Name: Holo (The Wise Wolf)
Series: Spice & Wolf
Usual: Wine (from a wooden tankard)
Favorite Dive: The local pub
Type of Drunk:The Flirt, The Braggart, The Excesser
Seeing as it’s the tail end of autumn and that Thanksgiving — the ultimate harvest festival (in the USA) — just took place a week or so ago, Drunken Otaku is proud to honor the great drinker and animated harvest deity Holo. This positively divine boozer hails from the forest of Yoitz, a land in “the north” that hosts a short summer and long winter … the perfect excuse climate for drinking “burning wine” (brandy)! Holo comes to settle in a small town to the south, wherein she makes a pact to keep the annual wheat crop bountiful in return for offerings (of praise) from the locals.
After many, many years of attempting to appease the town’s ignorant desire while maintaining due balance with the bare minimum of bum harvests, Holo comes to be hated and mocked by the villagers. They forsake the respect and ritual required by the nature she represents in favor of environmentally stressful farming enterprises engineered by cold, unfeeling science. Inherently vain, Holo decides she’s had enough, cuts her losses, and stows away in the partially empty, covered cart of Kraft Lawrence, a travelling merchant, to escape the town.
As would most who were scorned by their lover (let alone a town of worshippers), Holo rebounds … with the first soul she sees. Hey, don’t judge. It’s vengeance companionship; the relationship’s not meant to last. Holo’s hurt, homeless, and probably hungover. This happens after the harvest festival, after all, and there was a lot of drinking going on. So what is the first thing this impulsive wolf, standing stark naked in her young maiden form, asks of Lawrence upon being roused so rudely from sleeping it off?
That’s right: hair of the dog! Bless her drinker’s soul. Unfortunately for Holo, all the alcohol Lawrence has is in his belly (remember, don’t drink and cart), and the town is far behind them. Thus begins Holo’s quest for home drink.
And drink she does! From town to town along Lawrence’s trade route and north, Holo’s flirtatious banter and feminine wiles keep her travel companion unwittingly by her side from tavern to tavern (with a festival or random celebration in-between for good measure) to tavern. At each stop, tankards end up littering the tabletop between Holo and Lawrence. Strangers at the bars, in the marketplaces, and at the hotels, drawn in by her soft appearance and bedazzling wit, end up buying her drinks. And after she drinks those drinks, those who bought her those drinks are so impressed with how much she can drink that they buy her more drinks!
But drink does not go down without consequence. She may actually be a HUGE wolf, but Holo’s petite human frame simply cannot endure her almighty thirst. Each night of overindulgence inevitably ends with Lawrence carting a piggybacked Holo up the Inn’s stairs and to their room for … a nightcap! It’s here Holo, upset at being treated like a child for being blasted, starts boasting of her fine tail, her knowledge of men's hearts, her fine tail, her sharp hearing, her fine tail, the breadth of wisdom, her fine … you get the idea. And if anyone doubts the latter, she doesn’t hesitate to flaunt her obviously earned title of “The Wise Wolf” or remind company of how long she’s managed to survive because of her quickness, power and cunning … before being put to bed like a child, a bucket beside her head “just in case.”
Although Holo can get jealous, distrustful, and hyper-sensitive while under the influence, she more often than not maintains a sharp tongue and playfully aloof demeanor that makes her company infinitely enjoyable. She is defined as one of the great drinkers simply because of how much she can imbibe (even if some of it may end up in a bucket) rather than how she handles the drink. Holo’s ingrained devotion to the consumption in excess of something as pure and wholesome as alcohol leads to conversations and situations so engaging that, if you were to take part in them by buying her a drink, you’d tell your grandchildren (but not your wife) stories about it for years until they wanted to heave too.
On the first Friday of every month (or occasionally on the hazy, hung-over Saturday directly following), Ani-Gamers blogger Ink tackles an anime, manga, or video game through the theme of alcohol in our column "Drunken Otaku." Look out for "Beer Googles" (reviews), "Great Drinkers" (character profiles), "Drinkin' Buddies" (interviews), and "Great Moments in Drinking" (more or less). To read previous entries, click here.