Skip to main content

XxxHolic: Not Porn

Another series has fallen before my voracious appetite for anime: XxxHolic, which you can currently see for free streaming either via Anime News Network or on Funimation's YouTube channel.  Granted, I've yet to find a legitimate source freely streaming XxxHolic:Kei (the second season) nor either of the OVAs, but on completing the first season I've certainly an opinion.

The plot is a relatively interesting setup.  The main protagonist, Kimihiro Watanuki, has been born into modern day Japan with a bloodline that grants him the ability to see and be interacted with by spirits.  This is largely a burden he has to deal with alone until he stumbles into the shop of Yuko Ichihara, a seeress who grants wishes in exchange for something of equal value.  Watanuki is informed by Yuko that everything has destiny, nobody meets her by coincidence, and he is hired on as a part-timer in exchange for granting his wish to stop being plagued by spirits.



While xxxHolic may appear to be an anime primarily about creepy supernatural occurrence, something that is weaved remarkably compellingly throughout, it just as frequently deviates into stories about human nature.  Though prone to spaz out at the drop of a hat, Watanuki is a well-meaning fellow, and he easily becomes entangled in the troubles of strangers.  Inevitably, this leads to intervention by Yuko, who points out that many of these problems are the manifestation of karmic retribution associated with bad habits or past wrongs committed.

As the script sticks close to the ideals of karmic balance and destiny, not every story behind each episode has a happy ending.  Yuko's dialogue puts a very interesting spin on each happening, her words are weaved so compellingly in the narrative that it's hard to say how much of her wisdom is dramatic exaggeration.  I came away from many episodes feeling like I've learned something... then I think about it a bit and realize that what I learned has quite a few holes in it.

My main critique with xxxHolic would be that the characters seem a tad two-dimensional at times, vestigial at others.  Watanuki's stubborn idiocy might produce some laughs, but he comes off as being too thick-headed to fulfill his role.  His high school chums, love interest Himawari Kunogi and "rival" Shizuka Domeki, are dragged into each story in order to give Watanuki somebody to share his unusual experiences with, but more often than not play no real role in that story.

Overall, xxxHolic was a lot more interesting than shojo and shonen for me, and earned a "very good" rating.  I tend to reserve better ratings for works that affect me powerfully and frequently, but xxxHolic's overall affect is that of interesting but sometimes droll philosophical bantering. 

Of an interesting additional note, CLAMP (a mangaka group of four women) has a tendency to cross worlds between their various manga series.  XxxHolic, a contemporary supernatural series, is a bit of a nexus series, most closely linked to simultaneously-developed Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, a fantasy adventure series.  Both Yuko and Watanuki come to play an important part in this alternate world, not as copies of themselves but rather as the same characters making a journey between worlds.  Taken individually, CLAMP manga series are not so complex, but put together in a whole they form rather a rather elaborate web.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Empyrion Vrs Space Engineers: A Different Kind Of Space Race

In my quest for more compelling virtual worlds, I have been watching Empyrion: Galactic Survival a lot this bizarro weekend, mostly via the Angry Joe Show twitch stream.  What I have concluded from my observations is Empyrion is following in Space Engineers' shadow, but it is nevertheless threatening the elder game due to a greater feature set (the modding scene notwithstanding).

Empyrion is made in Unity, whereas Space Engineers is built on a custom engine.  While this does put Empyrion at a disadvantage when it comes to conceptual flexibility, its developers nevertheless have a substantial advantage when it comes to adding features due to a savings of time spent that would have gone into developing their own engine.  Examples include:
Planets.  Empyrion already has planets and space to explore between them, whereas in Space Engineers planets are in the works but still awhile away (so you just have asteroid fields to scavenge).Enemies.  Space Engineers' survival mode boasts onl…

Resonant Induction Really Grinds My Gears... In A Good Way

From about 2pm yesterday until 8pm today, I've been dabbling with my latest custom mod mix for Minecraft 1.6.4, which is this time very much Universal Electricity focused.
Aside from the usual GUI enhancers and Somnia, the primary contenders in this mix were:
Calclavia Core - Of course: this is the base of the Universal Electricity system.Resonant Induction - This seems to be largely focused on increasingly more advanced methods of refining ores divided across 4 ages of technological progression.  It also includes some really cool things such as assembly lines.  I'll primarily be talking about just a few blocks out of this mod today.Atomic Science - A mod dedicated to generating more of those lovely universal electricity volts via the power of splitting the atom.  Build your own nuclear reactor!  Deal with nuclear meltdowns!  You maniac!ICBM - A mod dedicated to generating more destruction using those lovely universal electricity volts (and more than a little gunpowder), it cer…

Sometimes, The Cat Skins You

The formula for cat girls is simple enough: young girls are cute, cats are cute, so young girls who are also cats are cute times two, right?  ... Cat Planet Cuties (a.k.a Asobi ni Iku yo) does not stop there, it includes girls with guns, nudifying weaponry, and even failed romantic comedy that shows lots of skin.  Cat's out of the bag: Cat Planet Cuties is basically straight up wish fulfillment.

The overall plot is pretty simple.  The Catians are a race so advanced that they have not changed in over 70,000 years.  They discover Earth, a planet whose people have uncanny resemblances, right down to speaking the same language!  Desiring an escape from their cultural stagnation, they rename their own planet from Earth to Catia and dispatch a scout to assess the viability of first contact with this new Earth inhabited by humans.  High jinks ensue.

Other than an excuse to see some fun sci-fi devices, the plot sucks. Let me count the ways:
Kio Kakazu - The male center of our harem, a 1…