Manga Spotlight: xxxHoLic

xxxHoLic is a 19 volume manga series written by CLAMP. The series was originally published in North America by Del Rey Manga, and is now being reissued by Kodansha USA.

xxxHoLic
Written by: CLAMP
Publisher: Kodansha
English Publisher: Del Rey Manga (original release), Kodansha USA (reissues)
Release Dates: April 27, 2004-February 21, 2012

A young man named Kimihiro Watanuki, who has the ability to see spirits, unexpectedly finds himself going into a shop where Yuko Ichihara, the proprietress, grants wishes to people for a fee. Yuko has a gothic look about her, but her clothes also make her come across as a bit of a seductress. She ends up talking Kimihiro into wishing to lose the ability to see spirits. For his fee, Yuko makes him do tasks like cleaning, cooking and lifting; she will only grant the wish once Kimihiro does enough work to “pay” for his wish.

As Kimihiro spends more time at the shop, he starts becoming involved with the clients who ask for the store’s help. The first is a woman who is a compulsive liar. She comes to the shop because she can no longer use her little finger. As Yuko tells the woman about herself, Kimihiro can see a weird black miasma surrounding the customer. Yuko gives the woman a ring to wear on her little finger. A little later, Kimihiro sees what the end result is for this woman. As the series progresses, Kimihiro interacts with more customers who have wishes they wanted granted.

Kimihiro has a crush on Himawari Kunogi, a very cheerful and friendly girl who is also one of his classmates. Her, along with schoolmate Shizuka Domeki, find themselves getting drawn into Kimihiro’s world. But Kimihiro starts out not liking Shizuka much. Even though Shizuka has grown up in a shrine, he does not have the ability see spirits or ghosts; however, he can sense them and has a natural ability to exorcise them. Even though Kimihiro doesn’t like Shizuka, Yuko constantly has the two of them team up together when they’re doing jobs for her.

It should also be mentioned that some of the events of xxxHoLic cross over with the Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE manga. But now that I’ve read both series, it really feels like on the xxxHoLic side of things, that most of the instances of crossing over could be cut and not impact the story too terribly much. There’s one or two exceptions to this, but for the most part, the Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE crossover bits almost seemed to distract from the story of xxxHoLic. However, I didn’t feel the same way when I saw the xxxHoLic crossovers in Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE. I can’t explain why that is, though.

Overall, xxxHoLic is pretty solid, except for the last three or four volumes. By that point, there’s time skipping going on. I understand why the time skipping is going on, but to me, it felt like the strength of the story started diminishing when the time skips began. And I have to admit that I’m not entirely sure if I liked the ending of the series or not. While it makes sense from what CLAMP established, I admit to feeling a little gypped.

But I have to give CLAMP credit when it comes to the art in xxxHoLic. It starts out looking fantastic, and for the most part, they were able to maintain that quality throughout all 19 volumes. I didn’t see a drastic drop in quality as the series progressed.

If you’re a fan of CLAMP’s work and haven’t read xxxHoLic yet, I would recommend it. However, be forewarned that you may potentially feel a little let down or disappointed by how the series ends.

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One comment

  1. Karandi · September 17, 2018

    At some point I will need to read this because I actually want to know how the story ends (admittedly, I’ve read enough spoilers on line to fill me in, but actually experiencing the story would be different). Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it.

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