Shall I grant your wish?
xxxHOLIC is about a High Schooler named Kimihiro Watanuki who can see spirits. He has been trying to avoid them since forever and what seems to be a normal day of running away from these entities turns into an encounter with the eccentric owner of a shop that grants wishes; that owner being Yuuko Ichihara. This encounter begins Watanuki’s journey into the supernatural, filled with many conflicts that are wrapped around a supernatural layer but are very human at its core.
You see, xxxHOLIC uses its supernatural world to not only give glimpses into Japanese folklore and mythology, but it also uses it to tackle very human issues. Themes such as guilt, obsession, and a lack of self-confidence are injected into the anime in meaningful ways. It introduces these ideas in a simplistic fashion and then adds depth to their foundations by allowing them to be explored by Yuuko and Watanuki through the lens of the supernatural. They are fueled by the concept of “wishing”, a concept that Yuuko knows all too well, and it makes the show that much more interesting.
xxxHOLIC takes in an episodic structure, most episodes being portrayed as stand-alone stories that give the reader something new each time. Whether the conflicts be solely supernatural or more on the human side, they are conveyed in a natural manner with an equally natural conclusion. Of course, some stories are better than the others, but the anime does a good job of staying consistent with the quality of these stories by the efforts of its vibrant and colorful cast of characters.
It really is incredible how loveable the show’s cast is and how great the dynamic between their personalities are.
Sporting an entertaining bunch of individuals, ranging from the constantly whining but extremely caring Watanuki to the calm and seemingly aloof Doumeki, one of xxxHOLIC’s biggest strengths is in its quirky characters that have exceptional chemistry with each other which makes even the show’s weaker stories entertaining and engaging. Despite the show’s style of light-hearted comedy, mostly consisting of Watanuki’s complaining regarding Yuuko’s odd tendencies and Doumeki’s nonchalant attitude, it also introduces very mature themes that the characters mix with perfectly as Watanuki learns more about the supernatural and about his own life.
Watanuki and Yuuko’s relationship is a prominent element of xxxHOLIC, and it is also responsible for playing a major part in making the show what it is. Watanuki’s constant complaints are overshadowed by his caring and curious personality and Yuuko’s eccentricities (acting carefree but also showing a grand level of wisdom) provide the perfect source of entertainment and drama. They lay the foundation for a lot of what happens in the show, and they do not disappoint when they get involved.
The music is another strong element of xxxHOLIC as while the soundtrack is rather simple, it is also smooth and nice to listen to. It clearly executes the dramatic points of the show and also does a good job of evoking the emotions that it comes with.
xxxHOLIC’s animation is its weakest part, but even with that in mind, the animation is good enough to emphasise the emotional weight of the show’s themes, and it works well in delivering the comedy and attitudes of its cast. It also does a good job of encapsulating the various tones the show enters in.
xxxHOLIC is a fully entertaining anime that deals with both the supernatural and the human side of its world with a delicate touch through its quirky cast of characters. It works at delving into its mature themes with grace, never reaching too far or finishing too short. Its own supernatural coating lends itself to a lot of interesting endeavors that take you into a neat glimpse into Japanese folklore and myth. It is for these reasons that xxxHOLIC is an anime that I fully recommend you to check out.