xxxHolic Review

Story:
Kimihiro Watanuki can see mythical creatures most people can’t see. Unfortunately, this also means these same creatures are drawn to him, tormenting Watanuki wherever he goes. One day, Watanuki accidentally finds a strange house that is home to a woman named Yuuko who is able to grant any wish a person may have, for a fee, of course. She makes a deal with Watanuki. If he works at her shop for her, she will keep him protected from the many spirits that want him dead.

Violence:
The violence level in this show is pretty low. Some characters might get tossed around and such, but the worst things should get would be a few scrapes. Certainly nothing graphic. The most frightening aspect of this show, graphic wise, would be the youkai, which might be a bit too scary for very young viewers.

Language:
There’s not much in the language department in this show, thankfully. A few da-ns. Nothing too shocking.

Nudity:
We’re spared any nudity in this show. Some of Yuuko’s outfits are loose at the front and this shows  some cleavage. Sometimes she shows a lot of leg too. But it’s nothing a bikini at a beach wouldn’t show.

Theology/Mythology:
Just as in Natsume no Youjin-cho, this series has a high level of youkai within it. And these creatures are a major part of the story. While culture and folklore are not as heavy theme-wise in this show, the creepy and terrifying aspects are. People occasionally get possessed and magical items, such as photos of dead people and special rings, are common as well. And Yuuko herself is often referred to as a dimensional witch.

Personal Impression:
This series does put its comedy before its horror, which is good considering that horror isn’t really my thing. That being said, there isn’t nearly as much character development in this series as in Natsume no Youjin-cho, so if deep development is your thing, this series might disappoint. That being said, there is a bit of growth on Watanuki’s part. He starts learning how to trust and lean on others by the end. He even starts learning to enjoy himself and have fun. But it’s a slow development. Most of the series is a case by case style, each episode dealing with an often random person and their individual problem. The only connecting thread being the growing trust between Watanuki and Doumeki as they fight against various youkai.
Animation-wise, it’s not exactly normal looking. CLAMP is known for their odd character designs and it crosses over into the anime variation, so be prepared for very tall and skinny characters. The music is appropriate, though non-stellar. Overall, this show is more for the laughs and the creepy than getting to the heart of their viewers. But if you’re in the mood for something creepy, but nothing too out there, this a good show to try out.

Personal Rating: 10 and up

Episodes: 24
Languages: Dub and Sub
Official rating: PG13
Genre(s): Comedy, horror, supernatural
Website: http://www.funimation.com/xxxholic
Legal streaming: Youtube and FUNimation‘s site
Screen shots:
   

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Extra: Japanese Ghost Stories

Telling scary ghost stories around a fire at camp, or at a sleep over, is something most people have experienced at some point in their lives. But ghost stories are told for slightly different reasons in Japan.

First off, ghost stories in Japan are usually told in the summer because when people are scared, they sweat. And when people sweat, their bodies cool down. This is also why spicy food is often consumed during the summer. And instead of being around a big fire, people will often light candles and encircle themselves with them as protection against any ghosts listening in. Traditionally, after every story is told, a candle is blown out until none are left burning, signaling the end of the ghost story marathon.

However, unlike many American ghost stories that tend to be singular events unconnected to one another or to religion, Japanese ghost stories are connected to their culture intimately. Japanese youkai are special creatures who often appear in ghost stories. These creatures often appear in many variants of Japanese religion and literature. Just as studying ancient Greek culture leads to study of Greek gods, so does studying Japan’s culture often lead to studying youkai.

So, ghost stories hold a biiiit more significance to the people of Japan than our ghost stories do to us. Plus they cool you down in the summer. Culture/religion lessons AND an natural coolant. Pretty sweet, and scary, deal!
Do you have a favorite Japanese ghost story? Post it in the comments below!

Tsuritama Review

Story:
Yuki can’t seem to communicate with people. Luckily for him, it’s not a human that wants to become his friend. Haru is an alien who needs a fishing partner to help him catch a really big fish that’s in the area. Which is why he squirts Yuki and Natsuki with his mind controlling water gun and creates a fishing team with some of the most unusual people around.

Violence:
There’s really no violence in this show. Yuki’s face tends to deform under stress, but it’s not grotesque so much as it’s simply silly. At the very end the Duck military group threatens to bomb the town and there are some explosions. We’re spared any blood though.

Language:
This series almost got away clean, yet there was one or two instances where the horrid “illegitimate-son” word was used. It was quick, however, and is easily missed.

Nudity:
No nudity in this show, really. Haru’s sister wears a bikini top and sometimes the guys go shirtless as they fish. That’s about as nude as it gets. Beach visits are far more dangerous.

Theology/Mythology:
The legend that opens up this series plays a role in the rest of the show. Sometimes the princess is called a “goddess.” However, this has nothing to do with religious doctrine and is simply a way to refer to a woman who seemingly “came down from the sky.”

Personal Impression:
This is an extremely weird show to me. Yes, I realize that I’ve seen shows many would consider more bizarre. However, those shows were strange for comic purposes. This show is just plain strange. Yuki has major social issues and the creators of this show thought it’d be a good idea to visually represent this by making his appear to “drown” whenever he’s in panic mode. Which is a nice idea, but really only makes the scene just as awkward for viewers. Then there are scenarios that should be funny, like the fact that the organization watching for alien activity is called Duck and their poses are ridiculous, yet fall flat. Because while these things are ridiculous, no one seems to think so in the show and thus there is an uncomfortable blend of the realistic and the weird living side by side with no one there to raise their hand and say, “Something’s wrong with this picture.” Yuki’s grandmother being sick, Natsuki’s separation from his father, and Haru’s inability to completely understand how humans feel are all serious and beautiful concepts, yet often they are overshadowed by the awkward moments of the show. Thankfully this strangeness clears up a bit at the very end, but the series is so very short that it hardly matters.
Animation-wise this series was pretty good. The voice acting (Japanese) was good and the music was fitting. If you like more laid back shows, this series might be fun for you. Just expect a fish tanks of awkward and weird in this one.

Personal Rating: 10 and up

Episodes: 12
Languages: Sub
Official rating: NA
Genre(s): Fishing, drama, fantasy
Website: NA
Legal streaming: Crunchyroll
Screen shots: