xxxHOLiC – 01
A boy named Kimihiro Watanuki is running through the streets with an evil spirit bearing down on him. It’s only when he touches a nearby fence that the spirit disappears. This fence surrounds a mysterious house that Watanuki then gets drawn into. Two children welcome him at the door and take him inside. A voice tells him that it’s hitsuzen (a foreordained event/inevitable) that he was brought here. He’s led to a room housing a woman with long dark hair lounging on a chair, and he explains how he ended up here. She says that it the wall he touched is a barrier. Watanuki tries to leave, but the woman gets him to give her what’s in his pocket – a pocket-watch. When she asks, he tells her that his name is Watanuki, and she immediately knows that it’s written like “April 1st.” As it turns out, his birthday is on that exact day. The woman introduces herself as Ichihara Yuuko but then tells him that it’s a fake name. The two young ones are Marudashi and Morodashi (Maru and Moro for short).
Watanuki tries to leave again, but Yuuko re-emphasizes that nothing is coincidence, everything is hitsuzen. To prove it to him, she places a special board into a tub of water and is then able to say things about his life, such as how he doesn’t live where he was born and how he can see supernatural things. His blood attracts these supernaturals. But as compensation for telling him that, she takes the pocket-watch. Yuuko explains that compensation is necessary, but not too much or too little, only an equal amount. Otherwise there would be injury. She then tells Watanuki that this is a store, one that makes wishes come true. She convinces him to tell her his wish: to be rid of the strange things that follow him around. Yuuko says that she’ll fulfill his wish, but again she wants payment, this time in the form of him working at this store.
One of his first tasks is to go shopping with the black manjuu that is Mokona. While he and Mokona are picking up food, Watanuki notices that there is a spirit nearby. It starts to follow him, but Watanuki’s attention is then turned to the group of girls walking in front of him. One of them is telling her friends about how she’s being bothered by something supernatural. Watanuki can see spirits and notices that the girl has nothing around her. He intrudes on the conversation and tells her that she’ll be ok because she’s not possessed by anything bad. The girl snaps back at anger, saying that he and other normal people don’t understand. Watanuki then gets distracted by Mokona again and accidentally bumps into the girl. In doing so, the spirit that was around him now attaches to the girl. Yuuko later explains that it traveled to the girl because she wished it. A person can wish for anything, whether it be happiness or unhappiness. As he’s leaving, she reminds him that there’s significance in their meeting. Moro and Maru are worried, but Yuuko says that it’ll be ok because the connections that link them have not disappeared. And sure enough, Watanuki shows up again, saying to himself that he’s only here because he has to pay her.
ED: 「Reason」 by Fonogenico
Watch the ED! Mirror 1 Mirror 2
It’s been a while since I heard a Suga Shikao song; in fact the last one was his theme for the xxxHOLiC movie. I actually really like this song, though I can’t pinpoint exactly why. It’s got an interesting beat to it. The ending is just pure Mokona goodness.
I thought the first episode was ok, but nothing particularly special. The character designs seem a bit more pronounced (in terms of long legs and slender bodies) on screen than on paper, but I don’t count that against the series. The first half of this episode follow the manga pretty closely, but the latter half is more or less original in order to emphasize the wish theme. I found these first few exposition parts a bit slow (same with the manga), but I expect it to get more interesting as the story progresses and more characters are introduced. Next week should pick back up with the manga’s storyline of the woman and her ring.
As a side note, I don’t think that they’re going to be showing the Tsubasa crossover since the black Mokona was introduced here without the white one. Mokona itself is still voiced by Kikuchi Mika (who also voiced Arika on Mai-Otome) and remains as adorable as ever.