xxxHOLiC - 01 [FIRST]

April 10, 2006 on 8:10 pm | In xxxHOLIC |


CLAMP anorexia at its best—dealing with spirits, weird creatures, and seductive womanz!

  • Synopsis

“Kimihiro Watanuki is a young boy with a cursed gift. He has the ability to see evil spirits, and somehow they seem attracted to himself. One day he meets a mysterious woman who names herself Yuuko. She claims to have the means to end his torment, but she never works for free, and she wouldn’t help him until he works for her enough to pay for her services. Thus he starts to work in her shop and discovers that in that place, nothing is what it seems” (Anime News Network).

  • OP/ED Songs

Pretty good, actually. Probably better quality than the anime deserves? I have never heard of the artists but the music is very Westernized for Japanese, especially the OP.

OP: Shikao Suga - “19sai”

ED: Fonogenico - “Reason”

  • First Impressions

I was a little skeptical about xxxHOLiC, because I’m not usually one for the dark or supernatural (I take anime like Mushishi in doses, and that’s only if it’s excellent in the first place). But xxxHOLiC proved worth watching, at least the first episode. I opened up the .avi with the expectation that I would be pummeled with loads of dark fantasy: a protagonist dwelling over existentialist questions while ominous music echoes in the background. Instead, I find myself smirking a little at the whiny main character being molested by spirits and gawked at by passerby. Pleasant surprise.

The actual plot is a little unclear at this point, but the basic synopsis has been laid down. Boy sees spirits. Boy accidentally begins communicating with mysterious beautiful woman with strange beings in her shop. Boy gets snagged somehow. Crazy stuff happens. This is all well and good, but I just hope the anime doesn’t succumb too much to supernatural angst and keeps its humor and entertainment value up.

Watanuki’s wimpy, easily-manipulated character may prove to be a little annoying, but it also adds to the comic value of the anime. And yes, I realize, how can there be a plot in this series if there wasn’t a wimpy Watanuki and a manipulative Yuuko to boss him around? Oh, and I must express my desire to see a twisted romance form between experienced older woman and naive younger boy.

  • Animation Review

I have mixed feelings about the animation style, especially the character design. I had trouble watching Tsubasa Chronicle for the same reason…The tall, lanky, anorexic characters have never appealed to me. They are like the anti-superdeformed chibi. I have trouble coming to terms with the fact that the “hero” of the series probably has only 60lbs to his name, yet stands 8 feet tall. I am hoping that I can just grow accustomed to the style, because the anime itself seems very interesting. You cannot let animation style alone impede you from enjoying a good series! (Think of the huge schnozzes in Escaflowne).

Aside from the characters’ lanky frames, however, I absolutely love the coloring and drawing styles. There is something about the simplicity in shapes and lines that really stands out. Yuuko’s head is a good example. Her head, hair, nose, and eyes have perfect curves and points and straight lines, but her personality comes across strongly. The droopiness of her perfectly constructed heavy lids reflect her confidence, nonchalance, and calm.

There is not a lot of detailed shading, either—mostly minimal cell-shading effects. Yet you cannot say this anime lacks detail, because it has plenty. Think…mild anime minimalism at its best. Modern digital minimalism art will contain pockets of detail in a sea of simplicity. For example, the costume design is rich yet otherwise gaudy clothes are tamed by the solid shading and geometric curves and lines.

  • Voice Review

I have to say it…YES! ARIKA IN CUTE BLOBBY FORM! I must admit that after my bout of Mai Otome, I have fallen in love with Kikuchi Mika’s voice. However, it seems Mika’s voice in this series will either be extremely cute or extremely annoying. But she sure is the only seiyuu that makes whining ultra cute for me.

So far I like Fukuyama Jun’s voice as the main character. He seems like a well-rounded voice actor, since he also played Fujitani from that one shounen-ai Karin episode. I like his masculine script and angry tones. Reminds me of a wussy Kyo from Fruits Basket.

As for Moro and Maru, don’t even get me started. Ick. Loli or not, the voices hurts my brainses.

In conclusion, xxxHOLiC has made it to my watch list, but for how long…?

  • Character Review

Watanuki Kimihiro: The main character, Watanuki is a high school student who is slightly awkward and dorky—the intelligent clumsy type who gets bossed around by women with big breasts. Not a bad life, eh? He also has a special gift/curse of seeing evil spirits that follow him and other people around all the time and oppress him daily.

Ichihara Yuuko Calm, collected, and knowledgeable woman who owns a mysterious shop. She obviously has some association with the spiritual world and magic, and winds up ensnaring Watanuki for whatever purpose she’s planning.

Maru and Moro: Ugh. Characters like these could head down one of two roads: cute comic relief or utter annoying hell. And they seem to be leaning toward the dark road paved with screeching loli laughter and nonsensical ramblings. Assistants (or slaves?) to Yuuko, they seem to stay in the shop.

Mokona: Having Mika’s voice is a HUGE plus, as well as being uber cute and squishy. I love the bouncy sound effects accompanied by her movement, especially the scurrying! :3


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