Ep.1 "Spider's Web"
Watanuki is walking down the street but something is wrong. Half of his vision is blacked out and everything is silent! Suddenly Himawari appears and walks up to him and begins talking but Watanuki can't hear what she's saying.
Watanuki then wakes up and realises that Larg, the black Mokona has fallen asleep on his right eye. Watanuki grabs him and yells in frustration at it for making him dream weird things. Maru and Moro then enter and happily ask Watanuki to make breakfast. This wakes Mokona up who also begins cheering for breakfast.
As Watanuki is eating breakfast with everyone, Yuko is watching a news report about a young girl called Kohane who apparently can see spirits. Watanuki then tells her to turn it off and listen to him as he was telling her about Himawari. Yuko turns the tv off and tells Watanuki that something bad will happen and that she's told him before that Himawari will not be his "Lady Luck".
On his way to school, Watanuki runs into Domeki and ends up helping him clean up around the temple. While arguing with him, Watanuki ends up getting caught in a spider web. Domeki tells him to stop moving and uses his broom to get rid of the web. Watanuki senses something but it is quickly gone.
Later on at school while Watanuki is eating lunch with Himawari, Domeki joins them and begins to scratch at his eye. Watanuki asks him what's wrong but Domeki says that it's probably just dust.
On their way home from school, Domeki's eye has gotten worse and he seems to be grasping at his face for the whole time. Suddenly he falls over. Watanuki asks him if he's alright and Domeki tells him that he doesn't think that it was dust in his eye. He removes his hand and reveals a spider web marking on his face.
At Yuko's shop, Watanuki rushes in and tells Yuko about Domeki's eye and that Domeki was saying something about being unable to enter her shop. Yuko explains that a spider's grudge is behind the problem because the spider who's web was destroyed is very upset over it's home being destroyed. Watanuki feels guilty because it was he who was caught in the web and asks if there's a way to give Domeki his eye back. Yuko tells him there is.
Later that night at his temple, Domeki hears something outside and opens his doors. All of a sudden a huge gust of wind blows through him and into his temple. Domeki removes his hands which he had been covering his face with and is shocked to see his eye is better!
The next morning Domeki sees Watanuki on his way to school and is surprised to see that he has a bandage over his right eye. Domeki realises that Watanuki did something and demands to know what it was. Watanuki tells him he just has a sty but Domeki doesn't believe him and forcefully removes his eye patch to reveal his now blank eye. Domeki demands that Watanuki tell Yuko to meet him immediately.
Very early in the next morning, Domeki meets Yuko in the park where they've been several times before. Yuko explains to Domeki the story of the spider's grudge and how Watanuki wanted to know how to fix his eye. Domeki asks her to reverse it but Yuko tells him she can't as it would be reversing a clients previous wish.
That afternoon, Watanuki is walking home with Himawari now that Domeki seems to be avoiding him. While rejoicing in his time with Himawari with the absence of Domeki, Himawari then says Domeki's name which sends Watanuki on a humorous scouting for him. Himawari then tells him that she had promised to lend Domeki a book of hers and gives it to Watanuki to give to Domeki.
As Watanuki enters Domeki's temple's grounds he sees Domeki carrying a pile of books about breaking curses. He gives Domeki Himawari's book and Domeki then shows him the temple's exterior study that is apparently over 100 years old and was used by Domeki's grandfather who used to perform exorcists.
That night as Watanuki serves Yuko dinner dressed as Alice from Alice in Wonderland (due to Yuko's amusement), he tells Yuko about Domeki's books. Yuko tells him that she now realises what Domeki is doing... he's trying to break the curse, now on Watanuki, by himself. Watanuki then leaves to go help him.
After he leaves, Yuko explains to Mokona that Domeki can't see her shop because he doesnt need it. He is the kind of person who will always try to solve his own problems by himself.
Mokona looks at Yuko and tells her that they should go to Domeki's as well.
Kind of a repeat crossover item seen in this episode as Maru and Moro are once again seen reading the Chobits related book while Yuko and Watanuki are talking.
My Original Impression
Friday, April 4, 2008
I've been wondering for a while how to label and talk about the second season of xxxHolic and have decided to just go with "xxxHolic Kei" (it's official name) and begin labelling from episode 1+ instead of continuing the numbering from the first season (that bonus episode really makes it hard).
These changed will be reflected in the updated xxxHolic Kei Episode Guide page which has also been updated recently with several upcoming episode titles.
With that out of the way let's get on to my impressions of the new opening credits featuring Suga Shikao's Nobody Knows!
In short, I love it! It's very similar to the the first season opening, 19 Sai (19 Years Old) with some thematic silhouette shots of the main characters, the use of smoke and several quick shots of characters from upcoming episodes. The whole thing seems a lot more fun somehow and the pace a lot faster making it, in my opinion, superior to 19 Sai. The song is also really catching and flows perfectly with the visuals.
Funnily enough the new closing credits which features SEAMO's new mix of Honey Honey is also very similar to it's first season's equivalent, Fonogenico's Reason but staying with a very basic Mokona (Larg) based visual over the song.
One difference though is the massive fan service! Halfway through Mokona begins to multiply and begins walking in a loop across the screen. Suddenly though instead of a black Mokona a white one appears! But before we get a chance to be happy about a Tsubasa connection a yellow and blue one appear and then several cool variants such as a striped one, a cyborg one, a brown furry one and a final cute panda Mokona!!! The whole thing actually reminded me of Episode 37 of Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle which also featured numerous multi-coloured Mokonas.
But what about the episode? It was just simply amazing! Now I'm a huge fan of the first xxxHolic season but within seconds of watching the first episode of xxxHolic Kei I could tell straight away that it was a superior production. The animation quality was quite simply amazing! Easily twice as... no five times better than that in the first season . Some scenes were almost movie quality! However I am aware that the first episode (and normally final episode) of most anime series has better quality animation than the rest of the series but the preview for the next episode at the end also looked pretty amazing.
As well as the animation upgrade there was also one other difference I noticed; the character designs have been changed. While they're still a bit elongated Watanuki, Yuko and the rest have all been visibly shortened and chubbied out to the point where the look is closer to that of the Card Captor Sakura character designs. It's not a major change but there's obviously been a concious decision to make the character less stylised. That's not to say Watanuki still doesn't have his crazed moments of deformity falling all over Himawari. The physical humour is still in tact.
Pretty much everyone from the first season returns for this one which includes all the voice actors, directors and animators. The music (which I love!) is also the same as the first season however I didn't hear any new themes which makes me wonder if S.E.N.S. produced any new tracks for the new season or if Production I.G. will just be reusing what was made for the first season.
Overall xxxHolic Kei is off to a very promising start! If you loved the first season you'll definitely get into xxxHolic Kei. If you were put off by the character designs the first time around, this may be the perfect opportunity to get back into xxxHolic.
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