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VINE VOICEon July 2, 2008
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I had some serious 1980's flashbacks going on as I watched this. Some reviewers have said that this series is about a boy who is plagued by contact with the spirit world, but unfortunately that's just the setup to introduce Watanuki to Yuko, who is a sort of Morticia Adams meets Yoda meets the master from Kung Fu or the Karate Kid. She dispenses worldly wisdom from her "wish shop" in exchange for payment that isn't very clear up front, but in Watanuki's case consist of his watch and his part-time services as a chef and personal shopper (don't be surprised if you find yourself thinking "wax on/wax off" when you see Watanuki' attempts in the kitchen). Watanuki yells and whines almost constantly (showing bizarrely shark-like teeth in the process), while Yuko smokes, calls for more sake, and slinks around in lingerie. Throw in a Pokémon-type one-eyed stuffed bunny thing that jumps up and down and demands food constantly, two annoying little girls, who don't do much other than shout, giggle and refer to Yuko as their mistress, a possible love interest and a rival for Watanuki, and you've got -- wacky wisdom!

It's hard to say exactly who the intended audience for this program is. My first thought on watching it was that it's very similar to the cartoons my preteen nieces and nephew watch on television. Only those don't have a lead character that smokes and drinks sake to excess. And the xxx in the title, though not pronounced, might lead one to believe this is anime for adults. But the messages in the episodes are definitely not for grown-ups -- we have only one past, there are many possible futures, you have to learn your own lessons, etc., so I'd say this DVD is best for teens who are kind of into goth and anime and haven't seen and heard all these new-age messages before. If I were that age, I'd probably think this was pretty cool, but as an adult my response to it was just lukewarm.
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on November 8, 2013
This is a clever concept and it is well-executed in these animated videos. I find the dialogue fascinating, and witty. It takes a little bit of getting used to the humor, which is often subtle, but comes out with attention. One of my favorite aspects of this series, along with other similar products, is that the creators assume a spiritual side to life, and treat the mystical as every-day occurrence ... unlike their counterparts in America. Although I abhor violence, this series contains a bit; reflective, I suppose, of modern times and influences.
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on May 7, 2008
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Attracted by the product description and being a fan of anime I decided to order Holic: First collection.

First of all, and like many other examples around, this collection contains only 4 episodes, with the complete season already aired and the second one currently showing in Japan you would expect a set containing the complete season 1. Instead, this release shows to be another attempt to sell separate groups of chapters rather than selling a complete set at a more reasonable price (which will surely be released after all the collections are available)

The story is about a kid cursed to have spirits not visible to others attracted to him, one day he stops by a shop where a mysterious character named Yuko offers him to get rid of his curse, in exchange, he will have to work for her. The first episode was slow-paced and kind of boring, once it's been established which course the series will follow I found the following chapters to be entertaining, I particularly liked the story about the girl with the "bad habit". Among the extras there is a trailer for the movie and the rest of the volumes, the glimpses of the following chapters look promising. Being from the same creators (Clamp), in the following episodes characters from other anime series make special appearances (i.e. characters from Cardcaptor Sakura and Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle), so if you've seen those other series you know what to expect from "Holic"

There were two things I didn't like: one was the character designs; this is the type of anime in which according to the character's expressions or feelings their drawing will change style to reflect that; the other thing I thought could have been better is the animation, while not bad, it is not too well elaborated; for example, everytime a character walks on the street all the people around him are gray silhouettes, at first I thought it was an artistic choice to reflect something but being this a constant in all episodes I assumed it was not, this type of things make the animation look cheap.

Extras include an image gallery with screenshots from the show (not even concept art or the like), the Intro and Outro songs from the show without the credits and trailers from other DVDs from Funimation.
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on April 4, 2008
I have been waiting 4 this series 2 get DUBBED for a few years now. As soon as i saw CLAMP attached to this i knew it was going to be amazing. CLAMP always churns out the HITS. These characters were also apart of the Tsubasa world and vice versa. Makona from Magic Knight Rayearth is also in this series as well. I'm glad to see that it's finally released in the states and can't wait to finish season 1. The male voice characters dubbing was a bit annoying at 1st when he yells but just let it settle in after the 1st episode and you will find that his yelling is part of the allure and actually gives Watanuki more character besides it helps to add to the comedic atmosphere. I'm already beyond addicted as i saw the movie before the series and hope that season 2 makes it state side as well. Of course this and Tsubasa are on 2 different levels. One series is about people with magical mutant like powers and this one isn't so much so. The story is about a boy name Watanuki who sees spirits in his everyday life, spirits that haunt and torture him but he doesn't know why and nobody else can see them but him. One day on his way home he passes by a shop that grants wishes and by some force of nature he is pulled into the shop not willingly but by some magical force. He meets Yuko and she offers to grant him a wish but she only grants it if he submits payment and payment is that he becomes her employee does housekeeping choirs etc. In each episode there is someone who has a wish that needs to be granted and it only gets interesting. Hopefully more will be explained soon. But i heard CLAMP wasn't impressed with this series so season 3 might not be happening. As for Tsubasa we all know the production company messed that series up and CLAMP decided to pull the plug so we might not even see season 2 here in the US. Great series overall, i just wish the soundtrack for xxxHolic pronounced simply HOLIC with all the X's ignored was produced by Yuki Kajiura who always does a splendid job with her Japanese techno opera.
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VINE VOICEon April 7, 2008
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
When I ordered this product through the Amazon Vine program, I knew very little about it -- only the copy from the DVD case, which was pretty vague. However, when one of my students saw the DVD on my desk, she got very excited. Apparently, xxxHOLIC is one of her favorite manga. This made me even more curious to see what it was about.

xxxHOLIC is the story of Watanuki, who sees spirits. When he meets Yuko, she offers to take away the burden these spirits create -- for a price. Watanuki must work for Yuko in order to receive his reward, and his employment puts him in a variety of strange situations, most of them involving the paranormal.

The stories here are interesting, and ultimately what glued me to my seat through all four episodes. Yuko is a fascinating character with a fantastic wardrobe. Watanuki, unfortunately, was a bit too high-strung and annoying for my taste, but I was able to work past that and enjoy the show. Overall, I'm intrigued enough to want to see the rest of the series, but only if they fall into my lap like the first collection did; I don't see myself seeking them out.
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Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Since I have read the manga that this anime is directly based on, I had some expectations going in. The anime follows the manga quite closely. It is about a boy, Watanuki Kimihiro, who is plagued with visions of ghosts and spirits. His own two feet drag him into the shop of Yuka, a mysterious witch, who promises to help. In return for her services, Watanuki ends up doing menial chores for her around the shop. This premise sounded like it could be cool, and as I am a huge fan of Clamp (I love Chobits!) I expected more. This volume is more a random series of events wherin our boy helps the witch with some "issues."

If you enjoyed the Manga, xxxHolic the Anime is sure to be pleasing as well. However, I found the manga to be much less objectionable than the Anime. The main character is annoying and he seems to be much more of a whimp than some of Clamp's other protagonists. Plus, Yuka can be a little bit "touchy-feely" with Watanuki. This is kinda creepy. Though he's supposed to be 19, his characterization is much younger (the "boy" description is on target), and she's a grown woman. A little bit of a shota vibe that bothered me.

The twins...they are waaaay over the top and beyond (way, way beyond) cute. I can put up with all of this to a degree, but not all at once, not all in one show. In a book, you can overlook the annoying factor, it's not literally screaming in your ear. On screen...well that's a different matter. The characters that are supposed to intersperse some humor just grate on the nerves. I think this may appeal more to teen fans than adults.

The art work is not some of Clamp's best, but it is still above and beyond some other production companies. Overall, this anime is okay, but there are much better choices for spending my hard-earned money on. If you like Clamp - buy Chobits instead.
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Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
xxxHOLiC: First Collection

I love the xxxHolic book series, which can best be described as philosophical anime with a dash of high school angst and the supernatural. I think most people who are drawn to this TV version will be fans of the books xxxHOLiC, Volume 1. While I still like the writing that has made its way to the show, not all hard-core fans will be pleased with the DVD version.

The Story

Our main character Watanuki can see spirits, who seem to be drawn to him. He stumbles upon Yuko, who seems to already know his problem and is willing to solve it for a price. Yuko's ability to grant wishes is reminiscent of many stories about the devil, who always has a price. Watanuki's price is that he becomes her servant, and a series of adventures ensue.

Like all high school boys, Watanuki has a crush, Himawara, and a nemesis, Doumeki. In an ironic twist, he is forced to join with both of them to complete his tasks.

Once again, hard-core fans will already be familiar with the basic story.

The Good

The writing includes a lot of riddles and philosophical dialogue to make you think. So in that sense this is a thought provoking anime. Still, there's a lot of childish elements too, including the two girl helpers and the talking doll which I personally might have toned down. In that sense, this anime can appeal to younger and older fans alike.

Still the core elements of the books are here. That includes some beautiful character silhouettes and beautifully done art sequences for the opening.

There are some funny and clever double entendres here, one in particular to open the second episode. In that sense, this anime is perhaps more engaging than many others. Still, the high school themes highlight the fact that just like most anime this one is geared towards kids too. Precocious kids, but kids nonetheless.

While the first episode is somewhat light, laying the foundation, the other three get progressively better.

The Bad

The first negative I have to note isn't about the episodes but rather the extremely small amount of content on this disk. These episodes are meant to last 30 minutes with commercials, making the DVD versions about 20 minutes. I just feel that they could have either included more episodes or priced these better.

There are no real special features to think of either. The disk includes some images and the opening and closing themes to the show without the credits. They are both catchy Japanese pop, but I have a feeling that most Japanese people would not consider these the best music they have to offer.

Another thing I was not happy with, which I noticed on another Clamp release as well, is the lack of Japanese character subtitles. I find original character subtitles helpful in deciphering some questionable translations.

I also like to read subtitles even with the English dub just to make sure I catch everything. Strangely, the English subtitles are only activated when Japanese is spoken, which isn't very useful. In order to access subtitles, you have to choose the Japanese option and then the English subtitles come up. I personally always like to see subtitles even with voice-overs.

Comparing the japanese translations to the voice over dialogue reveals some interesting variances and some cultural differences that were certainly lost in translation.

As far as the animation goes, like I said I love the opening sequence and several elements. But they seem to have done too many direct transfers from the book series, which sometimes leads to two-dimensional images of characters. While some characters, particularly Yuko, always seem to be animated with great detail, Watanuki looks like more time could have been spent enhancing his character for the screen.

Conclusion

I think the starter set is a better value than the first collection, because at least you get a box to hold the disks xxxHOLiC: Starter Set. No doubt, if you're a hard-core fan of Holic, you will be buying all the coming collections anyway. The second collection is soon to be released in May and the third collection is due in June. While I think this series is cool and will still please many hard core fans, it may only appeal to a small audience beyond those core fans.

Enjoy!
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Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'm pretty hard to please when it comes to anime DVDs, but I try to keep an open mind and am always willing to try out new series. Sometimes that pays off (I never would have discovered Escaflowne otherwise) and other times I wish I hadn't bothered. Unfortunately xxxHolic, the latest Clamp series falls into the latter category.

The Story: Our protagonist Watanuki is a high school student (big surprise, right) who is cursed to see dark spirits everywhere. One day while fleeing the sprits he encounters a strange shop run by the mysterious witch Yuko, who is able to help him with his problem. In return she enlists his aid at the shop, where all manner of supernatural problems are dealt with.

This is an interesting enough concept, and if handled well it could have worked. Unfortunately the things I find most annoying in an anime are all present here - super-exaggerated facial expressions, cutesy pets, high school drama, and weird child characters. I never quite get Japanese humor, and this verges on slapstick at times, taking what might otherwise have been a promising series and making it unwatchable.

Character Design/Animation: This is your typical Clamp fare, which means very stylized characters, but not much else. Anime is such a visual medium, so it's frustrating when so little apparent effort is made to make this series look good.

Contents: This DVD contains the first four episodes in the series.

DVD Extras: This is pretty much a bare bones release as far as special features go. You get an image gallery, trailers, and textless songs.

The Verdict: Unless you really love - and I mean love - that quirky Japanese humor, super-exaggerated facial expressions, etc., you'll want to avoid this one.
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on April 27, 2013
This was a gift from my younger brother, who is really into Japanese anime and manga. I'm not an avid manga reader, having only read a few. (my dentist has some in his waiting room instead of six-month-old Time Magazines), so I did have a bit of an idea what I was in for when I put this in my DVD player. However, I must admit that I didn't expect to enjoy it nearly as much as I did.

This is the first four episodes of a manga series, but viewed straight through it's almost like seeing an animated movie. The characters were differently drawn, well differently than anything I've seen in the past. They seemed to be all tall and thin, except for the two little girls who work for Yuko, the woman who sells wishes and dreams.

Nineteen-year-old Watanuki see spirits and nobody else does. They are drawn to him because of his bloodline and this is a torment. Yuko can help him, but he has to earn her help by doing things for her and so he goes out on adventures, sometimes dangerous, doing her bidding, to earn her help. As I said above the four episodes here do seem like a movie, a movie that never slows down and is a pleasure to watch.
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on June 7, 2011
xxx holic is a wonderful spooky anime that is sure to please those who are in need of some time with a good horror anime. the story is rather simple, and the main charctors are hilariously funny,with the three side charctors. watanoki can see spirits and his life is miserable, untill he pulled into the shop of a wish granter, Yoko a beautiful yet excetric, scorcress. wantanoki has his hands "full" now cooking, obaying orders from yoko, yoko and watanoki make a deal he will work for her and she will grant his wish " to be rid of the spirits forever" with his love intrest, himaori, and the smooth talking kasuki who he hates, he will need all the help he can get.

the anime is beautifuly disigned, the story is lavish and the charactors are unforgetable. 10/10 i plan to get the second collection,!!!
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