nanakah: (watanuki)
I had way too much fun today browsing LJ for old TRC and holic theories, raging and shenanigans. I won't be the black sheep and say I'm completely satisfied with how things turned out, but then again I can't really identify with the several people that dropped out of the fandom during the big HOLIC to Rou/TRC finale abyss. Rather the contrary, it was the change brought by it that got me to come back and care again.

Many disliked Watanuki's characterization from there on for "in no way being like him at all/what did they do my son" or "throwing 200 chapters worth of development outta the window" just like he once was? lol sorry which I can't really agree with. Sure, it was a big shock at first (a time skip was involved after all) but I came to love it, specially somewhere along the seven year gap (As in, he was finally more comfortable in his shop keeper shoes, less brooding, messing up less as far as hurting himself went) I thought he was so great, and everything I thought holic was leading up to. Wasn't holic always filled with Watanuki frowning at Yuuko and despairing at the thought that she somehow knew what was in store for his future, or Haruka seemingly preparing him saying there was a "grand path ahead" or, you know, what about Yuuko always being so set on explaining the clockwork of the shop to him, even though that seemed so useless and against the cryptic nature of her character back then?

I don't know, I get a special kind of aggravated whenever I read "Watanuki failed to do everything Yuuko tried to teach him!!!!11!11", because holic's appeal to me in the first place was defending broken aesops and bringing about the relativity of morals, happiness and human behavior in general (By which I mean, idk why people still try reading Yuuko through stuff like "she must be so mad at his decision!!!" when we're talking about a woman that constantly encouraged people on doing whatever the hell they feel like if that's what they truly desire, as long as they were aware of the consequences. Why on earth would she condemn Watanuki for staying in the shop? Yes, she cared about Watanuki, she wouldn't let him go on his merry way of offing himself, and in fact she put effort towards not letting him do so by surrounding him with people to change him. But that doesn't mean she taught him not to follow his heart.)

Damn, Watanuki lived off his days nurturing his powers in order to take care of Doumeki, Kohane, Himawari and everyone he cared about. This was literally spelled out in the Jorogumo chapter in Rou. His price to meet Yuuko again was staying in the shop, the whole becoming the shop *keeper* was his own decision to make himself useful to others. In the end, Yuuko's ultimate lesson to him - and to everyone else - was "Follow your heart's true wish with decision and sincerity". It -is- what he did. The fandom is kinda dead nowadays, but I'd love to discuss this at length with someone. I really can't fathom why his staying the shop for the majority of the fandom boils down to "he failed to learn, he abandoned his friends, poor Yuuko" because that's not how it went.

As fun as it was in the old school days, I never expected Wata to stay spazzy forever (much of it derived from his, very much justified, paranoia of being followed around by spirits that wanted him dead) and I love how he turned out. Down to the cynicism and sneakyness he developed, he is still very much Watanuki, bending the rules of the shop far more than he should for the children that come by his shop because he is kind and cares about others - people, spirits, whatever comes. The pinacle of that is probably his Drug&Drop cameo, in which he has a "such are humans" attitude we had never seen quite so strongly before...but then again, it makes sense after all he has seen doesn't it? I for one think his personality fits the shop restraints better than Yuuko's ever did, she is such a free spirit and a "moved by boredom" type of character that it did always come off as odd to me why would she stay in a single place doing what she did. I guess I want to see her free, or see what both of them being together *and* free would be like. Reading the Soel and Larg book and how she loved having stray cats and dogs on her porch had me forever bitter by realizing that in the HOLIC verse the shop was technically "not there" so that sort of thing could never happen again...it is hurtful to have someone like her caged away, even if she did get to have more mobility than Watanuki does nowadays.

TL;DR I loved Watanuki in HOLiC and I love him now even more as shop keeper. Yes, there is some confusion and questionable writing on CLAMP's end. His character still is A+ to me. The one thing I wanted from the day we learned his wish of "not wanting to see spirits any more" was for things to develop in a direction that the "other world" no longer terrified and threatened him, but rather expanded his world and became part of him, and indeed that's what we got in the long run.

Whooo, that went on for longer than I expected. I guess I'll split my actual speculation on what's next for Rei into a separate post altogether. Guess that's what happens when you bottle up the despair CLAMP brings.