Monday, February 20, 2012

Aurora’s Awesome Anime list #2

Back in the saddle again!!

Ok, I’m ready to admit it… I can’t keep up with a regular schedule. This new job is running me ragged (damn you MSAccess!!!), and the lack of sun is definitely affecting my energy levels.

With that said, I will try to be more diligent, and update more often than once every… Oh, dear. How long has is been?

*checks date of last post*

Seven weeks??!!?? Geez guys, I’m sorry. At least I’m here now? I’ll try to make it worth the wait.

Aurora’s Awesome Anime list #2
1. Howl’s Moving Castle
2. xxxHolic

Remember how I said that I didn’t want to play favourites and hurt my anime’s feelings? I didn’t want to be the parent that says: You’re all great, but this is the one I love more than the rest of you. This is the title that inspired that feeling, because, in all honestly, I love xxxHolic (pronounced just “holic”) more than any other anime I have ever watched, more than any manga I have read, more than anything I have ever watched ever. In fact, at the moment, I am wearing a wrist band of my favourite character from the show, and my messenger bag has the lead on it, and my set of keys has a Mokona trinket… Feel the love people!!!

This is me, at Starbucks, writing this blog! And there is
proof of the wrist band I am wearing. :)

This story is a big title from Clamp and crosses over with several other titles, mainly Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles. It has the perfect mix of drama and comedy, horror and fantasy, mystery and mythology, that it titillates every part of my brain. While we westerners have the classic ghost stories born of twists, and urban myths to make you weary of the streets at night, Japan has a plethora of myths about ghosts and spirits and demons that populate the world and keep everything in balance.

So what’s it about? It is about Watanuki Kimihiro, a spazzy, orphaned high school boy who can see, and is haunted constantly by, spirits. One day, he is inexplicably drawn (figuratively) into a strange shop. After being greeted by a creepy pair of young girls, he is brought to Yuko, who is said to be able to grant any wish – for a price. Without asking, he is given a reading and has his wish revealed. The payment? He has to work part-time for Yuko in the shop – a wish-granting shop. Of course, this is all destined. The theme for the entire story is that there are no coincidences, it is all “fate”: Hitsuzen. Through this “hitsuzen”, Watanuki is constantly partnered up with his classmate, Doumeki Shizuka (that’s who is on the wristband!), the only son to a long line of exorcists and lives at a prominent shrine. Together they help many clients, both from this world and the other world, full of sprites and fox spirits and demi-gods.

Although Clamp’s works are often recognizable by the lithe nature of their characters, xxxHolic takes the aesthetic to the extreme, and to their credit, it works in their favour. The lanky, stick-figure-like body type works well to emphasize the awkwardness of some characters, and the elegance of others. The angular and wiry limbs also contrast the swirls and whirls that make up the atmosphere indicating the “other” world. The artwork is haunting, and hauntingly beautiful, emphasizing the spiritual and spooky aspect of the stories told.

I love Clamp’s works, but this one takes the cake for me. By far and away my number one, I watch it over and over again, and can almost recite half the episodes. Pick it up, borrow it, check it out online, but whatever you do, watch it! And if you do, let me know and we can chat all about it!

Until the next time (which I promise won’t be as long this time)!

Jya ne!

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