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xxxHOLiC Episode 6: Favorites

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xxxHOLiC Episode 6 – Quick Summary

In xxxHOLiC episode 6, “Indulgence,” Watanuki had the unenviable job of going to the pharmacy. Was Yuuko suffering from a terrible malady like gastritis? A stomach flu? No, she had a hangover. And to hear her talk, it was the worst hangover that ever was or ever could be. Will Watanuki’s medicine do the trick? If it does, what new trouble will she convinced him to get into? And will the medicine Watanuki bought even work on Mokona?

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

Favorite Quote from xxxHOLiC Episode 6

xxxHOLiC Episode 6: Hanahana's resolve broke before Yuuko could finish her cappuccino.

Yuuko seemed bummed that Hanahana’s resolve faltered so quickly. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

I’m pretty sure Yuuko left Hanahana’s apartment knowing full well that the woman would not be able to break her addiction on her own. At least not on the first try. I figured Yuuko thought it would be a good opportunity to kick back for a bit and relax. She took Watanuki to a coffee shop and bought a couple of cappuccinos.

Watanuki, of course, was impatient to get home. Or more precisely, he was impatient not to be sitting there doing nothing. To his credit, when Yuuko told him they were waiting, he seemed curious when he asked what they were waiting for.

Apparently, Yuuko had set some kind of trigger event on the website she and Hanahana frequented, because as soon as Hanahana broke her prmoise, the coffee shop’s internet terminals all displayed the same logo. Watanuki looked over at the commotion as all the patrons voiced confusion about the displays.

Yuuko seemed a little dejected when she said (14:54), “To think we didn’t even have to wait long enough to finish one cappuccino.”

It has to be tough, seeing the world as she does and not being able to get it across to people. Especially when it would help them experience a more enriching life.

Favorite Moment from xxxHOLiC Episode 6

xxxHOLiC Episode 6: Yuuko wanted Hanahana to understand her addiction first

Yuuko’s words seemed harsh – but that method had the best chance of getting through to Hanahana. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Setup: Teaching is Hard Work

I have a lot of respect for teachers. They start from an understanding of a subject, and they have to impart that understanding onto folks who don’t understand the subject. That’s hard enough when students are willing to learn. If it’s a subject a student doesn’t like, or has been indoctrinated against, then the teacher’s job is that much more difficult.

My favorite moment in this episode is Yuuko’s attempt to teach Hanahana something about addiction. The specific case in this episode was an addiction to the neurochemical feedback loops created in the post/response cycle – specifically dopamine. But the specifics are secondary. The thing about beating addiction, any kind of addiction, is that it’s very, very hard to do. In some cases, it might even be impossible without significant intervention.

It’s not just a matter of will power. It’s not enough to decide you want to stop the addictive behavior. Yuuko knew this. But she can’t just come out and say that to Hanahana, can she? If she tried, Hanahana would just nod and smile. Instead, Yuuko had to teach that lesson to her.

xxxHOLiC Episode 6: Yuuko's questioning surprised Watanuki

Yuuko’s clear, no-nonsense phrasing seemed to surprise Watanuki. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Hanahana spoke of her desire to quit. She even said her son had begun complaining that she wasn’t spending enough time with him, while her husband worried she wasn’t finishing her chores. To make sure Hanahana understood the situation, Yuuko asked her to confirm that she had tried to quit, but the attempt had failed. While Watanuki looked at Yuuko in surprise, Hanahana confirmed.

Then Yuuko started her lesson. She asked again why the woman wanted to quit. Again, she brought up the argument that her husband wanted her to.

Delivery: Knowing the “Why” Is Critical

Staring right at the woman, Yuuko said (09:30), “You have to quit because your husband tells you to? You would quit anything just because your husband tells you to?”

The woman said it wasn’t like that and Watanuki looked uneasy about the severity of the question. When the woman brought up her son’s request for more playtime again, Yuuko asked point blank (10:01), “Why do you have to play with your child?”

That question shocked both Hanahana and Watanuki. The woman tried to answer, but her attempt came out as wishy-washy. Her words lacked conviction. Her answers became self-referential; it was like she was trying to use circular logic to answer Yuuko.

xxxHOLiC Episode 6: Hanahana didn't know how to respond to Yuuko's questioning

Hanahana didn’t seem to know how to answer Yuuko. The scene made emotionally effective use of closeups. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

That’s when Yuuko summed everything up by saying (10:29), “Even thinking such things, you have been unable to quit…” 

From a medical perspective, we know that some addictions can’t be broken by will power alone. But I don’t think that’s what Yuuko was suggesting. Yuuko wanted Hanahana to be clear and honest with herself. Yes, some addictions need interventions, but some can be broken – if the person suffering from addiction knows the reasons for quitting and is otherwise physically unimpaired. Hanahana had not figured that out yet, and that doomed her to failure.

I suspect Yuuko was teaching Watanuki as much as Hanahana, though. A lot of what’s  happened in these first six episodes revolved around Watanuki coming up to speed on various aspects of Yuuko’s world. That’s why I don’t think we got the resolution to Hanahana’s case. Her issue is secondary. Watanuki learning about the limits and techniques of dealing with human addiction was more important, in the long run.

To Watanuki and Yuuko, at least.

What did you think of Yuuko slicing the laptop in half – with a baseball bat? What were your favorite moments in this episode? Feel free to share in the comments!

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7 thoughts on “xxxHOLiC Episode 6: Favorites

  1. It was indeed a special bat. Bought for one purpose. Red, because the color is important. As a witch myself, red is remenescent of blood, a red thread is used in the spell to bind, and to bring lost things back, so BREAKING the red… okay, in my head it works. Magic is not always conducive to words. And yet – as Yuuko points out – words are also important, naming is important. I actually have to say I enjoyed something else she taught to Watanuki in this episde. Note how hesitant he is to enter “her way” to Ginza. How he slips and slides and sees things and complains about going through her tunnel to Ginza. And then when they are on their way home… he wants the tunnel. He doesn’t want to get on the train. Especially not carrying these things, he says. It’s part of a slow familiarization of Watanuki to certain magical ways that he initially fears, and then realizes are harmless and desires when he can see their advantages. I’m also going to toss in that it is possible that “these THINGS” are exactly why you cannot use her tunnel to go home. It can transport people, beings of spirit, but not inanimate objects. Just a thought.

    I think Yuuko got so harsh with Hanahana because Hanahana was not getting the point. She can’t quit because her husband wants her to, she can’t quit because her child wants her to, she is going to have to quit because SHE wants to spend the time with her husband and child. She gets close when she says “because my child is cute” … that is, she realizes her child IS cute and you know, they don’t stay little and cute forever – they grow up…and away… there’s only a certain period of life when your children think you are personally some sort of super hero, and they can’t live without your attention and so on. you have to grasp those magical moments or they will slip away forever

    I like your insight that it must be frustrating for Yuuko. Even as a much lesser being, I experience some of that when I see young people making mistakes either I have made, or I’ve seen others make, and yet when I attempt to advise them (which I will only do if asked BTW) I get, well, that wishy washy answer! Or, you know, our society (on purpose) teaches young people that old people are idiots who fucked up their life – just exactly so our advice falls on deaf ears and the powers that be in this country can keep pulling the same stunts to keep the poor poorer over and over.

    That turned into a completely different rant. 😛

    1. The idea that magic is both beyond words and dependent on it intrigues me. It sounds like a contradiction that feels realistic. That might be my theological training talking.

      Also intriguing? The idea that the things could not be transported through the tunnel. Limitations also add realism.

      At least here in western countries, I have seen the insistence that old folks are idiots. I see it in assisted living; I see it in media. The older I get, the more I experience it. The only way I’ve found to counter it — and it’s not as effective as I’d like — is to encourage younger folks to find their own voices and listen to the voice of reason. That seems like a decent thing to do, as well as good for the individual and everyone around them!

      And keeping the poor poor — it’s morally reprehensible, isn’t it? But what proves its moral degeneracy beyond doubt is that it’s even senseless from a capitalistic perspective. Help the poor become rich so they can spend more. Then the rich get even richer!

      But it’s not about money, is it? It’s not about the feeling of having; it’s the feeling of comparing themselves to others who do not have that is the real attraction.

      That’s also a theme I try to develop in my books. The protagonist Executives raise people up; the antagonists don’t. That’s one of the few material differences between them. And that’s the point!

      1. As you say, it’s not just morally reprehensible, it’s stupid. When the poor and old were allowed to die in droves at the beginning of the pandemic, I said the rich were going to find out there was no one to work at McDonalds and scrub their toilets and THEN they’d think it mattered. Well, we’re calling it “supply chain difficulties” and also “no one wants to work” (which is the biggest pile of shit ever) but the fact is, people aware of their mortality don’t want to give their lives and time away for not even enough to pay the bills anymore, and there simply are fewer bottom feeders to drive trucks and stock warehouses. What the rich have really perfected is the carrot method. Dangling that carrot – you too can be rich if you just make enough affirmations, you too can be rich if you try hard enough and if you are old and poor it’s because you are dumb and lazy – not because you got laid off when you turned 45 and they would have had to give you another raise – and then couldn’t get another good job (because no one hires someone ‘that old’ they’ll have to give retirement to) and lost all your retirement and insurance and whatever else you paid into for 20 years.

        Ahem. Sorry. Ranty. Mustn’t get the oldster started. 😛

        So I’m not even going to get started on living within the paradigm of being old therefore an idiot (eyeroll).

        1. That’s pretty much it, isn’t it?

          I think I’ve been able to trace some of the core issues to:

          1. The resurgence of aristocracy in the US, where some executives think they have — and should have — power over other citizens. That’s profoundly un-American. But that mindset lets them justify why they _should_ make 398.8 times that of an average worker. That’s why they accept less riches in the long run by keeping the poor poor — because it feeds their egos.
          2. Quarterly profit/loss statements: Corporations have to show increasing profits over time, on a quarterly basis, so they get rid of experienced workers and hire the unexperienced so they can show favorable G/L movement. In the short term. And that’s the problem.
          3. Lack of national-level health care: As long as people get health care from work, they’re screwed. National health care won’t pass (despite it working in the rest of the civilized world) because of #2. Worse, there’s another factor at work. A solid 1/3 of people in the US don’t want their money to fund insurance for “those people” — where “those people” are whatever minority the Right has designated at the target this season. They’ve actually said to me that they don’t want their money funding insurance for someone else. They look askance at me when I ask them if they understand how insurance works.

          I think I’ll agree not to tackle the older = stupider.

          Sigh. Well, at least we have someplace to vent!

          1. Yes, absolutely yes to all of the above. At a certain point in time Miltron Friedman and the economists he trained taught everyone that the important thing for any company to do was the enrich the shareholders. Period. Nothing about improving their community by providing jobs, providing employees pay and benefits, providing quality products at a reasonable price. Instead companies must show constantly growing profits. The only way to do that is constantly lower expenses (like employee salaries and purchasing appropriate raw materials), and constantly raise prices for exactly the same product. To constantly raise prices you have to constantly convince your buyers something is “new and improved” while actually selling them something you made even cheaper. There’s an excellent book, written about a hundred years ago, which says that the profit belongs to the person who produced the product. If you are a shoemaker and you buy leather and nails and sell shoes for a little more than you spent, that profit is yours for the labor and skills you have. The “new” economy (which at this point isn’t all that new) says the profit belongs to the stock holder who financed the purchase of the building and machinery and materials with money they already had, but who did no actual work. And the further removed we are from that situation where the worker is rewarded for his work, for creating the profit – the more the worker gets screwed, the more poverty is created. On top of all that, the U.S. is now the most propagandised nation in the world. It’s just we have two different sides spewing propaganda, and because even the left now spits out as much lies as the right, people don’t know what to believe and believe nothing at all, or they just swallow whatever is spoon fed to them that suits their mindview.

            One thing I do a lot is remind myself that karma works. I know that is true, I’ve seen it. So for every condescending nurses aide who provides inadequate care because the sick, old, and now poor person (medical illness is financially devastating in the U.S.) “brought it on themselves” – I just smile and remind myself that her day will come. Someday it will be her, or her sister, her mother, her child – laying in that bed begging for care and being ignored or doing without a needed treatment or drug because they cannot afford to pay for it and Medicare/Medicaid refuses to pay for it or even refuses them benefits altogether because they make too much money even though they are too sick to work or their income is less than the cost of their treatments. Yeah, okay, I could go on forever – you should see what I deleted. Sigh. Personal issues, sorry.

  2. OMG! I loved that Yuuko went out of her way to select a special baseball bat and in the end used it to slice a computer in half! It really was a special bat.

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