Manga Spotlight: xxxHolic

This Review was Submitted by Thomas Pfeiffer

Story & Art: CLAMP
Publisher: Del Rey

Watanuki’s a normal teenaged high school kid, well except for the fact that he’s suffering from the Ichigo epidemic of seeing ghosts and ghoulies, who accidentally stumbles into a mystic shop run by an arrogant, crazy lush named Yuko, the space-time witch. Yuko’s specialty just so happens to be in fixing people’s “problems” in exchange for something equally important. For Watanuki that happens to be his “ghost-seeing” problem in exchange for Watanuki becoming the indentured servant for the witch. Watanuki’s day to day adventures include cooking, cleaning, shopping, acquiring the latest alcoholic beverage Yuko has the taste for at the time, and catching glimpses of other patrons of the shop and their tragic downfalls. Of course this is an occult shop so it’s not as hum-drum as it sounds, ordinary chores can quickly brush elbows with the supernatural.

Going into this manga I had no idea what to expect. I knew that it crossed over into “Tsubasa Chronicles” another CLAMP work being published at the same time, so I was intrigued, I heard great things about Tsubasa and its “crossovers” and of course been a CLAMP fan ever since those three girls went off to magical RPG land and started killing off princesses. Mostly I was excited about possibly seeing some crossovers from CLAMP series in XXXholic, but alas none (unless of course you count Tsubasa, and there is a drunk black Mokona). The premise for the manga that you get from reading the first couple of volumes sounds great. Problematic people coming into a mystical shop for help with their problems or addictions and the space-time witch which tries to help them, often ending in a sorrowful, or horror-filled climax for the individuals when they won’t listen to Yuko’s advice. It seems that’s where the ol’ CLAMP gals got the title (“XXXholic” as in “(insert addiction here)-holic”) Brilliant premise! But soon the manga turns into random stories about Watanuki.

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