable cast of characters.
  • A manga adaptation of Wolf and Parchment with art by Hitori (2019 to present)
  • Spice and Wolf: Holo's and My One Year (2008), a Visual Novel for the Nintendo DS.
  • Spice and Wolf: The Wind that Spans the Sea (2009), another visual novel for the Nintendo DS.
  • Spice and Wolf VR (2019)
    • Spice And Wolf VR 2 (2020)

This series provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: During the Milone-Medioh arc, Lawrence hides in a sewer that was deliberately constructed as a hidden escape route; it's large enough to comfortably fit Holo's giant wolf form.
  • Adapted Out: The anime adaptation changed Lawrence's friend from Pasloe from the male Yarei to the female Chloe. Season two didn't adapt anything from Volume 4, skipping right ahead into Lawrence's conflict with Eve.
  • Adventurous Irish Violins: To emphasize the industrious natures of our leading travelers, some Irish violins are occasionally used in the soundtrack.
  • All Myths Are True: The fact that Holo the harvest goddess is also a main character is proof that at least that myth is true. And as the series continues, more and more stories regarding specific gods and spirits are proved true: the Moon-Hunting Bear, the Golden Sheep, etc. One of the more notable aversion is when the supposed bones of a wolf god that Lawrence and co. spent four books tracking down turn out to be nothing more than some over-hyped stag bones.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Shepherds are usually feared by townsfolk, since most assume that their ability to "influence animals" is a result of some sort of pagan pact. And since they spend most of their time away from others, such talk can rarely be debunked.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The final arc of the anime ends the same way as the others: the conclusion of one deal and the implication that Lawrence and Holo are gonna move on to the next.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Elsa asks Lawrence why won't he marry Holo if he genuinely loves her, and when Mr Hilde the rabbit spirit implores him to conceive a child with the wolf deity. Both times provoke a nasty knee-jerk reaction from the merchant.
  • Ass Kicking Equals Authority: The Moon-Hunting Bear is referred to as the lord of the animal spirits after it destroyed Yoitzu, despite it being a hostile, possibly mindless predator.
  • Babies Ever After: The novels originally ended with Holo basically confirming that she's pregnant. The child turns out to be a daughter who she and Lawrence name Myrui.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Both the light novel's illustrations and the anime don't give Holo any nipples. The manga usually does whenever she appears topless/naked, unless it's one of Lawrence's imaginings.
  • Bifauxnen: Reoccurring rival Eve dresses as a guy so her merchant partners will take her more seriously. She's able to pull off the look without much trouble.
  • Big Eater: Holo. Justified by a combination of the fact she's a shapeshifter (so her true stomach is technically that of a wolf bigger than an elephant) and the fact she has lupine instincts, meaning her nature is to eat any food presented to her just in case of famine, even if she is stuffed. Unusually for this trope, Holo is shown on many occasions to end up suffering a bellyache from eating too much, though she gets over them quickly.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Whenever something in written form appears in the anime's first season, chances are the language used will be German.
  • Bleached Underpants: Keito Koume also drew H-manga before working on the manga adaptation.
  • Bound and Gagged:
    • When Holo is captured by the Medio Trading Company in episode 4, one guy approaches with a coil of rope. He doesn't have the guts to touch a snarling wolf goddess, so the company makes due with locking her in a store room. It's played straight in the manga.
    • In the next arc this happens to Lawrence after Remerio Company betrays them and then shortly after to Remerio himself so he'll sit still while Lawrence blackmails him about the betrayal.
  • Boy Meets Girl: Lawrence is a lonely merchant who happens to stumble upon Holo, a harvest goddess who wants to return home. Over the course of the series, the two of them get in a bunch of adventures that threaten their companionship. More often than not, they manage to pull through, their relationship coming out stronger than before. As the tagline says, "Merchant Meats Spicy Wolf".
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: After Lawrence relates to Eve a watered-down version of how he and Holo came to be traveling with one another, Eve remarks, "Sounds like an encounter dreamt up by some two-copper bard." Lawrence laughs while the narrator notes, "It was true, after all."
  • Bullying a Dragon: In "Wolf and Silent Farewell", Chloe and the thugs with her taunt Holo, who they believe just a human girl that's been possessed by a demon.
  • Catchphrase: Holo likes to remind people that "[she is] Holo the Wisewolf!". "Fool!" tends to be her favored insult, usually directing it at Lawrence.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Upon entering the town of Kumersun, Lawrence gives Holo some feathers to stick in her hair and explains that it's a wordless signal nuns use to indicate that they're not going to preach their faith there. Later on, Holo uses feathers from Diana's place to subtly clue Lawrence in about her plan for the pyrite sale.
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: After Holo was captured by the Medio Company, Lawrence talked the Milone Company into sending some of their own bruisers- men skilled in using violence- to rescue her. When Lawrence sees her again, she's furious that he didn't come to get her himself. Turns out she gave the first rescuer through the door a big hug, and maybe even said something intimate, before realizing he wasn't Lawrence.
  • Contemptible Cover: The first printing for the English release used a picture of a shadows, photorealistic naked women who kinda looks like Holo. The look reminded many of trashy romance novels. Fan outcry quickly led Yen Press to release dust jackets of the original cover to the distributors and in their magazine. After a couple more solutions, they would eventually discard the new cover entirely, and simply use the original.
  • Corrupt Church: The church hierarchy is portrayed as greedy and oppressive, reminiscent of the pre-Reformation Catholic Church of the era it is emulating.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: Lawrence spends the second half of Volume Three utterly convinced that Holo will leave him for another man, and frantically schemes to keep her with him. The epilogue reveals that Holo wasn't even considering it, and was actually working to help Lawrence the whole time. The fact that A) he didn't realize this until the last minute, and B) never stopped to ask Holo what she wanted- something she gave him multiple chances to do- ticks her off to no end.
    Holo: (to Lawrence, tail completely puffed up) How can one man be so clueless!? Honestly, I have seen clearer thinking from beasts in the forest than I have you in the last two days!
  • Creator Thumbprint: Economics is obviously a passion for Hasekura; he took the prize money he won for the first Spice and Wolf novel to the stock market, wrote the WORLD END ECONOMiCA games, and wrote a manga about day trading.
  • Creator Provincialism: Averted. The series takes place in a fictional medieval setting, and there's hardly any signs of anything especially Japanese in culture, architecture, or naming convention. If not for the completely fictitious country and place names, it could be mistaken for an entirely European creation.
  • Dawn of an Era: It's all but stated that the land is undergoing its equivalent of the Renaissance. Even Holo comes to acknowledge that the time where spirits like her ruled over the land is coming to an end, if it hasn't already.
  • Death Glare: Lawrence gives a stranger one when they bump into each other and the man tries to confront him about it.
  • Death of the Old Gods: The Church has since taken the place of the various pagan gods. According to a collection of old stories, most of them were killed by the Moon Hunting Bear. At least some of those gods are still around, but they're blending in with human society and are otherwise content.
  • Declaration of Protection: Lawrence does his own merchantly declaration when he refuses to hand over Holo, stating that he has a contract with her and he can't break it.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Since the setting is medieval fantasy, there's quite a few ideologies and customs that are frowned on in the modern day.
    • Slavery and other horrible fates are common punishments even for lesser crimes or non-crimes. Going bankrupt ends with enslavement complete with teeth pulling and Lawrence himself all but directly states that Nora's punishment for merely deceiving the church would be especially violent. His tone and words imply that while not generally seen as "okay", it, like the slavery punishment was simply a tragic but unavoidable consequence of failure.
    • Lawrence has a very laissez-faire attitude towards people who are morally corrupt, cruel, or otherwise try to screw someone over in the name of profit, even when he's the one on the receiving end. To him, it's just part of business, and if you hold a grudge, the resulting trade barriers will ensure you're the only one suffering. It's lightly hinted that this might not be the end-all-be-all philosophy for merchants as it tends to be with Lawrence; in particular, town merchants know that their customers will remember if they screwed their town over in the name of short-term profit.
    • Lawrence and Holo can almost appear cruel at times with their extraordinarily pragmatic decisions. Several times the two will pass through poor or struggling villages that don't have a lot to offer, and tend to be dismayed because they'll have to sell their latest supplies for cheap. While they're nice enough people that'll certainly extend a bit of kindness to a begging peasant or poor child, in the time depicted, financial stability was difficult at best to come by, and required a similar outlook to survive.
  • Doorstopper: The Anniversary Collector's Edition collects the entirity of the first 17 volumes. The English version alone clocks in at 944 pages and the font is tiny.
  • The Dreaded: The Moon-Hunting Bear was a mountain-sized bear that every single animal spirit in Yoitzu out-and-out turned tail and ran from. Even Holo says that she would be capable of nothing more than dying nobly in a pitched battle with it.
  • End of an Age:
    • Holo decides to leave Pasloe because the villagers say that they don't need a harvest god anymore. While she initially helped them by making the crops grow, she occasionally had to do the opposite order to keep the ground from being exhausted. This caused resentment among the villagers, to the point where, by the time she left, she was portrayed in the village harvest festivities as an oppressive force and a thief.
    • After meeting several other deities that have successfully blended in with humanity, basically just living their lives as best as they can, Holo begins to accept the fact that her kind are dying off and humans are the new masters of the world.
  • Everyone Can See It: Everyone except Lawrence and Holo is well aware that they're hooked on each other. It's so bad that their run in with Amarti spawned a legend in Kamersun about two lovers whose fight got the entire town involved.
  • Facepalm:
    • Lawrence does this quite often, usually in response to Holo's logic or teasing.
    • Holo gets a half-a-minute-long facepalm in the OVA in response to Lawrence's description of how sheep are used for torture.
  • Faking the Dead: Volume 18 opens with Lawrence standing over a casket that holds a still living Holo. Everyone knows that she isn't actually dead, though: It's all part of new festival idea, an eccentric way to show one's affection for the deceased while they're still alive to hear it.
  • Fantastic Arousal:
    • According to Holo, wolves touching noses is to them what kissing is to humans. To her, Lawrence's fingers feel like a wolf's nose, so when he touches her nose...
    • She also stiffens, blushes, and yells at him when he touches her tail all of a sudden.
  • Fantastic Ghetto: The city of Kumersun has an area surrounded by high walls, where alchemists- whose profession is considered "suspicious" by the Church- and other people live. Diana is a local chronicler, collecting tales not yet censored by authorities and mediating in trade between its inhabitants and the outside world. She also happens to be a giant bird, who took on human shape like Holo.
  • Food God: Prior to the events of the story, Holo acted as the harvest goddess for a small town called Pasloe. She looked after the town's wheat crops.
  • Food Porn: Holo is very enthusiastic about delicious food, and Lawrence has gotten some pretty strong reactions out of her by describing it in detail. At the start of the failed arms trading arc, there's a bit where he describes preserving peaches in honey. The description alone makes Holo drool, complete with a flushed face and glazed eyes.
  • Friendly Enemy: Despite nearly killing Lawrence for his share of their profit and absconding out of town, Eve leaves him enough collateral to save Holo. The next time they meet, they're all smiles. Eve also tries very hard to convince him to sign up with her again in another scheme, despite admitting she may very well betray him again. Lawrence finds it hard to hate her when he sees how far she's able to go in the pursuit of profit, and ends up rooting for her when she herself is snared by an even bigger foe.
  • Genre Savvy: As a wise wolf, Holo knows about how the most corny romance dialogue plays out, sometimes even coaching Lawrence into saying what he's "supposed" to say in a given situation. Lawrence becomes increasingly aware of this, and tends to avoid falling into her trap in favor of turning it around on her. These games generally stop when they fight, only to start again when they make up.
  • Giant Animal Worship: Holo is a gigantic wolf who was worshiped by the villagers of Pasloe until the Church converted most of the people.
  • God Is Good: God Himself is usually talked about in positive terms, and many characters throughout the series are devoted to Him and His cause. Whenever someone has something negative to say, it's usually in regards to the Church itself than the deity they serve.
  • Godiva Hair: Holo's hair goes down to her waist, with the bangs often used to cover her breasts.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Both Lawrence and Holo like to keep the latter's Canis Major form as a last resort because it would attract a lot of attention and might end with her tied to a stake. In the Bankrupcy arc, this is a Discussed Trope. Holo tells Lawrence that, if he fails to pay back his debt, she could transform and carry him off so he wouldn't have to face slavery. He replies that if he did that he could never show his face again anywhere in the area, much less stay a merchant. As for one that actually gets crossed, Lawrence's plan to get out of debt involves smuggling gold, a plan that would, at minimum, leave him with only one arm if unsuccessful.
  • Gratuitous English: The first season's ending song. However, the lyricist is British, so the weirdness is probably deliberate.
  • Greed: Lawrence's fatal flaw is biting off more than he chew. While his job is all about turning a profit, he doesn't always know when to quit while he's ahead. The first example we see of this is when he buys too much armor on credit, only to find out that the price of armor has crashed within the city he had intended to sell it in. As an experienced merchant, he knows that the market is a fickle thing and therefore should've shown more restraint.
  • Green-Eyed Epiphany: Played with in the bankruptcy and Amati arcs: The former is notably not an example, since Holo has her own reasons for wanting to distance herself from Lawrence and was acting jealous of Norah in spite of herself. The latter is more or less playing this straight, forcing Lawrence to consciously pursue a goal other than his own personal profit and then do a little self-reflecting on why.
  • Grim Up North: The further north they travel, the colder the weather, and the less developed settlements become. The few supernatural elements that exist in the setting become far more pronounced in that direction, however.
  • Groin Attack: Lawrence knocked out an attacker with one during the first arc of the first season.
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Holo loves to drink alcohol just as much as she loves to eat. This means she gets drunk very often, but also means suffers from hangovers more than once.
  • Hear Me the Money: Holo is able to judge the purity of coins just by clinking them together, leading to the plot point that a city is minting coins that have a lower silver content and are thus worth less. It's lampshaded in-universe that this skill is only a legend and something that only the most experienced merchants and moneychangers are supposed to develop. The only reason Holo can is because she has inpecable hearing due to being a wolf spirit.
  • Holding Hands: Holo gets annoyed that it doesn't occur to Lawrence to grasp one of her hands, but he catches on eventually. They do this a lot after that. Since Holo is Lawrence's "business partner", the distinction between shaking hands and holding hands sometimes becomes blurred.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Lawrence is at least a full head taller than Holo's human form.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Zigzagged. The cunning Latparron Trading Company very nearly sunk Lawrence's career and liberty as a merchant, almost prematurely ending his journey with Holo. Lawrence is forced to beg other traders to help him address the staggering debt he owes Lemerio who themselves are on the verge of bankruptcy in a mere two days. If he fails, he'll be sold into slavery. Most of them refuse, and even someone who owes Lawrence a debt scornfully refuses him due to Holo's presence. Bastards indeed, though all of this can also be seen as Laser-Guided Karma for Lawrence allowing his greed to get the better of him (Rowen trade guild Lamp Shaded this) and for dealing in arms. Said weapons being used by the Corrupt Church to wage war in murdering as many Pagans as they desire up in the northlands each year. To quote Lord of War "Never go to war, especially with yourself".
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each episode of the anime is named using the format "Wolf and X", including the OVA.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Huskins is a sheep spirit, much in the same vein as Holo. He points out that in order to blend in with other humans, he took to eating meat, up to and including sheep.
  • Immortal Immaturity: Holo is Really 700 Years Old, and is also very fickle and impulsive.
  • Ineffectual Loner: Lawrence has made a decent living as a traveling merchant for ten-odd years on his own, but it isn't until he meets Holo that he actually makes some progress towards fufilling his dream of opening his own store. Holo, likewise, has overseen Pasloe for centuries, but is unable to leave until Lawrence happens to be passing through. They're able to do more together than alone.
  • Interspecies Romance: Aside from the medieval economics, the other half the series' premise is a romance between the human Lawrence and the wolf spirit Holo.
  • In the Hood: On her way out of Pasloe, Holo wears a cloak with the hood pulled over the top half of her face, in order to cover her ears and tail. One of the people she and Lawrence run into ask if they might see her face, and she denys them the chance, basically stating the appeal such a covering has.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Lant confesses to being in love with Holo, but still does everything in his power to help Lawrence win her back.
  • Loan Shark: One of the bigger concerns for Lawrence; no single man has the resources to get the hell out of dodge fast enough to escape heavy reprisal. Blacklisting is serious when it's a three day trip between towns and restocking points, and even if you do escape, you give up everything and are forced to start over again in a foreign land.
  • Low Fantasy: While there's plenty of folk tales and rumors about the supernatural among the common people, including charms, curses, demons, and gods, only the last one holds any stock. And even so far as gods exist, in practice they're more akin to animal spirits with limited abilities. In genernal, the setting is emphasis the mundane more than the fantastic.
  • Magnetic Girlfriend: In Volume 3, Holo deliberately rubs her scent on Lawrence to "mark" him as her companion and chase a bar girl away. As said girl explains, it backfires. Now that he has Holo's scent on him and has admitted that she's his "companion", he is instantly more desirable than usual.
  • The Magic Goes Away: The gods are on the decline, and whatever magic that once existed is now rare and hard to prove. This seems partially geographical as well. In the beginning of the series and up to the ending of the anime adaptation, Holo is one of the few supernatural aspects to the series as they start in the southern countries. As their journey progresses, gods gradually show up with greater frequency.
  • Mayfly–December Romance: Lawrence is a normal human with a normal lifespan, while Holo has lived for several hundred years and is implied to have several hundred more years ahead of her. Holo is painfully aware of this, and it becomes more of an issue in the "Spring Log" volumes, where it becomes harder for the two of them to ignore after more than ten years of marriage which have seen Lawrence visibly aging while Holo remains forever in the form of a teenage girl.
  • Medieval European Fantasy: A downplayed example, given the Renaissance influences, changing tides going on in the world, and that the fantasy elements are usually restricted to Holo herself.
  • Mistaken for Prostitute: In the novels, during his first meeting with Holo, Lawrence assumes that her lack of clothing, good looks, and apparent young age means she's a prostitute that's run away. His suspicion is so strong that he fears winding up in hot water if she's connected to any of the wealthier men in town, and keeps him from falling for any of Holo's charms.
  • Moment of Weakness: In the Bankrupcy Arc of the second volume, the last trading house Lawrence asks for a loan from turns him down and insinuates that Holo's presence is part of the reason. Lawrence verbally lashes out at Holo when she speaks. When Holo learns of this, she later confesses that he should have been angrier.
  • Naked First Impression: When Lawrence first lays eyes on Holo, she's completely nude. This leads to a misunderstanding on Lawrence's part, though he quickly finds out that he's mistaken.
  • Noodle Incident: Holo doesn't explain what Amarti did to get her angry with him during volume 3.
  • Older Than They Look: Holo's human form is that of an teenager. In actuality, she's been alive for centuries.
  • One Head Taller: Lawrence is at least a full foot taller than Holo when she's in her human form. When she's in her wolf form, though, she towers over him.
  • Out-Gambitted: A regular part of the business intrigue is Lawrence and company trying to outwit their opponents, and their opponents trying to outwit them.
  • Please Don't Leave Me: Towards the end of the first volume, Lawrence yells to Holo that he'll track her down when it seems like she'll leave him behind. Though he plays it off as a merchant hunting down someone who owes him money, it's pretty clear that his reasons aren't purely monetary.
  • Poor Communication Kills: If Lawrence hadn't so badly misread Holo's apology after their fight, or indeed had spoken to her at any point between then and when he went to the mat with Amarti on the pyrite market, Holo could have told him that she was actually plotting to destroy Amarti, not him]].
  • P.O.V. Boy, Poster Girl: A vast majority of the series is written from Lawrence's perspective, but Holo is the most prominate character on the covers, posters, and other marketing material.
  • Primal Fear: In the anime, when Lawrence sees Holo's wolf form for the first time, he cowers in fear even though he had been holding a conversation with her moments before.
  • Reality Ensues: While having a shape-shifting giant wolf as a companion sounds like an easy solution to some of their problems, the Godzilla Threshold is rarely an option. It's a sure way for Holo to tear her way through crooked businessmen, but the word will inevitably catch on fast to any travelers who'll hear about it. If found out, Lawrence's carefully built reputation and contacts will collapse around him.
  • Recurring Riff: The second season's soundtrack has several recurring leitmotifs that are replayed with different instruments and slightly different tempos.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: On Holo at times, though in the most prominent example, it's used more as a warning sign of emotional fragility.
  • Road Trip Romance: The merchant escorting the goddess to her homeland, who pays off her "debt" in the process. In the meantime they're snuggling in their cart as they follow profit.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: They're both savvy, but Lawrence is the more pragmatic and stoic one, while Holo is vivacious and indulgent.
  • Serious Business:
    • Commodities trading. Of course, we all know that economics is serious business, but what really drives this point home is that when given the choice to show pictures of the cute wolf girl, or two men talking about money, the story will always show the money.
    • Human cuisine is serious business to Holo, who can't wait to try out any and all delicacies Lawrence mentions.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: Holo goes through the entirety of her first conversation with Lawrence completely nude and not once asks for any clothes. In general, she doesn't mind showing off her birthday suit in front of others.
  • Shapeshifting Lover: Diana mentions there are many tales about pagan gods and humans in love. She herself tried to invoke it, but her love interest caught on to her true nature and rebuked her, leaving her to live a lonely life without him.
  • Shipper on Deck: Once Col joins the picture, he's quick to pick up on Lawrence and Holo's mutual affection and silently hopes the two will eventually become a couple. At one point, he looks quite pitifully at Holo when he mistakes Eve and Lawrence's friendly banter for something more.
  • Shirtless Scene:
    • Lawrence takes off his shirt in both the anime and the manga quite frequently.
    • Keito doesn't miss an opportunity to show off Holo's body in the manga.
  • Shout-Out: In the anime, during the scene where Eve discusses her marriage and husband, the images that play are all details from The Arnolfini Portrait by Dutch Renaissance artist Jan van Eyck.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • Not only is the economic aspect incredibly accurate, Isuna Hasekura also researched the types of food available during the Middle Ages, as Lawrence and Holo eat food appropriate to their class; for example, they mainly drink ale, and at the time potatoes were a rare delicacy, hence why Lawrence complains about a bowl of potatoes and goat cheese costing so much.
    • The harvest festival in Pasloe is a perfectly accurate representation of the real life "wheat wolf" tradition found in most of Germany and parts of France, which indeed survived long into the Middle Ages.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Holo sometimes makes unfavorable remarks about Lawrence's soft-heartedness, but his kindness is the main thing he has going for him. She cultivates him to be more assertive and outgoing to an extent. She dislikes it when he holds back from risky business endeavors for her sake.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: The main pair regularly swap snark before something affectionate slips out. By the time Eve enters the picture, they've basically perfected this into an artform.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: Half of the series is economics, and the other half is the leads verbally sparing with each other. Holo usually wins at first because "a 25 year old is no match for a wisewolf." However, once Lawrence becomes more aquainted with Holo's type of snark, he manages to get the upper hand more often.
  • Spell My Name with an "S":
    • Diana/Dianna/Deanna, Marc/Mark, Lunt/Lant/Landt, Eve/Abe, even the spellings of town names is uncertain. This fits the setting; spelling in the Middle Ages generally was not fixed, and even literate individuals back then were not always consistent in how they spelled their own names.
    • There was heavy debate centered on whether the name of the Wise Wolf is Horo, usually settled on by fan translations, or Holo, which is used by Yen Press for the official romanization and by other official sources as well. To make things more confusing, the English version of Zettai Hero Project (where she appears as a cameo) went with Horo. During the first arc of Season 2 of the anime she signs her name in cursive, misreading of which led to the brief meme that her name was Korbo.
    • Also confusing was Craft vs. Kraft and what his western name order was, as Lawrence is also used as a first name.
  • Talking Heads: As a series that follows the adventures of a traveling merchant, much of the tension and conflict largely concerns itself with transactions and agreements. As such, the plot's far more concerned with the finer aspects of economics than action. Due to this, most of the anime's scenes consist of static images with the animation being lip flaps.
  • Title Drop:
    • In the anime, Marlheit, who knows Holo's secret and associates Lawrence with pepper, says "spice and wolf sounds fitting to me."
    • In the final book, Lawrence and Holo open a bathhouse that they cal Spice and Wolf.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Holo loves apples. She manages to convince Lawrence to purchase a literal cartload of them for her to enjoy. Even after she gets tire of them, Lawrence's tales about delicious apple dishes makes her start craving for them once again.
  • Trickster Girlfriend: Holo enjoys teaching Lawrence about human nature, often by showing off her skills in manipulation. Even when flirting with him, she speaks in indirect terms like "Women enjoy men's jealousy" and lets him figure out the subtext.
  • Tsundere: Holo tends to act aloof and testy, but she can equally act affectionate and kind whenever Lawrence gets her to let her guard down.
  • Unable to Support a Wife: One of the reasons Lawrence is working as a traveling merchant is so he can make enough money to get married.
  • Undercover as Lovers: At the beginning of their journey, Lawrence says Holo is his wife because that's easier to explain than the whole 'wolf goddess traveling north' thing.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: For generations, Holo blessed the inhabitants of Pasloe with one good harvest after another with only the occasional bad one to let the soil rest. The villagers went from worshiping her out of respect to hating and fearing her for the rare bad year. By the time she leaves, the villagers had abandoned her for a new religion. One villager even tries to turn both Lawrence and Holo over to the church to advance their own career.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Part of the series' premise is watching Lawrence and Holo fall in love and eventually realize how much they mean to one another. For various reasons on both of their parts, it takes awhile before that happens.
  • Verbal Tic: Holo speaks rather uniquely: she uses a speech pattern based off of oiran speech. So "I'm Holo the Wise Wolf" in normal Japanese would be "Watashi wa kenrou Holo da", but she says it "Wacchi ya kenrou Holo ja". (In a possible reference to this, volume three of the manga has an Alternate Universe bonus story in which she is an oiran.) The English release translates this as a slightly more archaic speech pattern– certainly nothing like Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe, but noticeable nonetheless.
  • Voices Are Mental: In the anime, Holo sounds the same as a giant wolf as in human form, though with a slight echoing effect. Her head seems to be purposefully kept out of frame whenever she speaks to avoid the issue of how she can produce human speech with a wolf's mouth.
  • Walking the Earth: Part of a traveling merchants job involves constanly moving from one location to the next. It's how they earn a living and, in many cases, raise money to open their own shop one day. In Holo's case, she wants to see how much the world has changed and eventually return to Yoitsu.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Holo, by virtue of being an unaging wolf spirit, has outlived many humans and will outlive many more, Lawrence included. It's one of the reasons why she was hesitant to start a romantic relationship with Lawrence. The Spring Log volumes delve deeper into how Holo's nigh immortality affects her actions.
  • Who Writes This Crap?!: After Lawrence summarizes how he met Holo to Eve, Eve remarks that it "sounds like an encounter dreamt up by some two-copper bard."
  • Will They or Won't They?: It's quite obvious that Holo and Lawrence have something going on between them, and as time goes on they flat out flirt openly but won't admit their feelings for one another. Lawrence is shy and gentlemanly while Holo is just plain stubborn. It eventually becomes clear that they think such a relationship would never work out, and plan on parting ways at Yoitsu before things get too serious. They realize that they mean too much to one another to split up, and wind up opening a hot spring inn in Nyohhira. They even get married and have a child.
  • World's Best Warrior: Within the realm of animal spirits, Holo was apparently the best among them. However, the Moon-Hunting Bear far outstripped her abilities or that of any other spirit. The fourth volume has a collection of pagan god tales where the Bear tore through every other god that it came across.
  • Work Off the Debt: Subverted: Holo admits that she owes Lawrence and has to pay him back, but that's mostly an excuse they give others, and initially themselves, for their companionship.
  • Younger Than They Look: Due to Lawrence's hard traveling, he looks five to ten years older than his actual have of twenty-five.

 
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Alternative Title(s): Spice And Wolf

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Holo's true form

Don't mess with the wolf goddess.

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