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On the subject of Spice and Wolf

October 6, 2009

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Ok, so I’m sure by now most people have heard that Yen Press compeltely redid the cover for the Spice and Wolf novel. Some fans are completely outraged that they would completely change the cover, some have mixed feelings, and some people are for it (though they’re the minority it would seem). I’m one of the people who has really mixed feelings about it.

I completely understand why they decided to change the cover, it makes a lot of sense if you think about it. They need to turn a profit on the series and to do so, they need to be able to market it as a novel in the US book market. Based on other companies previous efforts, it’s obvious that manga-styled covers don’t work too well on light novels here in the US. They don’t seem to sell very well and most of the companies that have published light novels (Tokyopop, Dark Horse, Seven Seas) have pretty much dropped them from low sales (the major ones not dropped being Tokyopop’s Trinity Blood and The Twelve Kingdoms). So I think Yen Press made a really good choice in deciding to localize the cover.

That being said, they sure picked a crappy new cover (left image). The main problem everyone (including myself) have with it, is that she’s naked. I haven’t read the novel or seen the anime, so maybe there’s something I don’t know, but I have a feeling that her being naked has relatively little to do with the plot. It really just makes it look like a bad romance novel (not that Idon’t read romance novels, lol), and I’m pretty sure I can safely say it’s going to get rid of the younger crowd (my parents would never have bought me a book with some naked chick on the front when I was younger).

It is nice that they are going to be giving out the original cover (right image) with the December issue of Yen+, but for those who have a hard time finding it (like myself), it’ll be kind of dissapointing if I can’t get it, because to be honest, I don’t want a book with a naked girl on the front…(I know, I know, with some of the manga I read, it makes me sound kind of hypocritical, but oh well).

One thing I completely lol’ed at though was when some random fan made a comment on the Yen Press site about how it should be Horo and not Holo, and Kurt Hassler (editor at Yen Press) responded with this:

Also, just to quickly address the comment about the decision to use “Holo” instead of “Horo”… This was discussed at length with our licensor in Japan, and based on their preference — presumably through conversation with the original editorial staff and author — we were instructed that the proper spelling of the character’s name is indeed Holo. Who are we to argue?

To clarify, I am still buying the novel(!!), and the point of this post is not to encourage others to not buy it (on the contrary, I definitely want people to support the novel), but I really think Yen Press needs to rethink the cover for the second volume (I’m pretty sure they will, based on fan feedback).

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20 Comments leave one →
  1. warriorhope permalink
    October 7, 2009 3:15 pm

    it seems like Yen Press is trying a little fanservice of it’s own. -__- It looks like a crappy fantasy/romance cover.
    That said, I still want to buy it.

    • October 7, 2009 10:08 pm

      Agreed. I still don’t understand why she’s naked… :/ It’s just…wrong…
      But I definitely want to buy it too! :] I’ll buy all the light novels I can! xD

  2. October 8, 2009 10:20 am

    I’m surprised by the amount of reaction this cover change has gotten!
    Not to say I’m not a little…concerned over the new change. Well, it’s not so much the change as it is the naked chick on the cover.
    I will definitely get this book due to all the good things I’ve heard about Spice and Wolf (and cuz I just plain love light novels ^o^) but I won’t be walking around in public with it. Last thing I need is people to get one look at the cover and judge me as a pervert T_T
    Cover art aside, I do hope that this series does well :).

    • October 8, 2009 10:32 am

      “but I won’t be walking around in public with it. Last thing I need is people to get one look at the cover and judge me as a pervert T_T”
      Exactly!!! It can be hard enough to be an anime/manga fan as it is, we don’t need things like naked people on the covers of legit books to make us worse off. :[

  3. Chen-03 permalink
    November 7, 2009 6:46 am

    Holo and not Horo? And than such a stupid cover?!
    Won’t support, won’t buy; will tell everyone to do the same as me.

    I could deal with the cover (tear it off), but I won’t change every Holo to an Horo just to make it not totally frustrating to read.

    • Chen-03 permalink
      November 7, 2009 6:52 am

      Oh, and I forget. Yes, Horo is basically naked like everytime she don’t wears clothes, which is, at least in the anime,.. a lot. Okay, that kinda changes with time, but in the first few episodes, she is shown naked often. Don’t you people know, that Ookami to Koushinryou is popular for its heroine, who likes to be naked? Watch the anime and its second season. It’s totally worth all the money.

      • November 7, 2009 2:58 pm

        Er…Did you miss the whole “Also, just to quickly address the comment about the decision to use “Holo” instead of “Horo”… This was discussed at length with our licensor in Japan, and based on their preference — presumably through conversation with the original editorial staff and author — we were instructed that the proper spelling of the character’s name is indeed Holo. Who are we to argue?” comment? The creator has said that her name is Holo, so who are you to decide that it’s not? :/
        And ok, so maybe her being naked is more a part of the story than I realized, but it’s still silly to have her naked on the cover.

        • Chen-03 permalink
          November 8, 2009 11:27 am

          I didn’t miss that part at all, just,.. it’s too late for them to change her name now. They made the characters in the anime call her “horo” with R and they made the language of the written texts german. Well, sorry Mr. Makers, but in germany there is no word or proper name that is written with an L but pronounced with an R. I know, I am from germany. So they don’t anymore have a choice in that matter. They would have to change the whole dubbing or the language of the texts to japanese. Silly producers. All they do is making themselves look like completely idiots. (AND discouraging their fanbase to buy the books.) I really wanted those novels, y’know. I would have them imported, I mean it. But this shitty cover and holo instead of horo? Sorry, but I rather invest my money and time in learning japanese, so I can understand the original novel.

          • November 8, 2009 3:55 pm

            They’re not changing her name, since her official name is supposed to be Holo. Are you refering to the Japanese dub or another dub? Because if it’s the Japanese version, there’s always going to be issues with an R versus an L. And again, the Japanese tend to romanize things one way, but mean something else.
            To be honest, you’re being rather close-minded about the whole thing. I agree that the cover isn’t the best, but that’s no reason to not buy the book. I personally want to buy it to support the creators, and I think if you’re a true fan of the series, you’d do the same (though with importing, ok, things get a little squicky). And if the creator says that her name is Holo, who the hell are you to say it’s not? The author didn’t draw the anime and put “Horo” in it, the animators messed up and did so.

          • November 8, 2009 6:37 pm

            That’s kind of sad if you’re letting one letter affect your life like that ^_^:

            BTW: The Japanese language doesn’t have the letter “L” as part of its alphabet. Instead it compensates by using other letters in its alphabet. ロラor “rora” is a Japanese way of saying “Lola.” ライトニングor “raitoningu” is another way in Japanese to say “lightning.” ホロor “horo” can be “Horo”* while at the same time be seen as “Holo.”
            It’s not that the Japanese are trying to trick you – it’s just that their alphabet lacks that “L” and instead uses “R” to compensate in addition as their “L.” So when a character is saying Holo’s name in Japanese, they don’t have the alphabet w the actual letter L and instead substitute the L with their Rs. I hope that helped clear up any misunderstandings.
            Also the writer who wrote the light novels specifically said he wanted it spelled as Holo. Kind of hard to go against that… >_>

            *[I can see how people got Horo as the name. When things are written in Katakana like that, it’s hard to translate properly. Horo or Holo. But I’m not going to let a letter discourage me from trying the novels. =)]

            • Chen-03 permalink
              November 9, 2009 4:18 am

              Yes, I know about the japanese lacking the letter L, as I actually learn japanese (for halve an year. Yes, I want to import the original, cause I am a true fan.) And to clear up matters to you, the japanese actually are capable of speaking an “L” as you can cleary hear a “Lighto” in the anime Death Note. If they speak it R, than we have to romanize ist with an R. If they speak it with an L, than we have to romanize it with and L. They can’t speakt it with an R and than going all out telling everybody to use an L. That’s just making them look like idiots.

              I refer to the japanese dub, which had german text in it, which indicates that the characters are from germany or a country where that language is common. Based on that I conclude that her name has to be written as Horo, since she’s staying in a german speaking country.

              I dont’ know about you, but I already watched 26 episodes of this series with subtitles and I kind of got used to “Horo”, so I won’t accept a change in that anymore.

              “And if the creator says that her name is Holo, who the hell are you to say it’s not?”
              → I am a fan, whom they expect to buy their stuff, but I won’t cause I don’t like reading the L in her name. If every fan will do the same, they may figure it wasn’t a great idea to mess with their fans.

              • November 9, 2009 11:46 am

                “→ I am a fan, whom they expect to buy their stuff, but I won’t cause I don’t like reading the L in her name. If every fan will do the same, they may figure it wasn’t a great idea to mess with their fans.”

                All that does in increase the possibility of you not getting any more light novels. Yes, it will get the point across, but the publishers will be less likely to take the chance on other series if this one doesn’t sell well. It also decreases the chances for those of us who buy the first volume to get the second volume. All you (and the others like you who are complaining) are doing is causing problems for people who are just trying to buy/support the series legitimately.

                Yet another classic case of fansubbers causing problems for the legit publishers.

              • November 10, 2009 11:14 am

                I don’t think the author will really care if you want a “R” or a “L.” ^_^:
                I mean, it’s the author’s work. If the author named his(?) character Holo, then one should assume he wants to keep it as Holo. He even specifically told Yen Press to write it as Holo when translating it into English. It’s not like Yen Press took her original name and changed it into Fido (so no hating on Yen Press for complying to the author’s wishes :o).

                Here’s some evidence to help back up kelakagandy

                Quote from Hakkai687 on the Yen Press forum:
                If you really want to scold someone, you should be talking to the fansubber who botched her name in season one. In the second season of the anime, there’s a scene where Holo ends up signing a contract with someone. If you look at her signature, you can tell that it’s clearly spelled “Holo”. It has always been the author’s intentin for her name to be spelled and pronounced as Holo, and the only reason it wasn’t spelled this way in the orignal light novel was because “lo” doesn’t exist in the Japanese syllabary. Just as Lawrence’s name is spelled and pronounced “Roransu” in the anime and light novel, “Horo” is just a romanized form of the Japanese spelling of her name.

                Also, if you look at Funimation’s summary for the Spice and Wolf season 1 box set, her name is written as Holo as well. ^_^; Just thought you’d like to know…

                • Chen-03 permalink
                  November 10, 2009 4:44 pm

                  As I said, the makers opinion doesn’t have any weight anymore. They made the characters call her hoRo and thought up a german speaking setting. Now it’s impossible to change the name, even if they intended her name to be holo from the start. (Then why didn’t they make the voice actors actually call her holo?)

                  “All that does in increase the possibility of you not getting any more light novels”
                  – I don’t really care for more light novels. Sorry. If they decide to publish something I like, then I will most likely import it and if not, well,.. who cares. But it’s really a shame, that they publish something I like and make it so, that I still won’t buy it. (Yeah, the cover is a mainreason, too.)

                  “It also decreases the chances for those of us who buy the first volume to get the second volume.”
                  – Don’t worry for the small stuff. The whole novel is findable translated with Horo on the net anyway. I could read it right now if I wanted. You see, me buying anime related stuff hasn’t anything to do with me wanting a product. It has to do with me wanting to support the makers, for products I already enjoyed. But if someone screws up, I won’t support and hope they get the point of me not buying their shitty products.

                  Use the wonderful cover and the name horo and I buy the novels with pleasure.

  4. November 8, 2009 6:41 pm

    On a completely different note: one more month until its released! Yeah! =D

    • November 8, 2009 10:41 pm

      a) Thanks for backing me up on the Holo/Horo thing,
      b) ah! yay! : D I totally lost track of time! It’s definitely going on my Christmas list. ;]

  5. November 10, 2009 11:19 am

    A.) Hey no problem! =D I’d understand if Chen-03 didn’t like the book due to the content or if Yen Press really butchered it and changed the whole story. But to be all angst about a letter is kind of…well, dumb. >_>; That’s just what I think anyway.

    B.) I hope the book does do alright when it gets released. A lot of people are having mixed reactions over the cover (and 2 people over the Holo/Horo naming lol XD). Well, at least we know 2 people here will have bought the book for sure!

    • November 10, 2009 4:06 pm

      a) oh, yeah, if the content were the problem, I would completely understand, but Holo/Horo being the issue is just driving me crazy! D:

      b) I really hope it does alright too, since I really don’t want Yen Press to have to drop them due to low income. I know I’m going to want to read more of them!

      • Chen-03 permalink
        November 10, 2009 4:50 pm

        a) Good for you two that you can overlook small issues, but for me (maybe it has to do with being german) that’s a different story. Everything has to be perfect, otherwise it’s driving me crazy. And everytime I read somewhere “holo” I could cry and/ or get really angry and the sudden urge to destroy something. Yeah, “driving me crazy” pretty much sums it up.

        • Chen-03 permalink
          November 11, 2009 4:02 pm

          I forgot – and sorry for being a bother to you two – but the fansubbers don’t have anything to do with the issue. I don’t really need the subs for small things like names or simple phrases. If the subber hadn’t written her hoRo I’d be pissed with the group and changed the subs automatically to hoRo, as that is what I heard from the spoken dialogue. (I learned english with the help of fansubbers, so if they are to blame for something, than it is my poor english.)

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