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Kori's xxxHOLiC Tv Review

xxxHOLiC xxxHOLiC Screenshot Yuuko, the Shopkeeper xxxHOLiC Screenshot Watanuki, protected by the pipe fox xxxHOLiC Screenshot Doumeki, the ace in archery xxxHOLiC Screenshot Doumeki, Himawari & Watanuki

xxxHOLiC tv Review

Kimihiro Watanuki sees youkai and ayakashi spirits. Seeking to get away from the spirits who literally haunt him, he finds himself one day pulled by a force into a shop; there, he meets Yuuko Ichihara, also known as the Dimension Witch, who tells him that this meeting was Inevitable (Hitsuzen).

Yuuko grants wishes for the appropriate price. Sensing that Watanuki's dearest wish is to stop seeing spirits, she promises to take the spirits away in exchange for Watanuki working in her home as a cook and cleaner. Bound perhaps by the inevitable, Watanuki agrees.

However, this is only the beginning. Watanuki beings to participate in 'jobs' with Yuuko, and his unique powers are often the reason for the job itself. In order to complete these jobs, Watanuki must work with his hated rival, Shizuka Doumeki, who possesses exorcist powers. But under these jobs hides a plot, and unbeknownst to Watanuki, Yuuko is using his help in order to stop it...

Description: twinklebyte

Story & Characters

This is a review of the series of 24 episodes (23+1). If you're looking for a review of the movie, you can find it here.

In xxxHOLiC, we follow the daily life of Watanuki, an unfortunate young man with the ability to see spirits. As if that isn't enough, he also attracts them. Stumbling upon a mysterious shop, he meets Yuuko, a mysterious woman who is able to grant wishes, at a price corresponding to the worth of the wish. As unhappy as Watanuki is with being able to see spirits and having them constantly bothering him, it is only natural for him to want his situation to change. In exchange, he must work at Yuuko's shop; do chores, cook etc. In the meantime, he will meet people and get into situations he never thought he'd get into.

The story of xxxHOLiC doesn't keep a very clear red thread as I hoped it would. Each episode is a new day, each with different storyline. Usually it ends with a monologue by Yuuko, who speaks of spirits, life, fate and such. Thus, the plot isn't very deep.

Watanuki is a young man who easily gets annoyed and angry. Not many conversations go by without him yelling. While he's usually upset and irritated, the people around him take it with ease.
Yuuko, our shopkeeper, is a mysterious woman whose favourite thing to do is to drink various kinds of alcoholic beverages, together with Black Mokona (a rabbit-looking kind of thing not of this world). She's able to change her personality from being serious, mysterious and sexy, to being giddy, childish and happy. While she may not always show it, she cares for Watanuki and makes sure he doesn't get hurt.
Doumeki can be said to be the opposite of Watanuki; calm, collected and with the power to repel evil spirits by just being there (but not able to see them). Watanuki is therefore safe in his presence but because he sees Doumeki as a rival to his love interest, Himawari, Doumeki's presence is not always appreciated. In spite of that, they are often seen together; doing the jobs Yuuko give Watanuki together and also when eating lunch made by Watanuki together because he owes Doumeki for saving his life several times.
In xxxHOLiC you will also meet reoccurring characters such as the Vestal and Rain Sprite, both characters I would've liked to know more about.

When watching this anime, you will perhaps grow tired of constantly hearing Watanuki yell, listen to Yuuko say that there is no such thing as coincidence, that everything is decided by fate and hear Himawari say that Doumeki and Watanuki are good friend. In spite of all its faults, I choose to give the storyline and characters 7/10. I was juggling between 6 and 7 during the whole anime up until the last two episodes, not counting the side story, which made me decide a 7. In the last two episodes is where I saw character development (there was also some nice background story in the side-story episode), something I've been waiting for the whole time while I was watching. The story got deep and emotional, and you saw the potential of what this anime could've become, but never became until it was too late.

Rating: 7

Art

Those who have seen a bit of xxxHOLiC or Tsubasa Chronicle know that the character designs are a little odd. The characters are way out of proportion with the head being only a little dot on the shoulders sometimes. To some, this is not acceptable. Others may find it charming. You could say that I'm one of those that find it charming but I would be lying if I said that I didn't find it weird at times.

Background people are drawn simply and coloured grey, making it unnecessarily easy for the viewer to focus his/her attention to those characters that are of interest. Our main characters are however well drawn, although quite simple compared to many anime that are being shown today. Not many colours are being used. They are all different from each other, making it easy to tell them apart even though no "weird" hair colours are being used. That's one thing I've noticed about this anime. Only characters with "reasons" to have weird hair colours have it, like the Rain Sprite and the two girls living with Yuuko (Maru & Moro). The rest of the cast have black hair and the new characters that are introduced all have a hair colour that reflects what's "normal" today.

In spite of its simplicity, there are times when close ups are very well drawn, which makes it almost worthwhile to wait for whenever that occurs.

Rating: 6

Sound

The voice acting in xxxHOLiC is the strongest point in this anime. I find all of the cast to have fitting voices for their personalities, not to mention right emotions to each scene. For example, Yuuko (voiced by Sayaka Ohara) has a very mature, adult voice with a touch of mystery. When needed, though, that matureness disappears like it's never been there and changes to being a very light, happy voice. This often occurs when she's playful and wants to drink.

Background music is however nothing to rejoice over. There are no memorable pieces, and not even the opening and ending themes catch my attention. They are, however, fitting to each scene; creepy when needed to be. The last two episodes contain almost memorable soft and sad background music with string instrument. I have to admit that I've always had a soft spot for these instruments, especially violin, so my rating may not be entirely objective.

Rating: 7

Presentation

All in all, I do not regret watching xxxHOLiC and I found it to be worth my time. I enjoyed it, and at times it was even educational in the Japanese folklore. More investigation is needed, though, before I know entirely if what's being said is true.

In some episodes, they were successful in creating a very creepy atmosphere, sometimes not. Also, some unpredicted humour were added and much appreciated.

It is understandable if xxxHOLiC may not live up to everyone's expectations. Being an anime by CLAMP, it does have a lot to live up to. I haven't read the manga and can therefore not say anything about that, or compare it to the anime. If you are, however, like me and don't have much expectations, then you may perhaps appreciate and enjoy this special anime. And if you don't get enough of it, then there is a movie you can watch as well.

Rating: 6

Final Verdict

6.50 (above average)

Reviewed by Kori, Jun 13, 2007

Comments

  1. kaisui1tatsu Jun 18, 2007

    I have only seen a few of the anime episodes on youtube, but I did enjoy the comicalness of it. I can understand that each episode is its own little story, so I agree with you. I think that this anime is a pretty good break from more serious animes if you need one. I think that the movie is also a long version of the episode, but the end of it ties into the tsubasa chronical movie, so that is a neat thing to watch out for. You have a pretty nice review here. Thanks so much for taking the time to write it for us1 ^_^

  2. Kanna14 Jun 25, 2007

    I have the manga and it's pretty cool. Never seen the anime but I might someday!^_^

  3. tuongkhanhle Jul 22, 2007

    XXXHolic is quite difference with any other manga. It have its own stories & they're always exciting & fun. And I can learn o lot of Japanese's culture...

  4. Fanatik007 Jul 12, 2009

    sound's great

  5. SchRita Dec 22, 2009

    Thanks for the review!

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