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xxxHOLiC Episode 13: Favorites

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xxxHOLiC Episode 13 – Quick Summary

In xxxHOLiC episode 13, “Transfiguration,” the school year had just started, and Watanuki got to sit beside Himawari outside for art class. They saw a fellow student quietly sitting and working on her drawing. Her two friends, seeing the work, asked if she would do their work for them. Later, Watanuki saw the same quiet girl abruptly shut down those two girls as they attempted to extort money from her. And as the quiet girl walked away, Watanuki saw small, white-feathered spirit wings sprouting on her back. Were they a sign of her freedom? The results of a beneficial spirit? If so, then why did Yuuko incinerate one of the feathers on sight?

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

Favorite Quote from xxxHOLiC Episode 13

xxxHOLiC Episode 13: Watanuki has accepted his role as chef for his circle of friends

Watanuki surprised himself. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Was it just me, or was Watanuki slightly less spastic towards Doumeki in this episode? Two things made me think that. First, walking home from work, after Watanuki’s initial outburst based on Doumeki walking home with him, the two seemed to have a normal conversation. No yelling, no insults – just a normal conversation about the pipe fox.

And Watanuki didn’t do it just to appease Himawari, because she wasn’t even there!

The second thing is something Watanuki said. As they parted on the way home, Doumeki asked for something specific for lunch tomorrow. Watanuki groused about how demanding he was. And then, when Doumeki was out of earshot, Watanuki realized something.

“Ah!” he said out loud (05:22). “I wasn’t even protesting having to make Doumeki’s lunches.”

Though I felt like Doumeki was being a bit demanding, at least Watanuki is starting to find his balance. Maybe.

Favorite Moment from xxxHOLiC Episode 13

xxxHOLiC Episode 13: The little pipe fox is actually a huge 9-tailed fox!

Well, that was unexpected! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Setup: Of Children and Angels

Did you feel as sorry for Maru and Moro as I did? We’ve known them as happy, frolicsome, and care-free kids. That truth they dumped on Watanuki – that they have no souls – floored me! 

And was that winged creature creepy or what? When I first watched this episode, I at first thought that maybe, just maybe, the spirit/creature would be beneficial. It looked white and angelic, right? Those are traits we associate with “goodness,” don’t we?

Well, maybe in western theologies. And maybe even then, we’re wrong. The very idea that a non-corporeal entity would show up in a recognizable form is a bit far-fetched, especially when you read Old Testament descriptions of angels. You can get an idea of what I’m talking about in this YouTube video, “Why Bible Accurate Angels Are So Creepy.” Especially those Ophanim. 

xxxHOLiC Episode 13: The wings looked so innocuous!

Those look harmless, right? And they seem to make her more assertive! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Bottom line: by the time we saw the tentacles starting to come out of the girl’s back, I was pretty sure that we were dealing less with an angel and more with something out of Lovecraft. Something very hungry and very fast.

Which leads us to my favorite moment. The girl (I think her name was Rie, based on the MAL discussion – see below) accused Watanuki of glaring at her. Being Watanuki, he tried to be diplomatic when he said that no, he had not been glaring at her, but if he gave her that impression, he apologized.

She pressed the matter – to the point where Doumeki bluntly suggested he had done nothing to apologize for. As her wings grew, she pulled out a box cutter.

Delivery: Our Little Pipe Fox Isn’t – Little, That Is!

Talk about fast escalation!

Her wings grew more, and we got another glimpse of the tentacles. Then she lunged at Watanuki with the blade. As Watanuki jumped back, Doumeki grabbed the knife – by the blade, no less; dude’s nothing if not strong – and demanded she apologize. That’s when she collapsed, only to be lifted up by the screeching wings. 

Doumeki, of course, couldn’t see the wings. So Watanuki tossed the unconscious Rie into Doumeki’s arms and ran for it. The creature followed and cornered him. Things looked bad for our fast-thinking hero! 

xxxHOLiC Episode 13: The tentacled, winged creature cornered Watanuki

Things look bad for Watanuki! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

That’s when coolness struck.

The pipe fox jumped out of his shirt sleeve (18:42). I’m thinking, “Brave little guy – but what’s he going to do? He’s so tiny!” What the little pipe fox did was flash grow into an enormous nine-tailed fox! If memory serves, that’s about the top of the line in terms of power. He proceeded to not only block the attack. He then shot the creature down – in flames, no less! – and feasted on its remains.

A fox has gotta eat!

At first, I thought the title “Transfiguration” referred to Rie. In retrospect, I think it might refer to the little pipe fox. Because, man-oh-man, did the little due undergo a transfiguration! It was a delight to watch. Yuuko even got to scratch its chin!

What did you think of Yuuko’s warning to Watanuki? What were your favorite moments? Feel free to share in the comments!

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5 thoughts on “xxxHOLiC Episode 13: Favorites

  1. Sigh. I forgot to copy, and WordPress ate my comment yet again. I loved it when the pipe fox became a full fledged nine-tail! Very cool! But I liked the moment when Watanuki took off running after the girl, telling Doumecki to stay where he was. Doumecki, clearly realizing his job is protecting Watanuki and that a running Watanuki probably needs protection – immediately took off after him. It is interesting how this episode has more of a twist for Western minds, because yes, we assume white feathered wings must be angelic, a sign of purity, etc. Asian cultures don’t have this particular prejudice although they are not unaware of it (Christian missionaries have been busy for over a century after all) . To have it suddenly spring into Chuthulu zone… wow. This time, Yuuko warned Watanuki, and he prompty and thoroughly ignored it by using himself as bait. I think she saw that coming, of course, and thus his protectors, the pipe fox and Doumecki, were in place. Isn’t it interesting that Himawari also thinks that Doumecki should be with Watanuki although she is supposedly out of the loop about spirits?

    1. I completely missed interpreting Doumeki immediately going after Watanuki as part of his responsibilities — thanks for pointing that out!

      Himawari’s reaction — we didn’t find out much in this season, but she knows more than she lets on. A lot more. You’ve pointed out a number of times that she’s interacted with magic as if it were no big deal to her.

      I’d love to review the next season, but I can’t find xxxHOLiC Kei legally streaming anywhere. I seem to remember learning more abut Himawari during that season.

  2. Yes, when I first saw the white wings on the girls back, I totally thought it was a good thing and that a good spirit must be helping her deal with her bullies. And then the tentacles showed up! I loved that the cute little pipe fox has a bigger form!

  3. Box cutter knives seem to be a trope in anime. The traditional weapon of a girl?

    Watanuke has it so easy! Look at all the trouble it took Naruto to befriend the 9-tail.

    1. In the US, the trope would be either a 9mm pistol or an AR-15. I think I actually prefer the box-cutter. Easier to recover from a mistake!

      I remember counting the tails when I first saw this and thinking, “Whoa!” Yeah, Naruto had to put in more work. But Watanuki has to be Watanuki! But you’re right — Naruto had a much tougher time of it.

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