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「狼の森と凍てつく雨」 (Ookami no Mori to Itetsuku Ame)
“Forest of Wolves and Frigid Rain”

If the last couple of episodes in Spice and Wolf were showing the heights of overeager folly, this was the week which shows how even the most well-thought out (or well-gambled) of plans never survives first contact with the unknown. From the nature of wolves to the nature of man, we got it all this time around – and the real life lessons are still to come.

Much as one could’ve guessed after the grand reveal of smuggling gold to eradicate the debt, Kraft’s and Holo’s scheme wasn’t going to work out exactly as planned. And not through any just one reason this time. The major pothole of course is Lemerio who, in a least a subset of the company, decided that monopolizing the smuggling reward is preferable to sharing it among all participants. Honestly it’s not hard to blame them for going this path – they are in a very precarious economic situation for the same reason as Kraft and desperate to avoid the shark infested waters of fellow mercantile competition. Yet such opinion doesn’t make their decision correct in feeling and execution. Once you decide to eliminate your compatriots you had best be sure you actually follow through, because any failure to do so is likely to also come back to haunt you. The cowardly refusal to off Kraft is enough foreshadowing to this after all, since if there’s one thing you can bet on it’s that this guy won’t be going down that easy.

Case in point of the above is the matter of Holo and that other pothole in the presence of upstart wolves. Much like with Lemerio’s betrayal the party coming face to face with a wolfpack was pretty well teased in advance by both shepherd and Wise Wolf both, but it’s the leader of the pack being a part of Holo’s rare breed which makes it an all the more intense situation. Although Holo has her mischievous courage on display, this is a moment which shows she’s not as invulnerable a deity as hinted towards previously; there are others like her, they have their own desires and interests (in this case proving worth and justifying pride by overcoming the elder), and they won’t hesitate to go at her if given the chance. I won’t spoil how Holo handles this showdown, but simply put don’t expect it to wind up being an epic duel of the hunters. Much as Holo said coming to a peaceful resolution is preferable given her desire to keep Kraft safe, and yielding such an outcome takes more than bearing fangs.

Plus considering how comfortable Kraft is becoming with who Holo is and just how close the two are growing (that scene discussing the rabbits and the wolves is something an earlier Kraft would have flunked at for example) it would be a serious shame to encounter major roadblocks now. There’s a relationship to grow and money to acquire – and neither upstart nor betrayer will prevent our eponymous duo from happily having both.



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