, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).