XXXHolic Vol. #07 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A-

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  • Art Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: Del Rey
  • MSRP: 10.95
  • Pages: 192
  • ISBN: 0-345-48355-9
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

XXXHolic Vol. #07

By Matthew Alexander     June 27, 2006
Release Date: May 30, 2006

XXXHolic Vol.#07
© Del Rey

Creative Talent
Translated by:William Flanagan
Adapted by:

What They Say
Kimihiro Watanuki has a wish on layaway with Yuko Ishikawa, the sultry time-space witch who can grant anyone's deepest desire . . . for a price! Still, working like a slave in Yuko's shop hasn't dampened Kimihiro's enthusiasm for his cute classmate Himawari-chan, nor his irritation with his too-cool rival Domeki, the guy who always seems to be around during Kimihiro's most embarrassing moments.

But when Domeki, trying to be a good samaritan, inadvertently becomes the object of a terrible grudge, Kimihiro seeks Yuko's help. However, the cost for her assistance is steep: Kimihiro would be permanently impaired! Is such a sacrifice worth it for someone he would rather have disappear?

The Review
The front and back cover depicts Yuko and Watanuki wearing green colored clothing with a fur fringe that somewhat reminds me of Russian royalty. On the front cover, Yuko is sitting on the arm of a couch with her dress pulled up enough to show a fur-lined garter. She is leaning across the couch and resting her left foot on Watanuki's lap as he leans against the opposite arm of the couch on the back cover. There has been some discussion in the forum about the cover of this issue appearing darker than previous volumes with Yuko's skin an unappealing gray/purple color instead of the normal white or slightly yellow. Then on Del Rey's website the picture of the cover looks much brighter, but according to Dallas Middaugh of Del Rey, their cover is nearly identical in color to the Japanese edition. So hopefully Clamp will get back to their normal coloring work for the cover of volume eight.

My other complaint is the cropping of the artwork the Del Rey copy sometimes receives. I don't work in the publishing industry so I admittedly don't know anything about the problems involved with formatting this version from the Japanese, but some covers in this series get more cropping than others and Clamp's artwork is so amazing it pains me to lose some of it. With its' large areas of solid black shading and judging by the hit and miss quality of this and previous volumes, this series appears to be a difficult one to print. This volume starts out perfect but the blacks begin to fade a little after the first 40 pages or so.

On the other hand, seven issues in and I am very glad to see the color plates on glossy paper in the front still remain. This volumes two-page color picture is just as gorgeous as any before. It shows Yuko wearing a large kimono with sleeves that imitate bird wings and Domeki kneeling before her with a falcon resting on his falconers' glove and bells. I find it interesting that Yuko is holding the end of the cords wrapped around Domeki's glove hand because it implies that she is pulling the main characters in the direction she prefers.

This volume continues the trend of plenty of extras, including a table of contents, description of honorifics, information about CLAMP and some of their past works, and the always appreciated translation notes.

Clamps artwork continues to be well drawn and contain the starkness of large areas of solid black tones. There are numerous full page and two page panels that are just gorgeous. The artwork flows really well from panel to panel giving a nice pace to the story and a fair depiction of movement and action. The artist also does an excellent job of illustrating characters' emotions with the expressions on their faces, especially the more subtle nuances. This gives the reader a good understanding of the situation and how each character reacts to one another, which adds to how well the story reads. In addition, the full-page art at the beginning of each chapter is very attractive.

The translation continues to read smoothly with no misspellings or grammatical errors and the honorifics continue to be left in, which is something I appreciate. Having the SFX translated are a definite plus, especially since they are small and don't intrude on the panel.

Contents: (Watch out, spoilers upcoming)
Watanuki's infatuation for Himawari is still in full force and now she's even made her way into his dreams. Of course his jealousy for Domeki is still there, but Watanuki's also somewhat begrudgingly realizing his perceived nemesis is generally concerned for his well-being. Character development between the two classmates continues to roll along when Watanuki accidentally causes a curse to befall Domeki. Watanuki is unwilling to allow Domeki to pay for his mistake and he learns from Yuko, for a price, how to cast a spell to transfer the curse back upon himself. It works, but now Domeki is angry about the whole situation and he sets out to find a spell to cure Watanuki.

In the meantime, while Watanuki is living with the curse he is also enjoying his time with Himawari while Domeki is absent. It takes Watanuki a while to determine the reason for his nemesis absence, but then Himawari asks Watanuki to deliver a book to Domeki. This forces Watanuki to interact with Domeki and they begin to work together in hope of finding a cure to Watanuki's malady. But just as they find a possible cure, Himawari's book releases a book worm demon that attacks the book containing the cure. Luckily Yuko shows up to help, but what will come of Watanuki's curse? Why would Himawari's book contain such a beast? Are Yuko's comments about Himawari and the book a sneak peek at a larger roll for the high school cutie?

An interesting side story in this volume follows the disturbing revelations of being willing to pay anything for the granting of a wish. A woman comes into Yuko's shop and says she will pay any price for Yuko to destroy a photo of an unnamed woman. It turns out the photo shows the secrets of a dastardly deed and it requires a great and nearly impossible sacrifice on the woman's part to free her of the photo. Will the woman be able to keep up her end of the bargain with Yuko?

Nothing much changes in this volume as Yuko continues to drink, bathe, and enjoy the fruits of Watanuki's cooking labors. Domeki and Watanuki are still having problems accepting each others help, but it's still enjoyable to watch their relationship progress. It is also nice to see Watanuki come to Domeki's aid for once, which is a nice reversal from what has been seen thus far. This situation also sets up the question of Himawari's role in delivering a book containing a demon and Yuko's comment that Himawari is not a goddess of good luck for Watanuki. This situation is pretty exciting as it provides a glimpse of what may be more information behind Himawari's character and perhaps her greater involvement in the storyline.

I still greatly appreciate the inclusion of color plates, but I was disappointed with a couple parts of this volumes packaging. However, these would certainly not be enough to deter me from purchasing this volume as the great artwork, storytelling and good translation continue to entertain.


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