xxxHolic is a difficult series. The manga has a convoluted continuity tied up in several different franchises. The anime adaptation is easier to follow, but has its own hurdles with the extremely stylized designs animated on a modest budget. Truth told, I procrastinated on this series when I’d seen the roughness of the animation coupled with the relatively comedic tone of the first few minutes of the first episode. It wore through slapstick and familiar Japanese comedy routines, setting up certain expectations as I watched. I let my preconceptions doubt the story. I was wrong.
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With a simple story that could fit as a one-or-two episode arc in Natsume Yuujinchou, the short movie Hotarubi no Mori e, based on a one-shot story by Natsume author Yuki Midorikawa, may be brief, but carries its message and sentiment across with charm.