When news came out that xxxHOLiC was getting a live adaptation, I was super excited. xxxHOLiC was one of the animes I watched during my otaku days and brought back so much nostalgia .. (о＾ω＾о) Anyway, I obviously didn’t brace myself for the beauty and dark theme they used here. I always thought Yuko was an interesting character and to flesh her out alive would be just…utsukushiii~ (beautiful) I love the set up of her shop which gave the perfect vibe and of course the place where she granted wishes and etc. Watanuki was nailed by Sometani Shota while Anne Watanabe held the role of Yuko.
I think Yuko is a very mysterious character and definitely not very expressive at times. She is wise and she does what she needs to, no less and no more. In the anime, she felt like a distant character, separated from our young heroes. But in the drama, she feels more tangible and relatable to our cast. There are times where Yuko helps Watanuki by using Domeki which I thought, ‘Yuko is putting to much effort in this’. She likes Watanuki and enjoys his company, which is spelled out in the drama already. However, throughout the end, I thought that this Yuko and the anime Yuko is quite different already. If I don’t let the manga spell out my expectations, xxxHOLiC would be very enjoyable as a stand-alone entity. It tends to happen when live adaptations are made, which makes us compare it with the original manga. CLAMP’s work is known to be really beautiful, and I actually liked xxxHOLiC’s story compared to Tsubasa Chronicles because the plot in xxxHOLiC was more realistic as in it could happen now to anyone. And I thought it was perfect fodder for live adaptation!! 😀
Sometani Shota as Watanuki was quite well-done. He was a Watanuki I imagined but shorter. Haha. Well, he couldn’t be any taller, if not Domeki will have to wear high-heels.
Karen Miyazaki as Kunogi Himawari was a weak character, so everyone says. In the earlier episodes she was okay. Later on, I just couldn’t she her smiles the same way I do previously. There’s a specific episode where after, she turns into a darker Himawari. The point was to show that a bright Himawari has her own inner secrets and darkness but somehow, in this drama they turned her completely into a scarier character. For that reason, I couldn’t like her and couldn’t fathom why Watanuki loved her. She was the glue between Domeki and Watanuki and that’s why she’s there as a plot device for me.
I LOVE DOMEKI. Period. He was a much better character compared to Himawari and he was useful, with the imaginary bow and arrow thing. His relationship with Watanuki was so full of bromance. Haha. And Higashide Masahiro did very well by depicting how he cares for Himawari and afterwards, Watanuki. Can’t think of a more perfect casting.
I love the opening soundtrack as well, Aitai by Shikao Suga. It’s so catchy and it captures the tone of the drama 😀
The amount of beautiful outfits they have here is just… ‘drools’. Anne Watanabe is soo lucky. Among my favourites is the kimono with the butterflies in them. It’s just soo beautiful and ethereal-looking! Love how the back part has butterflies all over!!
Maru and Moro :3 I love the segments where at the end of each episode, Watanuki is playing a different game with them each time. Something about those scenes that seems so poignant and wistful, like looking back at those times of childhood and innocence.
The first dew episode saw Yuko’s client and I think I like the one with the monkey’s hand best among the stories. The moral of the story is be careful for what you wish for. And there’s no free lunch in this world, everything comes with a price. The drama tends to veer a little off to horror, especially the episode where Himawari’s friend carve words on herself and this. PLEASE, scrollquicklydownifitscaresyoutoomuch. IT SCARES THE HECK OUT OF ME TOO.
I was really shocked by the approach they took on these episodes I actually fast-forwarded them. It’s good in a way that the drama is exploring how far they can go with horror but it still scares me 0.0 The scenes with the kid in a horror hospital was scary too, the story about the red hydrangea.
Adachi Yumi as Jorogumo is probably the best thing in this drama. I’m just not happy with how her character ended up. She’s like the big boss of the drama and she holds her pose so well. I actually FEAR her. And when she proceeds to seduce Watanuki or does things to Himawari, I’m like, shocked. Okay, maybe more surprised. At one point, I think she acts even better than Anne Watanabe.
Overall, I think the drama was done quite well considering it’s got a smaller budget. With only 8 episodes, it’s hard to cover the original plot but I’m glad it’s creative and it’s quite fresh if you watch it without ever reading the manga or watching the anime. I wished they would have a season 2 though, to continue what they’ve started. xxxHOLiC does have enough plot for a second season so it depends on the producers whether they can pull it off.
By the way, mydramatea does episodic recaps for xxxHOLiC so you can go ahead and read ’em here. Cheers! (о＾ω＾о)
Updates: Anne Watanabe and Higashide Masahiro are real-life couple.