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xxxHOLiC Episode 11: Favorites

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xxxHOLiC Episode 11 – Quick Summary

In xxxHOLiC episode 11, “Confession,” Yuuko asked Watanuki to make ohagi, which he did with his usual amazing culinary skills. The result was a big hit, especially with Mokona, who ate their body weight (and more). Mokona, though, saved one for Watanuki – to give to Himawari! But this is Watanuki, so you know it won’t be easy. And actually, it’s worse than you think. What happened to the ohagi? To Watanuki? And just who are those little guys riding surf boards through the air?

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

Favorite Quote from xxxHOLiC Episode 11

xxxHOLiC Episode 11: Ame-warashi had no patience for Watanuki's denseness

Watanuki had it coming. I think. Maybe. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Look, I can be dense. Like, neutronium. Or whatever maybe the core of a mid-sized black hole. But by the end of the episode, even I could see that Zashiki-warashi felt something for Watanuki. 

I don’t think his love for Himawari blinded him. I think at the core of his being, he sees himself as he thinks Doumeki sees him: a great cook, a spastic heap of reactive emotions, and a completely unattractive individual.

Dude had no clue about Zashiki-warashi’s feelings. So, he kind of earned Ame-warashi’s reproach. And yes, I know I’m using their descriptions as names.

Even when Zashiki-warashi point blank told Watanuki she wanted to give the gift to him, he didn’t get it. Ame-warashi arrived on the scene and sounded absolutely exasperated when she said she knew he’d get it wrong.

Even as he recognized she had arrived, she hauled off and smacked him on the head with her umbrella.

“Dunce!” she said (17:36).

I don’t think he quite earned that. On the other hand, he did make Zashiki-warashi feel really embarrassed. Maybe the smack will help him be more attentive!

Favorite Moment from xxxHOLiC Episode 11

xxxHOLiC Episode 11: Zashiki-warashi just wanted to give a gift to Watanuki

They spoke past each other – even when they spoke plainly. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Setup: The Stark Otherness of the Supernatural

Episode 7, Hydrangea, made me fall in love with this series. At the time, I counted myself lucky that I got to see even one episode with that kind of impact. Then I watched this episode.

I’ve always appreciated supernatural-themed shows when they depict spirits as being radically other than humans. We saw that in Ame-warashi in Hydrangea. We saw it in the shrine attendants and their god in Mieruko-chan episode 6.

Those two events had something in common: human values and morals simply did not factor into those spirits’ equations. Ame-warashi knew about humans and consciously rejected their anthropomorphism. The shrine attendants were even more interesting. I have no idea what or how they thought. They were utterly alien, which is to say, utterly supernatural.

This episode gave me another view of that idea. Something so close to human sensibilities, but at the same time, so far. It was endearing and terrifying at the same time. That made it more accessible, so easier to internalize. It also drove home the horror of what might have happened, despite the intent. And it all led to my favorite moment.

xxxHOLiC Episode 11: Zashiki-warashi was happy to find a gift for Watanuki. Too bad it was entangled with Doumeki's soul!

She seemed really happy to have a gift for Watanuki – even if it cost Doumeki his soul! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

To put it into human terms, Zashiki-warashi’s was sweet on Watanuki. I have no idea why. Even Ame-warashi seemed perplexed. But Zashiki-warashi had her reasons, and they looked tender and dear and almost lethal – the latter for Doumeki.

Think about that. She wanted to give a present to Watanuki, and she almost killed Doumeki to do it! But here’s where Watanuki shines, just as he has in previous episodes. He got that she had absolutely no ill intent. So as she tried to explain herself, he listened with an accepting and sympathetic smile.

Delivery: Endearingly Lethal

He said he understood she wanted to give a gift (16:47), “But if giving it means taking that person’s soul, it will defeat the purpose.”

It was this moment when she realized he had completely misread the situation. He tried again to explain why she shouldn’t make Doumeki “faint” if she wanted to give him an ohagi.

“Ah… No,” she said (17:03). “The one I wanted to give this to…”

She lowered her head and offered him the glowing ohagi.

“Is you,” she finished.

xxxHOLiC Episode 11: Even with Zashiki-warashi spelled it out for Watanuki, he didn't get it

Even after she spelled it out for him, he didn’t get it. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

That takes us into my favorite quote (above), so you know what happened next. The reason this struck me is that Zashiki-warashi’s affection was as obvious as it was genuine. She really wanted to make an affectionate gesture for Watanuki. Yet, she was not human. Human rules, even human life, weren’t something she really understood. The net effect is that to give Watanuki the gift of an ohagi, she almost killed Doumeki – with absolutely no ill intent at all.

The moment was everything I like about xxxHOLiC. The Zashiki-warashi is so endearing that she made me feel like for a moment, I could see and appreciate the goodness of a spirit, from the perspective of that spirit, as Watanuki could do.

Heck, I spent half the episode feeling like I should protect Zashiki-warashi!

What did you think of Zashiki-warashi’s protectors? What were your favorite moments? Feel free to let me know in the comments!

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8 thoughts on “xxxHOLiC Episode 11: Favorites

  1. Meh. WordPress ate my comment. This is a light, sweet episode of XXXholic. I wonder why Watanuki’s self esteem is so low he can’t imagine someone giving HIM a gift. I loved a lot of the visuals here, the floating balls of sparkle, the guys on the surf boards, and i loved Mokona zooming around on the mighty bird. Fantastic! But on a quieter note – Yuuko building a little sand castle while she waited. Even the wise and powerful have their sweet, playful moments.

      1. As I think about it, all the really great anime I love the most – and for that matter, series TV, books – they have those moment of sudden lightness that contrast with the heavy stuff and make it more bearable. When I was writing about serial killers I always worked those moments in. In a way, it makes the horror more horrible – and also, more bearable.

  2. I really thought Zashiki Warashi’s gesture was very sweet, even if it was a bit murderous. It’s the thought that counts! I’m also glad that Watanuki managed to save Doumeki’s soul and get it back to him. This is probably the only anime I’ve seen in which a supernatural being has hurt a human not out of indifference or malice, but because they honestly thought they were doing something good to show affection for another human. It’s a very unique episode.

    1. I like how you put that — sweet but murderous!

      I haven’t seen “death by affection” before, either. It was seriously cool! In retrospect, of course — if Doumeki would have died, that have tarnished the coolness factor.

    1. I had no idea Hozuki’s Coolheadedness was a thing. Thanks! I just bought the first volume from Amazon.

      I feel really bad for Watanuki. By this point in the series, I had a sense that Himawari knew something was up, as did Yuuko. but poor Watanuki was completely in the dark — literally blinded by love.

Please let me know what you think!

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