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xxxHOLiC Episode 16: Favorites

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xxxHOLiC Episode 16 – Quick Summary

In xxxHOLiC episode 16, “Reunion,” Watanuki had a problem. The pipe fox that had saved his life in previous episodes had not returned to its adorable, pocket-sized form. It remained enormous. But that wasn’t the problem. The problem was that it still wanted to frolic with Watanuki as if it were tiny. Watanuki’s back was going to need serious medical attention if something didn’t change – and change soon! Then a bamboo packet of fried tofu showed up, and the pipe fox’s large size was the least of Watanuki’s problems.

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

Favorite Quote from xxxHOLiC Episode 16

xxxHOLiC Episode 16: Watanuki didn't know where the voices were coming from

Watanuki at first had no idea who spoke. Instead of looking up, he should have looked down! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

You’d think by now that little would freak out Watanuki. But it seems that traveling through a vase of well water and ending up in a spiritual realm is still a bit much for him. 

It would be unfair of me to not mention that he tried to remain calm. He realized that he was in a place with pure spiritual energy, because the pipe fox reverted to its travel-sized version. But, I have to also mention that, in the every next instant, he began to scream about not being able to find a way home.

The flowers heard him. Yes, I said flowers. It’s a spiritual realm, after all. After they heard him, he heard them, because they started laughing.

“It’s a child,” one of them said (11:39). “A child.” “And a loud one at that.” “Certainly is!”

Did they nail Watanuki’s character or what?

Favorite Moment from xxxHOLiC Episode 16

xxxHOLiC Episode 16: Zashiki-warashi felt overwhelmed

Watanuki’s gratitude and gift overwhelmed Zashiki-warashi! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Setup: Watanuki At His Finest

You know, I think this might be my favorite episode, in a series that is itself one of my favorites. Do you mind if I try to figure out why?

It started early in the episode. Watanuki, Himawari, and Doumeki had gone shopping. Of course, Watanuki could barely speak in the presence of his crush. Equally of course, he felt furious that Doumeki had tagged along. It wouldn’t be Watanuki without those twin reactions, would it?

When they ducked into a jewelry store, he started looking at hair pins. I thought he intended to surprise Himawari with a gift. That wasn’t it at all. From the start, he intended to buy a gift for Zashiki-warashi. This is one of those things I didn’t notice at first; I had to reflect on the episode after watching it a few times. It finally struck me: Watanuki was in the presence of Himawari, who he’s romantically infatuated with – but he bought a present for Zashiki-warashi. That speaks volumes, doesn’t it?

xxxHOLiC Episode 16: Watanuki had no experience picking a gift for a woman

Watanuki stood close to Himawari – and was still able to focus on buying a gift for Zashiki-warashi. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Something else struck me: Zashiki-warashi is literally too pure for this world (the human world). She has to be sequestered, for the most part, on a mountain, away from evil, surrounded by magic that’s pure. She relies on several high-energy, very enthusiastic protectors. Talk about a sympathetic character! It’s like she’s a reference implementation for the Must Protect API.

I often wonder if my writing would be more emotive if I had not gone into computer programming. Even I can see that characterizing her as a direct invocation of the Must Protect API isn’t effective. But it’s what I’ve got, and it’s getting late, so I’ll just leave it there for your consideration.

Delivery: Zashiki-warashi, Too Pure for Our World

My favorite moment is the scene when he gives her the hair pins. Around Himawari, he can barely talk. When he does manage to form words, they run together. His diction is a mess. Frankly, he’s annoying, and I think Himawari gets points for seeing through all that.

Did you see how he acted around Zashiki-warashi (I should probably say a Zashiki-warashi, given that Zashiki-warashi is a term and not a name)? He was blushing, certainly. But he was articulate, and he was considerate. He was a very different man than he was around Himawari.

And, remember – he bought the present for Zashiki-warashi while he was hanging out with Himawari!

xxxHOLiC Episode 16: Watanuki could be himself with Zashiki-warashi

Watanuki seemed much more able to be himself when he was with Zashiki-warashi. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Back to my favorite moment. She asked if he had business on the mountain, and he answered that he did. She pegged the adorable-meter when she said (16:06), “If so… I… I’d like to help…”

That’s when he offered her the small gift-wrapped box. He had to explain he got it for her as a thank-you for the fried tofu. He held it out to her and said, in his typically Watanuki-sincere way (16:32), “Thank you.”

The steam coming out of her ears blew her hair out. It was stylized cuteness, but it worked. Zashiki-warashi is so pure, and so innocent, that a sincere thank you and an offered gift almost overwhelmed her. I don’t know if a relationship would work between a human and a Zashiki-warashi. I don’t know if it’s even possible. But I’ll say this: I think she and Watanuki make a much better couple than Himawari and Watanuki! And I suspect Yuuko does, too!

Maybe that’s why this is one of my favorite episodes. It’s almost a relief to see Watanuki in such a healthy relationship!

What did you think of Watanuki’s attempts to deal with the pipe fox when it was in large form? What were your favorite moments? Feel free to let me know in the comments!

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2 thoughts on “xxxHOLiC Episode 16: Favorites

  1. There has to be a word for the Zashiki-warashi’s level of beautiful purity. Purity has taken on an almost egotistical meaning in popular culture, which is a shame. Purity should be free of taint, which means false pride and arrogance.

    In anime, I often see character blush holding hands. With the Zashiki-warashi, I get a sense it’s a real response — it’s something that speaks to who she is, through and through.

    And I still can’t articulate what I see in her! Someday…

  2. The pipe fox is such a sweety even in it’s giant battle form! It just wants to cuddle. Zashiki Warashi really is too pure for this world. Though she doesn’t seem to understand humans very well (cough, cough, nearly killed Doumeki for a gift) I really think she’s a good match for Watanuki.

Please let me know what you think!

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