Manga Review: Spice and Wolf Vol. #06

Spice and Wolf is a wildly popular light novel series that has spawned off an anime, an Internet radio show, and a manga series. While its European medieval setting is typical of high fantasy, this series has  a unique bent to it. Rather than swordfights and magic, the plot focuses on economics, trade, and peddling in a way that skillfully blends adventure and romance.

Yen Press has recently released the sixth volume of the Spice and Wolf manga, and you can read on for the review.

Back Cover Blurb

As Lawrence and Holo put the final phase of their plan to extricate themselves from the jaws of financial ruin into motion, they are confronted by an unforeseen obstacle. With the wolves at the door – both figuratively and literally – can the travelers keep their wits about them and come out ahead of the pack?

The Review

Since arriving at Ruvinheigen, Lawrence has played the swindled fool and the desperate man, but now he gets to take more of a heroic role. As it turns out, the greatest threat to him and his friends in their gold smuggling scheme is not the city authorities nor the forest wolves but their co-conspirators. Lawrence and Holo are separated when Holo takes off to deal with the forest pack, and when the Remelio Company turns on him, Lawrence must fight without Holo’s strength. Although the poor young merchant gets the snot beaten out of him, his desperate efforts to save Norah raise him in my eyes as a character.

Holo, of course, returns in time to save the day, and thanks to Lawrence’s excellent bargaining skills, it’s the wolf to rescue the shepherdess from the humans. Koume-sensei’s artwork does an excellent job of conveying Holo’s power and the fear she strikes when her true form bursts onto the scene. Once Norah is rescued, the mood shifts to a more humorous one as Holo “assists” Lawrence in striking a deal with Remelio that, although it’s not perfect for everyone, will rescue them all from the brink.

One thing that is a little disappointing about this arc is the interaction (or lack thereof) between Holo and the head of the forest pack. As it turns out, he’s one of Holo’s kind. Considering the landscape isn’t exactly crawling with giant wolves (I’d assumed they only inhabited Yoitsu), I’m surprised he didn’t make more of an impression on Holo. Instead, their conflict is resolved in no time at all, and Holo has little to say about the encounter other than to criticize his immaturity.

Included with this volume’s extras are two cute bonus manga about Lawrence nursing a sick and slightly jealous Holo back to health.

In Summary

Danger strikes in the forest! But treacherous humans pose a greater threat than the wolves. The gold-smuggling arc comes to an action-packed end in this volume of Spice and Wolf.

First published at the Fandom Post.

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