Spice and Wolf Interview with Ami Koshimizu (Part I): “Holo helped me in times of trouble”

Spice and Wolf Interview with Ami Koshimizu (Part I): “Holo helped me in times of trouble”

Commemorating the release of the Spice and Wolf Holo Wedding Dress Ver. Figure

 The first volume of the Spice and Wolf light novel was released in 2006, and the 19th volume ( Spice and Wolf XIX Spring Log II ) that fans waited eagerly for was recently released on May 10 in Japan. Together with the two-season anime, the light novel introduced countless fans to the fascinating journey of traveling merchant Kraft Lawrence. The Spice and Wolf series has gained incredible popularity and was able to celebrate its 10th anniversary.

When we think about Spice and Wolf, one name that always comes to mind is Holo (voiced by Ami Koshimizu), the heroine of the series. Her notable usage of oiran (courtesan) speech, her adorable appearance, and the secrets she holds within make her the perfect heroine who mesmerizes not only Lawrence but also the readers and viewers, too.

A special Holo Wedding Dress Version Figure was released to commemorate the series’ 10th anniversary. To learn more about the figure and also the charm of the original light novel and anime, animate Times conducted an interview with Ami Koshimizu, the voice actress who played the role of Holo.

The interview is divided into two parts, and this first part features Ms. Koshimizu’s memories of the anime. During the rather troublesome dubbing process, she received help from an unexpected source...

About Spice and Wolf

Spice and Wolf won the Silver Prize of the 12th Dengeki Novel Prize.
Written by Isuna Hasekura, the light novel focuses on economics as well as a new type of fantasy without swords and magic.
The story shows the adventures and businesses of Kraft Lawrence, the protagonist and also a traveling merchant, and Holo the wise wolf a sweet girl with wolf ears and a gorgeous fur tail who refers to herself as the “God of Harvest”.
Spice and Wolf has earned its own TV anime series, manga, and game. Its contents are popular around the world and have been translated into English, Chinese, as well as French.

To commemorate its 10th anniversary, a website filled with special content such as the new Spice and Wolf Spring Log story and Spice & Wolf New Theory: Parchment & Wolf has been launched in April 2016.

Spice and Wolf 10th Anniversary Project: Holo Wedding Dress Ver.

“I wish to travel with you. May I?” Their incredible journey began with those words, and flourished into a beautiful love story. At long last, in celebration of the 10th Anniversary of Spice and Wolf, the culmination of their tale is brought to life with the Holo Wedding Dress Ver. figure.

Quality that even surprises Ami Koshimizu

──The Holo Wedding Dress Ver. Figure has been released to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Spice and Wolf. You already had the chance to enjoy it during the photo shoot, right?

Koshimizu: Yes. The figure is amazing, and I really want one!

──(Laughs). You took a few pictures with the figure today. How did that feel?

Koshimizu: I’m not that great with pictures, so there were a few moments where I wasn’t sure what to do. I’m honored to have such fantastic pictures taken, though.

──You were asking the photographer for instructions the whole time!

Koshimizu: I was completely stumped by the idea of “freestyling” my poses (laughs). I’m always a little unsure when it comes to photo shoots.

──The photos look amazing, though.

Koshimizu: The staff members helped me out a lot with their magic… (laughs).

Food that looks appetizing enough to actual affect diets

──Since we’re commemorating the 10th anniversary of Spice and Wolf, it would be great if you could tell us about your memories of the series.

Koshimizu: To me, the most memorable part of the anime has to be the scene about coins. The one where Holo explains how even the same coins can have different values based on factors like credit and how much gold they really contain.

The lines for that scene were all very, very long, and I struggled quite a bit as I reviewed them. I would get confused with all the names and types of coins there were (laughs). It was a difficult scene, but also an incredibly interesting one. I still remember it like it all happened yesterday.

Another memorable scene would be the one where Holo trades fur (*1). Using her idea, Lawrence stored the furs he purchased with apples to remove the odors. By branding them as special furs that produce floral scents, he was able to sell them at much higher prices.

I remember thinking about how much the smell of furs would change if they were infused with the scent of apples.

*1: From episode three titled "Wolf and Business Talent" in the first season of the anime. In this scene, Holo intervenes with Lawrence’s business, claiming that she wants to help cover her expenses.

──That scene showed us just how amazing Holo truly is.

Koshimizu: It sure did! Oh, there are also the apples and the potatoes.

──Potatoes? (laughs).

Koshimizu: For me, steamed potatoes (*2) used to be mainly for festivals when you eat them together with lots of butter. However, through Spice and Wolf, I was able to realize how wonderful they are. I eat them more often, and I discovered that they taste amazing with salted fish… “Holo, there are all these delicious things available now! Salted fish are the best!” are among the thoughts that go through my mind when I’m munching on potatoes (laughs).

*2: From episode two titled “Wolf and Distant Past” from the first season of the anime. Lawrence prepares steamed potatoes for a hungry Holo. She was so hungry and ate so quickly that she ended up choking.


Koshimizu: And just like that, Spice and Wolf continues to influence my diet and what I eat. There’s something about the series that gives me cravings for a certain something whenever I start thinking about it. Everything that is shown in the series looks so good!

──Holo loves to eat, so plenty of dishes were introduced.

Koshimizu: That’s right! Honey-dipped peaches and everything else all looked fantastic.

──I guess the anime series was filled with what we now often refer to as “foodporn”.

Koshimizu: It sure was!

──Were there any other things that really made an impression on you?

Koshimizu: The series wasn’t just about the food - the characters were charming, too. Nora the shepherdess was great, and I liked Diana (Dian Rubens) that Akeno Watanabe voiced as well. When Diana first made her appearance, it was almost certain that she would be a witch. I remember wondering what kind of character she actually was.

As for Holo, she changes the way she presents herself depending on who she’s facing. When it comes to men, she flirts to gain control over them. All of this is different when she’s presenting herself to women, though. When she interacts with Diana, Holo intentionally shows off her cunning side. This doesn’t happen with any other woman, so it’s like a female battle that she only engages Diana in.

──The different ways Holo interacts with other characters was also a notable part of the series.

Koshimizu: Come to think of it, there was also that time when Fermi proposed to her, right? (laughs) (*3). In the latter half of the second season, the challenge I had to tackle was deciding how I should voice Holo. When we were recording the scene where she became emotional and argued with Lawrence, I spent a long time thinking about how much emotion I should let her show.

*3: From episode 3 titled “Wolf and the Gap that Cannot be Filled” in the second season of the anime. Fermi Amarti proposes to Holo after falling in love with her at first site. Lawrence and Amarti end up in a duel over pyrite sales on credit.

The enjoyable process of thinking about how to fill the role

──Let me ask you a few questions about the series’ tenth anniversary. Please take a look back at the past ten years and tell us how you feel.

Koshimizu: It all went by so quickly. The anime was broadcasted from 2009, and before I knew it, so much time has already passed.

I do remember the Spice and Wolf series as one that started a while ago, but not ten years ago. It’s a strange feeling, but I don’t think Spice and Wolf ever gets old. The perspectives in each sentence, the world portrayed in the animation... none of it seems old-fashioned.

Even if you watch it over again, it’ll still feel like a brand new anime. Also, Holo looks gorgeous no matter how much time goes by. On the other hand, time is certainly affecting how I look… (laughs).


Koshimizu: I didn’t completely stop voicing Holo after the anime ended, though. I’ve had quite a few chances to participate as a guest character in various game apps recently. Whenever I record, I can’t help but wonder how things will turn out since it’s been such a long time. However, when I start voicing her, it all comes back to me. I also feel like I can deliver the oiran essence of how Holo speaks much more effectively now.

──It’s something that only comes with age, right?

Koshimizu: I don’t think I’ve fully mastered it, though. Maybe the oiran way of speaking just fits me better than it did when I was only twenty-something years old (laughs). In that sense, I guess I was able to experience the fun that aging can offer. This isn’t something that’s possible in just any role.

──It could be a feeling that is exclusive to actors and actresses who have played the same role for a long time.

Koshimizu: I think the feeling differs from that of “continuously playing a role for ten years” and “playing the same role for the first time in ten years”. When you play a role little by little over a span of ten years, the actor or actress experiences the same passage of time as the character does. Therefore, even if the fundamentals of the character don’t change, there are still going to be traces of maturation or evolution. When you play a role that you had ten years ago again for the first time, the sense of maturation just isn’t there. The character is frozen in time while the actor or actress continues to age.

The tone and quality of my voice haven’t changed, but the amount of experience I have is different since I’ve accumulated ten years of it. When that extra experience is shown through how I voice Holo now, things become complicated since I don’t know how the audience will react.

When I look back at the anime series, I can find things that I wasn’t capable of doing at the time. The decision between keeping everything the way it was before or voicing Holo with the skills I have now is a tough one.

──I see.

Koshimizu: I’ve been told before that I’ve gotten the character wrong when I try something new in my voice acting. It really is quite troublesome.

──That difference might be due to the fact that characters grow in the minds of the audience.

Koshimizu: It may be due to the so-called “memory adjustments”. If actors and actresses can continue playing the same character for ten years, they can make gradual changes over time and without anyone noticing the differences. They will evolve, but nobody will tell them that they’ve got the character wrong.

Gaps in time do create some dilemma, but I enjoy thinking about how I should approach each role. It’s a positive learning experience. Of course, things can get pretty rough at times (laughs).

Holo came out of nowhere and helped me out

──Tell us how you feel about who you were at the time.

Koshimizu: The parts that required all of my energy before would probably be challenging even now. By parts, I’m referring to the adjustments and consideration needed to decide how I should present the character. Coming up with a plan that maintains the proper emotional distance between me and the character - and doesn’t go against any part of the scene - isn’t an easy task. Will I be able to provide the perfect voice for Holo now? Well, I’ll never know until I try.

──Holo is a character who shows different sides of herself, and I personally have been impressed by how you were able to accurately voice each of those sides since the beginning of the series.

Koshimizu: The role of Holo always came with numerous options to pursue. I didn’t know what the correct answer was, so I would often struggle when I voiced her. I mean, the oiran way of speaking itself was a challenge. There are opportunities where you can be exposed to the language, but it’s not something that people can regularly experience or use for themselves.

When I was struggling, I felt as if Holo was trying to set me free from my troubles when I would observe her and her expressions in the videos we used to check our voice recordings.

Holo doesn’t exist in our world, but she would pop out inside my head and help me out at times (laughs). She would assure me that she knows how many options are available and encourage me to just try. Holo served as my source of emotional support numerous times, and that might be why she has such a lasting impression on me.

 In this part of the interview, we were able to learn about just how special Holo is to Ms. Koshimizu. The next part will feature discussions about why people love Holo so much, as well as more details about Holo’s charm. Stay tuned!

[Photographer: Hiroaki Aizawa; Interviewer: Haruka Ishibashi]

To celebrate the release of this interview, we are giving away an acrylic keyholder autographed by Ami Koshimizu! For more details, please check out the latest update on the Project Page below:

Spice and Wolf 10th Anniversary Project: Holo Wedding Dress Ver.

[Product Details]
Spice and Wolf 10th Anniversary Project: Holo Wedding Dress Ver. 1/8 Scale Figure

Product Name: Spice and Wolf 10th Anniversary Project: Holo Wedding Dress Ver.
Series Name: Spice and Wolf
Price: 11,800 yen (before tax)
Expected Release Month: November 2017
Specifications: 1/8 scale ABS & PVC figure
Distributor: Tokyo Otaku Mode Inc.
Manufacturer: Myethos


Spice and Wolf Interview with Ami Koshimizu (Part I): “Holo helped me in times of trouble” 1
Spice and Wolf Interview with Ami Koshimizu (Part I): “Holo helped me in times of trouble” 2
Spice and Wolf Interview with Ami Koshimizu (Part I): “Holo helped me in times of trouble” 3
Spice and Wolf Interview with Ami Koshimizu (Part I): “Holo helped me in times of trouble” 4
Spice and Wolf Interview with Ami Koshimizu (Part I): “Holo helped me in times of trouble” 5
Spice and Wolf Interview with Ami Koshimizu (Part I): “Holo helped me in times of trouble” 6
Spice and Wolf Interview with Ami Koshimizu (Part I): “Holo helped me in times of trouble” 7

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