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xxxHOLiC Episode 1: Favorites

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xxxHOLiC Episode 1 – Quick Summary

In xxxHOLiC episode 1, “The Inevitable,” Kimihiro Watanuki had a problem. He could see spirits. What’s more, he could interact with them. In fact, he had to interact with them, because they frequently tried to pile on top of him. Of course, this drew the stares of the rest of the population, who could not see them. All of that changed, though, when he touched the fence around a strange little shop nestled amid the city buildings. Whose shop was it? Why did its fence give him some relief? And does Kimihiro yell as much as I remember?

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.

Favorite Quote from xxxHOLiC Episode 1

xxxHOLiC Episode 1: Kimihiro thought Mokona looked like a black dumpling

Mokona didn’t seem to mind being compared to a black dumpling. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Yuuko Ichihara wanted to throw a party to celebrate Kimihiro accepting a part-time position. Well, that’s what she started out saying. To Kimihiro’s credit, it only took him a few moments to figure out she just wanted to eat delicious food and get drunk. He was just the excuse.

She sent him into her warehouse, which was impressive. He was a little confused. She had asked him to get her drinking buddy from the warehouse. Not wanting to make a scene, or maybe just wanting a little quiet time (he seems quite excitable in social situations), he wandered the aisles until he found something.

Or someone.

He had thought he had found a plush toy, but it talked. Not knowing what else to do, Kimihiro took the little creature, which had introduced itself as Mokona, to Yuuko. She prompted welcomed it back from its nap (about three years) and said they were going to drink until all the drink was gone.

“This black dumpling is your drinking buddy?” Kimihiro asked in a disbelieving voice (12:46).

I guess after you’ve lived with spirits only you can see, seeing a talking black dumpling was no big deal.

Favorite Moment from xxxHOLiC Episode 1

xxxHOLiC Episode 1: Kimihiro did not like his first taste of Yuuko's world

Kimihiro did not like his first taste of wish-granting — if that’s what it was. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Setup: A Glimpse of a World Not of Our Making

I didn’t realize how much I needed to rewatch this show until I cheered seeing Yuuko again. Everything about this show works, even the profoundly tall and lanky characters. It just adds to the mystique. I’ve always loved Clamp’s work, and it’s on full display here.

The OP is also one of my personal favorites. It’s such a perfect fit for the series – the vibe, the visuals, everything. 

This is one of three other works of fiction that I think are so close to how I see the world that I almost consider them real. Those three are The Ancient Magus’ Bride, David Brin’s Uplift novels, and The Lord of the Rings. When I watch each episode, it feels so plausible that I half expect to meet Ame warashi after a rainstorm – and I expect her to read me the riot act since I’m a human.

Heaven knows I’m nowhere good enough to meet Zashiki warashi.

This series gives Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood competition for the title “Most Dedicated to the Concept of Equivalent Exchange.” Yuuko is all about requiring the proper payment for her services. This is one of the more subtly terrifying aspects of the show, as Kimihiro began to understand in my favorite moment.

xxxHOLiC Episode 1: Yuuko knew how to make a first impression

Does Yuuko know how to make a first impression or what? Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

He wanted to be rid of the spirits. They dogged him day in and day out. Yuuko said she’d grant that for the proper payment. Kimihiro went out, and he heard a girl talking to her friends. This girl said that she felt besieged because she could see spirits, and others couldn’t. Her friends seemed very concerned about her. They tried to console her.

Kimihiro is a spastic case. Every little thing sets him off. But under that veneer, he’s a decent human being. He knew what it felt like to be so afflicted. Kimihiro went up to her and tried to reassure her. He told her everything would be okay.

Delivery: The Cost of Entry

But she wasn’t really besieged by spirits. She just wanted the attention. Her friends defended her against the confused Kimihiro. He really didn’t know how to respond. He knew what it was like, and all he had wanted to do was reassure her.

She said to him (17:24), “I don’t know who you are, but I don’t think a normal-seeming person like you could understand my pain. So, please, leave me alone. How happy they are, those who can’t see.”

Think about that. She tried to lecture Kimihiro, who lived in that world, day in and day out. When they left, to his horror, he saw one of the spirits that had followed him attach itself to her. He could not understand why she would want such a thing.

xxxHOLiC Episode 1: The girl didn't know what she was asking for

This girl wanted the horrors that Kimihiro wanted to get rid of. Whether she understood what she wanted was another matter. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

He went back to the shop. Yuuko could tell he was pissed off. She didn’t even pretend not to know why.

“What’s the matter?” she asked lightly (18:58). “They’re gone, aren’t they?”

“You knew?”


“You knew, didn’t you?”

“Like I said, knew what?”

This was Kimihiro’s first experience of what it’s like in Yuuko’s world. When she pressed him about it, he admitted he didn’t feel good about it. This is how human contact with the supernatural really is. It’s why I got so excited about that episode in Mieruko-chan during the episode where we met the shrine attendants and their god. The supernatural is Other. It’s not like us. If we enter that world and take one false step, we’re dead – or worse. This show captures that sentiment with outstanding clarity and nuance. And I love it because of that.

What did you think of meeting Maru and Moro? What were your favorite moments? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

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12 thoughts on “xxxHOLiC Episode 1: Favorites

  1. My favorite Maru & Moro exchange is when they’re building model kits, one with the Yamato and the other with a Tachikoma, and they have the models talk to each other.

  2. I think I started this anime a long time ago but I don’t remember much about it. That’s weird because I have a bizarre ability to remember this sort of thing is exquisite detail.

    1. For me, some of its event feel so real that they seem to fade into my memories of reality. That’s not a great way to describe it, but it feels like that. Which is odd, given its subject matter!

  3. Awe, I love Holic so much! It’s such a great Clamp series, and that’s saying a lot. I thought Maru and Moro were adorable. The way they team up with Mokona to tease Watanuki is awesome! Of course, my favorite character is definitely Yuuko, she’s such a mood and unashamedly wants what she wants. You’re right, this series can get very deep and grim, but it never feels bleak or overwhelming. There’s always a lighter more playful side of the story that balances everything out.

    1. Maru and Moro’s teasing is so cheerful it seems like even Watanuki has a hard time being upset about it.

      “but it never feels bleak or overwhelming”

      I hadn’t thought about it in those words, but that’s true, isn’t it? No matter how serious things got, there wasn’t any despair. I wonder if that’s one of the reasons this show appeals to us so much?

  4. Yay, I am looking forward to reading your thoughts on one of my all time most favorite entry level drugs to anime. It truly was one of the first anime I watched and my first impression was… just godsmacked. I had no idea what was going on, but I liked it.

    1. Yeesss! It was also one of the first anime I watched and I instantly loved it. It was just so wacky, and creepy, and strange compared to any other anime I had seen.

      1. The story goes…. the band Godsmack before they named themselves were having a practice. One of them had a herpes sore and another member was teasing him about it. One of the other members said, “You shouldn’t do it. You’ll get godsmacked.” and the next day, you guessed it, the teaser had a cold sore… anyhow, it’s a great word and I love having it to use in appropriate places.

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