Spice and Wolf
You won't find giant monsters or evil tyrants here, this is an atypical anime that doesn't quite fit into any existing sub-genres. Its relaxed pace with emphasis on nuanced dialogue will bore someone who's looking for power-ups or panty-shots, but delight those of us who appreciate a good character piece from time to time. The story is one of trade, commerce, and a growing relationship between two unlikely protagonists. In a nice change of pace the storytellers here let the characters evolve on their own in a slow progression that feels natural and keeps you interested, rather than through forceful direction. Fans of verbal sparring will love the banter between Holo and Lawrence, and econ majors will feel right at home during the trade deals. I've used 'relaxed' and 'slow' to describe the general tenor of this anime but don't misunderstand, you won't find yourself bored and in fact the episodes will seem to be over all too quickly! Now I have nothing against dubs in general, it's just that I rarely find any to be on par with the original Japanese audio. Even if the main characters are well done, the overall dub is often brought down by terrible supporting performances. That's not the case this time as I genuinely enjoyed and felt they honored the stellar performances of the original cast. While I still prefer Ami Koshimizu portraying the wise-wolf, Brina Palencia did an outstanding job with the role (and considering how picky I can be that is high praise). I'm actually looking forward to watching the series multiple times with both voice casts and enjoying each on their own merits. If you enjoyed works such as Haibane Renmei or Kino's Journey, Spice and Wolf will fit right at home in your collection.
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