XXXHolic Vol. #02 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A

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  • Art Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: Del Rey
  • MSRP: 10.95
  • Pages: 202
  • ISBN: 0-345-47119-9
  • Size: Tall B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

XXXHolic Vol. #02

By Megan Lavey     August 03, 2004
Release Date: July 01, 2004

XXXHolic Vol.#02
© Del Rey

Creative Talent
Translated by:Bill Flanagan
Adapted by:

What They Say
What they say: Kimihiro Watanuki thought he had signed up with a bunch of weirdos, and he was right! He became the unfortunate indentured servant of a woman known as Yuko Ichihara, who was widely rumored to be the time-space witch. Now his voyage through the worlds of the occult are off and running as he and Yuko go visiting fortune-tellers and horoscope readers. But can the future really be told?

Meanwhile, the romance is heating up between Kimihiro and cute Himawari-chan. Then fate throws Kimihiro's old rival back in his life. Now Yuko invited all three to a temple to tell scary stories throughout the night. Is it just for fun, or is there some deeper reason?

The Review
The cover keeps with the dark imagery, this time featuring a closeup of Yuko against an elaborate pattern of flowers while a closeup of Kimihiro is on the back. I'm not too wild about the logo, but it's one of those that fit the series - and still does so with this volume. It's a very simple cover at some points with not a lot going on, but at the same time it is deeply complex with all the ecletic colors. I love it.

Artwork: The reproduction retains the high quality of the first volume, with some of the deepest, most vibrant blacks I've seen in a manga. The color artwork is very pretty, especially the splash page featuring Yuko and Sakura. The quality of the SFX is extremely well-done, with the best example being the image of the chalkboard on page 140. The English and the original kana are mixed seamlessly in this image, and it's very striking and a wonderful example of how well the best of both worlds can be represented.

Text: Like the first volume, the book is unflipped and the SFX is subtitled. The translation appears to be solid and it's an enjoyable read. Once again, cultural notes, a handy guide to the different characters and an overview of another CLAMP series - Magic Knight Rayearth this time - is presented in the back of the book.

Gee, the beginning of this volume looks familiar. Oh yeah, we also see this in volume one of Tsubasa. But, this is where the alternate views come into play. While the same scene plays out in Tsubasa, the focus there is more on Syaroan and Yuko, with Kimihiro's role reduced to being Yuko's fetch-it boy. In the xxxHolic version, we see his reaction to the unusual events going on - ranging from screeching about people coming out of the sky to complete horror that Sakura may die if nothing is done.

We also get more background to the Tsubasa journey, explaining about the nature of traveling between the different worlds. Yuko also deftly links the events of both xxxHolic and Tsubasa to Cardcaptor Sakura as well. If you're reading Tsubasa, the beginning of this volume will greatly flesh out some of the background behind Sakura and Syaoran and the concept of the same souls existing in different worlds. From what I understand, xxxHolic and Cardcaptor Sakura take place in the same world. The reason behind why Yuko created Mokona is also explained. Some interesting phrasing is used by Yuko at the end of the chapter as she and Kimihiro talk about Sakura and Syaoran. Those who've read Cardcaptor Sakura will recognize it.

The story quickly returns to the status quo, as we see more of Kimihiro's personal life mesh with his job working with Yuko. The result is some hilarious storytelling mixed in with the complexity of the occult. The addition of black Mokona to the cast (the white one is over in Tsubasa) adds the perfect mix of hilarity and only serves to prove that everyone surrounding Yuko is nuts. We get another funny use for the Mokonas here as well - as matter (or if you will, food and liquor transport) from the other worlds back to Yuko.

Kimihiro's adventures in learning about fortune-telling give us more insight into his past, and at the same time brings out the serious side in Yuko. A lot is revealed about the nature of fortune-telling as well, and Yuko's observations are key to making Kimihiro - and the reader - think twice about something that should be obvious. The difference between the real and the pretend fortune-tellers is pretty interesting as well.

There is definite character development throughout the volume, especially on Kimihiro's part. While I was more interested in Yuko in the first volume, Kimihiro became more likeable in the second book as he grew comfortable around Yuko. His reactions to Himawari-chan is funny, and it reminds you that for all of his maturity due to living alone - he really is just a teenage boy. This is especially shown at the end of the book as Kimihiro's rival, Domeki, is introduced. Yuko uses Domeki as a possible solution to Kimihiro's problem. But, the result shows how much emotion can conflict with reason.

One of the reasons that I love xxxHolic is that it makes me think. I have to read passages several times in order to get what's being said sometimes, but it's something that is really simple, yet complex at the same time. This is an intellectual series, and really plays with your mind at times.

Oh, and for those of you keeping tabs on which CLAMP characters appear in Tsubasa and xxxHolic, pay close attention to the storage room while Kimihiro is retrieving the Mokonas.

The second volume of xxxHolic keeps the high standards of the first and introduces some fun, new characters into the fold. This is a series that has high re-readability for me, and that's something that is hard to come by. With so many series available these days, this is a series that I feel you can pick up and continuously find something new to enjoy about it. The different perspective on the Tsubasa events alone blows me away, and really gives a rare insight into the same event from a different point of view. I can't wait for the third volume.


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