xxxHOLiC Live Action Drama Review Episode 01
High school student Watanuki has a problem seeing the supernatural, though he's learned to put up with it to a degree. One day after school, while walking down a wooded lane, he encounters an archway, whereupon he enters and discovers he's in the yard of some western styled home. Taken in by two young girls and called a customer, Watanuki meets the owner of the place, Yuuko-san. After learning his name, Yuuko-san performs a reading on him, determining that he lives alone, is good with household chores, etc. She asks him what his wish is.
Watanuki thinks back to school and lunch with Himawari-chan, who gets called away by her childhood friend Doumeki-kun to help with archery practice. Before Watanuki can make a wish, a lady Watanuki encountered earlier comes in with her own wish. Watanuki can see the supernatural smoke coming from her pinky and accurately guesses the problem. Yuuko-san gives the woman a ring and asks her to consider what her pinky finger does. The following day, Watanuki is pondering is situation and encounters the woman, who's just returning from Yuuko-san's place and thinks he's colluding with Yuuko-san to scam money from the woman.
Watanuki returns to the shop for a short time to discuss the woman with Yuuko-san. Afterward, Watanuki observes the woman in public and realizes that the woman has a problem with telling the truth. Watanuki's activities are interrupted by Himawari-chan, who wishes to apologize for abandoning him at lunch. Watanuki observes the woman take off the ring and become paralyzed before being run over, the ring rolling to Watanuki. Watanuki is upset by this gruesome death and Himawari-chan ends up running off. Retuning to Yuuko-san, Watanuki makes his wish to not see these spirits.
Well, this has my eye for sure. I'm curious to see how the live action version goes, especially with no apparent Tsubasa corruption. When the first anime adaptation of xxxHOLiC came out, I was not happy at Tsubasa being disconnected, but that was then.
For starters, this live action version has zero comedy, or rather no intentional comedy. Watanuki is not hyper in his love for Himawari-chan, nor in his dislike of Doumeki, which at this point hasn't even come up. Yuuko-san does not tease Watanuki either, thus during their first meeting, Yuuko-san does not chide Watanuki for giving her his name and the like.
Yuuko-san is all business. There's no sense of her love for good food or good drink at this point. That's not a bad thing as such per se, but it does remove an interesting element of her character.
Himawari-chan has been made into Doumeki's childhood friend, which was unexpected. Also, unlike the manga, where she seemed oblivious to Watanuki's feelings, here, she seems interested in Watanuki to some degree, as seen in her apology attempt to Watanuki for leaving him at lunch when Doumeki reminded her of her promise to him.
Doumeki only had an extended cameo to show that he's into archery, so there's naught to say about him at this point.
As I said, Watanuki isn't hyper nor given to pratfalls. The one unintentionally funny moment of the episode came from Himawari-chan admitting that her bento was actually a repackaged product from the convenience store. The look on Watanuki's face, as if to say, "I can't believe you just admitted that your bento is repackaged store bought stuff" cracked me up.
I'm not sold on some of the locations used. In the manga, the shop appears to be a vacant lot in the city with large apartment towers all around. Those who can actually see the shop still see the other buildings. Here, the entrance being on some wooded lane was odd, and having the shop reveal itself to be a solo, walled yard and house with NOTHING else anywhere around was odd.
We'll see if I get the chance to watch more. I am curious to see what the Japanese do with this.