Starting with a joke:
Tsubasa and XXXHOLiC really ARE linked. Both of them had a great first episode followed by a disappointing 2nd one xDDDDDDDDD
You can notice right away that the animation decreased, comparing to the 1st episode. I know that that usually tends to happen in every anime adaptation, I just thought that the fall here was too high.
The close-ups were fine, very good, actually, but not the "broad" scenes, the ones where we could see the whole scene. Those were bad.
At the first scene were Watanuki is cooking, they made sure to animate him but forgot about Maru, Moro and Mokona. Maru and Moro look dead only repeating Mokona's words, they looked like Chii, when they actually are supposed to be GENKI!
Still on that scene, one can tell already that they totally cut the CCS links (Watanuki finding Sakura's staff), they even used the same sexy pose Yuuko did on that same scene in the manga. So like, the storyboard guy was LOOKING at that particular scene when he drew the episode. So why they cut it? Maybe they do want to cut everything related to Tsubasa... I don't know, but that wouldn't be nice at all, since that's the point of the whole "linkage" between the two series.
For now, I'll just hope that they WILL eventually add that particular scene later on the series. When Ohkawa-sensei is in the staff, the crossovers are supposed to increase, not decrease, right? RIGHT? u.u
So, moving on... The lady arrives to the shop... and I could swear she was blond (as well as the computer-holic woman, and the fake fortuneteller... hummm, too many blonds I guess... O.o).
I thought the scene where Yuuko goes "Hey! I can hear you!" was totally emotion-less =_= and I don't know why they had to add a table and chair on Yuuko's shop to "receive" her customers...
Then we jump to the school, Himawari and Doumeki's introduction was so quick that I didn't even mind it at all, it was in fact one of the best scenes of this episode, IMO. I loved the SFXs and the direction, I guess we can rest assured that the scenes involving Watanuki and Doumeki will be great. Part of it due to the amazing work of the seiyuus, but I thought the scene really passed the feeling it wanted to pass.
Again on Watanuki's seiyuu, I have to say it again, that he's just perfect, OMG XD The scene where he's getting back to Yuuko's shop is PERFECT XDDD I don't remember being that satisfied with a seiyuu before, he's really perfect for the part.
I'm glad the street people still look gray (and still moving!), apart from the important ones, it'll probably be like that for the whole series, yey. I liked the effect they used to create the smoke, it was good, and the SFXs they used for it too.
So yeah, the woman doesn't die =_= I was very disappointed with that, even more than the total loss of crossovers. I think her death it's part of XXXHOLiC's dark tone, and it totally remarked the power of Yuuko's words, giving them credibility. So it's a shame... because I thought the fact that the series is being aired on TBS at 1:30 am was enough to avoid any kind of censorship. So unless that event (the fact that Watanuki saved her) will mean something in the future, then we may forgive it, but I can't deny I didn't like it at all.
I really hope they don't do the same thing to the woman of the Monkey Paw arc... that death was very creepy and it would be a total shame to censor it as well.
Then again, I don't know why they cut Himawari from that scene either. Maybe that's why the woman survived? (Himawari=bad luck)
For the next episode, we'll be jumping to vol. 3, but that doesn't mean we won't see the computer-holic woman arc (we've seen some magazine pictures with Yuuko wearing that arc's clothes), the fortuneteller arc (episode 4 is called "Divination", it could be that one) or the 100 Ghost Stories arc (in the OP there's a particular scene with a monster behind a japanese paper-wall).
Why the changes? Here's my guess: We've seen her doing this before... Ohkawa-sensei, I mean. "Messing up" with the original order of events, she did that in CCS and MKR, for example.
CCS's 2nd episode was the one with Shadow card, while in the manga we only saw that card a while later. But the episode introduced Tomoyo, and she even helped Sakura on capturing the card. So I think we'll be seeing the Angel arc on the next episode because that's the first arc where Doumeki and Watanuki actually get to "work" together. We did see him at the 100 Ghost Stories arc, but there wasn't a good "interaction" between Watanuki and Doumeki. So that's what I think it's all about.
Overall, the good points of this episodes were:
- It was still faithful to the manga -during most of the episode-. They kept the same dialogs, scene composition, Yuuko's clothes (except for the last one) and the main idea of the arc was passed.
- The soundtrack and SFXs. We could listen a bit more of it and I think it's definitely good. The SFXs were great and gave emotion to the scenes, specially the one at the school.
- The animation quality is definitely lacking on this episode.
- CCS links off (and Tsubasa's too). Crossovers are always nice, but I'm still hoping their time will come.
- The woman not dying at the end. Script changes are necessary and I don't blame them, but -this- particular one took away all the dark tone of XXXHOLiC.