What would you do if you were born a spirit magnet? You not only see spirits, these disembodied beings also try to attach themselves to you. Some even try to attack you.
To Kimihiro Watanuki of “xxxholic”, this is not a hypothetical scenario but a daily occurrence. The high school student often solves his problem by running away from them – literally. While fleeing one day, he happens to stumble and touch a fence. The spirit chasing him vanishes because the fence is actually a barrier.
He takes a peek and sees a house. His feet takes him of their own accord inside the place where he meets the beautiful space time witch Yuuko Ichihara. That’s not her real name by the way, as she tells him later. This is her shop where she grants wishes for a price. He doesn’t want to see spirits anymore and she has the ability to make that happen. So they make a deal and he becomes her cook/housecleaner/errand boy. He will work off the price of the wish.
But Yuuko’s shop exposes Watanuki to more weird events and unusual companions. And he seems to be destined for something. As she said, there are no coincidences in this world just hitsuzen. The word has been translated to mean “inevitability”.
The 24-episode series, which is based on a manga by CLAMP, aired its final episode Sept. 28 in Japan. FUNimation reportedly has picked it up for the U.S. market.
“xxxholic” deals with the supernatural hence stories about the consequences of wishing on a monkey’s paw. The quality of the animation is inconsistent with three or four episodes looking quite ugly. The way the characters are drawn with elongated limbs and bodies in the manga doesn’t translate so well in animation. There are some boring episodes I could have done without as well. And unlike the manga, no characters or events from “Tsubasa Chronicle” appear in the anime.
Watanuki for all his short temper and whining is a likeable character. He’s an orphan who has learned to fend for himself at a young age. He hardly has any friends and the girl he likes seems to keep him at a friendly distance. He views another student, Doumeki Shizuka, as his rival and gets irritated with him easily. But the poker-faced Doumeki has the ability to repel spirits and shoot spirit arrows so Yuuko usually solicits his help to protect Watanuki.
As payment, Watanuki makes him lunches grudgingly. Doumeki also makes lunch requests which further annoys him.
I have no complaints on the latter half of the series. The story about Watanuki bonding with the lonely woman who lost a son is the basis for episodes 22 and 23. It is faithful to the manga and touching enough to make you reach for the tissue box. The barbarian who borrowed the tape with the last three episodes returned it this week to the anime store so I finally got to see it.
Suga Shikao’s “19sai” which serves as the opening theme also grows on you. I have it playing on my MP3 player right now.