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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » xxxHOLiC: Second Collection
xxxHOLiC: Second Collection
FUNimation // Unrated // May 6, 2008
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Todd Douglass Jr. | posted May 17, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
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A U D I O
E X T R A S
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The Show:

If you have followed my reviews for a while then you already know how I feel about CLAMP. The all female manga team makes some fantastic stuff and their shows are among some of the most popular on the market today. From Chobits to Tsubasa there's just something to love about each of their efforts. The latest of which proves to be one of the best in my opinion and xxxHolic is worth a shot no matter how familiar you are with CLAMP.

Not too long ago FUNimation released a CLAMP double feature with the Tsubasa and xxxHolic movies bundled together. Considering I enjoyed Tsubasa and was relatively unfamiliar with xxxHolic this project left me salivating. With much anticipation I dove into the first volume of the show not too long ago and much to my pleasure it was every bit as good as I hoped it would be. While the first four episodes proved to be rather episodic in nature CLAMP's quality storytelling bled through each tale and set the show up with high expectations for the coming volumes.

In case you have missed the whole affair the series follows the exploits of Watanuke who is a teenage boy with a problem. It would seem that his family has strong spiritual connections and poor Watanuke finds himself in a bit of a pickle. Spirits and other worldly things have a tendency to gravitate towards Watanuke. He's a magnet of sorts that simply attracts them because for whatever reason he seems tastier than most humans. The poor kid spends his days dogged by these beings that only he can see so it's only natural that he wants nothing more than to get rid of them. As the old saying goes, "Be careful what you wish for."

Watanuke soon finds himself in the employ of Yuko, who is a mystic of some variety that hasn't' been explained quite yet. Under the guise of "jobs" Yuko exposes Watanuke to all manner of spiritual situations where his unique ability comes in handy. During the first volume we're introduced to one of his classmates, Doumeki, who acts as a friend and rival for the lead boy. The series was just picking up steam as the first volume ended and the second more or less picks up right where things left off.

For the most part this installment offers much the same in terms of content. Each of the four episodes comes up with a mostly contained feeling as each of the tales is relatively exclusive from each other apart from some character developments. In the first episode Watanuke finds himself playing the role of errand boy once again as he delivers some something to Yuko and the owner of an oden shop. This all leads to an extended job for Watanuke as he works with Mokona to return to the oden shop on the night of a full moon. Sometimes it really seems that Yuko has no regard for Watanuke's well-being but I suppose that makes it a great source of comic relief!

The next two episodes were, disappointingly, rather tame. They felt rather formulaic within the confines of the show and there wasn't anything about them that stood out. In the second episode Watanuke and Yuko worked together to help a woman with a computer addiction. The third episode features a rain sprite that goes to Yuko in an effort to help out a friend. In each case the structure of the story is relatively the same but then again after seven episodes of the show I guess the same pattern flows through; it's just that the quality of writing keeps each episode somewhat fresh. Finishing this volume off is a tale about a teacher who finds something "interesting" in one of Yuko's rooms.

After the first volume of xxxHolic I was looking forward to the second installment in a big way. I was hoping that the envelope was going to continue to be pushed but for the most part each episode here sticks to formula. That's not necessarily a bad thing thanks to CLAMP's ability to create unique worlds and interesting characters but it does leave the majority of this volume feeling kind of stale. The show is still very good though there's no denying that it has already slipped into a pattern and it doesn't really feel like it's building towards something.

The DVD:

Video:

xxxHolic's second volume is presented on DVD with a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. The show was produced in 2006 and it maintains a very nice look with some great designs and a high level of detail. Colors have always been a big part of CLAMP's productions and this particular series is no different thanks to the vibrant palette. The image does suffer a bit with quite a large amount of grain in just about every scene. It gives off a very fuzzy look that doesn't allow the series to pop like it should.

Audio:

Thankfully the audio presentation for this DVD is significantly better. The English and Japanese 2.0 tracks present crisp dialogue and clean sound but the English 5.1 takes the cake with the added channels. The sense of immersion for this show isn't the greatest as it's mostly a dialogue-driven program but the material that makes it to the rear channels definitely spruces up the experience. The dubbing quality for both is also exemplary and I found myself unable to choose between the two (though the 5.1 won me over).

Extras:

Some trailers, clean animations, and an image gallery are all you're going to find on the second volume of xxxHolic.

Final Thoughts:

Whether you're a fan of CLAMP stuff or not xxxHolic is an entertaining show with a very interesting concept. Each character is well-developed and the stories are written masterfully but after the build-up felt in the first volume I can't help but think that the show has kind of regressed with the second. Each of the episodes here is good in its own right but in my opinion this installment doesn't quite knock the ball out of the park like the introductory volume did. The show still comes recommended and we'll be keeping an eye on this one in the future!


Check out more of my reviews here. Head on over to my anime blog as well for random musings and reviews of anime, manga, and stuff from Japan!

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