xxxHOLiC – 03
Watanuki and Yuuko are playing baseball in the park when they meet up with Himawari. Yuuko instinctively knows that Himawari has a request, which turns out to be about her friend’s school. It seems that things have been weird since something called Angel-san became popular. Yuuko identifies it as a dangerous game also called Kokkuri-san. She assigns Watanuki to help, and later explains to him that if she had accepted the duty herself, then she would have had to charge a price. But she’s not just sending Watanuki, she’s also asking Doumeki to come. She’s equips Watanuki with a pair of headphones that will allow her to give him guidance (though as payment for it, she wants more work in the store from Watanuki).
Wearing the headphones, Watanuki meets up with Doumeki, but Doumeki seems not to care how ridiculous Watanuki looks. The first thing that Watanuki notices after he climbs over the school’s fence, is a black smoke that’s surrounding the building.. As the two make their way since, the smoke gets thicker. But unlike Watanuki, Doumeki can neither see nor smell the smoke. Watanuki follows the smell to rooftop and temporarily gets pinned down by something mysterious. It gets off of him when Doumeki appears, and then the two start to hear crying. There is a trio of girls standing around a table with a game board on top. Two of the girls have their hands on a pen and cannot let go. The pen is repeatedly writing “Die,” and the girls think that if they don’t make the Angel go back, they’ll be cursed.
In the heat of the situation, Watanuki tries to force them to let go of the pen, despite Yuuko telling him to wait. At the same moment he succeeds in breaking their hands free, the black smoke disappears. He then has to stop the girls from running to the edge of the rooftop. Watanuki tries to get Doumeki to help, but Doumeki reveals that Watanuki has been moving around by himself this entire time. In other words, Doumeki can’t see the girls. Those girls are now smiling evilly and push Watanuki off the roof. Fortunately, Doumeki catches him by his arm. The girls transform into a brown sludge-like creature and it wraps itself around Doumeki’s arm, causing it to bleed. Yuuko explains that they are facing a garbage creature formed from the thoughts of all of the people at school who played the game.
To Watanuki’s surprise, the black smoke appears again and morphs into a snake-like creature. After it gulps down the garbage creature, Doumeki pulls Watanuki back up. The snake then corners them, but Yuuko’s voice, coming from the headphones which came off Watanuki’s head when Doumeki saved him, calls to the snake. It ends up swallowing the headphones and disappearing. At the park the next day, Watanuki asks Yuuko whether or not the snake is bad, since it protected them. Yuuko explains that good and bad is decided by man. That snake was actually attracted to Watanuki – he’s apparently delicious to the monsters – and that’s reason she asked Doumeki to come. Yuuko thinks to herself that the monsters like Watanuki, but are kept away by Doumeki; things are going to get fun from now on.
Much more interesting episode than last week, but again the Tsubasa Chronicle crossover stuff was taken out, which is to be expected by this point. They kept in all the Chobits references though, including the Chii ears and the A City With No People story. And the chess pieces that Yuuko and Mokona were playing with remind me of ones that come with Clamp no Kiseki, even though they’re different.
The episode itself was about a garbage monster summoned by a game called Angel-san, which Yuuko identifies as Kokkuri-san. There is a horror movie by the same name with the same board and similar premise, though I haven’t seen it. What sets the story apart for me is the twists and turns it takes. Like Watanuki, I didn’t suspect the girls until Doumeki said something. And then the snake’s appearance and Yuuko’s subsequent explanation of how it’s neither good nor bad just made it all the more interesting. However, the animation quality is still bothering me – the character designs more-so every episode as the animation quality fluctuates.
Next week appears to be jumping back to volume two material for some Watanuki character development.