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"xxxHOLIC" Vol. 2: Son of Freakazoid

Seeking: Sexy, supernatural-themed mystery series, preferably animated. Must have great premise and fun/interesting mix of characters. Stylish visual look a definite plus; twentysomething-style emo and angst a turn off. Give me some spooky, funny, surprising stories, and I will give you my unconditional love. SERIOUS INQUIRIES ONLY.

* * * * *

Hello?

Oh, it’s you.

What? Whaddaya mean, “What’s with the tone”? What tone? What are you talking about?

What?! No, I didn’t mean it like that. I was just expecting a call from, um, Batman: Gotham Knight. We’re supposed to hang out later, so when the phone rang I—

Oh. Oh, so that’s what it is. You saw the ad.

Well, of course I had fun on our first date. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have asked for a second date.

Yeah, I liked the second date better than the first.

No, that’s not a backhanded slap at our first date. I said I had fun. Didn’t I just say that?

Wait, what are you talking about? How is that ad an insult?

Yes, you’re sexy. Yes, you’re a supernatural-themed mystery series. Yeah, you’re animated. (Mostly.) No, that was a cough. How did you hear me? I had my hand over the receiver.

Yeah, I thought your premise was real neat. I really like the idea of an agency that deals with the supernatural, but it’s not a detective agency, and that keeps things fresh and loose and free. I like the unconventionality of the idea, a lot. Yes, “a lot.”

And I do think you’ve got a fun mix of characters. Okay, yeah, I said it after our first date and I’ll say it again. Watanuki is just too excitable. He’s a really good identification figure for the audience, and I know he’s gotta react to stuff. But he’s been hanging around the shop and doing these missions for half a dozen episodes, you’d think he’d have a little more of a grip by now. Or at least he’d try to play it a bit more “cool.”

No.

No.

No! Yuko is— That’s what I— Look— Hey, don’t go putting words in my mouth! If you want to know what I think, then let me talk! Yuko is a really great part of the show. She’s like a character out of an old screwball comedy, and she works really well with Watanuki. But she’s inconsistent. She’s—

No, “inconsistent” is not the same thing as “schizophrenic”. She can be “funny and mysterious” or she can be “funny and expository”; and, if she wants, she can be “serious and mysterious” or she can be “serious and expository”; and she can sometimes be just serious and sometimes be just funny. What bugs me—

No, I’m sorry, I take back the word “bugs.” What puzzles me is that she is sometimes mysterious and won’t tell anyone anything, but at other times she’s incredibly expository. It’s like she practically gives you a prepared, footnoted lecture on what is happening and why. It just seems a little, um, untrusting. It’s like you don’t think I’ll react the right way to what’s going on, so you use her to goose me in the right direction.

Sigh. Okay, sure, lemme hear your “translation” of “untrusting.”

Oh, that’s lovely. “Passive aggressive.” Uh huh. “Manipulative.” Mm-hmm. Yeah, that’s really what I meant. That’s why I didn’t use those words.

You know, normally I’d say that “honesty” after a second date is a bridge too far. But since that’s what you say you want, and since, well, we’re already having what diplomats call a “full and frank exchange of views,” let me say a few honest things so that you won’t misunderstand me.

Honestly, when you try, you’re good enough that you don’t need to sit Yuko down and explain everything to me. In the “Hydrangea” episode, for instance, I didn’t know why the rain sprite really wanted to borrow Watanuki and Domeki for a job, and it was a neat and twisted explanation that sprite gave when they were done. And I was totally mystified as to what was going on when Watanuki disappeared under that hydrangea bush and found the little girl. But I was totally interested in it, too, and it was a lot of fun to watch what happened. And, actually, when he returned above ground and saw whose hand he’d been holding, everything fell into place for me. I liked all that and it made perfect sense. So I didn’t need Yuko to waft in at the end and explain everything to me all over again.

I also didn’t need her explaining things in “Contract.” Even if you’ve never heard of the “monkey’s paw,” everyone knows from every single Twilight Zone episode that it’s a bad idea to make magical wishes. So, again, I didn’t need Yuko treating me like an idiot by making her pat little moralizing speeches every few minutes. Especially when you were building up some good suspense toward a really tense and chilling and well-constructed climax. I also especially liked the folklorist, because she started as a normal person and we got to see her become screwed up by her foolish choices instead of just meeting her after she was totally screwed up.

And as long as I’m being honest, I’ll put it on the record: You don’t do that often enough. Usually, your stories just start with Yuko interfering with someone who is already badly flawed—like the girl with the internet addiction in “Indulgence”; jeez, what were you thinking with that story; that’s like the lamest hook anyone could ever come up with, and talk about being boring and screechy and totally predictable for fifteen minutes of dead air time. And it’s not the first time Yuko has just horned in on someone and jawed on and on and on and on and on and on about their fates and their willpower and stuff, like she’s some bizarre cross between Madame Blavatsky and Mary Worth. Times like that I can’t understand why people don’t punch her.

Are you still there? Hello?

Yes, that’s what I think. You asked me what I think, so I told you. Just— Just don’t mistake “thoughts” for “feelings.” These are things I noticed, but that doesn’t mean—

Sure. Of course I want to hear what you honestly think. Yeah, I told told you pretty much everything I think.

Oh, don’t be cute. Don’t ask me to tell you everything, and then say you’re only going to tell me “one thing.” Unless that “one thing” is a seven-letter, two-word imperative phrase that starts with one “f” and ends with two.

Oh, Crikey. You know, you really are psychotic.

No, I’m not going to say it. I’m not. I’m not.

Okay, fine.

“I took out that ad because I wanted to meet someone who is just like you only good.

But it’s not true! You’re putting words in my—

All right, you’re right about that much. I didn’t know I wanted that kind of series until I met you. But, you know, that says a lot of good about you right there. If you’ve inspired me to look seriously for what you’ve offered, then I’m sure there’s a huge audience of people out there who—

Okay, you know, that’s— that’s— That’s just not fair. Not to me and definitely not fair to you.

Hey, watch it, what kind of “age appropriate” show uses language like that?

You know what, just go piss up a rope.

Psycho.

Oh, gods.

Look, don’t call back and don’t call again, there’s no— Oh. Oh, I’m sorry, I was just talking to— Never mind.

Yes, I’m the one who took out the ad. Sexy, supernatural, surprises. Yes. Uh huh. Uh huh. Oh, yeah, that sounds neat. That sounds like fun.

So, a date is it? Okay. I’ll see you soon.

Wait a minute. Wow, I’m being dumb. What did you say your name was? “Mushi-Shi“? Okay, I’m looking forward to it.

Ciao!

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