Reviews @ Archen's Anime Page
XxxHolic - movie
Note: The full title is xxxHolic: A Mid Summer's Night Dream.
Like anyone who visits Yuko's shop, a young woman ends up there not because of coincidence, but because it was her inevitable destiny. She has the key to her house, yet says she can't enter it. Yuko isn't sure if she'll accept or decline but not long after, receives an invitation to that very same mansion. Having a premonition that this wasn't going to be an ordinary job, she decides to bring Watanuki and Domeki along.
The house which was creepy to begin with has a sentient presence that guides them to a meeting lounge. Here they meet an odd cast of characters all with one trait: they collect something. Yuko happens to fit in to this crowd as she collects items as payment for her work, but unlike these people she isn't consumed by greed or obsession. The house doesn't appear malevolent at the moment, nor do the other guests seem to bear any ill will, but it becomes more apparent that things could change to be much more dangerous. Or perhaps not. Whatever the case is, the three decide to go along with things to get to the bottom of the many mysteries surrounding the house. But if it does take a turn for the worse, will they be able to escape?
xxxHolic is a manga series that was made into this animated movie before the anime TV series, however this movie doesn't start from the beginning and is instead like a chapter in the middle. If you're not familiar with xxxHolic, I'd recommend looking at the TV series first to become familiar with the setup and characters. That's not to say that the movie doesn't explain just enough to get the gist of it, but I think it would give a person a better foundation to watch this on.
The interesting thing about A Midsummer's Night Dream isn't the animation, or even the story. What it comes down to are the surreal environment they end up in. It's like watching a wacky dream as an anime. That works very well if you want to see that type of visual theme. If you're here for the traditional elements of what makes a good show, they're alright, but certainly not anything that couldn't easily be achieved by a simple TV episode or two.
If there is one thing that annoys me, it's some of the relationships between the regular cast of xxxHolic. In particular I wonder if Watanuki is really a man, or at least a strait one. Not that I'm adamant about him drooling over every woman, but you have to admit it's a bit odd that he's totally indifferent in the presence of someone as voluptuous as Yuko. Yet he still seems bent on Himowari. Or is he? Watanuki seems to hang out an awful lot around Domeki. Perhaps Yuko keeps putting them together in the hopes one of her 'boy love' fantasies comes true? Off topic, but I'm just saying.
Anyway, A Mid Summer's Night Dream really did remind me of many of my strange dreams with elements like endless corridors, and bizarre rooms, but it's hard to recommend a title based on just that. Even so, here I am saying give it a shot for something more unusual. I would still recommend watching the TV series first, so there's a bit of a commitment there if you want any attachment or deeper understanding of the characters.
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