Spice and Wolf: 10 Similar Anime You Must See

‘Spice and Wolf’ is a seinen anime that arrived on television screens and in viewers’ hearts in 2008. An adaptation of the light novels from the writer-illustrator duo of Isuna Hasekura and Jū Ayakura, the adventurous story blends the elements of economics and romance. The acclaimed anime revolves around the traveling merchant Kraft Lawrence and his efforts to expand his business. After Kraft encounters Holo, a wolf-goddess in the form of a young woman with wolf ears and a tail, he agrees to provide her shelter in exchange for her wisdom, which boosts his financial gains.

Noted for its originality and the portrayal of medieval economics, the series was hailed for pushing the boundaries of the fantasy genre. Introducing some unfamiliar topics, which include currency fluctuations and market strategies, became a standout in the fantasy genre. With those mentioned above, as well as the old-school themes of partnership, trust, and romance, ‘Spice and Wolf’ created such a craving in its viewers that these 10 anime may help fulfill.

10. The Ancient Magus’ Bride (2017-)

This manga-to-screen adaptation of Kore Yamazaki’s creation is bound to remind viewers of the classic fairytale, ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ in the darkest way imaginable. The anime tells the story of Chise Hatori, a 15-year-old girl sold at an auction to Elias Ainsworth, a mysterious 7-foot-tall man with an animal skull for a head. Traumatized by her past but able to attract supernatural creatures through a special power, the titular bride turns the magnus into her mentor and eventual groom.

The series explores Chise’s tragic journey to self-acceptance and Elias’ fresh understanding of human emotions in a slice-of-life manner, toning its rather disturbing premise down. The series’ melancholic yet hopeful tone is reminiscent of ‘Spice and Wolf,’ which also features a deep, evolving relationship between its main characters. Both shows excel in showcasing the complexities of their characters’ interactions against the fantastical backdrops of Western folklore and mythology.

9. Fruits Basket (2019-2021)

The second adaptation of Natsuki Takaya’s manga, ‘Fruit Basket’ is a pioneer series in popularizing shōjo anime. The story concerns Tohru Honda, a kind-hearted high-school girl who, after losing her mother, ends up living in a tent. She is soon discovered by the Soma family, and she is invited to stay with them. The plot takes a fantastical turn when Tohru learns that her hosts are cursed to transform into animals of the Chinese Zodiac when embraced by the opposite sex. In addition to finding shelter acceptance, ‘Fruits Basket,’ like ‘Spice and Wolf,’ smartly utilizes its over-the-top elements to treat viewers with a perfect slow-burn romance, along with some strong character development.

8. The Story of Saiunkoku (2006-2008)

The Story of Saiunkoku
The Story of Saiunkoku is an anime adaptation of a light novel series by Sai Yukino. Set in the titular kingdom, the show concerns Shuurei, an intelligent young woman who makes history by becoming the first woman to pass the Imperial Exams. To help her family reinstate its once noble status, Shuurei accepts the offer to become the consort and tutor of the emperor, Ryuki Shi. The rich, fictional world creates various political hurdles for the pair, prompting them to bring positive changes to the kingdom. Like ‘Spice and Wolf,’ the show’s heart lies in the heartwarming interactions of Shuurei Ryuki, paralleling that of Kraft and Holo. The power dynamics, historical fantasy, and social reform strengthen those similarities further.

7. Baccano! (2007)

‘Baccano!’ is known for its complex, non-linear storytelling across different timelines, accessed via a luxurious train called the Flying Pussyfoot. The story intertwines the missions of many looters, thugs, and gangsters, causing a series of chaotic events. The character’s motivations range from seeking an elixir of immortality to numerous personal vendettas and survival. Based on the light novel series of writer Ryohgo Narita, the anime witnesses the revision of history from the 18th to the early 20th centuries. This historical backdrop, combined with the depiction of mythical elements, consequences of eternal life, and the randomness of fate, makes it a must-see for the fans of ‘Spice and Wolf.’

6. Shirobako (2014-2015)

‘Shirobako’ is a metaseries, both by and about the anime industry. Providing an in-depth look into the industry through the eyes of five young women who dream of making it big, the plot centers around Aoi Miyamori, who works as a production assistant at Musashino Animation, and her friends: Ema Yasuhara, a key animator; Shizuka Sakaki, a voice actress; Misa Tōdō, a 3D CG artist; and Midori Imai, a scriptwriter. The series follows their many struggles, challenges, and growth in anime production, with lots of accurate behind-the-scenes details that the audience will find interesting.

An original production, ‘Shirobako’ is directed by Tsutomu Mizushima and written by Michiko Yokote. The series educates viewers with a perfect balance of my creative and business sections, highlighting the significance of tight deadlines and the teamwork that goes into producing anime. Its themes of perseverance, coordination, and the pursuit of one’s dreams mirror those of ‘Spice and Wolf.’ Additionally, the detailed look at the anime production processes corresponds to the latter’s teachings of medieval economics. The two series also emphasize the importance of personal and professional growth.

5. I’m Quitting Heroing (2022)

‘I’m Quitting Heroing’ is a unique anime that flips the long-standing trope of a hero’s righteousness and his obligation to achieve triumph over evil. The story centers on Leo Demonhart, the strongest hero, who defeats the Demon Queen Echidna and her forces. However, instead of being celebrated, Leo is discarded by humans who feel threatened by his extreme power. Discouraged, Leo decides to join the Echidna and the very forces he defeated.

Based on the novel series, ‘Yuusha, Yamemasu,’ by Quantum, the anime stands out for its fresh take on the hero’s journey rather than focusing on the events that take place post-victory. The character of Leo strikingly resembles Holo, as both their journeys begin after the society they saved from unthinkable dangers turned its back on them. The characters seek redemption, belonging, and a new purpose while romancing with their fellow travelers.

4. TONIKAWA: Over The Moon For You (2020-2023)

Also known as ‘Tonikaku Kawaii’ among the fans of the sub, this romantic comedy is an adaptation of Kenjiro Hata’s ‘Fly Me to the Moon’ manga series, which itself stems from the classic folktale, ‘The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter.’ The show’s beginning marks a chance encounter between Nasa Yuzaki and Tsukasa Tsukuyomi, a mysterious girl with seemingly supernatural abilities. After she saves Nasa from a traffic accident, the boy boldly confesses his love for her and asks her to be his girlfriend.

Even though Tsukasa accepts the proposal on the condition that they marry, she suddenly disappears from his life. Fortunately for Nasa, Tsukasa returns on his 18th birthday to finally commence their married life together. The anime presents a peculiar case of teenage romance, excluding the widely seen backdrop of high school and replacing it with marriage-first romance. Following Kraft and Holo, the lead couple in ‘Tonikawa’ experiences the development of a deep relationship through their daily lives and personal growth. In addition to embodying the “sheltered girl” trope, both series emphasize emotional connection and partnership.

3. My Happy Marriage (2023)

My Happy Marriage’ is an anime adaptation of the novel series written by Akumi Agitogi and illustrated by Tsukiho Tsukioka. The story revolves around Miyo Saimori, a young woman who is mistreated by her stepmother and half-sister. Miyo has an arranged marriage with Kiyoka Kudou, a military commanding officer. Despite his cold and seemingly unapproachable persona, Miyo’s relationship with Kudou progresses as the couple gradually opens up to each other.

The anime, notable for its emotional depth, touches upon the subjects of resilience, healing, and the transformative power of love, the last of which significantly connects it to ‘Spice and Wolf.’ Set against the backdrop of personal and societal challenges, both series sit on the pedestal of trust, companionship, and the nuanced dynamics of romance.

2. Sankarea (2012)

Also known as ‘Sankarea: Undying Love,’ this supernatural horror-romance follows high-school student Chihiro Furuya and his unreal obsession with zombies, which leads him to attempt resurrecting his deceased pet cat. During this experiment, Chiniro befriends Rea Sanka, who ends up drinking his resurrection potion and turning into a zombie. The story follows Chihiro and Rea’s new relationship and the challenges of the latter’s complicated existence.

The anime, based on a manga series by Mitsuru Hattori, grips viewers with serious and somewhat disturbing themes of life, death, and the desire for freedom. To cope with the repercussions of his actions, Chihiro begins to take genuine care of Rea, who seeks closure from her controlling father. The unconventional relationship between its leads brings ‘Sankarea’ into the same league as ‘Spice and Wolf.’ Both series feature a human protagonist developing an emotional bond with a supernatural character while tackling many societal challenges.

1. Kamisama Kiss (2012-2016)

Kamisama Kiss’ is one of the many romantic comedy anime that uses the “sheltered girl.” Created by Julietta Suzuki, it follows Nanami Momozono, a high school girl who becomes homeless after her father runs away due to his gambling debts. Wandering around the streets, she encounters the land god Mikage, who, after hearing her story, takes her into his home. He also transfers his divine status, supernatural powers, and responsibilities to her. Other deities featured in the series include yōkai, dog-lions, and the gods of wind, sky, wealth, war, and year.

Each character has their own sets of powers, prejudices, and motivations, often rooted in their pasts and personal struggles, which move the plot forward. ‘Kamisama Kiss’ subtly blends these supernatural elements with romance and comedy, presenting the themes of duty, love, and identity. The anime’s heartfelt storytelling is reminiscent of ‘Spice and Wolf,’ particularly in its exploration of the relationship between a human and a supernatural being and its balance of romantic tension and lighthearted moments, making it a must-see high-fantasy.

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