The story's main protaganist, Kimihiro Watanuki is a high school student constantly plagued by his ability to see
spirits. One day while running from his latest crop of supernatural perusers, he wanders into a strange shop
where he's given the offer to be rid of his problem, at the price of becoming the owner's part-time servant.
So begins his life working for the wish-granting shop, encountering people, spirits, and strange situations alike while also growing and changing
along the way.
- Adorkable: He's this all over at least, until Yuuko dies. The fact Todd Haberkorn is his voice actor in the dub especially increases this factor.
- The Ageless: After he takes ownership of the wish shop.
- Alternate Self: To TRC!Syaoran.
- Animal Motifs: Watanuki is often associated with or represented by cats, foxes, and birds. Later he selects the bird to be his symbol.
- This is particularly meaningful if you recall that in an early chapter when Yuuko was using a tracking spell that turned a handkerchief into a butterfly, she mentioned that if it had to go a farther distance, it would've turned into a bird. When you consider that Yuuko is represented by the butterfly, Watanuki's choice signifies he's destined to not only succeed, but surpass her.
- Anguished Declaration of Love: Well, he doesn't say "love" exactly, but when he comes to the realization that Yuuko's dying, his composure devolves until he's just standing there sobbing about how important she is to him and pleading for her not to go.
- Become a Real Boy: An interesting case. Watanuki IS human, but his existence is unstable because the universe generated his birth as a replacement for someone else. It turns out a majority of the story was Yuuko trying to get him to form enough relationships and go through enough Character Development that he'd be grounded in reality.
- Berserk Button/Corner of Woe: Doumeki's mere presence can set Watanuki into dramatic fits, never mind when people try to imply they get along. Yuuko ordering him around to do absurd amounts of tasks causes similar reactions.
- Blind Without 'Em: Averted, after receiving half of Doumeki's right eye Watanuki's eyesight becomes better in that eye than what he started with, and then after his magic powers increase his eyesight in both eyes becomes completely corrected so he doesn't need to wear glasses all the time. He even goes nearly three entire volumes without glasses, but once he procures another pair he continues to wear them out of habit.
- Break the Cutie: In the beginning he's a pretty cheerful - albeit spazzy - guy, and his misfortune is played for laughs. Then the situations he encounters start escalating in seriousness... Just one look at who he's become come volume 16 after the Time Skip and its patently obvious that he has broken.
- But Not Too Foreign: It isn't explicitly mentioned but with his heritage and the fact the very Japanese-sounding "Watanuki" is not his true family name revealed, it's easy to deduce that Watanuki's half Chinese.
- Butt Monkey/The Chew Toy: Particularly noticeable in the early volumes. Poor Watanuki never seemed to catch a break; he's constantly chased by monsters that are Invisible to Normals and try to eat him, he has to deal with Yuuko's teasing and slave-driving work, his crush Himawari is utterly oblivious to his advances, and he has to get his life saved by Doumeki who he hates.
- The Cameo: While CLAMP has an extensive history with crossing over their works, as of late Watanuki seems to have become the go-to character for this, with him having had an appearance in nearly all of their recent series.
- Chick Magnet/Even the Guys Want Him: Let's face it. For all that Watanuki acts and initially seems like he's an Unlucky Everydude, almost every character he has significant interaction with ends up loving/attracted to/loyal to/interested in him to some degree. Granted, roughly half of these individuals are spirits which inherently are drawn to him, but still.
- Conveniently an Orphan: The fact he lives alone makes it very easy for Yuuko to ask him to do late-night jobs or have him stay over, since there's no one at his home to worry about where he is.
- Although later revelations prove this overlaps with an Orphan's Ordeal, when it's revealed that the reason he so strongly attracted spirits to himself was because on a subconscious level he blamed himself for his parents deaths and was basically suicidal over it. The spirits could pick up on his desire to make himself "disappear" and were oh-so willing to help him do just that.
- Determinator: Watanuki has proven to have a very strong stubborn streak. This goes into full effect in his refusal to ever stop waiting for Yuuko, even after 100 years pass and he knows it's almost certain he'll never see the Yuuko he knew ever again. His will is so great that even when he gets seriously injured he makes the claim that he won't die, because he still needs to wait for her.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: VERY easy to annoy. Much of the comedy in the series comes from his over-the-top yelling and complaining about the crazy things he encounters or is forced to do against his will. It doesn't help that it some of his peers intentionally try to do things to set him off for their own amusement.
- This eventually diminishes as his character mellows out, though he remains easy to put into an irritated mood.
- Ill Boy: Winds up in need of strict bed rest multiple times during the series, usually because of his tendency to put himself in harms way.
- In Touch with His Feminine Side: He cooks, he cleans. He can even knit, and once makes gloves to give as gifts to all of his friends.
- I See Dead People: Comes with his ability to see otherworldy creatures in general.
- I Will Wait for You: Swears to do this for Yuuko when he makes a wish to see her again.
- Keet: At times. Though he can switch to the opposite depending on the situation. And ceases to be one altogether after Yuuko dies.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: He can't remember chunks of his early life beyond basic facts, and can't remember his parents names. He also is incapable of ever remembering tasting or eating anything he cooks with his own hands, and it isn't until he took notice of that fact that he realized something wasn't right with his memories.
- Watanuki admits he fears that he will one day lose his memories of Yuuko just like most of the world did after her death. It's because of this he tries to keep her belongings, like her pipe and some of her clothes, in regular use to ensure that he doesn't forget, or at least has a means of remembering
- Large Ham: Definitely has his moments, usually when he's either trying to a) impress Himawari or b) get Doumeki or Yuuko to praise him for things like his cooking ("bow before your Watanuki-sama before you partake!").
- Last Name Basis: Practically no one ever calls him "Kimihiro", except for Kohane.
- Love Triangle: During the first half of the series he believes himself to be in a love triangle with Himawari and Doumeki and thinks he's fighting Doumeki for Himawari's affections. Turns out he is in a love triangle of sorts, but he's the object of affection.
- Martyr Without a Cause/Chronic Hero Syndrome: Watanuki has shown a dangerous inclination with putting his life in danger for other peoples sake. It takes being called out and scolded for it several times before he finally learns that being so self-sacrificial does more harm than good since it causes people he cares about to worry about him.
- It's later revealed that Yuuko specifically wanted to change this aspect of him, as it was his deep lack of self-worth that was causing most of his problems in the first place and if it weren't corrected, he really would be dead sooner or later.
- Meaningful Name: The name "Watanuki" means April 1, which also happens to be his birthday. April 1 is a special date to CLAMP because it was when the group was founded, and to date several characters created by them also share this birthday.
- "Watanuki" is also that of a custom done on April 1 to create a substitute that would draw malignancies like disease and evil spirits away from children, which is reflective of Watanuki's nature. And after all, he is, in a sense, Syaoran's "decoy"
- Kimihiro is a name made up of the words meaning "you" and "look for", and was given to him as a promise by his parents to one day see him again. It also means "prophet", which is fitting now that Watanuki appears to have latent powers related to that of a dream seer.
- Mr. Fanservice: If he wasn't one already, he certainly became one after inheriting Yuuko's shop. Check him out (spoilers, obviously)!
- Oblivious to Love: He's observant about other people, but he's pretty terrible at picking up on when someone's affections are directed at himself. Examples include mistaking that the Zashiki-Warashi had a crush on Doumeki rather than himself, never fully realizing why Doumeki stays by his side, and failing to notice that Kohane loved him until he's told about it to his face.
- Really 700 Years Old: He stops aging when he takes over the shop and by the end of the series is over 100 years old.
- Say It with Hearts: When talking to or talking about Himawari.
- Single-Target Sexuality: He's head-over-heels infatuated with Himawari, and his eyes never really wander to any of the other girls he encounters, human or otherwise.
- The target eventually switches to Yuuko, but this still applies considering that he throws away any life he would've had in the outside world to wait indefinitely for the chance to see her again. At one point, the Spider Queen Joro-gumo crawls into his lap in an attempt to seduce him and he doesn't even bat an eye.
- Supreme Chef: Chief among his talents, seems like everyone can't get enough of his cooking. One of the common ways to annoy him is to give him ridiculous meal requests. That being said, he does actually enjoy making food.
- Ironically one aspect of his messed up memories is being unable to remember what his own cooking tastes like.
- Tsundere: Completely towards Doumeki. Watanuki angrily blushes red like a tomato while struggling to force out even the slightest thank-you directed at him, even for something as big as saving his life. To a lesser extent, he also acts this way towards Yuuko in how he grumbles about the stuff she has him do but clearly grows to be fond of his new life. Contrast with his full-stop deredere behavior around Himawari.
- Uncanny Family Resemblance: He's distantly related to Clow Reed, but it's been pointed out by several characters that he bears a strong resemblance to how Clow looked when he was young . Which is rather curious since neither of Watanuki's parents nor his what for lack of a better term can only be called twin brother looked anything remotely like Clow.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: He will deny it to hell and back but he is definitely this with Doumeki.
- Weirdness Magnet: the whole reason why the story even starts.
- Work Off the Debt: He spends the entirety of the series paying the price for a wish. Although, the wish he's paying for at the end is different than the one he started with.
The Dimensional Witch, and Watanuki's employer. An eccentric but powerful woman who runs a shop that exists to grant wishes to those who need them... For a price of course. She offers to grant Watanuki's wish that he may stop being chased by demons and as a result effectively turns him into her slave-boy. While she enjoys making Watanuki's life difficult, she does prove to care about him, especially as she starts to take on more of a mentor role rather than that of a demanding master towards him.
- Absolute Cleavage/Impossibly-Low Neckline: A large majority of her outfits are of the boob revealing sort.
- The Ageless:
- Animal Motifs: Yuuko's signature is the butterfly, which also serves as a symbol of many of the overlying themes in the series, such as change, destiny, and the cycle of life and death.
- Even more fitting now that Yuuko's near-death existence has been brought to light.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: She often appears to be more than a bit off her rocker, but her reputation as a powerful witch is completely justified and she is incredibly insightful about matters pertaining to relationships and the human heart.
- Cheshire Cat Grin: Her default facial expression. If she's making a different face, it's usually a cause for concern.
- The Chessmaster: She's a major player in manipulating events that happen both in Holic and Tsubasa to meet a certain end.
- Cool Big Sis: When she's out and about and not playing the part of mysterious shop owner, she fills out this role rather nicely.
- Dead All Along: An accidental wish made by the magician Clow Reed for her to open her eyes again while she was dying caused her time to freeze, trapping her in a state between life and death for centuries. She finally dies when her time begins to move forward again.
- Deadpan Snarker: Loves to make snarky comments.
- Does Not Like Shoes: As most of her apparitions are in doors.
- Dragon Lady: She wears a plethora of asian outfits, and comes off as dark, sexy, and mysterious, therefore suiting the description of one, but she subverts it by being very much a good person.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Granted the art style has made most human characters in the series to be this, but Yuuko is without a doubt the palest of them all.
- Equivalent Exchange: For every request she grants, she always demands equal payment, even if it's for little things. It turns out that the owner of the wish shop is pretty much contractually bound to live by this principle, to the point it's like an inconvenient Power Limiter; no matter how much power she has, she can't do anything for others without a price. For example, during Watanuki's birthday she mentions that the only thing she can give him without compensation is a "happy birthday", and the look on her face tells she's not exactly happy about that.
- Expy: She can arguably be considered one of fellow CLAMP work's Kaho Mizuki, being another Mysterious Woman with magic powers in a mentor role who has connections of some sort with Clow Reed.
- Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Good Lord, this woman loves her alcohol. Sake, wine, beer, you name it, she will drink it without hesitation. Sort of overlaps with Wine Is Classy when you factor in the glamorous image she portrays.
- Hime Cut
- I Have Many Names: She's known under a number of titles, including The Time-Space Witch, The Dimension Witch, The Far-East Witch, The Girl Witch, and even just The Witch (which is a favorite of Kurogane's). Incidentally, the name "Yuuko Ichihara" is also stated in her introduction to be an alias.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: The universe, save for close friends and relations, have Yuuko wiped from their memories when she dies and the universe is reset to be as if she had not continued existing for the past few centuries.
- Last Request: Yuuko's only wish before her death is for Watanuki to go on existing.
- The Lost Lenore: She becomes this for Watanuki, as her death triggers him to make the drastic decision to take over and be made unable to leave the shop, and also results in a great change in his personality. He's left in a state of longing for her for the remainder of the series, and reminders of her former presence pop up at every turn in the form of her possessions or the symbols that represented her.
- Omniscient Morality License: Because her job is to grant any wish given to her that is within her power so long as the client is capable of paying the price and it doesn't involve directly killing someone, she at times grants wishes with some really nasty repercussions.
- Rapunzel Hair
- Really 700 Years Old: While her true age is never mentioned, she knew the magician Clow Reed personally, and he's been dead for hundreds of years so that's a pretty good indicator that she's this. See also the Dead All Along entry.
- Schrödinger's Butterfly: Aside from being her symbol, Yuuko herself is likened to a dreaming butterfly, mirroring the famous quote that spawned this trope.
- Sexy Mentor: And how! She even plays it up by occasionally flirting with Watanuki or stroking his face, and once even offered to striptease for him. He's not amused by this.
- Shipper on Deck: She is undoubtedly a Doumeki/Watanuki fangirl considering how much she enjoys making teasing remarks about their relationship.
- Smoking Is Glamorous: She sure makes it seem that way, what with the beautifully elaborate looking smoke that comes out when she's using her signature kiseru pipe.
- Sugar and Ice Personality: She can come off as cold and cynical, especially when on the job granting wishes to people who don't fully understand the consequences. But she can also be surprisingly warm and kind, a side which starts coming out more often around Watanuki in the later chapters.
- Third-Option Important Person: Watanuki shares some sort of unbreakable bond with Doumeki and has exchanged genuine "I love you's" with Himawari, but that matters little when it turns out Yuuko had become so important to him that he vows to spend an eternity waiting if that's what it takes for him to see her again.
- Trickster Mentor: She's cryptic and often withholds facts from Watanuki about some of the tasks she entrusts to him or the customers that enter the shop, on the surface for no other reason than to make things harder for him and/or give him grief. In reality, it's mostly because there are things that she wants him to discover and learn for himself.
- Unlimited Wardrobe: Yuuko never wears the same outfit twice except when an important plot point is happening. In fact, anytime Watanuki notices her wearing an outfit he'd seen her wear before causes him to worry that something's amiss. He's right.
A classmate of Watanuki's, Doumeki was brought up in a shrine and has knowledge of the spirit world due to the stories he was told when he was young by his spirit-seeing grandfather. While Doumeki himself is unable to see the supernatural, he has the ability to repel and exorcise them because of his heritage. Watanuki bears an unreasonable hatred towards Doumeki, but despite this fate seems determined to throw them into situations together.
- Badass: Not only is he the most stoic character in the whole eries who is literally calm in situations that would terrify even the bravest of men such as seeing your hand bleed out of nowhere or falling from the sky hundreds of stories high to the ground, but he also has the power to kill demons and spirits with a bow alone.
- Birds of a Feather: With his wife Kohane. Both are reserved, quiet individuals with a exposure to the supernatural starting at a very young age. Both are also Love Martyrs for Watanuki.
- Chick Magnet: Doumeki is noted several times to be very popular with the girls. It's one of many reasons Watanuki gets irritated with Doumeki. Especially when the shop gets a customer who's Yandere for him.
- It crosses into Clueless Chick Magnet territory because while Doumeki is aware of the fact he attracts plenty admirers, he doesn't seem to be able to catch onto when someone likes him unless they outright say it or someone else points it out to him.
- Generation Xerox: It's looking like the entire Doumeki family line is destined to watch over Watanuki, starting with Shizuka's deceased Grandfather who meets Watanuki in dreams. By the end it's Shizuka's great-grandson who's taking on the job, and it looks highly probable that his son and grandson also did so.
- Identical Grandson: Doumeki is identical to how his grandfather Haruka looked when he was young. Haruka also used the bow and arrow as his weapon. The only ways to tell them apart is that Haruka smokes, and actually smiles.
- And 100 years later, Doumeki's great-grandson is also identical in appearance. Watanuki comments that it just may be a quirk of their family.
- Legacy of Service: It's implied his descendants dedicate themselves to keeping Watanuki company.
- Last Name Basis: Similar to Watanuki, no one calls him by his first name except for his family members and Kohane.
- Actually, Doumeki himself never calls anyone by their first name except for Yuuko. Not even his eventual wife.
- Love Martyr: The nature of it is arguable, but there's no denying that Doumeki's loyalty to Watanuki knows no bounds. Doumeki's saved his ass multiple times, restored the sight in his right eye, given him blood, and continues to visit him after he gave up the right to leave the shop, and while their relationship does eventually improve somewhat, Watanuki never completely stops treating Doumeki like a thorn in his side.
- Meaningful Name: His first name, "Shizuka" means quiet, reflecting his stoic nature.
- Perpetual Frowner: There is literally only one instance in the whole series where he clearly cracks a smile.
- Protective Charm: Doumeki is a living protective charm. While he's not completely immune to the supernatural, he acts as spirit repellent and his presence can even negate curses. Which is why Himawari likes having him around.
- Real Men Wear Pink: Doumeki was made to dress in a girl's kimono when he was young because of an old custom that stated a weak child would grow up strong if they did so. Also related, Doumeki is born on March 3 which is the date of the doll festival, aka girls day. Watanuki gets a huge kick out of learning these facts, but because of Doumeki's masterful deadpan stoicism, utterly fails at trying to use them against him.
- The Stoic: This guy pretty much only has two facial expressions: bored and irritated. And that's even when he's under stress. To top it off he also speaks in a monotone voice
- Sugar and Ice Personality: With his ever-blank face, Doumeki can give the impression of not caring one whit about anything. But Doumeki most certainly can care, and he cares deeply. It's obvious in the way he comes in to save Watanuki, or in his interactions with Kohane.
- Tall, Dark and Snarky: He's tall, never smiles, and is a master at snarking at Watanuki.
- Unknown Rival: Watanuki will take any chance he can get to loudly antagonize Doumeki, who he thinks is his rival in love with Himawari and also views as infuriating for no adequate reason. Doumeki on the other hand clearly doesn't take Watanuki seriously and early on just starts plugging his ears to mute the noise.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With of course, Watanuki. The vitriol is almost entirely on Watanuki's end but Doumeki's snark doesn't help.
Another of Watanuki's classmates. Himawari is a cheerful girl who Watanuki claims is the cutest girl in school and also has a massive crush on. She often joins in on gatherings with Watanuki, Doumeki, and Yuuko, and is easily accepting about the existence of the magical and supernatural. Despite not having any apparent powers, mysteriously, bad things tend to occur when she's around.
- Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder: After Watanuki becomes magically confined to the shop, Himawari is only able to see him only once a year. Ultimately, she marries someone else,but Watanuki issupportive and accepting of her decision, and it doesn't stop her from giving Watanuki phone calls or religiously visiting him on his birthday.
- Doom Magnet/TheJinx: From the minor injury or unpleasant discovery to the extreme accident, bad incidents seem to happen whenever Himawari is around. She's cursed to cause this no matter how much she doesn't want to. Only her parents, Doumeki, and later the pet bird she receives from Watanuki, named Tanpopo, are immune to it.
- Empathy Pet: The little bird Tanpopo is highly expressive and responsive towards both Himawari and Watanuki, which makes sense, as he was born out of Watanuki's desire to grant Himawari true happiness.
- Heroic Sacrifice: After influencing him to experience a near-fatal accident, Himawari chooses to take on any of the scars Watanuki would've otherwise received from his injuries. The action is especially poignant given that unfortunately, in Japan there does exist some stigma against girls who are scarred.
- Important Hairstyle Change: Her default hairstyle changes to a half-up-half-down style so that she can hide the scars on her back that she received as payment for saving Watanuki's life.
- Meaningful Name: Himawari means "sunflower" and indeed, her cheerful personality is the opposite of Shrinking Violet. She's a Stepford Smiler though.
- Mega Twin Tails: The most prominent example in the series.
- Obfuscating Obliviousness: Himawari seems to be oblivious to the fact that Watanuki has a severe crush on her and might sometimes want to do things together without Doumeki tagging along. She also doesn't seem to be aware of the fact that bad things tend to occur in her presence. This isn't true, on any of the accounts. She tries to keep her distance because she doesn't want to hurt Watanuki, and deliberately invites Doumeki along when Watanuki wants to do things with her because she knows Doumeki will cancel out her bad luck.
- Put on a Bus: her presence in the story is reduced to flashbacks and occasional phone calls after Watanuki takes ownership of the shop. It's explained that her misfortune makes being at the shop dangerous to her, and she and Watanuki made an agreement that the only day she can come see him is on his birthday.
- Satellite Love Interest: Initially appears to be one for Watanuki, and then her backstory comes out and blows this accusation out the water.
- Shipper on Deck: Like Yuuko she seems to like commenting about what great friends Watanuki and Doumeki are! Cue Watanuki devolving into protesting sobs and denial.
- Stepford Smiler: Turns out to be one when she reveals that she's noticed that bad things inexplicably happened to the people around her from the age of four, and any time something happened to someone she liked or cared about, was left to wonder if it was her fault. Her smile finally breaks and she's reduced to tears when Watanuki tells her that despite the truth of her nature, he doesn't intend to stop being her friend, and that he was glad to have met her.
- Abusive Parents: Kohane's really unpleasant Stage Mom essentially forces Kohane to take on exorcism jobs and we are up front shown that uses the money to buy extravagant gifts for herself. She also refuses to let Kohane touch, eat food prepared by, or even interact with, anyone she deems to be "unclean", out of fear that Kohane lose her supernatural abilities because of it. She hasn't even called her daughter by her name in years. The kicker is that she won't let herself touch Kohane either, indicating she also thinks of herself as "unclean"
- Birds of a Feather: With her husband Domeki. Both are quiet, dependable, principled individuals who have been exposed to the supernatural since a young age. Both also love Watanuki
- Broken Bird
- Cassandra Truth: Kohane tells the brutal truth to her clients. This eventually get her into trouble.
- Cry Cute: You just want to give the poor girl a hug when she breaks down in tears.
- I See Dead People: Just like Watanuki, she has the ability to see spirits, and it's one reason she and him form a bond. She doesn't attract them to herself like he does, though.
- Love Martyr: For her mother. The main reason she endured her mother's terrible treatment of her was because she on some level blamed herself for why her mother became the way she did, and really wanted nothing more than to make her happy.
- Also arguably for Watanuki, when she and Doumeki end up married to each other seemingly for no other reason than to produce offspring that will keep Watanuki company in his long, unaging life. Doumeki makes a point of stating that Watanuki is indeed the person Kohane loves the most.
- Oracular Urchin
- The Stoic: She speaks in a relatively quiet and mature manner, and her default facial expression has a dreamy quality to it.
- Not So Stoic: She finally lets her mask break after the ordeal with her mother comes to a head. Afterwards, while she remains a soft-spoken person, we get to see her smile much more often.
- When She Smiles
- Will Not Tell a Lie
Maru and Moro
Yuuko Ichihara's aides, two artificial beings who keep Yūko's shop in existence. They guide shop visitors to their mistress, and also perform various other tasks. Because they are souless bodies, they cannot leave Yuuko’s shop. Their complete names are Marudashi and Morodashi.
Kudagitsune / Mugetsu
A kudagitsune or pipe fox spirit given to Yuuko by Ame-Warashi as payment. It is later named Mugetsu by Watanuki.