xxxHOLiC Kei – 01
One night, Watanuki has a dream about Himawari, but the odd thing is that he only has half his field of vision. When he wakes up, he realizes that the reason is because Mokona was sleeping on his face. Yuuko dampens his mood by suggesting that the dream could mean that something bad will happen, and she reminds him that Himawari isn’t good luck for him. On the way to school, Watanuki passes by the Doumeki family’s temple, and Doumeki forces him to help clean the yard. It is while they are doing this that Watanuki gets his arm caught on a spider web, and Doumeki helps free him by pulling the web apart. A spider watches them do this, and by lunchtime, Doumeki is feeling like he’s got something in his right eye. It gets worse as the day goes on, and Doumeki can’t open his right eye at all by the time he and Watanuki are returning home from school together. The culprit is a spider web that’s developed on the right side of his face. Watanuki suggests going to see Yuuko about it, but Doumeki thinks that that’s impossible because he can’t enter her store.
Watanuki thus goes to Yuuko by himself to get her take on this, and after she finds a thread of spider silk on him, she realizes that Doumeki has incurred a spider’s hatred. In regard to what happened that morning, Yuuko explains that the spider web was a home for the spider, and from the spider’s perspective, this was significant. And even though Watanuki was the one who was originally caught in the web, Doumeki was the one who destroyed it, so the spider directed its hatred towards Doumeki. The only way to get rid of this is to receive an equivalent amount of damage that the spider received. Knowing this, Watanuki requests something from Yuuko, and shortly thereafter, a strong wind blows through Doumeki’s home and cures his eye ailment. The following morning, Doumeki finds that Watanuki is now wearing an eyepatch, and when he rips it off, Doumeki sees that Watanuki is now missing his right eye. Because of this, he orders Watanuki to call Yuuko out to see him, and the two end up meeting privately in the park later that day.
When Doumeki requests that Yuuko restore Watanuki’s eye, she reveals that Watanuki had asked her about having the spider move its hatred to him. She had taught him how because it was his wish, but she now can’t tell Doumeki how to get Watanuki’s eye back from the spider. Doing so would cause Doumeki to lose his eye, and that would conflict with Watanuki’s wish that had come first. Yuuko thinks that it’s okay for Doumeki to be angry and suggests that Watanuki doesn’t understand that sacrificing himself to help someone might actually hurt that person. Meanwhile, Watanuki walks home with Himawari and gets a book from her to give to Doumeki. When he arrives at the Doumeki family temple though, he experiences a series of strange visions in his right eye, but just as quickly as it starts, it stops. Doumeki then appears, and Watanuki hands over the book, however he also notices that Doumeki is carrying a large stack of old books, including one about deciphering curses.
Returning to Yuuko’s shop, Watanuki serves her tea in Alice in Wonderland cosplay, and when she learns about the books that Doumeki had, she figures out that he’s searching for a way to restore Watanuki’s eye. She knows that Doumeki’s grandfather was the chief priest of their temple and had to deal with evil spirits, so he would have had books like those. Watanuki is frustrated because he chose what he did on his own, and he wants Doumeki to just leave this alone, but Yuuko turns the tables on him by pointing out that Doumeki also chose what to do on his own. This quiets Watanuki down, and after he goes out to get more for Yuuko to drink, she comments to herself about how Doumeki is trying to find something he can do even after she told him it was impossible – this is the reason Doumeki does not need to enter her store.
ED: 「Honey Honey feat. AYUSE KOZUE」 by SEAMO
Watch the ED!: Mirror 1, Mirror 2
The opening song is okay, but I didn’t really like it till it hit the chorus (which is the part heard in the commercials for this too). On the other hand, I loved the ending song (SEAMO’s style has always appealed to me), but I didn’t think it quite fit the Mokona-dancing like the first ending song of the first xxxHOLiC series did.
I wasn’t sure how much they were going to follow the manga or do anime original stories with this second series, but the first episode starts us off right at the beginning of volume seven of the manga. It actually followed the manga really closely and covered almost half of the volume, skipping the story in the middle. If this is any indicator of how the series will progress, then they could potentially cover a lot of interesting stuff, some of which the OP hints at.
In any case, I liked the episode if for no other reason than because it brought me back to the animated world of xxxHOLiC, and I enjoyed hearing all the voice actors in their roles. Fukuyama Jun does a great job as Watanuki in particular (I really can’t imagine anyone else voicing him). The animation quality is about as good as I remember the first series being – maybe a little bit better – but I still wish that it could look as good as the recent Tsubasa Chronicle OVAs. In any case, I can’t make any decisions about what to follow opposite Macross F on Thursdays until Kaiba and Toshokan Sensou air next week, and if either of those turns out to be especially good, then I probably won’t stick with this since I can always go back to reading the manga.