xxxHolic Volume 01 05/26/11
Now that my son's older, his taste in reading is converging with mine (as is his taste in television and movies). One series he and I are both tearing through having watched the anime series together is xxxHolic by the mangaka group CLAMP.
The series begins with Kimihiro Watanuki, a young man living on his own and besieged by spirits. What he wants more than anything is freedom from their constant stalking. Fate brings him to Yûko's shop where he is given the chance to learn how to control and avoid the spirits for a price. He basically becomes her indentured servant and cook.
After their initial meeting, the remaining episodes usually are a retelling of a superstition or well known horror story. The first one is about a woman who is a perpetual liar. If she can't learn to acknowledge her bad habit (as Yûko calls it), she will be destroyed by her lies.
This series is on my short list of all time favorite mangas and it is my favorite translation. Each volume has a back of book explanation on key points in the book. In this one, there is a call back to a popular children's show that was similar to Romper Room. Had I not read the translation notes, I would have missed the parallels.
As Yûko is also known as the "dimensional witch", her abilities give CLAMP the opportunity to keep a parallel story line going in a separate series: Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles. I'm also reading that series but I'm not as far along in it as I am in xxxHolic.
Although Del Rey, the publisher of the translations, recommends the books for 13 and older, I would recommend it third graders and older who are getting interested in horror stories and / or graphic novels. There's no graphic violence, nor adult themes (beyond Yûko and Mokina's taste for saké).
Comment #1: Friday, May, 27, 2011 at 07:32:34
I liked this one too though I'm still confused about the ending :-)
Comment #2: Friday May 27, 2011 at 13:58:13
CLAMP likes to have cameos from their other managa series. The ending of xxxHolic introduces a parallel story structure with another series called Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle. Yuko gives the four characters who show up on her doorstep the ability to travel the dimensions as team. They continue to show up in xxxHolic though not as dramatically as they do in the first volume. As they are really secondary to Watanuki's journey to learn how to control the spirits, you can ignore the confusing ending and go on to volume 2.
If you are interested in learning more about the other series, I will be posting reviews of them too as I get them read.
Comment #3: Friday, May, 27, 2011 at 19:09:17
Hehe ... maybe I should have been clearer ... when I was talking about the ending, I meant the end of the xxxHolic manga rather than this volume. :-)
I had the same problem with Tsubasa ... I loved the series at first, but I still can't explain the ending to myself satisfactorily.
Still, I'm looking forward to your reviews on both.
Comment #4: Saturday, May 28, 2011 at 09:46:30
I'm halfway through xxxHolic and only on volume 4 of Tsubasa. I have to request each volume of xxxHolic from a library that's about 100 miles away so it takes time even to get the books! But I will get them read and reviewed and thoughts posted on the series ending eventually!
Comment #5: Monday, May, 30, 2011 at 22:23:23
I just started this series last week. It's a little weird. Did you enjoy the anime? I think watching that might help me get into the manga a little more.
Comment #6: Wednesday, June 1, 2011 at 10:15:22
My son and I started with the anime. We love it but I'm actually coming to love the manga more than anime. Details were mixed and condensed in the anime and the translation for the dubbing is a little rough in places. I love the annotations at the back of the book in the mangas.
Comment #7: Tuesday, May, 31, 2011 at 12:50:50
I clicked through here from your "It's Monday" post. How funny we both posted a review of xxxHolic this week :)
Comment #8: Wednesday, June 1, 2011 at 10:18:25
Yes, that was a funny coincidence.
Comment #9: Thursday, June, 2, 2011 at 08:59:38
I have linked your review to mine :) I love to link to reviews from other book bloggers who have read the same as me :)
Comment #10: Thursday, June 2, 2011 at 22:12:25
I have added a link to yours as well. Happy reading.
Comment #11: Friday, June, 3, 2011 at 06:51:31
Very interesting. I am not all that much of a manga fan but it sounds interesting, but I will tell my sister about this. She loves manga
Comment #12: Friday, June 3, 2011 at 21:49:05