×××HOLiC

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
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"There is no such thing as coincidence in this world - there is only inevitability"

Kimihiro Watanuki is a high school student who is continually plagued by supernatural monsters and spirits which are magically attracted to him, which are invisible to pretty much everyone but himself, and usually try to devour him. One day, while running away from and nearly being eaten by some spirits, he finds a mysterious shop that grants wishes.

The shop is owned by the Witch of the Dimensions, although she has been known by many other names—even Yuuko Ichihara, the name she gives Watanuki, is only a pseudonym. She offers to grant his wish to be rid of his ability to see spirits, but a price of equal value must be paid. Thus, Watanuki becomes a "part-time worker", which usually involves performing housework and odd jobs for Yuuko, until he has done enough work for his wish to be granted.

Chapters/episodes usually involve a customer coming into the shop and asking for their wish to be granted by Yuuko, having usually negative or dubious results, or they involve some (usually risky) task that Yuuko gives Watanuki which requires his ability to see spirits. However, there is also an overarching plotline regarding a set of dark conspiracies and prophecies that becomes increasingly important in the later volumes.

One of the main themes in xxxHOLiC is the concept of hitsuzen—probably best translated as "inevitability" or "inevitable fate" (although what is inevitable is influenced by your mindset and past choices, this is more like a slightly fatalistic Chaos Butterfly than the Western concept of destiny) -- which affects many of the characters' actions throughout the story. Yuuko told Watanuki when they first met that it was hitsuzen.

The Anime has been uploaded in both dub and subtitle formats on Funimation's video portal

This is a CLAMP work and is the darker companion to CLAMP's Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle. There are also many crossovers with other CLAMP works within the story besides Tsubasa. The anime has two seasons, xxxHOLiC with 24 episodes (released in English by FUNimation), and xxxHOLiC Kei with 13. Most of the references to Tsubasa were removed from the anime. There has also been a feature-length movie (A Midsummer Night's Dream) and a 2-part OAD series, xxxHolic: Shunmuki and another OAD, unrelated to the plot of the first one, called xxxHolic: Rou.

The manga has been completed, with 213 chapters in all.

The name is pronounced holic, by the way. The 'xxx' basically denotes "insert something here", along the lines of '___holic' in English.

Tropes used in ×××HOLiC include:
  • Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder: Himawari, if the fact that she gets married to someone else is any indication, though in a subversion it seems Watanuki both knows and supports her decision.
  • Abusive Parents: Kohane's mother is seriously messed up in the head.
  • Adaptation Dye Job: The Ame-Warashi, being a rain spirit, has blue hair in the manga. In the anime, she has red hair.
  • The Ageless: The shop apparently conveys immortality on the owner, being outside the normal flow of space-time, and Watanuki specifically states that he will not age now that he owns the shop. He will still eventually die, but will have a much longer lifespan.
  • Air Guitar: Featuring Maru, Moro and Larg in the second ending (Kagerou).
  • All There in the Manual: Especially in later chapters, one really needs to be reading Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle to understand what's going on. And even then it's challenging.
  • Aside Glance: Yuuko tends to give these to the audience in the manga.
  • The Beautiful Elite: Even the smoke is pretty.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Hitsuzen and the ways to manipulate its effects make up most of the overarching plot.
  • Bishonen: C'mon, it's CLAMP. Watanuki might qualify as a manga version of Hollywood Homely, since he's much less popular with (human) girls than Doumeki.
  • Big Eater: Doumeki is a chef's worst nightmare—a picky Big Eater.
  • Blank Book
  • Bottle Fairy: Yuuko, with a Running Gag of her always wanting some form of expensive alcohol. Also Larg, to the point that it's a pairing.
  • Butt Monkey: Watanuki. The poor guy never seems to catch much of a break does he?
  • Bunny Ears Lawyer: Yuuko. Kiiiinda crazy for being entrusted with keeping time and space in working order. But when she gets serious, she gets serious, to the point that some people wonder if the above is an act.
  • Can't Stand Them, Can't Live Without Them: Normally, Watanuki seems pretty annoyed with Yuuko, and constantly gripes about how troublesome she is. And then we get to see exactly how much he breaks when Yuuko dies. He gets so depressed to the point where he makes a pact to wait for her as long as it takes, without aging and without being able to leave the shop. Doumeki, of course, is less than pleased...
  • Catgirl: Subverted twice and played with a bit. The Neko-Musume is the traditional Japanese catgirl- a cat spirit that may take human form and retain some feline qualities, such as cat eyes and agility. Similarly, the shamisen is a cat that takes on the form of a human, only retaining her eyes. On the other paw, Watanuki himself has been pictured with cat ears and a tail a few times, and Himawari thinks of him as a cat so often that she bought him an apron with an angry cat on it for his birthday. This makes the later chapters (involving Doumeki's ideas on the "mating habits of cats") all the more interesting...
  • Character Witness: The fox kid from the Oden cart vouches for Watanuki in the Demon Parade.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: Yuuko makes one of these all the time, and if she's not, it's a bad sign.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Tube seen at the beginning of Tsubasa is in Yuuko's store room next to Fay's tattoo and Kurogane's sword. It contains people, whose identities are spoilers. Slightly more subtly is what seems to be a replica of Sakura's staff, the existence of which ends up tying into the story in a big way later.
    • Doumeki's egg provides a variation of this trope - we are told, specifically, that the egg given to him by Yuuko will be useful at some point.
      • We find out in the last chapter that it will erase Watanuki's memories of Yuuko, once he's ready to let go.
  • The Chessmaster: Yuuko.
  • The Chew Toy / The Woobie - Watanuki, gravitating towards the latter as the series goes on. Kohane, on the other hand, is The Woobie all the way through.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Well, Clingy Jealous Fox more accurately, but what Mugetsu lacks in semantics, he/she makes up for in sheer clinginess.
  • Cloning Blues: And how. The real source of all of Watanuki's troubles. Yes, all of them. Well, most, anyway. The ones unrelated to romantic troubles, all right?
  • The Collector of the Strange: Not only does the movie take place at a gathering of strange collectors, but it turns out the man throwing the party collects collectors themselves.
  • Compulsory School Age: Subverted. Watanuki, after Yuuko's death, has decided to take over the shop, and indicated when this trope was invoked by Doumeki that he would no longer be attending.
  • Contemptible Title/LostInTranslation: In Japan, the title is fairly innocuous. Stateside...not so much.
  • Continuity Cameo: Several from CLAMP's modern-day series, including Sakura's staff from Cardcaptor Sakura (its story actually ties into the Myth Arc). The leads from Legal Drug also make an appearance when Watanuki is sent to buy Yuuko a hangover cure.
    • In a studio in-joke, Maru and Moro can be seen playing with Tachikomas in the second episode of Kei, as Production I.G. animated both shows.
    • The manga crosses over with Tsubasa, which is in the same continuity as CLAMP's other fantasy-setting series, unifying both major genres of their work into a single continuity.
      • It doesn't really "cross-over" so much as tell two sides of the same story. The protagonists are even technically the same person.
    • It seems further suggested that Legal Drug is taking place simultaneously (but independently) of xxxHolic. For example: the urn used by Watanuki to visit the Zashiki-Warashi is the same urn stolen by Kazahaya and Rikuo. Yuuko explains that it was a "special order from the Anything Store".
    • Yuuko mentions in the first volume that she's known the Sumeragi twins from when they were very young. Whether they're the same people or alternate selves isn't clarified.
    • Yuuko makes Watanuki wear a headset shaped like PersoCom ears in the third episode of the anime. She and Mokona also don them at one point.
  • Cool Big Sis: Yuuko's manner of attitude and looks fits this very well. Extra points in that she seems to be having some Unresolved Sexual Tension with Watanuki... especially after the recent chapters.
  • Creepy Twins: Moro and Maru, Yuuko's two assistants at the shop. It's revealed early on that they have no souls, and later, that they keep the shop grounded between dimensions.
  • Crossover: The overarching plot is closely tied to that of Tsubasa, with some major events occurring in both series, and objects and characters moving back and forth through the shop and the Mokonas.
  • Dead All Along: A few people. Watanuki's not always been too good at telling the difference.
    • Including, notably, Yuuko herself. Although she's cheating- her late boyfriend was a Reality Warper.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Doumeki, and boy does he snark. It also helps that Watanuki makes such delectable Snark Bait.
    • Yuuko's pretty snarky, herself.
  • Deal with the Devil: Because Yuuko requires equal payment to fulfill the wish, many of the prices seem very difficult or problematic. Also, if someone reneges on their payment, the results tend to be rather nasty. Example -- One customer`s payment is that she must never be photographed, video-taped, etc. again in her life. Logically, that would be a very difficult thing to conform to. If she ever is, her crime will be exposed for all to see. It's likely she was a murderer, and the punishment for not adhering to the price would be her exposure as one to the public, so she deserved this.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: A spider can spin a web in an hour, and does so every day. Humans, with a lifespan of decades, can't regenerate eyeballs—from which we get the vast majority of our sensory input and of which we only have two -- at all. Conclusion: spiders are jerks.
  • Distant Finale / No Ending: The final chapter is (basically) Watanuki and Doumeki hanging out, except that it's Doumeki's grandson (who still has that egg), and they're talking about how a dream of Yuuko has informed Watanuki that it's safe to leave the shop.
    • There is an Ending, if poorly executed. Watanuki still chooses to stay, waiting. The closing line states he waited as long as it took and they certainly met Yuuko again. How? It doesn't explain, until then he had an 'unique happiness'.
  • Doom Magnet: Himawari.
  • Downer Ending: Everyone is dead but Watanuki, who is waiting eternally to meet up with Yuuko, who is gone forever, and Doumeki's descendant is holding onto an item that will allow Watanuki to forget her entirely when he's judged ready.
    • Everyone being dead is not such a downer, considering they lived out their lives like normal people should.
  • Dragon Lady: Subverted by Yuuko. She's pretty sexual, dark, mysterious, wears fabulous Asian outfits, is all about hitsuzen, and styles her home as a Chinese opium parlor, but is a good woman.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Watanuki tends to risk his life and go through a lot of trouble for pretty girls he just met.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: All four of the main characters, but Yuuko in particular.
  • Emotionless Girl: Kohane displays very little reaction to how badly people treat her. All this is, of course, building up to a major Cry Cute moment when she reveals herself to be Not So Stoic after all.
  • Equivalent Exchange: How Yuuko grants wishes; the price must be neither too low nor too high for the wish involved. This often requires some action to get wish and price to line up, especially since Yuuko tries to avoid wishes and prices equivalent to a human life. That would involve taking on the spiritual burden of murder.
    • Recently, with Watanuki becoming the owner of the shop, several people commented on Watanuki being injured after customers. Eventually, it's more or less explained to be that, not being used to it yet, he doesn't always know exactly what the proper payment should be for a wish, and when it's too low or too high he himself is injured to compensate.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Kimihiro Watanuki. Remember the Love Triangle he thought he was in? Well... he is interested in Himawari Kunogi and she kinda likes him back, but it turns out his "love rival" Shizuka Doumeki isn't interested in Himawari like he believed, but in Watanuki himself. Oh, and you know Zashiki Warashi, that cute girl that's completely shy and has a huge crush on Watanuki? "She" might not actually be a she. according to a CLAMP interview where they say that her being female is not necessarily the case. Coupled with the fact that Zashiki Warashi spirits are normally described as being young boys and rarely being girls, along with how Ame-warashi usually says "this child" when referring to Zashiki Warashi instead of actually using a gender...
    • Actually, in CLAMP works, other-worldly types are typically without gender (Wish, Card Captor Sakura). Although CLAMP probably wanted the audience to assume that the Zashiki-Warashi was a girl. After all, in Japanese, "this child" is, in addition to being something you would call...well, a child..., is a common way to refer to young women.
    • Zashiki Warashi might not be female, but is almost certainly not male.
    • Should be noted that at no point has any male actually verbally expressed romantic interest in Watanuki, only some characters, like Yuuko, seem hellbent on creating a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. This is not The Other Wiki but rampant speculation actually has it's own page.
    • Even Himawari's husband likes Watanuki -- his cooking, anyway, which isn't too surprising.
  • Everyone Can See It: Everyone except Watanuki seems to notice that he and Doumeki get along very well, and fit each other perfectly.
  • Evil Smells Bad: Watanuki came across some situations like this, but he's the only one who can sense it. One example is at Himawari's friend's school where the game, Angel, is taking place. Domeki can't smell it. It's like some sort of spiritual stench that only Watanuki can smell, and it got worse as he got closer to the threat taking hold.
  • Eyes Always Shut: Larg and Mugetsu. Mugetsu was actually named because of this.
  • Expy: Watanuki is actively trying to be a Distaff Counterpart to Yuuko. He's apparently even developed a drug addiction just to get that "lazily smoking" look right.
    • He was last seen using the smoke for a spell.
    • The most recent chapter reveals that Watanuki has been at the shop for more than a hundred years, though the readers aren't aware of this due to his and Doumeki's seemingly never aging. It turns out that the 'Doumeki' at this point is actually the great-grandson of Shizuka Doumeki who had been Watanuki's friend, and they look EXACTLY like each other. It is also implied that Watanuki didn't notice the Doumekis switching up between generations because of how much they look like each other. (Watanuki's thought that Shizuka looks like Haruka implies that the Doumeki family will just continue produce more expies..)
    • The switch and the timeskip only happened in the last 2-3 chapters. Before, the other main characters were still alive since we were able to see Kohane in all her adult glory.
  • Faceless Masses: Seen at least once every episode of the anime.
  • Fluffy Fashion Feathers: Some of Yuuko's dresses.
  • Generation Xerox: In the xerox sense. Doumeki is practically the splitting image of his grandfather, Haruka, and both purify using bows. Except Haruka smiles more often than his grandson. And as of chapter 213, Doumeki's great-grandson is a splitting image of him, as Watanuki points out.
  • The Glasses Come Off: The frequency at which Watanuki is seen without his glasses is directly proportionate to how serious the story arc is until he loses them in the Dreamscape, only to get them back after making a fateful decision. Usually he appears without glasses in the Dreamscape or when recuperating from serious injury.
  • The Glomp: Mugetsu has absolutely no concept of Watanuki's personal space.
  • The Heartless: Most of the cases Yuuko deals with and the spirits that attack Watanuki have a "power of negative thinking" element.
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: Watanuki is Lelouch, Doumeki is Zoro, Himawari is Lenalee, and Mokona is... well, Mokona. And in the dub, Yuuko is Luffy and Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye and in both languages, she is Erza.
  • High-Pressure Emotion: Zashiki-Warashi is prone to this.
  • Hime Cut: Yuuko has one.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters
  • Identical Grandson: Haruka and Shizuka Doumeki look exactly like each other, except that Haruka smiles.
    • This actually saves Watanuki's life once. Haruka says that he was only able to enter the death-dream and pull Watanuki back from the brink because he looks exactly like his grandson.
    • And now Doumeki's great-grandson looks identical to Haruka, and therefore Doumeki by extension...Still doesn't smile though.
    • Also, Watanuki looks almost exactly like his great^x grandfather, Clow Reed. Which is odd, considering that neither his father nor his [what we shall for lack of a better term call] twin brother look anything like Clow.
      • Watanuki was made to look like Clow Reed as said by Fei Wang Reed in one chapter. Why, we don't know.
        • And as of Chapter 204, Watanuki receives Clow's glasses, or at least an identical-looking pair.
  • I Know Your True Name: A genuine fortune teller can read a person's fate and gain power over them knowing only their true name and their birthday. Watanuki thoughtlessly reveals both in the first chapter, giving Yuuko the ability to divine his wish and bind him to her service. She, on the other hand, always uses the alias 'Ichihara Yuuko' and, well, it's not polite to ask a lady's age, now is it?
  • Important Haircut: Himawari gets one to hide the scars she received as the price to save Watanuki's life.
  • Impossibly Low Neckline: Yuuko.
  • Informed Ability: Yuuko seems to be like this at first; we're told that she's an immensely powerful sorceress, but what little magic she does onscreen isn't very impressive. This is justified by her minimalist 'you-get-what-you-pay-for' approach to granting wishes; most of the time, the wishes she grants simply don't warrant spectacular magic. This is averted entirely in later volumes, when she breaks out the big guns, and it is also revealed that some very powerful magic has been hiding in plain sight from the very first chapter.
    • This trope is stronger in the anime adaptation than in the manga, as the anime leaves out the magic Yuuko performs for the characters of Tsubasa. Admittedly, much of the real fireworks are still offscreen, but you see truly magical results more often in Tsubasa.
  • Innocent Innuendo: The opening to one volume has Watanuki asking Yuuko if she's sure about something, and her replying that she is and wants him to "give it to her", all looking very suggestive. They're playing baseball, of course, and Watanuki's about to pitch the ball to her.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Watanuki and Kohane. Possibly Watanuki and Haruka too, though Haruka is dead.
    • Also with Yuuko, see the comment on Haruka.
    • Chapter 213 states that the Doumeki at that point is actually Shizuka Doumeki's great-grandson, and Watanuki himself wasn't fully aware of the time that passed, implying that after Shizuka, his son, grandson, and now great-grandson visited Watanuki in Shizuka Doumeki's place.
  • In Touch with His Feminine Side: Watanuki, full-stop. He's downright domestic.
  • I See Dead People: Watanuki, Kohane, and Doumeki after the whole Mismatched Eyes thing.
  • I Will Wait for You: What Watanuki eventually swears when Yuuko disappears.
  • Keet: Watanuki at times, though he can switch to being the total opposite pretty quickly.
  • Light Is Not Good: See someone with cute little angel wings? RUN! RUN THE HELLS AWAY! Quickly, before they pull out the boxcutter.
  • The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday: Yuuko's shop is one of these, except with a twist: a person can only see the shop if they need the shop.
  • Love Triangle: Watanuki is convinced he's in one of these, competing with Doumeki for Himawari's affections. The truth is Himawari always brings Doumeki along so that Watanuki doesn't get hurt due to her supernatural bad luck, and Doumeki has other reasons for sticking around Watanuki.
  • Man Without A Country: Watanuki is a Man Without A Universe. His "price" for continued existence (or something) is to remain in the shop forever - his "creator" Syaoran pays the flipside by never being able to remain in one universe. Both prices are presented as choices rather then punishments- they could pay a different price if they wanted.
  • Mars Needs Women: Mugetsu seems to like Watanuki WAY too much. So do some other supernatural beings, but they are at least humanoid.
  • Martyr Without a Cause: Watanuki, and at times Doumeki. A major thread in the series is learning to temper the altruistic impulse with self-regard.
  • Meaningful Name: Kimihiro Watanuki writes his family name as "April 1st," which also is his birthday. While this alone doesn't mean too much alone, it means a hell of a lot when you realize that April 1 is also Sakura and (presumably) Syaoran's birthday. His personal name is written with the kanji for "prophet". Also, Watanuki names Mugetsu (meaning "No moon"), because of the shape of its eyes.
    • Yuuko offers an alternate interpretation for Watanuki's family name:

Yuuko: The reading of his name, "Watanuki", comes from the custom of removing the padding from one's kimono on the 1st of April. An ancient sorcery...To prevent children from suffering from diseases or spectres, they would be dressed in the now unpadded kimono, and the removed padding would become their substitute..."

      • For the lazy, that means his "family name" is a roundabout way of saying "decoy".
      • Particularly significant when Yuuko is musing that it isn't even really his name. The mysterious item that Doumeki brings to the shop also senses that "Watanuki" isn't his real name.
      • It's also said that his original purpose was to take Syaoran place so that the world/timeline wouldn't fall apart, though both Syaoran and Yuuko push him to secure his own place and become his own person rather than just remaining the substitute. Think about how unlucky he was at the start of the series, before Yuuko and Syaoran pushed him to value his own existence he subconsciously drew misfortune to himself because he knew he was a substitute and not meant to exist.
    • Likewise, Kohane Tsuyuri's given name means "Little Feather". This becomes significant when she gives up her power to exorcise spirits, which is caused by one of C!Sakura's feathers. Her family name, meaning May 7, hasn't been fully explained yet.
  • Mega Twintails
  • Milky White Eyes
  • Mind Screw: Watanuki will wait for Yuuko. However Yuuko is dead and the whole plot of Tsubasa was fixing the chaos Fei Wong caused when he tried to revive her. So Yuuko "reviving" would distort the universes and cause another "Tsubasa" crisis. Even so Yuuko said miracles can occur if you wish for them. But still, a reviving+intact universe combo is such a large miracle that even Fei Wong and Clow Reed combined couldn't achieve.
    • While it's not completely clear yet, the newest chapter (213) implies that Watanuki has been waiting for Yuuko for a hundred years. And that the "Doumeki" that he's been hanging out with in the last few chapters was actually Doumeki's grandson.
  • Minor Injury Overreaction: While doing some garden cleaning Watanuki and Doumeki break a spiderweb. The spider decides to take revenge by taking Doumeki's eye away. The spider overracted a bit knowing that it takes about one hour for an average spider to make a full web. This is even worse knowing that this act leads to a rather long story arc that has major consequences story-wise; see the Mistmatched Eyes trope example below.
  • Mismatched Eyes: Watanuki ends up with one brown eye and one blue eye after Doumeki gives him half of his... it's a long story.
  • Mistress and Servant Boy: Yuuko and Watanuki. There's a reason they're the page image for that trope.
  • Monster of the Aesop: The cases Yuuko takes on often end up as philosophical meditations.
  • The Multiverse: Yuuko's shop is the portal between worlds and dimensions.
  • Not Good with People: The Ame-Warashi is very hostile to humans in general. The Zashiki-Warashi is more of the absurdly shy type.
  • No Ending: Chapter 213, one more of CLAMP's open ended finales. All that is ever implied is that Watanuki is free to venture outside the shop, having seen Yuko in a dream after 100 years
  • Noodle People
  • Not So Weak: Kohane. It doesn't even occur to her to really stand up against her mother but when she decides her mother needs a good wake up call, for her own good of course, she doesn't hold back.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity Obliviousness: Himawari pretends to be oblivious.
  • Omniscient Morality License: Yuuko manipulates and tells half-truths. One of the first clients (other than Watanuki) we see gets condemned by hitsuzen (and proximity to Himawari) to paralysis and death because she told George Costanza-esque tall tales non-stop, which eventually built up to the point that the paralytic effects of the bad juju she was drawing to herself needed a ring to reduce the paralysis as long as she kept it on, and her doom was caused when she kept lying and then either took the ring off or the accumulated curse became large enough to break the ring's protection, so it was mostly caused by supernaturally bad luck while unknowingly taunting Cthulhu-lite. (The story was harsh enough that the anime changed it to let the woman live to correct her mistakes.) Yuuko's machinations do not seem to carry a similar price at first but the fact that she's already dead probably has something to do with it.
  • Oracular Urchin: Kohane Tsuyuri, a little girl who can see ghosts.
  • Our Souls Are Different: THEY GET STOLEN BY PARASITIC ANGEL WINGS!
  • Paper Fan of Doom: The weapon of the Karasu Tengu.
  • Parental Abandonment: Doumeki claims he has parents, but the audience never sees them, and Doumeki only talks about his grandfather. .
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Especially in the Omake art, as is typical with CLAMP's work.
  • Pretty in Mink: Some of Yuuko's dresses.
  • Power Trio: Watanuki, Doumeki, and Himawari.
  • Punny Name: Maru and Moro's full names, Marudashi and Morodashi, literally mean "streaking" and "flashing", and despite Yuuko's insistence that they're "cute", Watanuki vocally disagrees. Maru and Moro are on their own common suffixes to Japanese names.
  • Put on a Bus: Himawari, who after Watanuki takes over the shop ends up at a university "up north" (presumably Hokkaido).
    • Although in one of the recent chapters we hear a phone call between her and Watanuki, ending in 'I love you' from both sides, though the eventual reveal in Chapter 209 tells us that she's married someone else.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Doumeki used to wear a girl's kimono when he was growing up, thanks to a customary belief by his grandfather that doing so would make a sickly child grow up strong. Naturally, when Watanuki tries to rub this in his face, Doumeki's response is a simple, "Yeah, what's your point? Do you want one, too?" Although, later it's Watanuki who is wearing kimonos and feminine yukatas.
  • Red String of Fate: Watanuki fantasizes that his pinky is connected to Himawari(oh, the irony). Yuuko has said more than once that he's probably linked to Doumeki. And then there's the cover for volume 16, although the red string is tied around Watanuki's and Yuuko's wrists. See Ship Tease below for further confusion.
    • Also, episode 9 of the anime revolved around this concept.
    • One manga cover has the red string tied from Watanuki's pinky to Doumeki's pinky.
  • Ret-Gone: The origin of Watanuki's existence, since he was made to fill the space left by the original Syaoran, who gave up his existence in order to save Sakura
    • Yuuko has also been ret-goned from people's memories in a later chapter, as reality adjusts to have had her die when she, er, died. Reality warps and de-warps make tense usage problematic.
  • Rule of Glamorous
  • Say It with Hearts: Maru and Moro are prone to this, as is Yuuko at times. Mugetsu is an interesting case in that hearts are the only thing it says.
    • Watanuki also tends to do this when it comes to Himawari-chan.
  • Schrödinger's Butterfly: Basically the whole point of the dream arc. Haruka even tells the story of the boy who dreamed he was a butterfly to Watanuki, and later likens Yuuko to a dreaming butterfly. Not to mention that butterflies have always been Yuuko's symbol, as well as embodying the concept of hitsuzen.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: After setting up his side of the Xanatos Gambit pileup in order to save Yuuko from dying/resurrect her, Yuuko apparently sacrifices herself in order to stop him breaking spacetime, thus causing her to die. The last time we saw Fei Wong after this he can no longer sense her presence, and starts hatching a plan to resurrect her.
  • Serious Business: Being a TV psychic. Being accused of giving fake readings is apparently heinous enough for people to physically assault you (even if you're a little girl) and vandalize your house.
  • Shallow Love Interest: Himawari initially comes off as this, but later this is very, very averted.
  • She's All Grown Up: Possibly invoked in Chapter 187, where Watanuki is visited by the older Kohane who is graduating middle school, and he comments on how good she looks in her uniform. When she states that he always says that, his own response is that he always wants to say it when he's happy. Aww.
    • By chapter 205, it's literal. She's now attending college.
    • Then, there's Watanuki. In a partial subversion, he doesn't physically age, but after 10+ years his maturity is obvious. Compare this Watanuki with THIS Watanuki.
  • Ship Sinking: As revealed in chapter 209 Himawari-chan is married. Any chance of Watanuki and Himawari getting together is now dashed.
    • By chapter 213, we find out that the Doumeki visiting Watanuki at this point is Shizuka Doumeki's great-grandson. Meaning Shizuka Doumeki got married himself and is probably already dead given that Watanuki realizes he's been at the shop for more than a hundred years at this point.
    • Not that Shizuka Doumeki/Watanuki really needed any more help sinking, but Rou revealed at the end that Shizuka Doumeki and Tsuyuri Kohane got married. Oh, and Kohane loves Watanuki. So that's another ship sunk.
  • Ship Tease: In recent chapters of Doumeki and Watanuki staying together at Yuuko's shop after she disappears you could hear the collective squeeing of fangirls at the sight of them acting like husband and wife a married couple in a situation that has been the set up to countless Yaoi doujinshi. Sadistic Lady Mangaka indeed, and as of the most recent chapter (186) they're just doing it on purpose...
    • Not to mention for all the talk about Watanuki being destined for Doumeki or Himawari, there is an absolute mountain of teasing. Pick any title page with Watanuki and Yuuko in it, and you can bet anyone who hasn't read the manga will ASSUME something's up between the two. And considering that Watanuki is staying at her shop because he knowingly imprisoned himself there in order to wait for her to come back to him after she disappeared, they might not be wrong!
      • Although, as revealed in Tsubasa, he may have chosen that price because he couldn't come up with anything else quickly enough. He even acknowledged that he knew that the price wasn't quite right. It's true that he had already made his decision to wait for her, but the method might have been less self-sacrificial if Tsubasa had ended differently.
    • In chapter 199, Himawari and Watanuki say that they love each other over the phone. However Himawari can only visit Watanuki once a year, so who knows what that means for their relationship...
      • However, this is just the English translator's interpretation, and the actual Japanese could just as easily mean platonic love or "is important to". So who knows what THIS means for their relationship...
    • Chapter 203's cliffhanger of Watanuki presenting Doumeki a ring was only to give him a purification tool, with the caution that Doumeki should not hesitate in using it to destroy anything malicious - even Watanuki. ESPECIALLY if it's Watanuki.
  • Shipper on Deck: Yuuko, Himawari, and even Larg ship Doumeki/Watanuki, and constantly try to hint and push Watanuki to realize Doumeki's usefulness for him.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shrinking Violet: The Zashiki-Warashi. Complete with the High-Pressure Emotion listed above.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Doumeki. It got obvious when he didn't even notice the twins' crushes on him. And now, half an eye, a lot of blood, and six plus years later, he's still devoted solely to Watanuki.
  • Sitcom Arch Nemesis: Watanuki hates Doumuki, for no adequately explored reason.
  • Sleep Mode Size: Mugetsu's pipe-size form.
  • Smoking Is Cool / Smoking Is Glamorous: Yuuko is smoking something, and though the anime series shows it to be tobacco, it's very likely opium in the manga. Haruka is shown smoking cigarettes (although he's mellow enough for it to be a joint). As of Chapter 185, Watanuki seems to be trying to pick up the habit, in order to emulate Yuuko's manner.
    • Recently it's been confirmed that it is indeed tobacco in the pipe. Of course, this means that Yuuko was just being Yuuko and Watanuki is just being a bit obsessed with becoming the shop owner.
  • Snowball Fight: A filler episode written by the anime staff pits most of the major players, along with the Warashi, in an entertaining one of these, arranged by Yuuko, which also involves building snowmen.
    • There's one of these in a filler manga chapter too.
  • Squirrels in My Pants: Watanuki ends up going through this a few times thanks to the Pipe Fox spirit Mugetsu, who has no concept of personal space.
  • Stepford Smiler: Himawari's happy face only breaks after Watanuki decides to stay by her even after her Doom Magnet status nearly kills him. A few of Yuuko's clients qualify as well, most recently Watanuki's cooking student who smiles politely when she explains that won't eat her own cooking because she thinks she's disgusting.
    • It's more that the taste of a person's cooking in the xxxHolic-verse gives a sensation of that person's true nature (Doumeki can't seem to get enough of Watanuki's cooking, and Watanuki himself can't remember eating his own food due to the price he paid being the knowledge pertaining to his identity), and she's got a subconscious loathing of herself so she's terrified about finding out how her food tastes. It's really bland and compared to the warmth revealed in Watanuki's cooking drives her to ask her fiance to wait while she develops her own self through more instruction by Watanuki.
  • The Stoic: Doumeki seems to have about two facial expressions, at best. It comes with being the Tall, Dark and Snarky with a Sugar and Ice Personality.
  • Sugar and Ice Personality: Doumeki. Also Yuuko - her sweet smile at the start of Volume 12 reflects this; it is a far cry from her usual Cheshire Cat Grin or knowing smirk.
  • Tall, Dark and Bishoujo: Yuko
  • Tall, Dark and Snarky: Doumeki, in a classic CLAMP Seme role.
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: Watanuki in chapter 190.
    • This seems to be a joke lost in translation. The way Doumeki says "strike" makes it sort of sound like he's demanding a massage from Watanuki, and Watanuki calls him out on it.
  • The Vamp: Lady Jorogumo whose most recent appearance in Chapter 195 definitely invokes the trope. Watanuki manages to keep his mind off her charms See here. Or Exhibit B.
  • Time Skip: More than once. About 2-3 times, to be exact. Everyone's gotten older leaving Watanuki behind. Such is the downside of immortality.
  • Through His Stomach: How Watanuki pays Doumeki back for favors (such as saving his life). A lot of their bickering is normally over Doumeki making ridiculous requests for Watanuki's cooking.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: In one episode, a girl comes to the shop. She thinks her house is haunted, and wants get be rid of the fear. Turns out, she's the ghost.
  • Tsundere: Watanuki is a tsundere towards Doumeki. Here is one of the more pronounced instances where Watanuki shows his dere-dere side towards Doumeki.
  • Unknown Rival: Doumeki, who more often than not is involved in Watanuki's Embarrassing Rescue.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: Yuuko never appears twice in the same outfit. As in, when she does, Watanuki panics and with good reason, since this suggests she's dead. On the other hand, Watanuki and company usually just wear their school uniforms.
    • Watanuki since he took over the shop after Yuuko's death. This seems to be yet another way he tries to emulate her.
  • Urban Fantasy: The Shop itself is placed between the skyscrapers of Tokyo and some scenes take place near well-known landmarks.
  • Vampire Invitation: Happens in Chapter 194 when Watanuki, at the suggestion of another spirit who is doing a service to him, ends up invoking this - and allowing the Jorogumo (the spider woman who ate his eye) to enter the shop despite its wards.
  • Wanting Is Better Than Having: The ending. Watanuki is most content to wait for Yuuko knowing she'll never return. Whether he wants to avoid all the Divide by Zero consequences of Clow's wish or prevent the creation of another Ass-Chin or minimize his own impact on the multiverse, or whether CLAMP just wrote another Gainax Ending, we can't really be too sure. Nothing is sensible by this point. If Yuuko could die and move on to "where Clow was", the guy actually has a much better chance of seeing her if he'd stayed mortal, died and passed on himself.
  • Weapon of Choice: Cool, collected, priestly Doumeki does traditional Japanese archery (kyudo) and seems to be a valued member of the school's archery team. (It is also a characterization point that the archery team is a high-status club, while Watanuki has no after school activity besides his part-time job, and is thus much lower in the social hierarchy.)
  • Weirdness Magnet: Watanuki, and he hates it, although it's his own damn fault for being subconsciously suicidal.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: In Chapter 200 the battered lady is revealed to be eternally youthful, which once pleased her lover. Then he became so angry, afraid and depressed that he beat her and killed himself. (Watanuki introduces her to the equally immortal Jorogumo so at least she's got a friend.) So... if Watanuki chooses a lover, they could very well have the same fate. Who knows what THIS means for Watanuki's relationships with anyone. No, really, I'm just dying to find out what CLAMP has in store for him...
    • Nothing, apparently. Yuuko sets him free, but after more than a century, everyone he once knew is dead. Even Doumeki isn't really Doumeki, no matter how alike they are in mannerisms and looks. It doesn't look like it bothers Watanuki one bit. He's still waiting.
  • Wine Is Classy: Bottle Fairy Yuuko enjoys nothing more than tossing back beers, sakes and anything with liquor in it in the most booze-hound manner imaginable. That she's still creepy, imposing and pretty much omniscient at times, is a rather interesting contrast.
    • Not to mention smoking an opium pipe. It could just be tobacco in there, but still...
  • Woobie of the Week: The premise, basically.
  • Word Salad Title: Takes it even a step further by screwing with the title's capitalization.
  • The World Tree: Watanuki and Doumeki join the "Spirit Parade" and meet The World Tree.
  • Words Can Break My Bones
  • Work Off the Debt: Watanuki's original wish is almost a MacGuffin to put him in this situation.
    • Technically Watanuki is working off Syaoran's debt to time, space, and fate itself. Both Syaoran and Watanuki will spend the rest of their lives trying to clear up his debts.
  • Xanatos Gambit / Batman Gambit: Three words: Fei Wong Reed. (Arguably he's got Xanatos Nesting Dolls going on, the outermost doll being held inside the innermost doll.)
  • Yandere: In Chapter 207, a woman in love with Doumeki comes to Watanuki to try and get him to fall in love with her, and is so desperate that her soul actually detaches from her body.
  • Yank The Cat's Chain: Watanuki having good things taken away from him.
    • Also literally, in the first chapter's splash page.
    • Same could be said for Doumeki, honestly. He dedicates himself to protecting Watanuki no matter what, even though the latter generally acts like a jerk towards him, and seems to finally be making some headway in getting closer to Watanuki (who actually starts displaying comparatively overt gratitude for all he's done)... and then Yuuko dies and Watanuki shuts himself in the shop and distances himself from everyone. True Art Is Angsty indeed.
  • Yaoi Fangirl: Yuuko enjoys teasing Watanuki about his closeness with Doumeki, and hints multiple times that maybe Doumeki is the one destined for him instead of Himawari. Heck, to a degree, Himawari herself ships Doumeki/Watanuki, often commenting on how cute they are when they interact.
    • They kind of have to do that so that Watanuki is not alone.
  • Zig-Zagging Trope: The Love Triangle between Watanuki, Himawari, and Doumeki. First, see Even the Guys Want Him. Then it gets more complicated when it's revealed that Watanuki seems to care more for Yuuko than the other two. And then comes chapter 199, which has Himawari and Watanuki share a fond phone-call after Himiwari has moved away for university. But they can't meet more than once a year... and Doumeki apparently passes on messages, news and presents between the two of them.