Anime Review: xxxHolic: Rou Episode 1

(Originally published on Livejournal on 7/3/10)

Anime Review in a Minute:
xxxHolic: Rou

tl;dr review: Yuuki is dead and Watanuki has taken her place; They all sit around talking listlessly and watching video.

The Skinny: A special OVA that is set a number of years in the future of the xxxHolic universe, Yuuki is now dead and Watanuki has taken her place as the operator of her shop. Doumeki, now a professor at the university, shows up with a mission concerning an old, mysterious relic at a local mansion. Along with Kohane, Doumeki videotapes his encounters, along with how it all seems tied in with a young girl who appears possessed. They bring the video back to Watanuki, and show it to him, along with a surprise involving Yuuki.

My Thoughts: First of all, this special was not designed for people like me – casual watchers who don’t know much about the Clamp universe (I’ve read parts of the first volume of xxxHolic so I know the very basic initial setting, but that’s about it). This show is for the die-hard fans, and was released along with the 17th (!!) volume of the series. I was almost completely lost throughout the show, not knowing most of the characters, their history or motivations. Reading through the comments from some fans (spoilers!) in response to another reviewer, it makes a lot of sense to someone deeply familiar with the story, so my confusion is simply based on my own shortcomings, not the show itself.

That aside, this show is Clamp at its Clamp-iest! – which means, stultifyingly boring to the point of ennui. I gotta say, I haven’t met a Clamp product (manga or anime) that I liked yet (well, I would classify Angelic Layer as “watchable”, but that’s about it) — my rule of thumb is that if it’s by Clamp, it’s probably going to suck. And, they didn’t let me down here, either. Sitting around, talking to each other, watching videos, that’s about it; even the comic relief bits with Mokona, Maru and Moko were uninteresting. I wasted forty minutes of my life on this, and now you’ve wasted a couple minutes of your life reading about it as well — congratulations.

When I jump into the “middle” of a series like this, it’s not so much a question of whether or not it piques my interest enough to watch later episodes. Rather, it’s a matter of whether or not it is interesting enough for me to go back and check out earlier episodes (and there’s plenty – two full seasons and multiple DVDs). For example: To Aru Kagaku no Railgun got me to try the earlier To Aru Majutsu no Index. But in this case, the answer is a clear NO. I’ll leave xxxHolic to all the Clamp fangirls out there, it’s not for me.

For more info:

Extensive Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XxxHolic
Anime News Network entry: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=11396
Watch the trailer online: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xc4rsy_xxxholic-rou-trailer_creation

The Verdict:

Up Next: Yondemasuyo Azazel-san

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