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xxxHOLiC Episode 17: Favorites

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xxxHOLiC Episode 17 – Quick Summary

In xxxHOLiC episode 17, “Self-Mutilation,” Nurie had a problem. She had a tendency to throw herself into traffic and otherwise sabotage her life. Kind-hearted (and spastic) Watanuki wanted to help, and he even thought he saw evidence of the spirit world in Nurie’s life. Yuuko asked that Watanuki bring Nurie to her. What’s the real problem? Is it a case for Yuuko? And how many times did Watanuki freak out in this episode?

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

Favorite Quote from xxxHOLiC Episode 17

xxxHOLiC Episode 17: Watanuki is going to have to recognize Yuuko's sense of humor sooner or later

Sooner or later, he’s going to have to figure out she’s just teasing him. This was not that time. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

There are a lot of quotes to choose from in this episode. It was practically all quotes! And yet the time just sped by…

Watanuki saw Nurie throw herself into traffic. Well, she threw herself in front of a motorcycle – there’s a difference that’s essential to the plot. What’s important here is that Watanuki did like he’s done before: he accompanied Nurie to the hospital and then checked in on her.

He offered her some flowers in an attempt to cheer her up. She took the flowers and flogged him with them. That’s also important to the plot, but the key here is that Watanuki couldn’t figure out why, and it bugged him.

When Yuuko dragged it out of him, she asked him if he had provoked her with a joke about no one leaving that hospital alive.

“I said no such questionable, tasteless joke!” he snapped (06:17).

Dude’s going to give himself a heart attack if he doesn’t chill out!

Favorite Moment from xxxHOLiC Episode 17

xxxHOLiC Episode 17: Would Nurie walk into traffic, or not?

The glasses helped, without magic, just as Yuuko intended. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Setup: A Dialogue-Rich Environment

I mentioned earlier that this episode had a lot of dialogue. I mean – a lot!. It was one of the least action-packaged episodes of any anime I’ve ever seen! As I watched it, two things occurred to me. First, good dialogue is good. I could watch interesting characters talk about interesting things all day. Which probably explains why I love Re:CREATORS. Because damn, I don’t think Meteora ever met a sentence she didn’t want to speak out loud.

But back to this episode. The second thing I thought of was that I was really, really glad that xxxHOLiC has such stylized art. Because if Yuuko looked any better, I would have demanded more episodes of her just talking, smoking, getting drunk… well, you get the idea. So I’ve concluded the art style was a deliberate choice to protect the viewers. 

xxxHOLiC Episode 17: Yuuko makes any outfit or accessory look good

CLAMP knew what they were doing. Protect the audience at all costs! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Thanks, CLAMP

My favorite moment feels like an artistic statement. It feels like the artists wanted to say, “No, we aren’t lazy. We made a deliberate choice to present so much dialogue. As proof, here’s a scene that’s all showing and no telling.”

It was pretty good telling, too.

Nurie clutched the cheap red fashion glasses that Yuuko had given her. She passed a garbage can and paused. Honestly, I felt tension on her behalf. Would she chuck the glasses? Or would she keep them?

Delivery: Capped by Showing and No Telling

She kept them. This time. Next, she walked up to a crosswalk. I’d seen her hurl herself into traffic before. Now, there wasn’t a motorcycle in sight; only cars. Again, I felt tension as she seemed to grind her teeth. She uncertainly picked up one foot, then gripped the fashion glasses tighter.

This is xxxHOLiC. I had every confidence that if the story demanded she die, she would die. That’s the kind of series this is. So every second she stood beside the road, I was on the edge of my seat. Would she throw the glasses aside and throw herself in front of an oncoming car? Would she wait for the signal to change so she could cross?

xxxHOLiC Episode 17: Would Nurie take the step or not?

I was dying to know — would she take that step? Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

After what seemed like several minutes (but was only a few seconds), the crossing sign glowed green for her. The shot showed the cars going both ways come to a stop. Taking one last look at the glasses in her fist, she strode forward with newfound confidence (21:58).

The last shot was of her walking in the middle of the crosswalk, just as any other pedestrian would do. It was a great, wordless way to cap an episode that was mostly (interesting!) conversations.

What did you think of Watanuki’s reaction to Yuuko asking him to buy some fashion glasses? What were your favorite moments? Feel free to let me know in the comments!

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6 thoughts on “xxxHOLiC Episode 17: Favorites

  1. I’ve always really liked this episode. There was no curse, not monsters, no evil spirits, just a regular person that was struggling with inner demons and needed something to emotionally ground them. Of course, Watanuki in his silly and sympathetic way tried to help as much as he could. And Yuuko in her mysteriously knowing way, found a solution that maybe wasn’t the norm, but worked for the person it was meant for.

  2. Watanuki still hasn’t shown any real character progression. He freaks out over everything. I suppose people like that in him so they have no reason to let him evolve.

    Yuuko is insanely desirable but they can’t let Watanuki notice because it would disrupt the plot.

    1. You know, I often wondered why Watanuki never seemed to notice just how goddess-like Yuuko is. Maybe Himewari blinded him? On the other hand, I like who he is around Zashiki-warashi. It’s a strange dynamic!

        1. That could be! It would explain Watanuki’s complete lack of reaction when Yuuki would do something like show him her bare thigh. I remember (vaguely!) when I was that age. I would have shown some kind of reaction!

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