Anime Boston, Wolf and Spice, and more Economics

By NomadOtto
In this post, our heroic narrator regales all and sundry with his tales of AnimeBoston, along with another look at the economics of wolf and spice; a pleasant time is assured to all. There may be mention of other things, including, but not limited to, inter-city busses, very odd dancing pizza-place customers, and what not to do at a con. In case you’re wondering and/or have the attention span of a newt- 1) The Pillows were awesome and 2) The lines sucked hardcore
So, as some of you might be dimly aware, I went to Anime Boston this last weekend, accompanied by everyone’s favorite rage-a-holic, Wgeneral, Demoragirl, and assorted others. The first day of the con, I arrived to Boston at about 6:00, and, hearing from Wgeneral that he had been waiting in line for 7 hours, decided to do something other than stand in line endlessly. This proved to be the correct decision, as I got pretty much everything I wanted to get done on saturday. Basically, the reason for me to go to cons (when I’m not volenteering) is to check out the panels and to pick some some cheap(er) manga, as well as to see my chucklehead friends. At Animeboston, the panels were so-so (/m/ was good, ADV and J rock were… not as much), there was one Japanese bookseller, Sasuga (which wasn’t bad, but I miss kinokuniya), and my friends were pretty spread out, so I wasn’t able to spend as much time with them as I would have liked.
The real saving grace of AnimeBoston was the Pillows concert, which was epic, even if a large chunk of the audience was full of fail and left in the middle of the concert. Love and Response (the opening act) was okay, but totally not my thing, and so I felt a little sorry for them, as they were trying to hard to be cool, but were performing for the chronically uncool, which made the tragic hipness of their music/dancing all the more “not my thing.” Also, the Pillows line was the one line that went smoothly, even though it was huge, so the staff get props for that.
Alright, enough animeboston, time for another edition of economics, spice, and wolf.  The reason why I feel it’s nessisary to have this again is because either the subs I watched were crummy (yes, I watch this show subbed, the horo-talk is annoying to translate and I don’t have much of a mercentile vocabulary) or the show didn’t do a very good job of explaining what happened to Lawrance vis a vis the armor. You see, orginally, I assumed Lawrance had blackmailed the guy into throwing in extra merchendice, but, in reality, he had blackmailed the guy into selling to him on margin, which is why Lawrance was ruined when the armor price dropped.
     Margin selling is a tool by which a small buisness is able to take advantage of economies of scale (if present), and, in general, make more money. How it works is pretty simple, basically, you borrow money in order to buy more merchendise, and then turn around and sell the stuff you bought  for a profit, and turn around and repay your creditors. For example, let’s say that I have a pie, which I bought for 10 bucks and which I can sell for 11, giving me a buck in profit. This is barely worth my time, and, so, it’s unlikely that I’ll try to trade in pies, if I can only buy/sell one at a time. If, on the other hand, I can buy 1,000 pies, and then re-sell them for 11 dollars per pie, I’ll make a profit of 1000 dollars, which is a fair chunk of money. The problem is, buying 1,000 pies takes 10,000 dollars in the first place, which is more than I’m likely to have, which means that I’m going to have to borrow the money from someone to buy the pies to make the money. This will reduce my profits slightly, as I have to pay back a little more than what I borrowed, but, if I’m careful, I can make a large chunk of money this way.
    The problem, of course, is if I’m not careful, or if something unexpected happens. For example, let’s say I buy 1,000 pies @ 10/per pie with 10 dollars of my own and 990 dollars of borrowed money (99 times leveraged)  with a 10% rate of interest on the borrowed money. Now, let’s say it takes me 1 time unit to find a buyer, and he’s only willing to pay me 9 per pie. The result, total ruin, as I make 900 dollars from the sale, but am forced to pay 990 (base) + 99 (interested) to my lender, meaning that I’ve lost 189 dollars from this transaction, which, considering I only had 10 dollars to my name, is devistating. This is the situation that Lawrance is in, and why he is so desperate.
    In general, margin selling is used when you think that a commodity is undervalued, and the price will jump in the near future. Its counterpart, selling short, is used when you think the value of a commodity is going to drop, but, it’s a rather odd position to take, and, at least in our world, something that is heavily regulated, because a short seller has an incentive to mess up the company they’re investing in/ product they’re selling, to ensure that the price drops.  Another reason why selling short isn’t as popular is because the methods that you’re using (basically, you’re selling objects that you don’t own yet, with the understanding that you’ll deliver them when you acquire them, and then buying the necessary articles once the price drops) are nonintuitive, unlike the fairly simple art of margin buying.
 As Shingo has said, Hisahiko pretty much owns the field of Spice and Wolf fanart
Anyway, that’s all for now. Soon, there will be Utena and other fun stuff. Picture credit to Hisahiko (

8 Responses to “Anime Boston, Wolf and Spice, and more Economics”

  1. 1 Kabitzin March 28, 2008 at 1:21 am

    I think the other problem was that the armor probably wasn’t worth what Lawrence paid for it, even though he got 50% off MSRP. Lawrence should have stuck to buying things he knows are useful.

    LOL @ that picture, btw.

  2. 2 The Animanachronism March 28, 2008 at 4:24 am

    So that’s what was going on. Your explanation is certainly a lot more interesting than the most sophisticated explanation of events that I could come up with (‘Lawrence got shafted – again’).

  3. 3 TheBigN March 28, 2008 at 7:41 am

    You know, for a show that’s instructing us on economics, you would think they could explain things a bit better. I still don’t understand what transpired with the smuggling attempt economics-wise, so if you could also explain that, that would be cool. 😛

    Again, thanks for doing these. And glad to see that you had some semblance of fun at Anime Boston. :3

  4. 4 Kabitzin March 28, 2008 at 9:59 am

    Do you mean why they were smuggling gold? In cities where the church is powerful, gold is very expensive because the church has to first “bless” the gold. This is how the church makes a lot of money and also controls the trade of gold. All gold coming into these cities has to be inspected for the church seal, or else the merchant could lose a hand or otherwise be punished.

    The daring plan is to go to some pagan city and buy gold for cheap. The gold has to be smuggled past checkpoints because it does not have the church seal. However, since gold is expensive in church cities, Lawrence and co. would then be able to make a high profit since they bought the gold for so cheap from a bunch of heathens.

  5. 5 nomadotto March 28, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    Couldn’t have said it better myself (well, I probably would have talked about how blessing it makes is a holy relic in the eyes of the law, which isn’t subject to tariff like gold and other luxuries are, but that’s fluff).

  6. 6 TheBigN March 29, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    Thanks for the info Kabitzin and nomad. How come they couldn’t say that in the show? ;_;

    And fluff is always good. The more background info, the better. :3

  7. 7 Shay Guy January 5, 2009 at 4:42 am

    The concept of buying on margin is most familiar to me through the fact that people did it like crazy with stocks in the 1920s. That worked out REAL well.

    Also, the late-90s FoxTrot strip I first learned the term from:
    Jason: “I set your E-Lynchity account up so you can trade on margin.”
    Roger: “What’s that mean?”
    Jason: “It means you can buy stocks galore with borrowed money and after the stocks shoot up, you pocket the profits. It’s foolproof!”
    Roger: “Unless the stocks go down, that is.”
    Jason: “Stocks can go down?”

    Roger: “Hello, E-Lynchity? Is there someone I could speak with who was born before the ’90s?”
    Jason: “I’m telling you, Dad, stocks don’t go down.”

  8. 8 Persona June 6, 2010 at 2:24 am

    That picture turned me on pretty badly.

    On a related note. What kind of underwear does Nora wear? I don’t know if they would have (or so it looks like) thongs in those times.

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