xxxHOLiC: Ep 2

Drama ReviewsJapanese Dramas

Another solid episode from xxxHOLiC.  A nice mix of creepy yet awesome moments.

The newest customer in this episode is a bit more interesting to watch than the one in episode 1…but also very 1D.  It seems like each customer has some sort of vice…or maybe several vices in this case.  The woman in episode 1 had the vice of lying.  The customer in episode 2 is overconfident, arrogant, and foolish.  Yuko grants him an old artifact but tells him that price is not to open it.  Of course he opens it and he finds a monkey hand that can grant him his wishes.  Death and destruction ensue.  Gee I have a feeling that is how it’s gonna end up for most of the customers.  O___O

I think the pattern for the story arcs will be:

1) Grant wish.

2) Warn about the price.

3) Customer violates price.

4) Death and destruction. 

5) Repeat.

Anyways, the awesome part in the episode is when he makes his final wish—he asks the monkey hand to delete everything.  BAD CHOICE OF WORDS, EH?!?!?  The monkey hand transforms into his OWN HAND and strangles him.  O__________________O  OMGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I WAS NOT EXPECTING THAT!!

Watanuki, by the way, is still a pleasure to watch.  I especially love the last scene when he SMILES at his crush.  He is so earnest!  There are also some hints of his sarcasm when he mutters a funny comment about Yuko’s customer.  I also like it when he tells Yuko he cannot be her maid all the time.  EHEHEHEHEHE.  Part of me wonders though, why is he going to such lengths to save Yuko’s customer?  Why is he suddenly changing from passivity to action?  It may be because he is working for Yuko now but it is not really implied that he is supposed to intervene with her customers. 

His friend Doumeki is………..not a pleasure to watch.  His main attributes are his tallness and his archery skills.  That is all.  I do not know what the original Doumeki is supposed to be like, but I felt like his character is bland.  There is this moment when he punches Yuko’s sleazy customer and goes, ‘oh I was trying to hit a fly’.  That was SUPPOSED to be a swoon-worthy moment but instead I found myself going “……………………….”  because of his acting.  SORRY DOUMEKI I BE ON WATANUKI’S SHIP.  T_____T  Is it just me!?!?!?!

^@himonogirl is that enough boobies for you?

Last but not least, the controversy over Anne’s portrayal of Yuko.  I give her credit for trying really hard.  But something is amiss here!  It seems like the drama is giving Yuko more opportunities to show her more lighthearted side.  But these moments tend to not go with the flow so well. T_T  I think the best way to go with Yuko for Anne is to make her into an eccentric mysterious character.  Eccentricity rather than humor/playfulness would still give Anne enough room to make Yuko into an interesting character.

BUT……YUKO’S WARDROBE IS GORGEOUS!!!!!  I especially liked the black dress because it really brings back memories of her in Tsubasa Chronicles! 

Overall

^GIF credit linked HERE.
I feel like the story arcs of episodes 1-2 are rather simplistic, but then again there is only so much you can do in so little time.  Also even though the stories are simple, the execution is great.  There are lots of creepy moments that make me freaked out but not TOO freaked out.  It’s not like a horror movie or anything, so don’t worry it’s because it’s not that scary.   It’s more like this eerie supernatural feeling that makes you a bit tingly inside.  I like that the drama does not depend on CG or dramatic cinematography/music just to make it feel dark and creepy.  Instead it uses CG very sparingly, only when it is absolutely necessary to get the point across.  xxxHolic may be a fantasy genre (I think it’s fantasy?) but that doesn’t mean it has to have CG all the time.  Less CG is better because it won’t detach from the serious ‘realistic’ tone of the drama. 

Overall xxxholic is going in a good direction and I can’t wait for episode 3!  It seems like Doumeki & Himawari will enter into Yuko’s shop???

 

heisui

I'm heisui, an Asian drama blogger and the creator of My Drama Tea. I love stories and writing, so I watch dramas and blog. I especially have a penchant for Japanese and Chinese dramas, and those hidden gems that are waiting to be discovered. Oh, and I'm Legend of Zhen Huan-obsessed!
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  • HAHAHAHA I knew I’d be labelled as a fetishist…
    Then, I’ll have to say that NO, this wasn’t enough. THIS will do:

    http://tsukuyomi.tumblr.com/image/33747197830

    I’m writing my recap, but I kinda agree with your statement about Anne’s portrayal. I also felt that there were parts where she looked out of character. But she’s far from being the sole to blame, because the flow of the story itself felt strained when they tried to deliver the fun.

    I loved this story, as I loved it in the manga. It was a smart move to twist it and bring new elements, so that those who already know what will happen don’t feel bored.
    I fear the bad CG in the next episode though, because this is the one where the “spooky scenes” I hated in the trailers came from.

  • I really liked this episode as well, although it didn’t have quite the “punch” of the first episode. (Maybe there wasn’t enough of agonized Sometani Shota? In that case episode three should make up for it.) I feel like it’s sort of preparation for starting to get into the more complex plot elements (the ghost stories and the introduction/presentation of other characters). I was lucky enough to come across a rumoured list of episode titles, so I think I know where they’re going, and it should be good! As for Doumeki, he was really “dull” in the manga until at least after the ghost stories (he almost always has a stone face – I think he’s actually the “rock” that Watanuki always bounces off of), so I’ll reserve judgement until then 😀 (at least it’s refreshing to not have Watanuki hating on Doumeki every five seconds lol) All in all, satisfied but expectant.

    • Oh ok I wasn’t sure if Doumeki was supposed to be that way or if it was just the actor. I guess he is alright so far then. Hehehe yes…admittedly I think my favorite moments with Watanuki are when he’s angry, smiling, or brooding. O_O Don’t know why…

      Oooo I’m looking forward to the more complex stories then!! *w* I think it will be better once they are done with all the set up/introductions.

      • I think in the manga Doumeki pretty much had to be the straight face because Watanuki was so crazy at times and Yuko could be weird lol…so you’re right, in the more serious live-action he does come off a little 1D…hopefully since they’re jumping into the plot points, this will change faster though:D looking forward to next week!!!

          • Butting in to say that, as far as the manga/anime goes, their relationship is kinda like… both? Its a rival on Watanuki’s end and a bromance on Doumeki’s.

            or to be specific, Watanuki thinks and acts like Doumeki is his rival, but Doumeki gives no sh*ts about that and saves his hide when trouble stirs.

            Anyway, I look forward to seeing their relationship (and theirs with Himawari…. I like them as a trio) pan out.

          • Actually, it’s hard to tell whether they’re bromance, rivals, or something more 😉 eheh. Because it’s CLAMP, and they have so much subtext it makes you want to scream. It really goes on your interpretation of their relationship.

            • I think they are total BROS. At first they seemed like rivals but nawwww, they can just share Himawari. 😛 Although I am kinda curious about who Himawari would chose if she had to chose between them!

  • Yeah, the actor is definitely playing the manga version of Domeki to a T. Whereas his more boring character was a good foil for the craziness of Watanuki’s temper tantrums, I really liked how his character progressed and opened up in the manga… while pretty much wearing a stone face all the way through. 😛 Kudos for him, unfortunately it really doesn’t translate well to the screen, but I did chuckle over the blandness of Domeki’s “I was hitting a fly” statement, just because I remembered the scene from the manga. I’m starting to like Anne a little more as Yuuko, but her portrayal, you’re right, is off as the multiple sides of Yuuko just aren’t jiving well in Anne’s portrayal.

    Since there were actually somewhat good story arcs in xxxHOLIC, I’m waiting for an episode that actually shows Watanuki helping & saving as not *every* customer met with death and destruction…though most of them might have.

    And question…is Anne and what’s his name playing Domeki really THAT much taller than Sometani or are they using camera angles and such to make them appear much taller (like in Lord of the Rings or Buffy where Buffy always had to stand on boxes in scenes to appear in the same frame as people who were really tall since she was soooo short)?

    • I hope it will move onto the other story arcs because it will make the drama that much better!

      I was under the impression that they are actually that tall…because I think Anne is tall and slender in real life. O_O According to dramawiki she is 175cm.

      • I think so, too.

        I know that Anne is relatively tall, but I swear at times her height (and Domeki’s) appear even taller with a big height discrepancy between her and Watanuki and then there’s another shot where their heights match better. I might be going crazy on that, though.

  • I am a big fan of CLAMP, but I never got around to start reading xxxHOLIC. It was on the top of my list when I was following Tsubasa Chronicles, because these two mangas had overlapping plot lines. Well, more than four years later, I still didn’t start on it! LOL, maybe this drama is good place to start. I wonder if they’ll ever add any Tsubasa references in there.

  • I’m really happy to have found someone following/blogging this series who doesn’t know too much about xxxHOLiC. I understand you’re familiar with Tsubasa, so you still have some knowledge of the characters, but I’m really enjoying reading your reactions to the stories as someone who doesn’t really know what’s going to happen. Honestly, less fun when someone’s review is filled with nothing but comparisons and they went into it knowing what’s gonna happen.

    just to reiterate what others have said, Doumeki’s supposed to be stone-faced. In fact, it’s made a point in the manga when an identical relative shows up that one of the only ways to tell them apart is the fact one smiles and the other doesn’t :P. I’d even go so far as to say he comes off a little more expressive here, compared to the manga where he literally only had two facial expressions.

    I actually am personally enjoying Anne’s portrayal of Yuuko, but it’s obviously not perfect I can see why people are disappointed. One of Yuuko’s charms definitely was her snarky wit but that’s harder to portray here. I think it brings out her side that’s the more distant witch who has to grant the wishes of people who don’t really understand the consequences. I’m hoping they do build on her relationship with Watanuki later, even with the time constraints.

    I read a comment from above inquiring about Tsubasa, but I personally think they would’ve tried as much as possible to keep the story enclosed in itself. Its pretty clear already that they’ve changed Watanuki’s backstory, I’m really interested in seeing what they’ve come up for him.

    • Hi Nalani! Yes I am also interested in hearing the opinions of people who have watched/read xxxholic vs. the people who haven’t. I think I won’t watch any more of the anime because I’d rather approach the drama without any more preconceptions.

      As for Yuko, I think they just need to choose one interpretation of her character and stick with it. It would be better if they go all in for a mysterious/alluring/dark Yuko than being all wishy washy and making her into a mysterious/randomly not really funny Yuko.

  • The story is taken from the manga. I remembered reading it, the woman was strangled by the monkey paw.

    The Monkey Paw itself is a supernatural/horror stories written by British author in 1902. Ever since the story was published, a lot of authors incorporated monkey paw in their stories.

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