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Retrospective Spring Anime 2020 - 2.0 xxxHolic [message #394682] Mon, 18 May 2020 19:28
Dave Baranyi is currently offline  Dave Baranyi
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My past couple of weeks’ worth of anime viewing has involved travelling down memory lane to the late 2000s with CLAMP’s “xxxHolic”. I re-watched the first anime season, the second anime season and the movie and then watched for the first time the two OAV series. I remembered liking the anime series and remembered finding the movie so-so. I was surprised while re-watching them to find that I had forgotten so many of the episode story lines and details.

I felt that the series in general held up quite well, particularly the first season. There were a lot of things done with the anime that should be used by contemporary animation companies as far as storytelling, direction and editing are concerned. And the general look and feel still came over are reasonably contemporary. One thing that struck me was seeing dimpled metal sidewalk ramps at street corners – those things are being installed right now at street corners in my neighborhood some 14 years after the first anime season came out.

As far as how well the story has held up – well, CLAMP is CLAMP. The main thing that struck me this time through is how much Yuuko reminded me of the Devils in Kyuu (Q) Hayashida’s manga “Dorohedoro” (which was also published during the same time as xxxHolic). Yuuko is supposed to be a “witch” but her deal making in wishes is more in accordance with the traditional Deal With the Devil in the sense that Yuuko usually allows her clients to make bad choices. Watanuki calls Yuuko “selfish” but she is beyond that. As with the Devils in Dorohedoro Yuuko has nearly unlimited power crossed with extremely limited accountability.

As far as the OAVs go, I found “Shunmuki” to be fine, but nothing special. The jarringly abrupt jump into the “Tsubasa” story line and characters did nothing for me (I am not a fan of “Tsubasa” at all). I really liked the first part of “Rou” and found it to be as good as the best episodes of the first season. I found the second part of Rou to be much less engaging, particularly in comparison with the first part.

So, all-in-all, xxxHolic was a reasonably entertaining trip back into anime of the late 2000s. I would certainly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t seen it.

Dave Baranyi
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