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In 1969, Edwin Starr asked “war! What is it good for?” His answer, in the next line of the song, was “absolutely nothing.” Many years later, an alternate answer might be “speculative fiction anime starring pretty young women.”
Holo and Lawrence’s relationship is initially held back by the circumstances upon which they first meet, rendering Holo as an owned object rather than an equal companion and stifling both leads’ feelings behind layers of performative inauthenticity. Part of the appeal of Spice and Wolf is watching these two characters overcome the gendered norms of their medieval setting, as well as their own personal flaws, to achieve an emotional reciprocity that is narratively satisfying.