xxxHolic is a supernatural series written and illustrated by popular artist group CLAMP whose other notable series include RG Veda, Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, and Cardcaptor Sakura. Its story revolves around main character Kimihiro Watanuki, a high school student plagued with the ability to see yokai and ayakashi spirits which no one else can see, and Yuko Ichihara, a witch who owns a wish-granting shop which Watanuki stumbles into by chance. After offering to grant Watanuki’s wish to be rid of his supernatural abilities, Watanuki becomes Yuko’s temporary, part-time cook and housekeeper as payment. But he soon finds himself being tasked with errands that take on more and more a supernatural nature. He is often accompanied on his errands by love interest Himawari Kunogi and “rival” Shizuka Domeki and the three become increasingly close. Its storyline crosses over with that of other CLAMP series, most notably Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, which was written concurrently with it, and Cardcaptor Sakura, the history of which is drawn on several times in the series.
The xxxHolic manga is published by Kodansha and began serialization in Young Magazine in 2003. It would remain in the magazine until 2009 when it switched to Bessatsu Shonen Magazine until its conclusion in 2011. Its story spans a total of 213 chapters that have been collected into 19 tankobon volumes. The manga’s title was changed to xxxHolic Ro from Vol. 16 onward, and another manga titled xxxHolic Rei began serialization in Young Magazine in March 2013. It has been collected into three tankobon volumes so far.
Two anime seasons and several OVA directed by Tsutomu Mizushima and executive produced by Ageha Ohkawa of CLAMP with production by Production I.G have been released for the series. The first season of the anime, titled xxxHolic, aired on TBS and ran from April to September 2006, spanning 24 episodes total. Its main cast includes Jun Fukuyama as Kimihiro Watanuki, Sayaka Ohara as Yuko Ichihara, Kazuya Nakai as Shizuka Domeki, Shizuka Ito as Himawari Kunogi, and Rina HIdaka as Kohane Tsuyuri. Its theme music includes opening theme “19sai” by Shikao Suga and ending themes “Reason” by Fonogenico and “Kagerou” by Buck-Tick. The second season of the anime, titled xxxHolic Kei, aired on TBS from April to June 2008 and spanned 13 episodes. The anime saw the return of the staff and cast from season 1. Its opening theme is “Nobody Knows” by Shikao Suga and ending theme is “Honey Honey” by Seamo. The first OVA released is a two-part episode titled xxxHolic Shunmuki released in 2009 together with volumes 14 and 15 of the manga respectively. Its focuses on Watanuki entering the dream world after being told by Domeki to search for four items. The second OVA is titled xxxHolic: Ro Adayume and was released in 2011 in a special edition of volume 19. Its story follows Watanuki as he sees various parts of Domeki’s life including his childhood and events that spanned the series.
A film adaptation of the series, titled xxxHolic: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, was released by Production I.G in 2005. The film was directed by Tsutomu Mizushima and sees Jun Fukuyama and Sayaka Ohara reprise their roles as Watanuki and Yuko respectively. Its story revolves around a mystery at a mansion that Yuko, Watanuki, and Domeki find themselves engulfed in when they are invited to an auction attended by other collectors who start disappearing from the mansion one by one. It was screened in Japan together with the film Tsubasa the Movie: The Princess in the Birdcage Kingdom and later released in North America as a combo DVD and Blu-ray set together with the same film.
Other media for xxxHolic has included a novel, live-action series, fanbooks, video games, and soundtracks. The novel xxxHolic AnotherHolic Landolt-Ring Aerosol was written by Nisio Isin of Monogatari Series fame and published in 2006. It includes original artwork by CLAMP and features four stories, the first being an adaptation of the series’ first chapter. A live-action series directed by Keisuke Toyoshima and starring Anne Watanabe as Yuko Ichihara and Shota Sometani as Kimihiro Watanuki aired on WOWOW in Japan in 2013. It lasted eight episodes total with its opening theme being “Aitai” by Suga Shikao. Several fanbooks have also been released for the series including xxxHolic the Movie Official Fanbook released in 2005, TV Animation xxxHolic Extra Official Guide released in 2006, the manga guidebook Brand New xxxHolic Reading Book also released in 2006, and xxxHolic Complete Book published by Kodansha in 2011. This was followed by an art book titled xxxHolic Kochou no Yume published in 2013. An adventure game based on the series developed by Marvelous Entertainment and titled xxxHolic ~Watanuki no Izayoi Sowa~ was released on the PlayStation 2 in 2007. Finally, two soundtracks have been released for the series, the first being xxxHolic: A Midsummer Night’s Dream Original Soundtrack which was released in 2005 by Pony Canyon and features over 20 tracks from the film, and the second being xxxHolic Sound File which was released in 2008 by S.E.N.S. Project and includes 35 tracks from the PS2 game and TV series.
Characters Kimihiro Watanuki (CV: Jun Fukuyama) A high school student plagued with the ability to see spirits who one day stumbles upon Yuko’s wish-granting shop and becomes her part-time cook and housekeeper after his wish is granted and his supernatural abilities removed. Besides doing domestic chores for Yuko, Watanuki often finds himself doing errands of a supernatural or magical nature.
Yuko Ichihara (CV: Sayaka Ohara) Yuko (sometimes called the “Dimensional Witch”) is a powerful witch who can send people to other dimensions and times and can grant wishes. She runs a wish-granting shop that grants customers’ wishes in exchange for something of equal value to the wish. Payment for Yuko’s services includes everything from precious objects to abstract concepts like love or luck. She is free-spirited in nature and drinks constantly, but she becomes more stern when giving advice to customers and Watanuki, often talking of inevitabilities and how nothing is a coincidence.
Shizuka Domeki (CV: Kazuya Nakai) Watanuki’s schoolmate who lives in a shrine and has the ability to sense spirits and exorcise them. Despite Watanuki’s initial dislike of him, he is often made by Yuko to accompany him on his errands. After losing vision in his right eye due to the spirits, Watanuki gives him half of his eye which allows him to see what Watanuki sees.
Himawari Kunogi (CV: Shizuka Ito) Watanuki’s love interest and classmate who has a cheerful, friendly personality. Though Watanuki is very open in showing his feelings for her she seems totally oblivious of the fact that he likes her, and even though he often invites her on various outings, she usually cancels due to prior engagements, which inadvertently leaves Watanuki alone with Domeki. Himawari eventually learns that she emanates misfortune to those around her except her parents and those with supernatural abilities. Her bad luck almost kills Watanuki after a fall from a second story window, and she tries to cut ties with Watanuki out of fear, but the two begin to develop a relationship after Watanuki confesses how he feels to her.
Kohane Tsuyuri (CV: Rina Hidaka) A young girl who is a child prodigy, medium, and exorcist. She has a tumultuous relationship with her mother, whose personality changes drastically after Kohane helps her learn that her husband was having an affair. She eventually meets and forms a bond with Watanuki despite her mother’s protests, and she has Yuko grant her wish for happiness in exchange for her exorcism ability.