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xxxHolic Series 1 Part 2
Distributor Manga Entertainment
Date 02 Feb 2009
The second half of xxxHOLiC continues to follow Watanuki as he continues to work at Yuko’s shop where wishes are granted for a price. More spiritual events seem to be taking place and it all seems to connect to Watanuki in some way, while the enigmatic Yuko seems to know much more than she is letting on.
As Ross said in his review of the first half, the series manages to retain the humour, charm and the eerie atmosphere that was a part of the original manga, with some nods to its sister series Tsubasa.
What seems to make xxxHolic is that everything that is done has a plan, is part of a greater thing or has a much deeper meaning than what appears at face value, and this is what is so intoxicating about the series. Yuko proves to be the ultimate guide to the other-world as she is so enigmatic, but never in a sinister way. While she makes Watanuki work to the bone, she always seems to have his best interests at heart and appears to be preparing him for something much grander.
The different art-style is sure to raise a few eyebrows, but never in a bad way. While at first it's quite a jarring effect to have characters with long, slender bodies, it does seem to help communicate the other-worldly feel of the series while not making the characters seem incredibly alien or bizarre.
It’s not just plot that the series seems to excel at - it’s also the insight into Japanese culture it provides. While by no means is it a substitute for real-life, it does give a good look at the legends, myths and tales that exist around Japanese culture and it whets your appetite to discover more about the country outside the bounds of anime and manga.
While the series is a fantastic one to watch, there are a couple of issues on the technical side of the show. The major one is the inclusion of descriptions of objects or Japanese originated phrases - While it is great that they are included with the subtitles of the series, they are interlaced with the dialogue subtitles, appearing and disappearing as quickly as the spoken words do. In long conversations it can be hard to read all of the detail in quick succession and get the general gist of the conversation as well. It’s a minor thing in the grand scheme of things, but it may be worth looking into how this can be improved on later releases.
If you loved xxxHolic as much as we did in its first half, then it’s a safe bet you will love more of the same. There are no huge revelations that appear, but if anything xxxHolic is something that you can just kick back and enjoy at your leisure. If you have had enough of the blood and violence of a lot of anime, then something taken at a slower pace and a lot more thought provoking may be just what the doctor ordered.
Tech issues aside, this is a fantastically laid back, stress-free anime.