Jul 28, 2013
Were_Vampire (All reviews)
xxxHolic is probably my favorite manga and one of my favorite animes. My experience with anime movies has never been too promising; for example, I've seen and hated 5 of the Naruto movies, the Tsubasa movie was dreadful and so the Fairy Tail one, some Digimon movies were also quite bad (though there are some that deserves to be recognized as very good). So I avoided the xxxHolic movie for quite a while, and when I finally made up my mind into watching it I decided not to expect that much from it. However, I'm glad I did, because I had a great time. It's not perfect, but it's pretty great mixing good comedy with some very disturbing (and quite effective) thriller moments.

Story: It's quite simple, there's a request from a woman because her key won't unlock her mansion, and Yuuko sends (as per usual) Watanuki to handle the job. Now, while the premise is pretty much the case of the week format of the manga and anime, the development is quite clever and has distinctive elements that make us feel that we are watching a movie and not just an extended episode, which is quite important; many anime based movies feel just like an extended episode, but here the storytelling takes different paces. While usual episodes tend to move a bit slowly to introduces us to the problem before speeding up in the end, here the pace is way more regular, speeding just a bit in the end, little by little, until it creates a perfectly balanced climax.
Now, there are some flaws here and there: mostly the villain at the end is not very compelling, but the way Yuuko and company takes care of him is quite brilliant.
Mostly, it's very cleverly handled, but the ending could have been better handled; it's not that it's bad (not at all!), it is that you feel like "ok, this was a good film, but that's it", it doesn't feel transcendent. Still, you are up for bid enjoyment if you like xxxHolic.

Character: xxxHolic strongest point has always been character; we get to explore them in depth, we get to know what is right and wrong with them, what are their strengths and their weaknesses and the movie is live ups to the anime/manga character treatment, with the sole expectation that the villain (as mentioned before) is a bit rushed, but that's a minor flaw to an otherwise greatly developed cast of characters, including Watanuki; I mention him because it's not rare for main characters to actually go out of character in movies, but he still feels the same and he reacts as we could expect, and for me that's a winner.

Sound: Marvelous, xxxHolic has always had a great track (and so its sister series, Tsubasa) and the movie doesn't fall behind. Not just the music, background sounds are in complete sync; there's a moment when a ghost appears out of nowhere at Watanuki's back and the track there just lands perfectly. When scenes must be bizarre, the track is right, when there's need for comedy, drama or thriller, the track is still right.

Enjoyment: I had a great time! It's the best anime based movie I watched thus far, and this actually encourages me to see some others out there that I haven't checked out because of my bad luck with anime based movies. Though it's certainly not the best I've seen, it's still pretty damn good. If you are a fan of xxxHolic, I'm quite sure you'll like it.