xxxHOLiC Live Action Dorama – 02

xxxHOLiC Live Action Drama Review Episode 02

SPOILER Summary/Synopsis:

Watanuki is helping with cleaning, going through some of Yuuko-san’s treasures, when a college age student enters. He sees a tube that Watanuki had just picked up, figuring it to be old since he’s a history major. Yuuko-san asks the young man, Tsuda, if he likes it. He does and wants to buy it. Her price is that he never open the tube. He agrees, then jokingly tries to open it. Sometime later at school, Watanuki encounters Himawari-chan and remembers their last time together with the woman killed in the car accident. She seems unfazed by it, but as they run to school together, they encounter Tsuda, who turns out to be a student teacher at their school.

At lunch, Himawari-chan and Watanuki talk about Tsuda-sensei when he shows up. He’s trying to open the tube, which he says is an old puzzle. Himawari-chan opens the tube with no effort. Inside is a monkey’s paw, wrapped in paper tape of some kind. Taking it to his work area, Tsuda-sensei believes this to be a monkey’s paw of legend that grants wishes. Watanuki is worried about the consequences, but Tsuda-sensei doesn’t care about that. However, he does wish to test his theory, so he wishes that the marathon he’s supposed to run with the students later that day be canceled. A finger bone on the paw breaks, and it starts to rain, canceling the event.

That evening at the shop, Watanuki talks about this with Yuuko-san, who confirms the Monkey’s Paw is the real thing. He wonders why she’d give it to him, but she reminds him that her job is to grant wishes. He asks when she’ll grant his wish. She responds that the work he’s done to date isn’t enough, then summons Moro and Maru to drag Watanuki to make her some Hirezake. At school the next day on the steps, Himawari-chan and Watanuki talk about Tsuda-sensei’s wish and the fact that the water in the pond behind the school is gone. Doumeki shows up, stealing some of Watanuki’s food and joining the conversation. Tsuda-sensei shows up, bragging about his new watch and starts hitting on Himawari-chan, so Doumeki clocks him.

That evening, Tsuda-sensei encounters Watanuki. He mentions how Hirosaki-sensei, the teacher he was temporarily replacing, had something bad happen to him at the hospital. Watanuki attempts to take the tube from Tsuda-sensei and gets punched. A cop on a bike shows up, but when Tsuda-sensei basically wishes his death, the cop dies. At the shop, Watanuki sits in a corner while Yuuko-san uses her magic to observe Tsuda-sensei. A couple of police detectives show up, so Tsuda-sensei flees to his office, hearing the rumors being circulated about him. He makes a final wish to have his problems removed, so the Monkey’s Paw makes him strangle himself. With that, the tube returns to Yuuko-san. At school the next day, Doumeki remarks to Watanuki about Tsuda-sensei’s death as well as the other things that have happened. Watanuki says it is coincidence, but clearly, Doumeki isn’t buying that. They are then joined by Himawari-chan, where Watanuki thinks that he will get his wish granted one day.

Thoughts/Review:

This told the story of the Monkey’s Paw as seen in the original manga, with some changes. I figured I’d go through those.

For starters, the client is a man rather than a woman. This wasn’t a problem, but it did make me realize that aside from Watanuki, Doumeki, and the Tsubasa group, only women visited Yuuko-san to have wishes granted (unless I’ve forgotten something).  Well, the tengu that served Zashiki-Warashi could have been male.

The next change was making Tsuda-sensei such an unlikable bastard. Thus, when the inevitable end for him comes, it isn’t a tragedy as it was for the female teacher in the manga, as she was bright, cheerful, and overconfident without being a bitch (pardon the expression).

The first wish Tsuda-sensei makes is to cancel a marathon. The result was that the Monkey’s Paw made it rain, drawing water from the pond. In the manga, the female teacher wished for rain specifically, so the Monkey’s Paw drew water from the school’s pool. That made more sense for the zero-sum gain element that the wishes require. For Tsuda-sensei to wish for a marathon to be canceled, the Monkey’s Paw could have used countless methods to provide that result.  As such, I felt that making him wish for a marathon to be canceled rather than just wishing for rain was weak on the writer’s part. It was almost as if they didn’t want to just repeat what CLAMP had done even though CLAMP’s wishes and consequences were superior for bringing home the “payment is required” element.

Anyway, Tsuda-sensei’s wish for a Rolex replaced the antique mirror wish from the manga. Tsuda-sensei’s wish against Hirosaki-sensei replaced the research wish in the manga. I’m still not sure what the end result of the hospital incident of Hirosaki-sensei having his oxygen mask removed caused for the teacher, though I guess he/she didn’t die.  Then, Tsuda-sensei’s wish for the policeman to basically die replaced the female teacher’s passing wish in the manga that something terrible like a traffic accident would happen so that she’d have an excuse to be late.  Finally, in the manga, the Monkey’s Paw strangles the female teacher when she wants things fixed while here, it possesses Tsuda-sensei’s hand, forcing him to strangle himself.

Overall, I felt the wishes and such were much weaker in the dorama compared to the manga, but the dorama was darker by far.

Doumeki gets a couple of speaking cameos this episode. We get one of those funny moments that probably wasn’t intended to be funny, that coming from Doumeki punching Tsuda-sensei and claiming it was to kill a fly.

So, while I felt that the wishes were weaker here than in the manga, and the client wasn’t a sympathetic one, the episode was not a bad one. Next episode is the 100 Ghost Stories, which should be interesting.

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2 Responses to “xxxHOLiC Live Action Dorama – 02”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I watched 5 episodes and like it. Sure it’s not good as manga or anime but it’s watchable. I didn’t like cast at first but i think Yuuko and Doumeki are good choices. However i still don’t like Watanuki and Himawari. I wish Maru, Moro and Ame-Warashi(ep.4-5) had colorful hair.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      I’ve got episodes 3 and 4, but haven’t watched.

      As to the hair thing, I’ve noticed that Japanese dorama adaptations of manga or anime don’t tend to follow the hair color. For example, in both the Honey Clover movie and TV dorama adaptations, the blonde character of Hagu-chan has black hair in the movie and brown hair in the TV drama. I wanted her to be blonde, but the Japanese wouldn’t do it.

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