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Light Novel / Spice and Wolf

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Spice and Wolf is a light novel written by Isuna Hasekura that was eventually made into an anime in 2008, with a second season animated by a different studio, Brains Base, the following year. The original name, "Ookami to Koushinryou", literally translates to "Wolf and Spice."

In a middle-age European-esque world, Kraft Lawrence, a traveling merchant, accidentally frees the local harvest god, Holo, a centuries-old giant wolf who can take the form of a young woman. She convinces him to let her travel with him and seek out her dimly-remembered homeland.

The main thrust of the anime is centered more on the business of Lawrence than on Holo's supernatural nature. Instead of action or fanservice, Spice and Wolf is far more likely to focus on an in-depth discussion on the currency exchange market, with no notable attempt to make it more interesting by going over the top. Surprisingly, the show does this rather well using character interaction and business intrigue. The romance between Lawrence and Holo is also a major part of the plot.


The light novels concluded in 2011 with the seventeenth volume. Yen Press translated and released both the novels and manga in the United States. The anime has been licensed in North America by Funimation. Both seasons are streaming on their video portal and are available as a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack.

A sequel to the light novels titled Wolf and Parchment celebrating the series' 10th Anniversary as well as the tenth anniversary of Hasekura's career that began with the release of the first volume runs in Dengeki Bunko Magazine. It follows the now grown-up Tote Col and Myuri - Kraft and Holo's teenage daughter. Yen Press released the first volume of Wolf and Parchment in November 2017. A set of sidestories happening concurrently with Wolf and Parchment called Spring Log which tells the stories of Kraft and Holo as Col and Myuri are on their journey.


Games Include:

  • Spice and Wolf: Holo's and My One Year (狼と香辛料 ボクとホロの一年, Ōkami to Kōshinryō Boku to Horo no Ichinen) (2008) - A Visual Novel for the Nintendo DS.
  • Spice and Wolf: The Wind that Spans the Sea (狼と香辛料 海を渡る風, Ōkami to Kōshinryō Umi o Wataru Kaze) (2009)
  • Spice and Wolf VR (狼と香辛料VR, Ōkami to Kōshinryō VR) (2019)
    • Spice And Wolf VR 2 (TBA)

Spice and Wolf provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: During the Milone-Medioh arc, Lawerence hides in one and someone else could stand on his shoulders. Justified as it was deliberately constructed as a hidden escape route.
  • Adaptational Sexuality: The anime changes Lawrence's friend from Holo's village from the male Yarei to the female Chloe. It's implied that Lawrence and Chloe's relationship hasn't always been platonic.
  • Adventurous Irish Violins: To emphasize the industrious natures of our leading travellers, this is occasionally invoked in the soundtrack.
  • All Myths Are True: Comes into play in the second season of the anime, where Holo's past is discussed. The latter half of the book series also plays towards it heavily. All those "pagan" stories about gods? They're true. However, the supposed bones of a wolf god, that Lawrence and co. spend four books tracking down turn out to be nothing more than over-hyped stag bones.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Shepherds are feared by townsfolk, because their ability to "influence animals", even wolves, is assumed to have resulted from some sort of pagan pact. In the manga, it's implied that the priest who supervises Norah encourages this attitude to keep her isolated and dependant on him. It's also implied that due to Norah's exceptional skill, the priest has literally thrown her to the wolves by ordering her to extremely unsafe fields and forest roads, hoping for her to have a convenient death so her "pagan pact" reputation won't reflect on the Church negatively. He also pays her at the back door and won't allow her inside the Cathedral.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The final anime arc ends the same way as the others: the conclusion of one deal and moving on to the next.
  • Artistic License – Medicine: Justified in universe. When Holo gets sick from fatigue, Lawrence treats her using the "four humors" method, which was prevalent in medieval society.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: In their first meeting, after Holo introduces herself by name and states she's not been in her human form for a long time, it takes Lawrence a minute to put two and two together. To his credit, his guess that she was a cursed child that was deliberately named after a local folk goddess wasn't a bad assumption, but his expectations were set too low.
  • Ass Kicking Equals Authority: The Moon-Hunting Bear is referred to as the lord of the animal spirits after it destroys Yoitzu, despite it being a hostile, possibly mindless predator.
  • Babies Ever After: Holo and Lawrence have a daughter - Myuri - together at the end of the series, after the shop is finally opened.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Played straight in the anime and averted for Holo's nipples in scenes in the manga where she is actually nude, to the point that the English translation of the manga has an adult content warning on the cover, but played straight in scenes when Lawrence simply imagines her naked.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Downplayed with Lawrence and Holo who more playfully snark at each other than true beligerence. There is one occasion where they argue in each other's face, Nora wishes them happiness, and they look away blushing.
  • Bifauxnen: Reoccurring rival Eve dresses as a guy so her merchant partners will take her more seriously, which is a good idea considering the time period that the series takes place.
  • 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: In the anime's first season, written stuff is often in German, but the second season uses gibberish.
  • Bleached Underpants: Keito Koume, the artist for the manga, also drew H-manga.
  • 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: The novels' Tagline puts it best: "Merchant Meats Spicy Wolf."
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In the fifth volume, after Lawrence relates a watered-down version of how he and Holo came to be traveling with one another to Eve, 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: Chloe and the thugs with her in episode 6. Although they don't believe Holo is the wolf goddess who once inhabited their village, they do still believe Holo is possessed by a demon.
  • Catchphrase
    • "Tawake!" ("Fool!")
    • "I am Holo the Wise Wolf!"
    • "You are terribly good natured."
  • Caught the Heart on His Sleeve: Holo to Lawrence at least once, while drunk.
  • 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: When Holo was captured by the Medio Company, which threatened to turn her over to the Church, Lawrence talked the Milone Company into sending some of their own bruisers — men skilled in using violence — to rescue her. She was furious that he didn't come to get her himself...especially since she gave the first rescuer through the door a big hug (and maybe, she implies, said something intimate) before realizing he wasn't Lawrence.
  • Contemptible Cover: The redone cover for the first American release book got this complaint due to dropping the anime style Japanese cover for a pseudorealistic frontal shot of Holo running while naked (though mostly dark), drawing comparisons to a trashy romance novel cover. This was done in an attempt to reach out a more general audience at the insistence of distributors. For that first volume, they hastily released dust jackets of the original cover for the first volume to the distributors and in their magazine after the outcry. For later printings of that first volume and from volume two onward, that initial solution was inverted; the original art is on the cover and the new art serves as the dust jacket (now depicting essentially the same scene as the Japanese version, but with Holo looking away), satisfying both distributor and fan demands as well as can be expected. Eventually they just stopped bothering with the dust jackets at all as even the distributors realised nobody actually liked the new covers, and exclusively used the original cover art.
  • Cooking Duel: Lawrence arranging poisoned credit for Amarti leads to a battle of market manipulation and wills in the middle of a pyrite craze, with Holo as the ultimate prize, and yes, Holo herself is interfering in the duel on multiple levels.
  • Corrupt Church: The church hierarchy in the series is portrayed as greedy and oppressive, reminiscent of the pre-Reformation Catholic Church of the era it is emulating. It goes on to become the central focus of Wolf and Parchment.
  • Covert Pervert: Holo. In Volume 1 of the manga, when she and Lawrence first meet Zeran for the first time, she comments that a woman is most beautiful from behind. Wolves mount their mates from behind. Think about that.
  • "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 Isuna Hasekura. In fact, 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 is now writing a manga about day trading.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: Conspicuously averted. Priests, nuns, churches, and God appear, frankly and without any attempt to describe them as anything else.
  • Creator Provincialism: Averted across the board. The series takes place in a fictional medieval setting, and there's hardly a sign 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: Downplayed, but it's all but stated that the land is undergoing its equivalent of the Renaissance. Even Holo comes to acknowledge that this present era belongs to mankind.
  • 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 are blending in with human society and otherwise content.
  • Declaration of Protection: Lawrence invokes a form of this when he refuses to hand Holo over to Chloe. He has a contract with her and he can't break it.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance:
    • When Holo asks Lawrence about the slave trade he shrugs and says that it's profitable and necessary. This just after he nearly ends up as a slave to pay for his bankruptcy.
    • Speaking of, slavery and other horrible fates are common punishments even for lesser crimes or non-crimes. Going bankrupt ends with enslavement complete with teeth pulliing and Lawrence himself all but directly states that Nora's punishment for merely deceiving the church would be especially violent and brutal rape (he specifically mentions her "tiny body wouldn't withstand it") carried out by the church. 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.
    • More than a few times Lawrence claims that Holo is his wife, and no one comments on it, even though her human form is specifically mentioned in-story and designed to look like a fifteen year old girl and Lawrence is in his mid-to-late twenties. In today's culture this would cause shock and dismay in a lot of people at best, but in the time period portrayed, it was a given that a young girl, often as soon as she started her periods, would be married off to an older man who either has a business of his own, or is the heir of a wealthy family. Lawrence matches the former, but even so he may still be a little young, and his merchant business a little too tenuous, for when a man usually married. Many characters comment on how it's odd for Lawrence to be travelling with a wife - but not because of her age, but because of the nature of his work. Indeed, several characters are almost disappointed to see that with such a young and attractive partner, Lawrence seems to come up short by comparison.
    • 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 (usually when he's the one on the receiving end). It's just business, after all, 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, people being people after all; in particular, town merchants know that their customers will remember if they screwed their town over in the name of short-term profit. This is explicitly stated in the anime, during the Amarti plot. While travelling merchants like Lawrence can afford to pull schemes that focus on short-term profit (but screw people over) because they can plan to avoid specific towns or regions until it's been long enough that memories have faded, town merchants have too much bound up in their shops to be able to pull up stakes and run if they try something similar and the attempt goes south.
      • Expanding on the above, to a modern audience, Lawrence and Holo 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. For the time depicted, Lawrence and Holo are generous.
  • Doorstopper: While each volume isn't particularly long by light novel standards, the Anniversary Collector's Edition, consisting of the whole 17 volumes, is definitely a tome. In English, it comes out at over 900 pages. In very small font.
  • The Dreaded: The Moon-Hunting Bear. It's 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 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 to prevent the growing village from being struck by the Tragedy of the Commons, which caused resentment among the uncomprehending villagers. At the time she left, she was portrayed in the village harvest festivities as an oppressive force and a thief, instead of as the wise benefactor she was when the tradition started.
    • It's a theme during the latter half of the series. After meeting several other deities successfully blending in with humanity, basically just living their lives as best they can, Holo begins to accept the fact that her kind are dying off and humans are now 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.
  • Face Palm
    • 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, not to mention several other facepalms in the same conversation.
  • Faking the Dead: The 2016 sequel to the Light Novels opens with Lawrence and Holo faking her funeral. Trope is both averted and played straight in the sense that all the characters involved know Holo isn't dead, and are just playing along as an eccentric way of showing their affection for the deceased while they're still alive to hear it. The poor readers, on the other hand, are wholly led to believe the funeral is legit until the explanation near the end.
  • Fanservice: Holo is naked during her introduction and again when they reach an inn during a rainstorm and dry off in the opening chapters/episodes, though in a nonsexual manner. She also looks provocative when licking the remains of her latest snack off her fingers.
  • Fantastic Arousal
    • According to Holo, wolves touching noses is to them what kissing is to humans. 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 and other people — whose profession is considered “suspicious” by the Church — live. Diana is a local chronicler, collecting tales not yet censored by authorities and mediating in trade between inhabitants and 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.
  • 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, in particular, there's a bit where he describes preserving peaches in honey. "It was so sweet the Church was considering banning the stuff. Hey, you're drooling." She wasn't just drooling; her face was flushed and her eyes glazed.
  • Freak Out:
    • Holo has a nasty one in Season II, when she learns that Yoitz was destroyed long ago by "the bear that hunts the moon". Could also count as The Last Straw, given the hullabaloo with Amarti and the various other tensions she and Lawrence are under.
    • Holo gets an even worse one during the final arc when she learns her old friend Myrui died long ago, leaving only a parting joke on an old claw of his.
  • Friendly Enemy:
    • Eve. Despite nearly killing Lawrence for his share of their profit and absconding out of town, she leaves him enough collateral to save Holo and 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). On his part, 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. Eve is very strongly implied, though it is never out right stated, to have kissed Lawrence after he helps save her life. Holo really gives it to him then.
    • Lawrence manages to bring information to turn one of his superiors, Kieman, around from killing Eve and dismissing Lawrence to working with both of them in one last gamble at a profit in mere minutes. As stated in Deliberate Values Dissonance, this is Lawrences preferred attitude towards business partners.
  • Generation Xerox: The 2016 sequel Spring Log tells us that Holo and Lawrence's daughter, Myuri, and Tote Col have set out travelling together, with several parallels made to the original duo.
  • 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.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Needed several times due to the fickleness of Holo and the high risk of Lawrence's profession.
  • Giant Animal Worship: Holo is a gigantic wolf who was worshiped by a village until the Church converted most of the people and she left with a traveling merchant. Of course she might actually be a god what with her shapeshifting into a Little Bit Beastly human form and influence over wheat harvests.
  • God Is Good: Downplayed but when He comes up it's usually in a positive sense. For instance, the church town of Poroson has an unusually pious population and everyone from the farmers the main pair pass by to the merchant they sell pepper to extols the greatness of The Lord. Holo and Lawrence themselves are more inclined to talk about how bad/arrogant/etc. the church is than the deity they serve.
  • Godiva Hair: Holo's hair, when Lawrence first finds her and fairly frequently afterwards.
  • 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 goes overboard on this in episode 8 (volume 2) by buying too much armor on credit, and it comes back to bite him in the behind in episode 10 when he finds out that the price of armor has crashed in the city he intended to sell it at.
  • 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.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Holo and Lawrence's child, Myuri.
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Holo loves to drink alcohol just as much as she loves to eat. This gets her drunk very often... but also means she's suffered 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, and justified in that Holo's a supernatural wolf-spirit in (relatively) human form.
  • Henpecked Husband: Adele isn't domineering, but she does have a habit of nagging Mark, even jokingly suggesting she might run away with Amarti.
  • Holding Hands: Holo gets annoyed that it doesn't occur to Lawrence to do this, 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 taller than Holo in human form.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: "Wolf and X" / "Ookami to X".
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The Golden Sheep of Winfiel, Huskins points out that, to live his new life, he even took to eating meat, ie. Sheep. Holo, when struck with the idea, is reduced to vomiting.
  • Immortal Immaturity: Holo is Really 700 Years Old, but is very fickle and impulsive.
  • Ineffectual Loner: Both Lawrence and Holo. While they try to put on a tough act, both before and after they meet, it's achingly clear they desperately cling to the affection the other provides.
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: Averted; Holo isn't the least bit shy letting Lawrence see her naked body when they first meet, before she could get her hands on any clothes, but she clearly knows EXACTLY what effect her looks have.
  • Interspecies Romance: The one-half of the story's basis is a romance between a human and a wolf deity. Lawrence later asks for stories where it was successful.
  • In the Hood: Holo wears one (or a cap) to hide her ears and tail.
  • Ironic Echo: Lawrence experiences one in the fourth volume of the manga, while teaching Holo about the different coins.
  • I Read It for the Articles: The original Trope Namer was "I Watch It For The Economics". It was a meme that was used to distinguish the genuinely tense and exciting economic plots from the perceived Ecchi elements.
  • Is That Cute Kid Yours?: When a bystander sees the young Cole walking around with Lawrence and Holo, they assume that Cole is Lawrence's apprentice, not his son. So it's a variant on the trope with a different misunderstanding.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Mark's apprentice Lant confesses to being in love with Holo, but still does everything in his power to help Lawrence win her back.
  • Large Ham
    • I am Holo the Histrionic Wolf!
    • Once he becomes comfortable around Holo, Lawrence gets in a few moments like this in response to Holo's teasing. Very self-aware, of course.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: As part of his pep talk to Lawrence, Mark says (paraphrased) "You are the main character of this story!" Of course, he means that figuratively.
  • Loan Shark: One of the bigger concerns for Lawrence in the series; in this setting, 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 start over again in a foreign land. Holo's ability to take Lawrence far out of danger within hours is nixed because of that latter part; Lawrence has too much invested in his life in whatever-country-they're-in.
  • Low Fantasy: To the degree that there's not a lot of fantasy left. 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.
  • Magnetic Girlfriend: In Season Two (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 she 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 or at least claimed to have is now rare, and hard to prove. Interestingly, 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. As we see in the OVA, Holo is painfully aware of this. 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, Lawrence's first meeting with Holo has him mistake her lack of clothing, good looks, and apparent young age as one of these. 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 to any of Holo's charms. Naturally, this flies over her head.
  • Moment of Weakness: In the Bankrupcy Arc of the second volume, the last trading house Lawrence asks for a loan turns him down and insinuates that Holo's presence is part of the reason it. He verbally lashes out at Holo when she speaks. When Holo learns of this she later confesses that he should have been angrier.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The Milone and Medioh Trading companies in Season 1 make economics seem awesome.
  • Naked First Impression: Lawrence finds Holo naked in his cart.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Holo has unintentionally caused or exacerbated problems for Lawrence on more than one occasion.
  • Noodle Incident
    • For Lawrence the previous wolf attacks he has endured, for Holo, her attacks on humans.
    • Holo doesn't explain what Amarti did to get her angry with him in the first half of season two (volume 3).
  • Oh, Crap!
    • Chloe and her thugs in episode 6 when Holo transforms.
    • "Holo, you can read?!" This leads to her learning the Awful Truth about her homeland of Yoitzu that Lawrence was trying to hide.
  • Older Than They Look: Holo, being a several hundred year old god, only looks fifteen.
  • One Head Taller: Unsurprising, since Holo has the anatomy of a fifteen year old girl (plus ears and tail), whereas Lawrence is a 25-year-old man.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Of the inverse Wolf Girl type. She needs a catalyst of wheat or blood to transform to or from a wolf the size of a bus and a small woman with a tail and wolf ears.
  • Out-Gambitted: A regular part of the business intrigue is outwitting your rivals and competitors.
  • Please Don't Leave Me: The life of a traveling merchant is a lonely one. Even Lawrence admits one time that he wants his horse to at least make conversation with him during those lonesome times.
    • Holo may not say it, but she means it. After centuries being alone she's come to hate it.
    • Lawrence feels similar anxiety at being separated from her. When he thought she was going to leave him during the first anime arc (Volume 1) he flipped out and shouted that he would follow her all the way to the north if she left him.
  • 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: We see everything from the perspective of Lawrence, but Holo is the one on all the posters.
  • Primal Fear: Lawrence cowers in fear at first when he sees Holo's wolf form, even though he had been holding a conversation with her moments before.
  • Reality Ensues: Repeatedly so. While having a shape-shifting giant wolf as a companion sounds like an easy solution to a problem, the Godzilla Threshold is rarely an option. It's a sure way for Holo to tear her way through crooked businessmen, but word will inevitably catch on fast to any travelers who'll hear about it. And just like that, Lawrence's carefully built reputation and contacts will collapse around him, least of all for working with presumed demons.
  • Recurring Riff: The second season soundtrack has several recurring themes 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.
  • Rescue Romance: A reoccurring fantasy Holo has of Lawrence. Unfortunately for Holo, he's a Non-Action Guy by default, and works best with a plan in mind. Invoked and averted in one instance, after Holo gets mad when Lawrence doesn't come rushing after her to save her the moment she's captured, and instead arranges a plan to rescue her carefully and without a fuss.
  • 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 acts 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.
    • Combining the two, a short anime special features Holo explaining in detail the foods and drinks she consumes during her travel, and the price/nutrition/quality ratio among them.
  • 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 as a human without him. At the end Holo and Lawrence become this.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • In the third anime arc (Volume 3), Mark, Lant and Diana all pull for Lawrence to hook up with his princess, i.e. Holo.
    • Once Col joins the picture, he also joins the shipping, at one point looking quite pitifully at Holo when he mistakes Eve and Lawrence's friendly banter for something more.
  • Ship Tease: Holo being The Tease, and both her and Lawrence having obviously strong feelings for each another.
  • Shirtless Scene
    • Lawrence takes off his shirt (both in the anime and the manga) quite frequently.
    • Koume Keito doesn't miss an opportunity to show off Holo's body in the manga.
  • Shout-Out: Look at the images that play when Eve discusses her marriage and her husband: They are all details from The Arnolfini Portrait by Dutch Renaissance artist Jan van Eyck, 1434.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • Not only is the economic aspect of the anime, manga and novels very well done, but Isuna Hasekura bothered to research the types of food they ate in 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 pair regularly snark before something affectionate slips out. By the final anime arc this has become 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 because "a 25 year old is no match for a wisewolf." They are more evenly matched as time goes on.
  • 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 also used as a first name.
  • Spin-Offspring: Wolf and Parchment stars Myuri, who is Lawrence and Holo's daughter.
  • Talking Heads: The anime is very dialogue-heavy; most of the "action scenes" are the trade conversions as well as the verbal games that Holo and Lawrence play with one another.
  • There Is Only One Bed: In season 2 of the anime, Holo teases Lawrence about this; he is understandably flustered.
  • Title Drop:
    • The first book ends with "... the travels of the wolf and the spice," and in Japanese, the words in the title are in reverse order.
    • In the sixth episode of 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, they open an inn called Spice and Wolf.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Holo's love of apples. She gets tired of them after trying to finish a cartload of fresh apples all by herself, but Lawrence's tales about (delicious) apple dishes makes her start craving for them once again.
  • Trickster Girlfriend: Holo enjoys teaching Lawrence (her future husband) 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 their personal subtext.
  • Tsundere:
    • Holo displays this from time to time; generally nice, if given to teasing, but can quickly shift to aloof and abrasive.
    • Lawrence hides how much she means to him by insisting he only cares about the debt she owes him.
  • 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: In the first anime arc Lawerence says Holo is his wife because that is easier to explain than the 'wolf goddess traveling north' thing. After that he makes up other reasons.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: The inhabitants of Pasloe. For generations, Holo blessed it with one good harvest after another with only the occasional bad one to let the soil rest. The village went from worshiping her out of respect to hating and fearing her for the rare bad year. By the time she leaves, the village had abandoned her for a new religion. One villager and friend of Lawrence tries to turn both of them over to the church for burning to advance their own career.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: The premise is economics and Holo's journey for home and information but the main driver of the series is the budding relationship.
  • Verbal Tic: Not a tic, necessarily, but 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 the English version, this comes out as a slightly more archaic speech pattern – certainly nothing like Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe, but noticeable nonetheless. In a possible reference to this, volume three of the manga has an Alternate Universe bonus story in which she is an oiran.
  • Voices Are Mental: 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 as she speaks to avoid the issue of how she can produce human speech with a wolf's head.
  • Walking the Earth: Traveling merchants as a rule engage in this out of practicality. But Lawrence and Holo can't seem to shake their wanderlust, even when they find a town they could reasonably settle down in.
  • Who Dares?: Holo's "You dare say I snore?!" She does, if lightly.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Holo is over 800 years old, and hates being alone after the humans she knows die: "Loneliness is a sickness that leads to death." She's traveling back to her homeland where more of her kind exist, but we don't know whether it's survived the years.
  • Who Writes This Crap?!: Even has this to say about Lawrence and Holo.
    Eve: Sounds like the kind of meeting a cheap poet would write about.
  • Walking Spoiler: The deuteragonist of the Wolf and Parchment sequel, Myuri, Lawrence and Holo's daughter.
  • Will They or Won't They?: It is 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 start a hot spring inn in Nyohhira and family together. See Babies Ever After above.
  • World's Best Warrior: Within the realm of animal-spirits, Holo was apparently at the top of the food-chain (figuratively speaking; they seemed to form a human-like society despite being animals).However, the great Moon-Hunting Bear far outstrips her or any other spirit. The fourth volume has a collection of pagan god tales where it tears through every other god that it comes 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. In other words, that's not what's really keeping them together.
  • Yōkai: The "pagan gods" in the series seem to be inspired by Obake, in that they are various giant animals with human-like sentience and, it's implied, other magical powers; Holo herself has the power to bestow abundant harvests of wheat, while in the series she encounters another local Wolf God, a Bird Spirit, a shepherd and his art dealer friend who are both sheep, and others who have taken up near-permanent human form. Not to mention the never-seen yet evidently real "Moon Hunting Bear" and the tribe/pack of Wolf Gods that Holo herself belongs to.
    • Holo herself could be inspired in the Kitsune, despite being a wolf, due to her stereotypically old-fashioned speech patterns normally given to foxes in Japanese mythology, and also because her appareance, as she looks more like a fox in her humanoid form than a wolf, albeit not so much in her wolf form.
  • Younger Than They Look: Lawrence is only 25 — the years on the road can really take their toll.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Spice And Wolf


Holo's true form

Don't mess with the wolf goddess.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

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Media sources:

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