xxxHolic, Season One Review

Updated: Dec 20, 2021

Alcoholic- someone addicted to alcohol.

Workaholic- a person who lives for work.

Sugar-holic- an individual who can’t be parted from sweets.

Karate-holic - someone addicted to Karate (me).

Put -holic at the end of any word (x) and you get x-addiction.

No matter what anybody says, we’re all addicted to something in life. Be it something as innocuous as kittens and lollipops to more sinister addictions, such as drugs and alcohol, everyone has something they can’t live without having or doing.

In CLAMP’s manga turned anime, xxxHolic, people’s bad habits come to frightening light.

What’s your xxx-holic?

xxxholic review
xxxholic review

Plot Summary

xxxholic Season One Review

Ever feel like someone, or something, is watching you?

That’s what Kimihiro Watanuki feels, and knows, every day.

This eccentric high schooler has been plagued by spirits his entire life, and the poor guy can see them as well as feel them. Unfortunately, Watanuki is pure catnip for ghouls and attracts them in droves.

One day, as Watanuki is being chased by an especially noxious entity, he stumbles into the shop of Yuko Ichihara, a mysterious woman who promises she can put an end to Watanuki’s spirit woes.

But there’s a catch to Yuko’s offer- everything given in her shop must be paid with something of equal value, and Watanuki must pony up payment by working for her part-time.

xxxholic's Watanuki
xxxholic's Watanuki

Keeping house for Yuko involves much more than just airing out the rugs or dusting the mantle.

Watanuki must also play cook as well as maid for Yuko, and he must cater to her alcohol and snack cravings as well as cleaning the shop.

That and avoid all the magical objects and creatures roaming about Yuko’s place, which alway seem to latch onto Watanuki.

Watanuki’s days, and nights, are filled with more paranormal happenings than ever before, but at least he has his crush, Himawari Kunogi, and his quasi-rival cum casual buddy, Shizuka Domeki, to keep him company.

Watanuki puts life and limb on the line to fulfill his end of Yuko’s bargain. Will he ever see a day without ghouls or is his destiny more entwined with the spirit world than he knows?

xxxholic Review

In xxxHolic, people’s bad social habits come back to infect them in a physical way via the spiritual world.

Yuko acts as mystic counselor to those wanting to ditch their lingering problems.

But Yuko’s advice can come with a hefty price to those who aren’t willing to give up their habits easily.

It’s entertaining to watch as Watanuki struggles in his own way to help out the shop’s customers, but even more entertaining is how Yuko tells these same customers to help themselves.

The episodes center around these visits to the shop by both humans and spirits alike.

xxxHolic is an honest anime which details the life of a haunted, but altruistic teen trying to untangle the meaning of his relationship to spirits and the world.

The episodes connect on an emotional level by grasping basic human sentiments and tugging relentlessly.

You know that feeling you get when you watch someone close lose something precious? Tug.

Remember when you met your first real friend? When you lost them? Tug, tug.

How’s about that time you realized you were alone in the world? Yank!

xxxHolic is more than just an anime about a wacky, over-stimulated teen with physic powers.

The true charm of xxxHolic is its complex nature as an entertaining and emotional drama laced with moral lessons and the paranormal.

xxxHolic Neko
xxxHolic Neko

There’s also a hefty amount of traditional Japanese folklore and cuisine references throughout the series.

While anime isn’t the best place to learn about Japan’s bountiful culture, it represents a starting point for newbies and seasoned fans alike.

The culinary references in the series are a real bonus for someone into the native cuisine. Keep your eyes and ears peered for a taste of Japan hidden in the series!

The pacing for the series was good overall, but a little slow in some episodes. It seemed as if almost every other volume had one episode that meandered around and made little to no sense.

Out of twenty four episodes, three were worth skipping while all the rest were must-sees.

Episodes of the series had a slightly repetitive feel, but not one large enough to detract from the story.

The repetition presented itself with Yuko handing out help to those looking for it.

However, the story moved forward in each episode in the way of story and character development by highlighting how Watanuki reacts to these new clients.

His interactions with the spirits and humans around him are the main plot line, but in the peripheries are moral lessons about self-reliance and addiction to bad social habits.

It’s not a formula for non-stop, go-go action, but the mixing of traditional Japanese mysticism, teen angst, moral dilemmas and self-discovery are more than enough to entertain.

Character Development

The anime did a great job connecting people with the characters.

Watanuki is an oddball who gets worked up over the most minute instances, yet is a stalwart friend and all-around good guy.

He can get a bit annoying when he screams and hops around whenever Domeki makes an appearance, but turning on the Japanese audio seems to dampen that significantly.

Throughout the anime Watanuki is built up and rounded out until we get a good sense of who he really is. His character is the most straight forward and likable.

He has nothing to hide and is an honest and decent human being. Watamuki is a character many people can connect with.

Domeki is more a mysterious and intriguing guy.

Not much background is offered up as to who he is, except in odd instances when he brings up his grandfather. He doesn’t say much in the series and is more of a doer than a thinker.

xxxHolic Yuko
xxxHolic Yuko

Yuko is a fantastic character, filled with girlish antics and a profound fashion sense.

She’s a contradiction of sorts- what with her heavy drinking, smoking and eating, she’s the last person who should give advice on kicking harmful habits.

Yet when it comes down to it, she’s a serious practitioner of her art and the anime paints her in a complex light.

The cast is an all-around good set of characters who play well off each others personalities.

Character Design

Designs for xxxHolic come from the manga and are exquisitely unique.