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[RAM] #2: xxxHolic
Rambling About Manga #2: xxxHolic

xxxHolic by CLAMP
Published in Japan by Kodansha between 2003 to 2011
Published by Del Rey between 2004 to 2012
I own the complete series, which is nineteen volumes long.
Personal Rating: 10/10

Summary from Del Rey:
Watanuki Kimihiro is haunted by visions of ghosts and spirits. Seemingly by chance, he encounters a mysterious witch named Yuuko, who claims she can help. In desperation, he accepts, but realizes that he’s just been tricked into working for Yuuko in order to pay off the cost of her services. Soon he’s employed in her little shop—a job which turns out to be nothing like his previous work experience!

Most of Yuuko’s customers live in Japan, but Yuuko and Watanuki are about to have some unusual visitors named Sakura and Syaoran from a land called Clow…

I love cute, happy, Cardcaptor Sakura CLAMP a lot, but I love dark, atmospheric Tokyo Babylon CLAMP even more. And xxxHolic is that kind of CLAMP at its best, in my opinion.

I began reading xxxHolic because I was already reading its sister series Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle. As a fan, I like TRC better, but the reader and critic inside me acknowledges that xxxHolic is probably the stronger series.

Unlike the plot-driven TRC, xxxHolic is all about its characters and their relationships and this series has some wonderfully three-dimensional characters. The enigmatic and snarky Doumeki is my favorite, but Watanuki and Yuuko are all sorts of fun. And Himarwari and all the customers and spirits and… I like everybody, okay?

Another aspect of the series I love is its depiction of traditional Japanese culture and beliefs in a contemporary environment. xxxHolic is probably the most Japanese manga series I’ve ever read—this series simply could not have been produced my any other country. The translation notes that Del Rey includes in the back are a magnificent source for trivia and other bits of knowledge.

My biggest problem with xxxHolic is its ending. In my opinion, the last two or so volumes of the series undid what seventeen volumes of the series had built up. However, the ending does have its own kind of value and the rest of the series is just so beloved by me that xxxHolic still earns a perfect score in my book.

(And besides, bad endings are what fanfiction is for, right? If you are a douwata shipper that was pissed off by the ending, I highly recommend “The Professor’s Wife.”)


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