Former Anime of the Year 2008 title holder

Anime title(s) that used to become the holder of ‘Anime of the Year 2008’ title.


Our main female protagonist and also the one of the best characters in this series.

It is about time that I give H2O footprints in the sand a new challenge, and it comes in the form of a very Nodame Cantabile-esque title, Wolf and Spice (or Spice and Wolf). No need to keep you guessing whether Wolf and Spice will dethrone the former that has kept the throne for 3 months, because they have done exactly just that. Read on to know how this excellent series managed to do it.

Story:-
In a setting that looks like Europe in medieval times (thus I will not complain about lack of black hair whatsoever), a merchant encountered a she-wolf that used to be worshipped by local villagers before the arrival for a certain organized religion. She asked the merchant to accompany her to her homeland in the north, and from there on they travelled together as the merchant is doing his merchant thing while avoiding the church from discovering a cute demon in their midst.

This anime reminded me of Nodame Cantabile a lot, particularly the synergy in the relationship between the two main protagonists. In fact, they are very similar to the protagonists in Nodame Cantabile, with only some minimal differences. The character strength for both of our protagonists here is what makes this anime very appealing, despite the character development that isn’t exactly spectacular like the one in Nodame Cantabile.

The story by itself is not as good as Nodame’s, but the structure is eerily similar. Just replace the classical music elements in Nodame with merchant trading skills, plus throw in a female protagonist that can do supernatural things the way her compatriot in Inukami did and you got Wolf and Spice. The story flows smoothly with decent pacing despite the gap left by the mysterious episode 7 that isn‘t released yet, before arriving at an excellent ending that is superbly executed. That scene where the main male protagonist outwitted the main female protagonist when the clock tower rang at 7 in the morning is very inventive and capped a good way to create a closure. Plus, the ending opens up the possibility for a second season, which I will definitely watch.

With only 12 episodes (not counting the unreleased episode 7), this anime has barely showed the potential that its story has. This is why, even when I say that the story is not as good as Nodame Cantabile above, that fact will not count negatively towards this series. As long as a second (or more) season comes out and we got to see what will happen to these two very lovable main characters at the end of their journey, it is fine by me. This anime is just too good not to be given a second season unlike for example, that awful Hatenkou Yuugi.

Character Design:-
A positive point of this anime, the character design is simply excellent especially for the two main protagonists. No complaints about the lack of black hair (some bystanders have them though) because of the medieval Europe settings.

Voice Acting:-
This is the part where this anime is not a match for Nodame Cantabile. The voice acting in this anime is great but nowhere near the awesome Tomokazu Seki/Ayako Kawasumi combo in Nodame. Then again that combo will be hard to be defeated.

Music:-
The OP/ED themes are good but not so for the OST.

Animation/Direction:-
This 2008 anime surely has very good animation which is not affected by fast-paced scenes. The choreography is quite decent too, but the directing is not exactly outstanding. At least he/she keeps the story flows very well but whoever decides that the episode 7 has to be released in DVD must be shot.

Conclusion:-
Midway during watching the series, I decided that this anime will get a 9, but after seeing the strong ending, I changed my mind and gives it a perfect score, 10 out of 10. With this, Wolf and Spice will take the Anime of The Year 2008 title from H2O footprints in the sand. Plus, a new tag ‘perfect score’ will be added to all anime rated 10 out of 10 from now on. The move to wordpress really paid off.


To the main male protagonist, if you want to persuade an impressionable young oppressed naive lady to do one of the most heinous crimes in the eyes of the Church, you probably do not want to do it in the open where a lot of people gathers. You know, like open-air bars that served alcohol in daylight? Who knows, the Church may have eyes and ears in places like that. And having your partner to accompany you when all she is doing is chugging beer usually will not give a good impression either.

Shortlink: http://wp.me/prgSo-4G


Even in 2008, Engrish still rules.

Hehehe, I said that H2O ~Footprints in the Sand~ will be challenging Nodame Cantabile for the Anime of The Year 2007 title, just to find out mid-way of watching it that this anime is a 2008 anime instead. This is the first 2008 anime I watched to date, so we got a provisional winner of Anime of The Year 2008 instead of a challenger of Nodame Cantabile (incidentally also the first 2007 anime I watched and hold on to the award all the way to the end of the year and past it too). At first I want to slap my romance handicap on this anime (that I suspect is also based on dating simulations, but I’m lazy to check), but this anime has a heavy dose of slice-of-life genre in it so I will let it pass.

Story:-
A blind middle-school kid moves to a God-forsaken village in the search of the cure to his blindness, and he instead got to play with a bunch of beautiful girls (and one cross-dressing guy too). A few events that I sometimes can’t fathom happened, and we arrived at a happy ending IINM, and that’s about it.

Watching the first episode of this anime, I got a feeling that this anime is what we got if we cross AIR and Higurashi no Naru Koro ni, without those violent murders or bird transformations of course. After watching up to the episode where they go to the beach, I am convinced that this anime is really a cross of both titles. Unfortunately, this anime’s storyline is not as good as either of them, and the story can only be categorized as decent but not great.

One of the reasons for that is that this anime takes a weakness from Higurashi and incorporate it into this anime, and that weakness is incoherent plot. There are things in this anime that is hard to understand or make no sense outright. You know, like Hinata that can swim suddenly can’t after she reverts to Hotaro?

Another weakness of this anime is the ambiguous ending this anime has. I do not think it was done to indicate a second season, but just like the first weakness, some events at the end of this anime is incoherent in my view. Did the female protagonist die? If yes, then who is that woman at the end of the last episode? If she doesn’t, then what with the expressions on the faces of the rest of the characters? So many questions that I have to make assumptions of.

Other weaknesses include the slow pacing at the middle of the series. Meanwhile character developments are done well, helped by the character-specific presentation per episode. There are no strong characters like the female protagonist in AIR though.


Earlier in the series, she can swim. Later in the scene above, she can’t. What gives?

Character Design:-
Just like Clannad, no difference really from what you can see from H-games. As usual, all stereotypes are in, but at least the main female protagonist has black hair.

Voice Acting:-
A positive point of this anime, generally this anime has great voice acting, although with some exceptions. The main male protagonist notable excels in his role as an indecisive spineless bastard which neck I want to break.

Music:-
The OST is great, but the OP/ED themes are not.


She loses her wallet, she looks inside her hand-bag and she did not found it. She desperately shook down all the contents of her handbag to find it to no avail. I can hear the sound of the content of the handbag coming down the earth but I cannot see it. What gives?

Animation/Direction:-
With most of the 2007 anime titles I have reviewed to date has excellent animation, this 2008 anime, the first one I reviewed, has mediocre animation quality at best. ‘Mediocre’ is probably not a correct word, ‘lazy’ is probably more like it. See the screenshot for more details. And when I am at it, the fansub group (BakaWolf and m.3.3.w.) that subbed this anime really screwed up the upscaling process while encoding. This is not the first time they have done it, and I probably may just get the normal version instead of the upscaled ones if I were to watch their releases again.

The choreography is nothing to write about because there are almost no action scenes here. The directing is good and does his/her job, and that’s about it.

Conclusion:-
7 out of 10.
I don’t think this anime can do a Nodame Cantabile and hold on to this provisional Anime of The Year 2008 title until the end of the year. There are bunches of 2008 anime that I am collecting (and reviewed if permitted) that I think is better than this one. Myself, Yourself will conclude this 2007 (and one 2008) wave of reviews in few days.


To BakaWolf-m.3.3.w. group, fire your encoder. And the QC team too while you’re at it. No ffdshow filter tinkering can save the quality of the encode here.

Shortlink: http://wp.me/prgSo-25