xxxHolic (XXX ホリック) is a 24-episode supernatural anime from Production IG based on a manga by CLAMP.
Kimihiro Watanuki is a boy with a problem, he can see ghosts and supernatural beings who refuse to leave him alone. One day he accidentally stumbles upon a weird shop being run by the witch Yuko who tells him she can solve his problem in exchange for him working there, so he becomes her errand boy while she takes on the various problems and wishes of people who find themselves in her store, often with suitably karmic retribution for those who don’t appreciate the power they’re messing with.
Effectively an anthology show since the cross-over connection to Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles is removed from the anime version the biggest asset xxxHolic has going for it is atmosphere. Based on old ukiyo-e woodblock print designs everything about the shows look oozes fall and Halloween and ghost stories. This is the series which got CLAMP into their super lanky phase and it works best here since it has legitimate reason for being here.
Being an anthology show lets it also hit on some stories which are basically Twilight Zone episodes (pathological liar who can’t take a hint suffers for their lies) while also leaning into its traditional Japanese nature with stories about tengu, washiki, inari and other spirits not usually seen in Western shows. Not having an overreaching plot besides Watanuki interacting with his friends also helps you skip through episodes to whatever you want whenever you want and it avoids the worst tendencies of CLAMP stories aka the endings.
Like many anthology shows it lives and dies by each episodes story. The more Twilight Zone episodes tend to be fairly straightforward and usually not as effective since there’s a feeling the people are being punished for not being told all the rules they’re dealing with, though thankfully there are far fewer of them than Japanese spirits ones which are much stronger. Watanuki is not a great leading character either, he’s really high strung and prone to over-reacting so while he’s usually an observer to things rather than an active participant he can be grating at the beginning and ending of episodes.
Weeb Level: 4/10- You really don’t need to know that much about Japanese spirits coming in as the series explains things pretty well. Doesn’t mean the knowledge won’t help.
Fanservice: 2/10- Yuko likes lounging around a lot drinking otherwise there’s really nothing suggestive or gaze-y going on.
Violence: 2/10- While there are some violent acts, they all happen well off screen and there’s almost no actual blood you see.
Quality: 8/10- You can pretty much jump in and rewatch any episode you want. Its also the perfect season for it right now.
Where to Watch: Its currently licensed by Funimation and available on their site while Prime has the episodes to watch on a rental basis. I have seen some indication its available on Hulu as well, though I can’t confirm that.