When touching the fence of a small compound of old-style buildings, remaining amid towering modern buildings dispells a particularly odious spirit, he wanders into the compound, which turns out to be a shop in which the witch Yuuko grants wishes, or, as often reveals, to the wisher their true motivations, in exchange for `equal compensation'.
In view of the Buddha's insight about the relationship between desire and suffering, there is something a priori sinister about a wish-granting shop. But Watanuki lets his wish be known--to no longer be able to see the evil spirits, and Yuuko agrees to grant it, in exchange for work of equal value. Thus does Watanuki (Yuuko insists on calling him by his surname without an honorific) become the part-time chef and housekeeper for Yuuko, her odd rabbit-like drinking companion Mokona, and her servants Maru and Moro, in the process becoming more involved in the spirit-world than his gift or affliction had already made him.
The story is full of enigmas--Yuuko's servants Maru and Moro, who at one point explain they cannot leave the shop because they have no souls; Yuuko-san herself; and a host of unresolved plot-lines.
In the end does Watanuki-kun get his wish? In the end does he want to?
The animation is very good, ranging from exquisitely beautiful, esp. in the last several episodes, to good exemplars of the usual conventions in light anime-- exaggerated facial expressions, sudden background changes to indicated strong emotions, and the like--though the overall plot is not light.
Definitely worth seeing, though it leaves one with a sort of whistful sorrow.
Other than at times strong emotional content, there are no parental warnings on this one, though I somehow think neither pre-teens nor young teens would like it.
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