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「甘いの蜜と苦いの鎧」 (Amai no Mitsu to Nigai no Yoroi)
“Sweet Honey and Bitter Armour”

Well if you ever needed proof why you never count your chickens before they hatch, Spice and Wolf has a prime example for you. I’ve been waiting for this moment for a good bit, because if there was ever a turning point in the story and an indication of the true stakes at play it would be Kraft experiencing how deep the depths of a wrong move can be. And just think, he’s not even out of the woods yet.

Much as teased before Kraft’s grand strategy of buying low and selling high got a harsh dose of reality courtesy of local market being upended by changing political circumstances and Kraft’s basis for his gamble. Debt has always been frowned upon (particularly in earlier times) for such reasons: it’s easy to walk into, high risk, and carries a dangerous outcome for those carrying it should it remain. In this case the outcome is Kraft being forced into indentured servitude if unable to pay at time of collection, a very serious recompense considering the life expectancy of those performing physical menial labour. The one thing about the situation though is it shows who Kraft is; he doesn’t shirk from the responsibility or pin the blame on others. Yes, he got swindled through the transfer of the debt, but he made the gamble in the first place and so must bear the responsibility. It’s hubris in perfect form, and tied to a character who can see when he himself is at fault for the outcome.

Mind you, for all Kraft accepts his role he’s not without fear. His attempted begging for a loan and snapping at Holo show he’s still human under that rational exterior, and as flawed as any when it comes to actually handling such a situation. Holo of course didn’t deserve it (as Kraft knows), but it’s always hard staying composed when your life is hanging by a veritable thread. Nevertheless that move did hurt the poor girl and is something Kraft will have to make up for because the growing intimacy between the two causes such things to leave a lasting impression. Won’t take him too long either; given just how close both have grown neither are much for letting the other off the hook that easy as some have quickly picked up on.

Of course proper reconciliation demands a solution to the conundrum Kraft finds himself in, but there’s hints aplenty to give an idea what rabbit will be pulled from the hat. After all, between Jacob’s promise of help behind the scenes, Norah’s continued screentime, and what’s shown to be a church out to eliminate those running against the grain, let’s just say the strategy will prove its weight in gold.



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