It’s the spooky season! Before they dive into the shiny new anime this season, Nick and Chris check out CLAMP‘s supernatural horror classic to see if the vibes hold up.
This series is streaming on Crunchyroll
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the participants in this chatlog are not the views of Anime News Network.
Spoiler Warning for discussion of the series ahead.
Chris, we’re already more than halfway through the month of October and have yet to cover anything spooky. By internet law our lives are sacrifice unless we correct this mistake, so I think it’s only fair we start with the ultimate creepy show: The Slender Man anime.
Horrifying. I’ve heard of the legendary cult classic Intergalactic Defender Linguini, but I never thought I would get to behold the terrifying visage of an anime about a man made of linguini!
This was something of an celebratory production for the CLAMP‘s history, tying in and crossing over with sister series Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE in a whole CLAMP Cinematic Universe. The anime version, perhaps understandably, excises much of that baggage to focus on the most important points: Watching this cool witchy woman screw with Dude-y Longlegs here.
Turns out that’s all you really need anyway.
Of the six episodes of the anime we sampled for this column, several of them primarily revolve around her lounging around her shop getting wasted, before she remembers some errand or another to send Watanuki to take care of.
A small business owner I know I can trust.
Not that Yuko needs us to keep going to bat for her, as she repeatedly proves capable of doing that for herself.
Pictured: Us making our perennial Faustian bargain with Lynzee to get the shows we want for seasonal reviews.
Technically, that’s me sacrificing James Beckett’s soul, but accurate.
It fits, given that “wishes” are ostensibly the driving force behind most of the plots xxxHOLiC is trading in. When Yuko remembers that she has a business to run.
You can tell it’s trying to go for a sort of disquieting ambiguity, but personally it just felt like I was missing the last five minutes of the episode.
Even that might be more compelling if Watanuki himself had some more texture. The long-term story is obviously about him developing under Yuko’s guidance, but in these early rounds he mostly just exists to be clueless and gush over this demonstrably less hot girl.
It had barely been four episodes and even I could tell they were in love. Why can’t they see it?
It generally worked for me, though I can see it getting grating if you’re one who finds Watanuki especially irritating, or were hoping for more specifics on how much of the spiritual stuff worked.
But then their demonstration of a “real” fortune-teller digs into how such an act might really work in a world like this, implicitly tackling the reasoning behind the old chestnut about why psychics don’t just look into their own future to find their optimal paths.
It’s idea-based storytelling and fictional world-building, very tidy!
Unlike all those malevolent spirits they’ve dealt with up ’til now, this one sells the idea of “There are mystical mysteries around every corner, and some of them are pretty cool to stumble upon!”
Also, nobody who knows CLAMP stuff better try to correct me. I don’t care if there’s a proper name for whatever the hell Mokona is. I’m calling it a gremlin and you can’t stop me from feeding it after midnight.
Fuckin’ plague rat Pikachu.
Instructions unclear, accidentally shot an arrow into the Twitter offices.
There’s been a million cartoons about social media addiction since then. What had they seen back in the day that resulted in them composing this one about someone spending too much time posting on anime and tokusatsu forums?
…Okay, when I put it that way, I feel a bit personally called out.
Which ends up turning the whole thing into a comedy when this lady starts reaching for a laptop like a junky in an After School Special reaching for a spoon of heroin.
“Must… not… post… take!”
She’s not even online gambling or anything. Her great sin is sharing some gossip on LiveJournal, but we’re acting like she’s in the really bad part of Requiem for a Dream.
That goes double when you remember that Yuko met this woman in the first place browsing the same forums online.
Honestly, if this episode didn’t have Yuko’s best look yet, it’d be a total deal breaker.
My take on the episode was that it was trying to be about too many different things. Telling a plot about addiction, as well as interrogating Mama Hanahana on her commitment to her family or her online world, and which she could be more genuine about. It’s supposed to fit with Yuko’s previously stated philosophy of helping people who wish to help themselves, but in practice it just comes off as similar to the shaggy-dog story of Episode 2’s lying lady, but even more muddled and with an inexplicable 2000’s demonization of net addiction.
It’s a real weird note that we had to leave on, unfortunately, and I don’t know that I’ll be interested in watching any more of the series. For all the charming bits, there’s just too much disharmony and too many awkward choices to make me curious.
Yuko can still get it.