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Spice and Wolf: Holo on Lawrence’s Cart
Source: TV
Layers: 1
Sketches: 3
Cel Number: A1
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Added 11/22/2011
Updated 3/23/2016
Episode 02 (Wolf and Distant Past), cut 239. The two are traveling between one town and the next, and the talk becomes existential, as well it might between an ageless kami and a mortal human. “Time is money,” Lawrence comments, adding, “I expect the villagers who worshiped you kept close track of time.” Holo disagrees, saying that they didn’t think in terms of time, but simply sensed the natural movement of the day and the seasons. They see buds breaking, watch crops growing, give thanks for harvest, and then wait for spring again. “They had no need for ‘time,’” she concludes, “and neither do I.”

At one point the cart trundles across a bridge, and we follow Holo’s form upside down in the reflection of the water, stroking her cherished tail as usual, and enjoying the fine weather.

The screen cap image is not very distinct, as a CGI effect distorts it a little as it naturally would warp and break up in the mirror of the rippling stream. Nevertheless, the animators spared no effort in making the source image as detailed and attractive as possible, beginning with this fine rough sketch, likely by the episode’s animation director, Midori Otsuka (Strawberry Panic!, Needless). The layout, showing the whole scene (and a leaf that floats by Holo’s reflection in the stream) and the nice genga are shared in the thumbs.


The inspiration for the character likely reflects the history of the two ōkami, or native Japanese wolves. These were once abundant in the mountains of Honshu and Hokkaido, but now are extinct. While respected under Shinto beliefs, both were targeted during the westernizing Meiji restoration with a bounty system and hunted to extinction. The last known Japanese wolf was killed in 1905, though unconfirmed sightings continue to this day. Genes from the ōkami are, however, preserved in the Shikoku breed of dog.

I’ve used the transliteration “Holo” for the character, as this is the “official” one used in Western licensed releases of the light novel series and anime. However, most gengas label the character “Horo” in romaji, and there are many fans who feel that this should be the proper rendering of her name. It is true that in Ainu, the language of an ethnic people who live in Hokkaido, the term for “wolf” is “ホㇿケゥ” or horokew (not “holokew”).

But because the Japanese consonant is different from the Western “r” sound, it is not always clear whether ㇿ should be transliterated “ro” or “lo.” For instance, the same katakana character is used in the names of the three Norse goddesses in the AMG saga, though the normal English back-transliterations call them “BeLLdandy” (not the more authentic “VeRtandi”), “URd” (not “ULd”), and “SkuLd” (not “SkuRd”).

Caution! Fussy Notes

In addition, the sketch set included three layouts. The most complete is included as the first thumbnail, but two others worked out the details of how Holo gently strokes her tail during this long (8 seconds!) cut. There were also three gengas, the complete one included as the second thumb, plus two others of the tail stroke. Two C-level gengas defined the ripple seen on the surface of the water, and three D-level gengas showed a leaf sailing around Holo’s reflection. All of these were drawn with the registration holes on the top, showing Holo in a mirror image. But in choosing three to share, I’ve inverted the images so that you see Holo in normal orientation in the gallery rather than upside down as in the episode.

The set came with a fat packet of dougas and the original timing sheet. There were 18 A-level dougas for Holo, all partials and mostly showing Holo’s hand and tail, 2 B-levels (mouth layers), 6 C-levels (ripples on the water), and 15 D-levels (the floating leaf).

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Curator: 60something-sensei
Gallery Created: 8/3/2002
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