Mon, 10 November 2008
Manga review of xxxHolic Volume 2 by CLAMP. Translated and adapted by Bill Flanagan. Originally published in Japan by Kodansha. Published in US by Del Rey, $10.95, Rated T for Ages 13+.
Volume 2 of xxxHolic opens with the arrival of Syaoran, Sakura, Kurogane, and Fai, events already recounted in Tsubasa Volume 1, the sister manga of this series. After the time/space travellers leave, it's back to business for Yuko and Watanuki. Of course, that return to normalcy means that Watanuki goes back to being the gopher slave of Yuko. But Watanuki has something occupying his mind, or rather his heart. His crush on his classmate, Himawari Kunogi, is becoming more and more intense. But Watanuki is not known to be one of the braver souls in Japan, so he's finding it hard to broach the subject of going out on a date with Himawari. Yuko tries to help him by giving him a quick crash course in divination, seeing as how Himawari is pretty interested in horoscopes and the like. She even agrees to go on a double date with the two lovebirds. Much to Watanuki's annoyance, the fourth member of the party turns out to be a guy named Domeki, Watanuki's hated rival. The question is, rival at what? Currently, it seems that Watanuki fears that Domeki could capture Himawari's heart. It's not going to be a normal date anyway as Yuko plans to have a "100 Ghost Story Night" at the temple where Domeki lives.
After finishing the first two volumes of Tsubasa and xxxHolic, I have to say that Holic is by far the superior series. Tsubasa sank into a pit of shonen spirit animal Pokemon fighting which bored me and reminded me why I gave up on the Tsubasa anime after one volume. Tsubasa seems more intent on fitting in every character of the CLAMP universe, no matter how insignificant. Holic doesn't have that burden and is the better for it. Instead of serving as the vehicle for cameos of all stripes, Holic actually concentrates on telling a story. The first thing I have to say about Holic is to make a comment on the beautiful covers that adorn all the volumes, so intricate that they would fit in well on an Oriental rug. Somehow, CLAMP is able to pull out the feat of making you laugh, creeping you out, and expanding your mind with mind-blowing concepts all in the same book. You can tell that CLAMP really went the extra mile in challenging their readers by grappling with the concepts of destiny, love, and the interdependence of all human beings. A really good book.
My Grade: B+
You can watch the first 12 episodes of the xxxHolic anime for free at www.hulu.com . Here is the link to the first episode. Just hit the play button on the video panel: