XxxHolic

XxxHolic

, pronounced "holic", is a seinen manga series planned and presented by Clamp. It has been serialized in Kodansha's Young Magazine periodically since 2003 and published in volumes under the KC Deluxe label. It is currently published in the United States by Del Rey Manga and in the United Kingdom by Tanoshimi.

The plotline concerns a high school student, Kimihiro Watanuki, who can see spirits and demons. He enters a wish-granting shop run by a powerful witch, Yūko Ichihara, who agrees to grant Watanuki's wish to stop seeing sprits and demons in exchange for working as her hired hand. Her errands expose Watanuki and his friends to the diverse paranormal and metaphysical situations around them. The plot differs slightly between the manga and anime adaptation, but the general plotline is consistent between the two.

The animated movie xxxHolic: A Midsummer Night's Dream was released in Japan on August 20 2005. The DVD of the movie was released on November 24 2006 and a TV animation series began airing on TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting System) on April 6,2006 in Japan. Both the movie and TV series have been licensed by Funimation Entertainment for distribution in the United States. A second season of the TV animation, entitled aired from April 3 to June 26, 2008.

After the end of the second season, a special episode was announced for a DVD-only release, confirmed to be a bundle release with volume 14 of the manga on January 16, 2009.

Similar to the announcement in its sister publication Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle months earlier, on April 28, 2008, in chapter 157 prior to beginning a five week hiatus, it was announced that xxxHolic is approaching its conclusion.

Although not actually confirmed on the Manga Entertainment website, the first television series is to be released in the United Kingdom by them, and not Revelation Films. It is however confirmed in the August Edition of the Manga Entertainment Newsletter, with the first part of the series to be released on 27 October 2008. It is unclear if Manga Entertainment plan to also licence the movie for UK release.

Plot summary

Kimihiro Watanuki is a high school student plagued by yōkai, spirits with a strong attraction to him. The spirits are invisible to others and encounters with them are extremely troublesome. When he stumbles into a shop that grants wishes, however, events in his life promise to become more unusual.

The shop is owned by Yūko Ichihara, a mysterious and beautiful witch of many names and esoteric renown. For a price, she offers to grant Watanuki's wish to be rid of the spirits. The price, according to Yūko, must be of equal value and so, as payment, he temporarily becomes Yūko's part-time employee.

Watanuki's job consists of small errands dealing with the supernatural and household chores. His love interest, Himawari Kunogi, and "rival," Shizuka Dōmeki, occasionally join him in his work as per Yūko's request. The three become increasingly close despite Watanuki's annoyances with Dōmeki.

Characters

is a typical high-school student living on his own. He is down-to-earth and selfless, but also very irritable, especially when it comes to Yūko's lavish demands and Dōmeki's stoic attitude. Watanuki begins working for Yūko in exchange for the fulfillment of his wish: to never see spirits again. Despite the fact that he hates his ability, Watanuki often goes out of his way to help people that he comes into contact with because of his power, even when he is not required to do so by his job. Apart from Dōmeki and Himawari, Watanuki does not seem to have any friends at school; in fact, Yūko teases him about being unpopular. is a very powerful witch, mostly known for her ability to send people to other dimensions and times, and for her ability to grant any wish in exchange for an equal cost. She knows many different people, including Clow Reed together with whom she created the Mokonas. Despite her seemingly immature and free-spirited attitude, Yūko is also sage-like and serious when the time calls for it. is Watanuki's classmate and one-sided rival. He is part of the school's archery club and often participates in school competitions. He lives in a shrine owned by his late grandfather. Dōmeki's personality sharply contrasts with Watanuki's, as he is calm and often sarcastic. Dōmeki has the ability to rid evil spirits and be immune to most curses, mostly due to his ancestry and how his grandfather taught and raised him in a temple. is Watanuki's main love interest. She is a kind and caring girl, but inadvertently brings bad luck to everyone she comes into contact with, with the exception of her parents and Dōmeki.

Adaptations

Movie

A movie adaptation titled premiered on August 20, 2005. The subtitle is a reference to William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

In the film, Yūko receives a request from a woman to help her back into her mansion which for some reason does not allow her to enter. Yūko says since Watanuki was the one who brought the client to her, Watanuki should be the one to grant her wish, and therefore brought along. Dōmeki is also brought along to help and Yūko attends not only to grant her client's wish but also because she is invited to the mansion where many famous collectors were also invited with the same letter. Inside the mansion are strange rooms and mysterious letters telling its guests what to do in place of a host. Though the collectors think up the theory of a mysterious auction being held like in an urban legend, it becomes apparent that something more sinister and mysterious is going on. One after another, each collector disappears and a number of other strange occurrences happen during the night. The real reasons behind the invitations must be discovered in order for Yūko and company to get to the bottom of this mystery.

The film was selected as a finalist for the prestigious Annecy International Animated Film Festival 2006 in the Feature Films category with other four nominees: Asterix and the Vikings, Origin: Spirits of the Past, Wallace and Gromit, and the award winner, Renaissance.

It's released together on the same date with Tsubasa Chronicle movie, which was produced together by the same studio.

TV series

The first season of TV anime adaptation of xxxHolic began airing on TBS on April 6, 2006 in Japan and ended on September 28, 2006, with 24 episodes in total. Both the movie and the anime series are directed by Tsutomu Mizushima. Ageha Ohkawa, Clamp's director and main scriptwriter, is executive producer of the TV series. Due to differing studios licensed for the anime, the plot is not as complete as the manga, mainly with the Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle and Cardcaptor Sakura references being removed (though Sakura's staff from CCS and Fay's staff from Tsubasa are seen in episode 18 when Watanuki is in the storage room, and Fay's staff is also seen in Episode 8 being used as a rug beater).

The second season, , began airing on TBS on April 3, 2008 in Japan and ended on June 26, 2008, with 13 episodes in total. Kei, in Japanese, means "sequel" here. The main staff and cast remains the same as in the first season. In Chapter 154 of the manga release, there is a section offering readers preview of the second season. It shows episodes correspond to both the anime and its manga arc counterparts like the Spider Grudge arc, Kohane Tsuyuri and Haruka.

The first season of the xxxHolic anime was relatively loyal to the comic's timeline, whereas Kei has episodes which concentrated on the backgrounds of some of the smaller arcs in the xxxHolic manga. The most notable alternation in Kei is in the Kohane Tsuyuri arc, as she was introduced earlier in the anime and she was able to enter Yūko's shop without having a wish. Episode 10 of the anime changed and closed the Kohane arc in which Kohane was able to resolve her differences with her mother on her own while in the manga Kohane's role is still active to the ongoing series.

Connections with Tsubasa Chronicles were also seen in Kei. In episode 7, a connection with Tsubasa's Tokyo Revelations OVA occurs with the water containers, which are the same as those used to fill the underground reservoir in the Tokyo Government Building. Also, in episode 11, the egg given to Watanaki by Yuuko is the same egg retrived by Sakura from the caves in Tokyo Revelations OVA.

OVA

A two DVD OVA has been announced for xxxHOLiC. The first DVD for this OVA will be released on January 16, 2009 with the 14th Volume of the manga. Another two DVD OVA which will crossover with this one was also announced for the Tsubasa series. Its first DVD will be released in February of 2009. It is not known if the OVA will continue on after the Himawari story arc to the next story arc, or if it'll be an anime-only ending.

Novel

, a novel set within the series was written by Nisio Isin and published in Japan on 1 August 2006.http://shop.kodansha.jp/bc2_bc/search_view.jsp?b=2135094]. The first chapter of the novel, "OUTERHOLiC," was the basis for episode 17 of the animated series. The novel includes original artwork by Clamp. Del Rey has announced that the novel will be published in English and will releasing it on 14 October 2008.

Design

Themes

Watanuki's growth and change caused by his experiences from meeting one person is a recurring theme. According to a fortune teller in volume 2, Yūko is the one that will change Watanuki. However, it is implied that he will be linked to both Yūko and Dōmeki and that all their connections were foreseen.

Recently in the story, adding to the theme of change, there is a reference to X/1999, as Yūko mentions something similar to what Kakyou Kuzuki says in a certain part of the story: "To change the world, you have to change yourself".

One such theme is the concept of , first introduced by Yūko. Hitsuzen has no direct translation into English (which is why Del Rey has opted to keep the Japanese term whenever it appears in Tsubasa or xxxHolic), but can be interpreted as referring to inevitability, destiny, or fate.

Interpreting hitsuzen as "fate" is not inaccurate, but in the context of the story, "fate" is implied as something that is immutable and definite, giving the idea that whoever is bound by fate is nothing more than its puppet. Instead, hitsuzen is the idea that an action is inevitable because without it, other related events in the future could not happen. Therefore all decisions and actions are related, and there can be no coincidence, only hitsuzen. Other English translations of the remark have rendered hitsuzen as "inevitability."

Another theme present in xxxHolic and other Clamp works can be observed in the first volume of the series. When Watanuki introduces himself to Yūko, he gives her his real name as a common courtesy. Because his name is also an obvious reference to the date of his birth (April 1, shared by Cardcaptor Sakura's Sakura Kinomoto, the incarnations of herself and Syaoran in Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle), he has given her two key bits of information that will inevitably give someone the power to discover everything about him (based on his birthday) and control his destiny (from his name). This theme has previously appeared in Tokyo Babylon, where Subaru Sumeragi made a similar mistake revealing his true birthdate to Seishirō Sakurazuka.

Relation to other series

Clamp related

One major factor in xxxHolic is the connections between Clamp's other manga; many of Clamp's characters outside of xxxHolic appear in this manga. In Chapter 3, Yūko tells Watanuki about a girl living in this world with her boyfriend: Sakura Kinomoto, the protagonist of Cardcaptor Sakura. In the 12th and 13th chapter, characters from Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, one of Clamp's other series, make their first appearance in the story. xxxHolic character Yūko Ichihara likewise appears in a corresponding chapter of Tsubasa. In the 13th chapter, Watanuki meets Mokona which Yuuko says was created as a model using the original Mokona from Magic Knight Rayearth. In Chapter 8, when Watanuki goes to a drug store, he meets Kazahaya and Rikuo, characters from Legal Drug. A fortune teller friend of Yuuko's appears in Kobato and also appears in Chapter 16 of xxxHolic, though the old lady has a bigger significance in xxxHolic. In addition, various items, like headphones resembling Persocom ears (from Chobits), or Sakura's wand from Cardcaptor Sakura, and also the first book Chi reads in Chobits appear. Yūko's use of hitsuzen has also been mentioned in Cardcaptor Sakura by Kaho Mizuki as she remarks that "there are no coincidences, only hitsuzen".The link between other series is one of the focal points of xxxHolic, and the two series Tsubasa and xxxHolic are intimately linked and frequently crossed over.

Additionally Yuuko makes references to other characters from different works of Clamp but rarely calls them by name.

Clamp has stated that Tsubasa and xxxHolic are meant to tie all of their works together, yet still stand alone as their own stories.

Non-Clamp related

Other, non-Clamp anime and manga series are often referenced by various characters, usually Yūko. These works tend to be older anime.
In manga
In chapter 8, Yuko uses a marker to write Zantetsuken (The Sword That Cuts Iron) on a baseball bat. She then goes through a bunch of action poses and cuts a laptop ending with Goemon Ishikawa's trademark phrase from Lupin III by Monkey Punch. Another reference, made by Yuko, is in chapter 42 of the manga is to Cat's Eye. Other references include Urusei Yatsura by Rumiko Takahashi in chapter 46, etc.
In animation
In episode 1 of the second series, xxxHolic Kei, Yūko is seen reading an issue of Ōkiku Furikabutte a baseball manga; earlier in that episode the characters were seen watching a baseball match in which the player had the same uniform as the characters of that manga. There are two common links between Ōkiku Furikabutte and xxxHOLiC – the comics they are based on are both published by Kodansha, while their animated adaptations are both directed by Tsutomu Mizushima.

In Episode 3 Maru and Moro are seen playing with a Tachikoma plamo, the spider-like mecha of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and a Yamamoto battleship plamo, both built by Yūko and company while waiting for Watanuki to return. The Ghost in the Shell and xxxHolic franchises are both animated by Production I.G.

In episode 4 of xxxHolic Kei, Yūko is seen holding a copy of Weekly Young Magazine (in which the xxxHolic comic is serialized).

Media

Books

Several fanbooks have been released in Japan.

Videogame

An adventure game by Marvelous Entertainment for the PlayStation 2 video game console was released in Japan on 9 August 2007, named .

Notes

External links

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