Spice and Wolf, season 2, episode 10 – Selling Horo… again. What could go wrong?

Hmm, I suppose in any show you’ll have your fair share of clunkers. Not that this episode was bad, but the animation was uneven, Fruhl’s plans felt like a retread, and the story and dialogue seemed to lack the spark the previous episodes have had so far. And with only 2 episodes left, I get the sense that the pace of the buildup might have been too slow, and we’re going to be in for a rushed or truncated resolution. I guess we’ll see.

Horo leaves a markFruhl schemes

After his talk with Fruhl and the Innkeeper, Lawrence spends the night tossing and turning, before waking up in a sweat. I wonder if they were head hairs or tail hairs on the cloth she gave Lawrence to wipe himself off with. The 50-man meeting has declared that selling furs is ok, but it needs to be bought using cash. Seeing as how most of the traveling merchants carry that much cash when they travel, Fruhl comes up with a scheme to "sell" Horo, in order to get cash to buy up all furs and control the market. Lawrence, burnt by his last experience, is understandably uneasy about selling Horo – even if the plan is to buy her back.

Lawrence's storeIndignant Horo

An interesting development is that the Innkeeper is planning to go on a pilgrimage. I don’t know if the understated premise is that the Innkeeper is going to die, or that this pilgrimage is permanent in some sort of way, but if Fruhl and Lawrence can swing the deal, Lawrence is going to have an opportunity to take over the Innkeeper’s building and set up shop. When Lawrence reveals his hesitation to Horo, she snaps at him, chiding him to chase his dream and take the risk.

Lawrence plays detectiveNews on the bishop

Having received Horo’s permission, Lawrence does some detective work around town to find out a little more about Fruhl and her former connections with the church. He learns that the quality of the bishop’s character is perhaps dubious, and that Fruhl was the only merchant to have had some sort of relationship with the town’s bishop. However, Fruhl was cut off, once the bishop was able to set up a strong enough foundation to stand on his own and gain enough support of his own. Even Fruhl later mentions that it was a smart decision on the bishop’s part, as she would’ve taken advantage of their connections had he continued to rely on her. Lawrence’s informant also reveals a surprising bit of information about Fruhl, claiming that he thought she traded in salt, not only stone statues.

Spicy barmaid-chan makes a moveSpice barmaid-chan wants a threesome

Spicy barmaid-chan returns and does not disappoint, quickly picking up on Horo’s scent and inviting her over for a threesome… maybe. In between her advances and flirting, she gives Lawrence some info on the church. They’ve been building up their reputation, but also silencing opposition in the town. All of this seemingly to prepare for the bishop’s ascent to an archbishop position. The town is clearly held captive to the strong influence of the church, and the reason why Fruhl wants to leave the town becomes obvious.

Horo gets territorialHoro notices Fruhl's shaking hand

In the end, Lawrence agrees to move forward on the deal with Fruhl, but as they shake hands in agreement, both Lawrence and Horo instinctively notice Fruhl’s shaking hand. I don’t think that either Fruhl or the Innkeeper have any devious plans or double-crosses in mind, but I do think Fruhl’s shaking hand was intended to show the risk of her scheme. When she talks about it, it all seems pretty logical and relatively easy to accomplish. But as we’ve seen plenty of times before, when Lawrence throws himself into some sort of odd arrangement, things are never as simple as they appear to be.

I’m starting to get the picture that Lawrence overvalues the possible benefits and undervalues the possible risks of his deals. On face value, the benefit of this possible deal and a rare opportunity to achieve Lawrence’s dream – to open a store. But there’s two things that I don’t think he’s considering: 1.) his hesitation to leave Horo and let her travel back to Yoitsu on her own and 2.) the church’s heavy influence making this town a risky place for Horo, if she did choose to stay behind with Lawrence. When you take those into account, it means even if the deal is a success, I’d put the likelihood of him opening a store to be less than 50/50. So the real benefit is some additional money in his pocket for the future. However, the risk of this deal – again – is losing Horo and perhaps losing everything he has or being persecuted by the church. Maybe I’m a little conservative, but that seems like a bad deal to me. Limited upside, unlimited downside.

Hopefully they can wrap everything up in the next two episodes, but I get this sneaky feeling that the season might end on a cliffhanger.

11 Replies to “Spice and Wolf, season 2, episode 10 – Selling Horo… again. What could go wrong?”

  1. Hum yes i agree, i do think it will leave on a cliffhanger. (i can only hope it will because they already struck a deal for a 3rd season) As they left the next arc to the last 3 episodes due to show concentrating on relationship for the last 3 (not that i mind). And yeah i notcied in a couple of scenes that the animation was pretty clunky and olddly drawn, i wonder whats that all about? It’s not as if it’s because they were going overboard in the last few epsiodes. I can only hope it’s because they’re saving it for the final epsiode or something. There was a lot packed into this week i had to watch it twice to get everything.

    Interesting to see where this show takes us now

    1. Oooh, a deal for the 3rd season has already been struck? That’s good news… Still, I hope they don’t end on a cliffhanger. I’ve never liked ending a season on a cliffhanger, because no matter how quickly they produce it, it’d still take about a year for us to see the resolution.

  2. I think compare to other merchant in the story, most of them don’t have store in town.
    The money exchanger(forget his name) trade on bridge, Mark’s shop is like a tent. Not sure if Amati have his own shop.
    So the property must worth much more.
    This also make me wonder how much money Lawrence have, and how much he need for a store.

    but I don’t see what Fruhl have to gain selling Horo. The use innkeeper’s property might be more valuable in geting money. Unless they need someone as a bait. Lawrence need to come back to town to get Horo back, and Fruhl does not need to come back ever again. Or she need someone who can easily control. Lawrence will lost Horo, money, inn if this does not work out, so Lawrence will only work for this to success.

  3. Re: the threesome
    I can almost hear the doujins being drawn…

    Regards the scheme, it might just be that it’s too difficult to sell the inn fast enough, even at a greatly reduced price. Possibly everyone with money will know what they’re trying to do and refuse to buy, or block it somehow. Alternatively, a daughter of the nobility like Horo might actually be worth more than the inn. Good point about Fruhl not needing to come back-that might be the hole into which Lawrence falls.
    And yeah Lawrence seems to be bad at thinking things fully through in terms of risk/benefits. For once, he seems to actually be doing it right, and then Horo tells him to throw caution to the wind and just do it. Psh. Maybe she’s privately betting that if things fail she can go uber-wolf and save the day (to escape and stuff).
    I feel a cliffhanger coming too.

    1. @BH, Catalina:

      I think the other thing with the Inn is, by cornering the market on the furs, they’re hoping to make a profit and then buy back Horo, and it may be more difficult to find a business partner who’s willing to let them buy back the inn. I’d also guess that there might be more regulations in selling the Inn, so it’d take more time.

      Yeah, that is the trump card. I’ve been wondering when Horo would turn into the wolf and eat some people this season. :p

  4. I don’t really get the whole ‘value of a daughter of nobility’. I mean, what does it actually accomplish having one of these? Amarti was infactuated with Horo so that’s why he wanted to buy her but I don’t quite see the point of owning nobility.

    Anyway, we all know this will blow up in Lawrence’s face as usual. It wouldn’t be Spice and Wolf if his scheme didn’t go horribly wrong.
    .-= Scamp´s last blog ..Hetalia Axis Powers episode 33 =-.

    1. Yeah, I’m a little confused by this as well. From what it sounds like, I think they’re basically “loaning” Horo, under the pretense of a sale. But then I don’t get where the whole nobility title fits in?

  5. I honestly can’t see why anyone would be upset with Lawrence about this, when it’s Horo that’s practically gone insane. It’s obvious that he doesn’t want to do this, and no amount of persuasion from Horo is getting through to him. She practically BEGS him to do this, over and over again. It’s pretty clear that he’s only doing this because he trusts her, and not because he wants to.. and that he’s making damn sure that she won’t actually be sold.

    It’s obvious now that Horo is scared that he’s in love with her. He’s changed too much. He isn’t the same overconfident and lady-shy moron that she met, who would jump into any risky situation and lose everything as a result (and he doesn’t want to be). He can’t be easily swayed or controlled. He knows her too well.

    But there were two odd bits.. the first was that fish-and-bait thing. I have no idea what was going on there, despite watching two fansubs. I’m guessing Lawrence said something stupid again, because that seems to fit the best.

    The other bit was why she would say she’ll stick with him to the end? It didn’t seem convincing to me at all. He might have smiled, but given the way she’s been acting he should be worried that she’s going to “break up” with him.. he really is too trusting..

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