Spice and Wolf Anime: Expect Great Things



So, the remake of the Spice and Wolf anime finally releases tomorrow- but there’s a few lingering thoughts that I thought might be interesting share leading up to its release. A complete remake under chief director Takeo Takahashi (the original director for the series) at Passione, it’s got a few moving parts that pose some interesting questions. For example, the following:

No staff have been announced for series composition for the Spice and Wolf anime

You read that correct, there’s no staff announced for the role yet. Not on Twitter, not on their website, not even in the description of a YouTube video. You can’t find the information anywhere, and to viewers of the original series, that is concerning. Though it’s largely an early decision made by the production committee for the original series, it remains a fact that the predecessor of the new Spice and Wolf anime omitted an entire light novel volume (volume 4). It’s not immediately cause for concern, as most likely the committee recognizes the folly of doing so in a remake that’s meant to rectify that, but not having a name to put to the role of series composition, the question of pacing does come into play…. is what I’d say if we didn’t have the opening.

The answer here is rather obvious- the first cour of the anime will, much like its predecessor, cover 2 volumes of the light novel. In general, I’m doubtful that too many of the scenes in this opening will appear in the anime (aside from two particularly furry sequences), but they stick very close to the the greater plot points of the light novel. Because of that though… there is potential that volume 2 isn’t completed in the first cour alone. It’s a bit of a mild spoiler in terms of pacing, but the considerable majority of the opening exist within the context of the first volume. It’s very interesting, because it could just be the storyboarder playing more into the events of the first volume since they set a lot of the tone and expectations for first time viewers of the Spice and Wolf anime, but it could also equally be them working with the expected pacing of the series so that they better match the episode content. A great deal of speculation, but I’m rather confident that with the release of the first episode, a better idea of where pacing stands will be gleaned. Anyways, to the next point.

The Spice and Wolf anime already has a producer

Yet another weird addition to the confusion around what Passione will show off with the first episode. Typically, producers remain under wraps for quite some time (longer than series composition, at least), and typically they’ll be names that have been in the game before. Enishiya however, is really neither of those. Under representative director Shunsuke Hosoi, they’ve produced a series of music videos and TV commercials, but as of recently have been dipping their toes into anime…

With Frieren and Delicious In Dungeon

So, yeah, the whole idea of concern around Passione as the studio behind the new Spice and Wolf anime is a just a bit of a puff of smoke. Enishiya did work on Delicious In Dungeon episode 6 as well as Frieren episode 14. They have talent on their side in spades for episode production, so even though Hosoi might not have a world of experience as a producer, their level of quality adds a great deal of reassurance to the anime. So then, what else is there to talk about? Well, maybe just one more thing that’s a bit of a wildcard and will take some explaining to do.

Spice and Wolf’s broadcast station

You really don’t think much about which channel in Japan an anime is aired on, but you’d be surprised how much of a difference it can make at times. I mean, just look at NUMAnimation, a rather new anime broadcaster to the game. First appearing in 2020, they’ve had series air on their channel like: RE-MAIN, Salaryman’s Club, The Dangers In My Heart, and have actually managed to net ENGI’s Medalist adaptation. They’re a channel with surprisingly few series, but ultimately have made great decisions in terms of “production outcome” (though that is influenced by broadcast channel).

So, which channel is the new Spice and Wolf anime with? TV-Tokyo

TV-Tokyo is an… interesting broadcast station for anime. They pump out a good deal of series yearly that typically see… let’s say “not great” results. There’s a lot of middle of the road productions here with a few big surprises, but they paint a very important picture. For example, in the current Winter season, TV Tokyo has been broadcasting Bucchigiri!?. The, surprisingly important connection here believe it or not is Toho as a creator credited for the series. In this case, if you go to the Enishiya website, on their company page, they list Toho as one of their two major clients.

Though, rather than finding an interesting connection between two “big” series, it’s more important to take a look at TV-Tokyo’s broadcast structure. Here, you can see that they tend to saturate their broadcast schedule, but pick one big anime to funnel resources into. This season (though kneecapped by Mappa’s poor management) was Bucchigiri!?, the season before it was Tokyo Revengers, and this behavior includes standouts with series like Bleach, Trigun Stampede, Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War, and quite a few others. So it begs the question, which series is the “biggest” for TV-Tokyo this upcoming season?

The new Spice and Wolf anime

It’s a very interesting and unique picture that gets painted with this. Passione has never had a TV anime (initially) broadcast with TV Tokyo, but have a storied history with the sibling channels AT-X and Tokyo MX. Never really reaching the “best” of what either has offered within their mountains of anime, it’s very interesting to see them move to a smaller channel like this as a studio. It’s even more interesting to see Enishiya listed as the (currently) sole producer for the anime. And then there’s the real meat and potatoes of this information.

Spice and Wolf’s production timeline

The timeline of the new Spice and Wolf anime is a bit interesting. The first whisperings of an anime project came on February 25th, 2022, or a little over two years ago now. Though a vague announcement at the time, and one that took a great deal of time to bear fruit, it’s the beginnings of where production was made public. It wouldn’t be until a year later that we’d see the following teaser trailer.

This teaser is most likely the content of two, potentially three episodes (in my mind). If my internal guesswork is correct, it’s a thoroughly impressive feat for the studio, and the second trailer continues that feat, looking to (most likely) double the territory covered by events. It’s really impressive for Passione as a studio, even if you consider the production timeline to be considerably longer than average. Though, the icing on the cake is 100% the early showing of four episodes. While I (obviously) couldn’t attend, the fan response on Twitter was resounding, citing almost entirely unanimously outstanding reception to the beginning of this series.

Clearly, the new Spice and Wolf anime has a lot going for it

So sure, it might have some oddity to its lead-up with positions like series composition not being revealed, and sure, Passione doesn’t have a great track record as a studio. But, if you take a step back and take a look at the bigger picture, it’s incredibly hard to deny the potential of this adaptation. Having 4 episodes entirely completed and ready to go nearly a month ahead of its release, for a consecutive two cour series is an impressive feat that matches Frieren, of all productions. I don’t need to explain the connection there, but either way, Spice and Wolf finally makes it debut tomorrow, and the above are a part of the reason why I’m so confident it will be so very good.

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