Summer break has arrived, but while his other classmates are out having fun, Kimihiro Watanuki continues to work as compensation for the eccentric Yuuko in her shop. With the spirits and supernatural phenomena that bother him lessening, he pays his dues by cleaning, cooking, and doing whatever else the apparently lazy Yuuko needs.
Watanuki, however, gets involved in a new predicament when Yuuko receives a mysterious invitation to a mansion whose owner seeks Yuuko's wish-granting ability. When he, Yuuko, and his classmate Shizuka Doumeki make their way to the peculiar residence, they meet others who were summoned by the same strange invitation. All of them are collectors of various unique items, drawn there by the chance to expand their collections. But as the collectors begin to disappear one by one, Watanuki and his companions must solve the mystery and put the case to rest, or find themselves in risk of danger.
I’m even more impressed by the movie compared to the series. I like how the horror and comedy was balanced. It was even exciting in some parts, especially the scene with Yuuko, Watanuki and Doumeki near the end.
It still scared me though. That little girl is the spawn of evil and I wish I never have to see her in a CLAMP crossover series. Speaking of crossover, I got a laugh out of the shameless plug at the end. I don’t wanna give out any spoilers, so I’ll just say it has something to do with a CLAMP crossover movie.
The animation really improved for this
one with regards to details. The backgrounds were more intricate, the color palette had more variety and the characters were given more realistic bodies. Their heads were notably smaller though.
The music was really great too. There was an assortment of tracks that were nicely made and perfect for the theme of the movie. I also like the ending theme by Suga Shikao.
It really was a good decision to watch the movie as a supplement to the series. I strongly recommend watching this movie to other xxxHOLic fans – you will not be disappointed.
xxxHOLIC - Manatsu no Yoru no Yume is mystery, horror, fantasy movie of the series xxxHOLIC. This movie does not follow the storyline of the series, which is to say it also does not have ties to the story in the manga. I would suggest watching the first season of xxxHOLIC before watching this.
It starts with Yuko receiving an invitation stating that her 'collection' is incomplete and is inviting her to an auction at his house. This story is something we've all probably seen before. Main character gets invited to creepy old house, weird things happen, they solve a mystery, the end. Even with a
common plot, it's still a good story. They keep a fair amount of mystery and there are scenes that make your heart skip a beat.
The characters aren't something new. We have the same main characters, Yuko, Doumeki and Watanuki. One thing worth mentioning is the crossover scene at the end. This movie crosses over with Tsubasa Chronicle: Tori Kago no Kuni no Himegimi.
The sound is something I would expect out of a Final Fantasy game. It has that mysterious tune that helps build up the climax and is perfect for this movie's theme. Once again, Shikao Suga does a great job with the ending song.
The animation is, as expected of Production I.G., superb. The animation is smooth, their movements precise and has great quality. The details were really improved. I liked the art in the xxxHOLIC series, but this is a step up from that. You will also notice that Watanuki is also more flexible, thus being able to perform more of his weird movements, which we all enjoy.
xxxHOLiC is one of my favourite series (though, I only read the manga) so when I heard that there was a movie for it, I immediately jumped and went to find it. I was not disappointed!
Story -- If anything made me hesitate about seeing this movie, it was the story. For most movies based off of an anime series, their plots generally leave something to be desired. For the most part, they tend to feel like one long episode rather than an actual movie. However, xxxHOLiC's movie actually felt like a movie. I can't quite put my finger on it, but regardless, this movie delivers
on plot. The mystery and intrigue build and build, occasionally relieved by humour (mostly on Watanuki's part) or heightened by some frightening scenes. Near the end, the story got a little confusing, but that's quite typical of xxxHOLiC and CLAMP in general, so it wasn't all that unexpected.
What was interesting, though, was that this movie explains the meaning of the series' title. This hasn't even been done in the manga to my knowledge, so I do wonder if this is something CLAMP has confirmed themselves or if it was made specifically by the movie's director. Still, when it was revealed, it made sense and sheds more light on the manga's themes, which I really enjoyed.
Art -- If you know CLAMP's latest art style, you'll know that they're in a tall and lanky character phase. This movie carries over that style into its art and it takes a bit to get used to - all too often, the heads seem to small, the limbs too long and rubbery, etc. But putting that aside, the art is fabulous. The colours and rich and vibrant, and the scenery in the house is especially something to be marvelled at. On my DVD, I even took a few minutes to go over the slides of the background art so I could get a closer look at them (because you only get a few seconds to see them in the actual movie!)
Sound -- As usual, the seiyuu did excellent jobs. Even the English voice actors didn't do too badly (the only exception, for me, was Mokona's English voice but Mokona has such a small role in this movie that it wasn't too detracting). The music was wonderfully done, as well, thanks to the work of Saitou Tsuneyoshi. There are some very good tracks on the OST, and they really contribute to the atmosphere and feeling of the movie - everything from building mystery and wonder to Yuuko's jazzy, fun theme at the end. And maybe just as importantly, silence is used effectively to build suspense at the freakiest of moments.
Character -- I really suggest knowing what xxxHOLiC is about before going into this movie because you really need to understand who the characters are. I showed this movie to my non-otaku friends and I had to explain who everyone was and what they did before they could understand it. And because this is a movie and not the actual series, there isn't too much character development here (since most of that seems to be reserved for the actual anime and manga), which is where it may fall short. This movie is more plot-driven than character-driven, after all. The original characters for this movie were average - not particularly memorable but not bad, either.
Enjoyment & Overall -- Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and have watched it multiple times and intend to watch it more in the future. If you're familiar with xxxHOLiC, it stands on its own well enough, but you might also want to check out the Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles movie, too (if you buy the DVD, they come as a set), since like the original series, they intertwine and events that occur in one movie affect what happens in the other. Still, I thought the xxxHOLiC movie did a much better job in terms of presentation and plot, but that'll lead us into a completely different review. In any case, I'd definitely recommend this movie to any xxxHOLiC fan.
Addictions… they are something that you can put your whole life and wellbeing into, not caring who you harm and sometimes even forgetting why you started it to begin with. No, this is not a two step ‘drug addiction’ seminar; it’s the start of a strange twist of fate for Watanuki and his friends. The movie starts out like any other episode of the anime really, with Watanuki being loaded down with a mass of spirits who all seem to want his attention up till he finally reaches the place that he works at, Yuuko’s wish granting house where he works like a slave for
her. I can understand why they started it out with this as there is a need to explain who the characters are within the movie, but for people like me who know the story from both the anime and manga, it feels like a cop out. The reason why Watanuki is working at Yuuko’s place is so he would not have this trouble with spirits hanging on him all the time, but here we see that even though he has been working there a little while, the spirits do bother him. I can feel a little bit of annoyance when Yuuko talks about how he doesn’t see them that much but that’s because he is working at her place. Outside of that, nothing has changed at all (At least that’s how it feels).
Surprisingly, most of my problems with this Movie were only in the first few minutes of it, up till we have them going to a mansion that a woman had asked Yuuko to help get into (besides some animation hiccups I guess). The storyline was very well thought out and the characters were as loveable and funny as in the anime. Some minor problems of the show were pushed off to the side because of the rest of it being rather good. I felt like I was watching part of the anime without the cuts from it having to go into the next episode. I know some people get mad when a movie doesn’t feel like a movie but to me, I was happy to see this. Since I loved the anime already so it was nice seeing they had not changed anything.
The mansion was pretty creepy and was a lot like the Winchester mansion with doors and staircases leading no where and the ‘room within a room’ aspect but I had to wonder slightly why it was like that. I felt like we were going threw a ton of dimensions, rooms that felt like the outside, rooms so small you could hardly walk into, and even a really strange tiny tunnel that Watanuki had to crawl through to get to the restroom (and make himself look like a walking stick the whole way with his strange limbs). Then we have a strange feeling of a murder mystery where everyone was given an invitation to be there and then people start disappearing starting with one person and then going on to more. All of them had a common intrest; all of them collected things like an addiction. Now you can understand why I brought up the addiction part in the beginning of this review. And even in the end of the movie, I felt that I had still questions that were left unanswered and no closer to them. I’m not against not having all the answers, but there was one that bothered me and sadly, I can’t say it or it will be a large spoiler.
The artwork is really strange, and sometimes goes overboard compared to the anime. We do have the long limbs and over exaggerated faces that Watanuki is known for, the overly Slenderman look-a-likes of all the characters and the sometimes overly barbaric proportions of head to body ratios everybody whines about. But then we have some creepier looking things in the movie then just how the characters look. There are times when we are given CG rendered rooms that look almost perfect to the cartoon aspects and then they are placed next to rather low detailed objects like the characters for example. Sometimes it didn’t work but I found that most of the time it did as it would give you a very chilling feeling and add to what I believe the creators wanted.
I was not disappointed in the slightest of the movie and that’s surprising as my expectations were pretty high seeing as I liked the anime and manga both. If you are in the same book as me, I think you would really enjoy it as well.