Monday, June 2, 2008

xxxHolic vol. 1 Impression

Are you an xxxHolic? Holic’s have desires, lusts and wants they need help with, some are welcome, some are not. Watanuki has a problem with spirits. He sees them and they follow him, a curse his family endures. With no parents and living on his own what’s a boy to do with these daily torments … visit the Dimensional Witch of course. One day Watanuki finds himself at the front door of the Dimensional Witch Yuko who tells him his ending up there was inevitable. Yuko can help Watanuki, but for a price, not money but rather something dear to the bearer, equal in value to the help given. In order to be free of his torment Watanuki becomes Yuko’s employee cooking, cleaning, helping her with the unique customers that come into her shop. He quickly learns that not only can Yuko put away a bottle of saki but not every client helped heeds her advice. Each customer seems to not understand how they ended up in the shop so the help given is not always heeded. Each case is unique from Watanuki’s and Yuko’s meeting to the assistance of a school rival to a girl that lies and the truth about fortune telling. Each case is different, each errand a new lesson learned and the characters met along the way precious and twisted in one manner or another.

The stories found in xxxHolic volume 1 from FUNimation remind me in many ways of Hell Girl. Each story is unique and weaves a tale to be enjoyed by anime goers looking for that something different anime. Exploring human vices, ones that they may not wanted cured, is always a journey into the weird and twisted, and it’s a journey viewers will thoroughly enjoy with xxxHolic. Yuko does not cure ills, she does not help just those looking for help, but those fate brings too her. A girl that lies for no reason may not want to be cured, another child may want to be taken over by bad spirits, and it’s not all black and white. These stories from Clamp are pure pleasure to watch and finally give us a look into the witch only touched on during Tsubasa. The humor mixed in with the story telling is well done, paced perfectly. The animation and character design is a delightful visual cocktail that leaves the sense tantalized and thirsting for more. Yuko and friends are each designed so uniqly with long arms and legs relaying a grace and sometimes clumsiness just perfect for what we are watching. So much thought was put into each character that the background characters are just grey masses passing in time. It’s good stuff.

I’m sure by now you can tell I really did xxxHolic. We are a few DVD in now, and I’m going to touch on the next few volumes, but this is by far one of the best anime in 2008 with a great mixture of story, design, animation and emotion. It hits on the right chords and will please all but the most action only anime fans, hell maybe even some of them too. Take a chance on xxxHolic. Clamp is an excellent studio and I’m finding myself having a hard time doubting any of their work.

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