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xxxHOLiC Episode 8: Favorites

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xxxHOLiC Episode 8 – Quick Summary

In xxxHOLiC episode 8, “Contract,” Watanuki worked hard, but complained loudly, as he cleaned Yuuko’s warehouse. The warehouse contained items customers had used as payment for Yuuko’s services. Nanami, an aspiring teacher and writer, happened by and asked about a sleek cylinder that had escaped Watanuki’s notice. Nanami took the item despite Yuuko warning against it. Why did Yuuko look so stern? Just how dangerous is the artifact? And why didn’t Nanami listen to Yuuko’s warning?

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

Favorite Quote from xxxHOLiC Episode 8

xxxHOLiC Episode 7: Yuuko didn't want the butterfly to escape the carpet. The design on the carpet.

Watanuki is still learning about Yuuko’s world – including the strange behavior of carpet pattern butterflies. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Throw-back reviews are a lot of fun because they force me to rewatch a show with greater attention to detail. I must have been distracted the first few times I watched this because I missed something interesting. Maru and Moro beat a rug to get the dust and dirt out. As they did, a butterfly pattern dodged their strikes!

When Watanuki saw them hitting the rug with such enthusiasm, he warned them to take it easy. Then he saw the butterfly weaving to avoid being struck. He muttered that it was moving.

Yuuko came up beside him and said that’s because it didn’t want to get hit. He weakly objected that “normal” carpets don’t behave like that, but Yuuko ignored him. She said that she had received the carpet as payment. 

Frowning, she added (02:54), “If I let it escape, it’ll become just a plain old carpet.”

Watanuki decided to just accept it and move on.

Favorite Moment from xxxHOLiC Episode 8

xxxHOLiC Episode 7: A belief in good luck didn't save Nanami's life

Damn. Pretty sure a positive attitude isn’t going to overcome that! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Setup: Confidence is One Thing

Things just got real, didn’t they?

The show prepared us – and Watanuki — for this. Episode 1 gave us a sense of Watanuki’s isolation against the backdrop of a young woman who faked the sight. Episode 2 sketched the interaction of artifacts with human dishonesty. No one died, but it was close. Watanuki also learned the limits of knowledge in terms of what another will accept, which turned out to be important in this episode. Very important, in fact.

Episode 3 warned us that yes, the spiritual work can hurt us. Doumeki received a serious injury that I still don’t think has healed. That lesson turned out to be important in the context of this episode, didn’t it?

xxxHOLiC Episode 7: Watanuki worried about Nanami; Doumeki pretty much thought she was a goner

You can almost hear Doumeki thinking, “Well, she’s dead.” Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Subsequent episodes showed us the difference between a faker and a real fortune teller and the ease with which Watanuki can find himself in the spiritual realm. The previous episode, one of my favorites, emphasized that the denizens of the spiritual realm, like the Ame-warashi, have their own agendas. They might work with humans if their needs align, but their perspectives are very, very different.

And then there’s this episode.

I tell you what: I didn’t see it coming. I’m calling this my favorite moment because of its raw impact. It was shocking, it was brutal, and it was exactly and precisely what this series had been preparing us for.

Delivery: Arrogance is Another

Nanami had a very high opinion of herself. It was almost an unconscious thing. If questioned, I’m sure she would have said she was humble. But she made assumptions about her invulnerability. As Yuuko said (05:22), “I doubt that woman listens to anything anyone says.”

Truer words were seldom spoken! But that’s Yuuko in a nutshell, isn’t it?

Reality in the form of a Monkey Paw adjusted her perspective. Of course, things started slowly. She tested it by asking for rain, which it granted. It wasn’t until the next day she realized the water had to come from somewhere, and the school pool was empty. She should have understood that warning. But nope!

There’s no free lunch, as they say. Her wishes got progressively more dangerous until she accidentally wished a woman to death. That’s when her self-delusions collapsed. She completely panicked. In my favorite moment, she made her final wish (20:09):”Erase everything from before me, right now!”

xxxHOLiC Episode 7: Even at the end, Nanami didn't respect the Monkey Paw

Talk about famous last words… Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

The Monkey Paw’s fifth finger snapped. It granted her wish. It granted her wish by grabbing her by the throat. The shot of its fingers digging into her flesh is something I’m to remember for a long, long time. She paid for her hubris with her life. When Watanuki, Doumeki, and Himawari entered the room, the Paw had even taken her body away.

This is the world that Watanuki has to navigate. It’s not only dangerous – it’s potentially lethal. And its citizens do not think like humans do. Talk about a great foundation for a series!

What did you think of Himawari’s touch being the catalyst to open the Monkey Paw’s container? What were your favorite moments? Feel free to share in the comments!

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8 thoughts on “xxxHOLiC Episode 8: Favorites

  1. One of the things I found interesting about this episode was Himawari’s quiet little magics. Her touch opened the monkey paw. Her touch opened the door to the closed room – that pounding didn’t open for the other students. In fact, she has a quiet little magic of things just go well for her that some people really seem to have, and hardly notice. But then, maybe they do and they just don’t have to scream about it like Watanuki.

    By contrast, Nanami is very full of herself, and rather braggart about how everything just works out for her, she is blessed with wonderful coincidences and she is so sure of herself that she doesn’t think she has to listen to “those other mere mortal people”. Seriously, I suspect she thinks of everyone else that way. Not in a malicious way, just such supreme assurance that she, herself, is SPECIAL. BETTER. SMARTER. Insert whatever superior characteristic you would like here.

    The problem is that she is so sure of herself and her perfection that she doesn’t listen to anyone else – because after all, what could they know. It takes an extreme situation to get her attention. And then when it does, she panics – having never run into something she couldn’t just bulldoze with her confident attitude. In her panic she says something really stupid – and, well, bye bye.

    I really like the progression you are seeing. And rewarching does bring out marvelous little details you may have missed before. It seems to me that anime, with it’s tendency to forshadow major events with tiny details really lends itself to rewatching and discovering new things. Something I noticed in this episode is how much Doumecki watches Watanuki. So much so that he often knows the instant Watanuki is seeing a spirit or black cloud. Doumecki cannot seen this spirit world, but he knows it is there, so he watches the person who can see. Like a blind person putting a hand on the shoulder of a sighted person who leads them forward.

    We all watch through our own prejudices and life experiences. I have known a person like Nanami, who rather irritated me, and I’m afraid when she gets her comeuppance I think…idiot. Rather like I did when the person I know hit his wall. There was a moment when I gladly would have choked him to death too (blush). Ahem. So perhaps I am too hard on Nanami. I should show her more compassion, wonder how she got that way, and wish she could learn some humility before she accidentally killed someone. And herself.

    What I wouldn’t give for a few days to wander around exploring Yuuko’s warehouse…

    1. “One of the things I found interesting about this episode was Himawari’s quiet little magics. ”

      They were so quiet I didn’t even notice that’s what she was doing until you said something. I know I’ve watched this show before, but I either forgot or blocked my memory about Himawari, so I’m still not sure what’s up with her.

      I’ve met people like Nanami. Enough that if I suspect I’m having good luck, I take it as a sign to be very, very aware of who’s around me. Like you’ve mentioned before, karma’s a thing. I don’t want to generate the karmic counterweights to arrogance.

      I just don’t have anything like the time I’d need to deal with that!

      “It seems to me that anime, with it’s tendency to forshadow major events with tiny details really lends itself to rewatching and discovering new things.”

      The Japanese anime writers seem really good at that, don’t they? Of course, it’s a universal trait in fiction. But thinking about my favorite anime and books, they share the trait.

      “What I wouldn’t give for a few days to wander around exploring Yuuko’s warehouse…”

      That’d be an amazing experience, wouldn’t it?

    1. I’ve liked this series for so long that I’m used to the art. But that said, there are times I sit back and think, “Wow, that’s a tiny head on that extremely long body!”

      CLAMP models are often lanky, but there are times it gets comical! Still, I accept it as part of the show’s charm.

      1. It feels really inconsistent too, like pne moment someone is lanky, the next they have extra inches on the neck length and their limbs are absurd. The story os so good though that it’s easy to look past that, I’m finding.

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