Posted by psgels on 27 June 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews, xxxHolic


xxxHolic Kei is the second season of the anime-adaptation of Clamp’s manga about modern Japanese folklore. In contrast to its predecessor, there are only 13 episodes, but to make up for it, the creators have put into these episodes the rumoured best chapters in the manga. The result is a second season that surpasses its first season in quite a few areas; not only in terms of manga, but also the anime staff learned some new tricks.

Without a doubt, the highlights of the second season are the first three and the final three episodes. Both contain rock-solid chapters, where the main characters Watanuki, Doumeki and Himawari (who have already been fleshed out really well by the first 24 episodes of the first season) really come together and get some major character development. The final episode is surprisingly light-hearted, but it does provide a perfect closure for the series.

The rest of the series is filled with stories, more reminiscent of the first season. They range from Yuuko, teasing Watanuki for the umpth time to some really effective standalone horror-stories. What’s interesting is how compared to the first season, the creators make use of much, much more foreshadowing. The stories in the first season always didn’t feel like a part of a whole, and this is fixed really nicely by the second season, which constantly drops hints and characters of stories that are still to come, which brings an interesting sort of unity to a series that consists out of random stories.

The animation has also improved a lot. You can see that the creators got a bigger budget for the second season, which makes especially Watanuki’s ramblings into some great visual comedy. Unfortunately, the animation dulls a bit in the less important episodes. The creators made good use of their CG to support the supernatural aspects of this series, and also the sound department is better than ever, although some tracks may have been played a few too many times.

Unfortunately, I can’t call the second season better than the first season. There’s something that holds it back from doing this, and it’s not just the length. In the second half of the series, there’s one particular multi-episode arc that breaks the flow of this series: the Kohane-arc. The only purpose of this arc is to show a mistreated little girl, and nothing else. Nothing really new gets introduced, and the way this girl gets abused despite her awesome powers have a good chance of breaking your suspense of disbelief. Especially for a 13 episode-series, if two episodes disappoint, it will be much more noticeable than if there were 24 episodes.

Still, xxxHolic Kei definitely carries the highlights of xxxHolic. It’s less consistent than the first season, due to the disappointing Kohane-arc, but to make up for that, it features the Spider Queen and Himawari-arc, along with a number of successful standalone episodes. The art has become better, and the characters also make use of the time that was spent on fleshing them out, so this series has been just as enjoyable as the first season for me.

Storytelling: 9/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 9/10

7 Responses

  1. Wind says:

    w00000000000t !!!

  2. Choux says:

    Sigh*, the anime version of Kohane didn’t really fit in my opnion either… Still, I consider this to be better than the first season.

  3. miden says:

    well imho, i think the 2nd season is much better than the first XD! what a grea tending it was though/

  4. BlueYoshi says:

    Nice review.

    But dear god…I’m starting the Kohane arc today. Yes, I’m THAT behind.

  5. cody says:

    Nice review and I whole heartedly agree on the final and first 3 episodes being the best ones.

    I do disagree on the Kohane arc though. This arc is very fitting of today’s society and fits in well with the nature of some of the episodes, which is to teach or show the viewers some lesson or show people some things that are occurring in our own world.

    The Kohane arc shows some interesting things that occur in our society today.

    – New things (Kohane herself) getting popularized and then dieing off (though it happened in a bit of an extreme fashion in the show)

    – How people’s opinions can be changed in a heartbeat and how the “mob” mentality effects everyone (malice toward Kohane)

    – Parents going to the extreme (think over-zealous parents trying to push their kids to pro-sports.)

    Probably some more issues too but I can’t recall them. I know in one of the episodes in the part of that arc there was a VERY good quote that had the word malice in it….I might rewatch that arc to find it because it also fits in very well with what goes on today. ESPECIALLY on internet boards.

    An example of that is “trolling” or people just dissidenting (I don’t think this word works this way btw 0_0) against popular beliefs and then harsh and inarticulate jargon being spouted by both sides (think of when FF12 was announced for the 360, and how message boards started ramparting with colossal idiots thinking multi platforming was bad).

    Anyways sorry I am getting a bit offtopic here but I really think the Kohane arc was fine. It brought in a new character that could show up again, brought up interesting trends in today’s society and had a warm ending.

  6. summerberries says:

    xxxholic series, I expect a very diverse rating. I agree on your rating 90/100 as it falls under my favorite genre. I believe average people will rate it 80/100.

    It is excellent series for occult lovers. Don’t expect horror or bloody series. The xxx also doesn’t mean R18 show. There is hardly any love story. It’s one of my favorite occult series that I can watch many times.

  7. nalani says:

    Poor Kohane got the short end of the stick, although granted at the time, the manga hadn’t completed her story so the animators HAD to end it somehow. Honestly, the true ending for her makes more sense and is more satisfying.

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  • Bam
    (Friday, Dec 19. 2014 03:46 AM)
    And yet again at the end of the day Akane failed to do what’s the most important ethical thing to do and left people to possibly die instead of judging Sybil herself. I think the reason her psycho pass is clear might be out of stupidity.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Dec 19. 2014 03:43 AM)
    @Emma: The plot was not only a mess but also incredibly flawed and contrived. Why would Sybil need to have to delete seemingly random brains considering that the are all supposedly asympttmatic to begin with? And if so then they should’ve done this a long time ago.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Dec 19. 2014 03:40 AM)
    *This was
  • Emma
    (Friday, Dec 19. 2014 03:37 AM)
    One thing I forgot to say regarding earlier complaints about the second psychopass season is that you have people who were getting lost in regards to what was going on in the plot due to what a mess it was.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Dec 19. 2014 03:35 AM)
    The was a pretty awful, although expected turn in the latest two brynhildr chapters regarding Hatsuna and the tonal jump in the latest chapter was terrible.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Dec 19. 2014 03:34 AM)
    Yup Psycho Pass 2 finale was just as underwhelming as you lot say, so now I share the sentiment. Even the 1st season’s wrap up wasn’t all that satisfying so they kinda suck at that, but this just felt like they gave up trying tho.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Dec 19. 2014 02:57 AM)
    I have heard of directors admitting bullshit before, Von Trier is said to have done so and I love the ground that man walks on.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Dec 19. 2014 02:56 AM)
    @Emma: yeah, he mentioned that many elements of NGE where simply for visual flair or to elicit a response from the viewer, which to me is fine.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Dec 19. 2014 02:55 AM)
    And both of you have a point about the power fantasy thing. Would also like to add here that a writer, writing is essentially a power fantasy to an extent as he or she essentially is elevated to the position of a God that has full control over their own world and characters.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Dec 19. 2014 02:52 AM)
    Has Anno mentioned himself that he knows when he’s just messing around?
    Also I like his wife’s works a fair bit and more.

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