The fantasy anime I've waited literally 15 years for is finally airing next month and I simply will not shut up until you watch it

 Spice and Wolf Holo .
Spice and Wolf Holo .

I'm struck by the fact that I've spent exactly half of my life, a full 15 years, waiting on a new anime adaptation for Spice and Wolf, and now it's finally airing next month via Crunchyroll.

As Anime News Network reports, the long-awaited anime, based on the novel series by Isuna Hasekura, will begin April 2. The anime is in the works at studio Passione, known for the likes of Mieruko-chan and Rail Wars, and has been positioned as a from-scratch reboot of the original anime, which ended in 2009 after barely exploring a third of the series' core storyline. The main story consists of a whopping 17 novels published in English by Yen Press, and there are also now seven epilogue novels, to say nothing of a sequel book series and manga versions of both.

Spice and Wolf is set in what feels like a Crusade-era fantasy Europe and stars traveling merchant Kraft Lawrence, who stumbles into a partnership with the human incarnation of a wolf goddess named Holo, renowned for her wisdom and known in some regions as a deity of good harvest. Though at least hundreds of years old and functionally immortal, Holo assumes the form of a late-teens girl, human apart from her wolf's ears and tail, and talks Lawrence into bringing her on his travels so that she can head north to her homeland.

It's a refreshingly laid-back and character-driven fantasy story propelled primarily by the witty interactions between Lawrence and Holo, as well as the mercantile adventures they get into. Holo lends Lawrence her wit – and, on occasion, bestial strength – to negotiate a colorful range of deals and dangers as he pursues his dream of making enough money to open his own store. Lawrence, in turn, is a companion to Holo and her guide through the human realm, sharing in accommodations and conversations as needed. Equal parts enamored and irritated, the two start to grow closer, but both are too stubborn to admit it.

Spice and Wolf has remained embedded in the global anime community since its initial adaptation. That's partly because it's a cult classic with no real equal; nothing has matched its premise of fantasy romance disguised as an economics class. But it's also become a symbol of painful cliffhangers and unfinished stories. When the anime ended in 2009, the plot and the main pair's relationship were just getting started. As a huge fan of the novels – if you haven't guessed by now – I can also tell you that, engrossing as it was, it was just getting to the really good part.

Now that the series has miraculously been resurrected by a new studio after more than a decade in hibernation, the long-suffering fan base is hoping that the full story of Spice and Wolf may finally be adapted. I'm right there with them; this is my favorite story of all time, and it hasn't aged a day. Holo's character and design quietly helped codify many fantasy tropes that are common today (and still does them better than almost everyone), and she and Lawrence run circles around the stamped-out protagonists dragging down most of today's fantasy anime and light novels.

Its existence is an event in and of itself, the new animation and voice work seem fabulous based on the trailers, and the story is a proven hit. Even on the heels of hits like fantasy masterwork Frieren: Beyond Journey's End and stellar period piece The Apothecary Diaries, if I could only recommend one anime to watch this year, it would be Spice and Wolf every time.

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