There are not many anime I would consider watching without intense fighting, blood, or tons of perverted humor.  However, when a good anime is introduced to me I never pass up the chance to watch it and so I had to finish ×××ホリック xxxHOLiC, as nothing is coincidental, it had to be fate I was introduced to this series.

You will be following the story of Kimihiro Watanuki who is dealing with an unwanted special ability to that enables him to see spirits.  One day he is drawn to a mysterious shop where he happens upon a woman, Yuuko, who will do so for him in order to be free of this burden as long as he works to pay his debt and have his wish granted.  What does he experience while in her service?  And why was he led here?  This is the ×××ホリック  xxxHOLiC anime review.

[ How I Came to Watch xxxHolic ]

Before I was introduced to it I had already heard of xxxHOLiC by passing through the manga section at Boarders books when it was still around and in the anime section of Netflix.  However, because of Holic's shoujo-like drawings and  the fact I believed it to be mostly a woman's type of anime, I paid no mind to it and immediately disregarded it as worthy of my time.  As I have said before, I mostly like anime that includes a lot of death, action, blood, fighting, and most things stereotypical of something that would appear in Shonen Jump type magazines.

I met a new friend not too long ago and she is also into anime and introduced me to this series while I was at her house.  It happened while we were browsing Netflix and looking for something to watch and decided to browse through the available anime they had.  I remember her asking, "Have you ever heard of or watched xxxHOLiC?" she told me I may not like it but I should give it a try, and that is how I came about this series.

Content Index
01.)  Story Synopsis.
02.)  Thoughts & Impressions.
03.)  The Verdict.

[ Story Synopsis ]

Yuuko and Kimihiro Watanuki
This story starts off with a boy named Kimihiro Watanuki having trouble with spirits following him because he has an unusual attraction towards them, probably because he has a unique ability which allows him to see them when nobody else is able to do so.  He has to experience this phenomenon everyday of his life and it is very apparent that he is burdened by this, probably because no one else is able to see them and because he is chased by these spirits.  Very soon he is pulled into a shop against his will where he meets Yuuko Ichihara, Mokona, Marudashi, and Morodashi.  The shop is not ordinary as the outside exists within the real world but the inside seems to exist elsewhere.  Yuuko tells him that he would not be in the shop if it were not for a wish that he needed to have granted as only those who are in need can enter the shop.  Yuuko then proceeds to tell him about his special ability that ails him, almost as if she were psychic and that nothing is a coincidence and everything is fated.  She offers her services to grant his wish of being free from his ability to see the spirits  only after an equivalent exchange takes place; that in which he pays his debt to have his wish granted.  This is how he comes to be a part-timer at her shop, but she seems to have done so for a special reason.

Watanuki is employed by Yuuko for his "debt" during the duration of the series and is responsible for a variety of tasks: Cooking and cleaning, running miscellaneous errands, and even temporarily looking after the shop if Yuuko should have to attend to business outside of the shop.  During this time he learns a great many things about the world, demons, spirits, and the difference bad habits, selfishness, and carelessness can make in your everyday life.  He receives help from his friends Shizuka Doumeki and Himawari Kunogi in many of his tasks; but he also encounters many new friends, such as the Vestal Sprite Zashiki-warash, Rain Sprite Ame-warashi, and Kudagitsune (Pipe Fox) who also lend aid at one point or another.

Learning about the world and various mysterious that have to do with folklore, spirits, and demons; Watanuki uses the aid of friends and his special ability in order to pay his debt. to Yuuko while simultaneously setting the plot for an even deeper purpose.

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[ Thoughts & Impressions ]

Yuuko, Sakura, and Himawari
Surprising to me was the fact that many of the things talked about and expressed in xxxHOLiC could be related to the average person's everyday life.  They had many lessons that could easily be learned through the situations presented by some of the people that found their way into Yuuko's shop, for each had problems they needed to fix but were unable to do so of their own volition.  One such example is in Episode 6: Indulgence, speaks about a woman with a computer addiction who placed the internet and her online interactions above her family and day-to-day life.  This woman required the assistance of Yuuko to combat her impulses to snap her back to reality.  In Episode 2: Falsehood, it shows a woman who cannot stop making up different lies about her boyfriend and her job, eventually resulting in a series of tragic events in her life that could easily have been avoided had she told the truth.  During each of these events Yuuko actually did her best to help the person involved but allowed them to make their own decision on whether-or-not they would actually stop their habit, some did and some did not but it comes back to the old saying, "You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink", the same is true for real life where sometimes people do not possess a strong enough will to combat their habits.

Something else I appreciated about this series was showing that there are consequences for every action that you take, good or bad.  Another such instance featured in Episode 9: Pinky Promise, features a woman who was led to the shop by that same mysterious force that drove Watanuki there, she had no idea why she was summoned but was given a ring by Yuuko all the same.  Come to find out that that this woman was a habitual liar who was took on different personalities depending on the man she was in a relationship with; this led to all the guys she was dating and had dated confronting her at once and lead to a horrible outcome simply because she was not open and honest with herself and all those involved.  Another example of what I am referring to takes place in Episode 17: Self-Mutilation, which is about a woman who continuously denies herself the rewards she has earned in order to not bear the responsibility associated with it.  This series talks a lot about balances, and how there is no good without bad or vice versa; by this logic if she were to reward herself something equally bad would have to happen in order for there to be balance, she does not want to bear that burden.  I completely agree that every action you have has a reaction and there does need to be a sense of balance in life or chaos will ensue.  Nothing will ever feel good if you have never felt the bad, and bad times are meaningless and will not help us to be stronger if we do not know of good times in order to better endure our hardships.

The things they tell are rather good, however, I am still not sure why Watanuki's debt to be paid to Yuuko is taking so long.  Most people who have entered in the shop are told of the consequences (So was Watanuki) she helps them AND THEN she takes payment near immediately from whatever she can find on their person of equal value, this is not the case with him.  Throughout the series, even from the very beginning, they mention about him being "The One", and while I believe Yuuko is probably training him in some ways to replace her, I cannot really be too sure about the direction xxxHOLiC is taking at this point and time besides providing life's lessons for us watchers.  Also, I am quite unsure about many of the other things we saw and if they were just fillers or actually taught another lesson (Such as when a snowball fight took place from their snowmen coming to life and Watanuki winning a "Pandora's Box").

The characters involved in this anime are all different and I find them to be completely interesting individuals, each with a unique personality that you can grow to love the more you get to know them.  Watanuki is particularly interesting because he is pure of heart, despite having no parents and forced to live on his own with such an eerie power.  Doumeki seems to be an unshakable force with a monotone voice and indomitable spirit.  Yuuko seems more powerful than she appears, and though often drunk and carefree, she is quite the serious woman who has quite an eccentric approach to teaching Watanuki some of life's important lessons.  I find everyone, even the secondary characters in this series, have a purpose  They are so different from each other it is easy for you to get sucked into the anime simply because of how they mesh so well together being so different, kind of like how real life is.  Also, I love they way they all seem to aid each other, or rather, how they aid the main character Watanuki.  Doumeki has a special ability to where he can dispel spirits, so Watanuki has nothing to fear as long as there is not a massive number of them, and Himawari has something about her that has not been revealed as of yet.

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 [ The Verdict ]

Morodashi and Marudashi


Overall, this series focuses upon life and everything it has to offer through imaginative story-telling and talking about the world of spirits, creatures, demons, and what have you.  I like the subtle messages it gives about habits, superstitions, and even how you view yourself as it all makes a difference and eventually manifests itself into your life.  I also like how it gives you insight on situations that may seem hopeless or futile for you, but in actuality could have a simplistic solution if you are willing to stop being a victim of your negativity.

Through fun character and selective story telling we are shown things that make us reflect on ourselves and our habits and question whether-or-not our actions are helping or harming us.  This is the type of series that you cannot help but finish once you start for the simple reason of it making so much sense and seeming fated.  For me at least, this series came at a time when I needed it.  Yuuko says all the time that "You had to meet me, there is no such thing as a coincidence", and I feel that way about this anime.  I learned a lot about myself and did a real self-analysis and found out that some things in my life may be holding me back or effecting me negatively, it also changed my view points as far as a few other subjects were concerned.  I think everyone should watch xxxHOLiC at least once and heed well the lessons taught from the various episodes.

Thank you for reading my review for CLAMP's xxxHOLiC anime!  Arigatou & Sayonara!

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