Revolves around a boy named Watanuki and how he stumbled upon a shop owned by a woman named Yuuko. Yuuko's power is to grant wishes, but she can only do so with proper payment. Since Watanuki has seen spirits ever since he was born, Yuuko offers to take away his sight of the spirits in exchange for him working at the shop. He agrees and works at the shop until his debt is repaid.
xxxHOLiC was previously serialized in Young Magazine, but moved to Bessatsu Shounen Magazine in June 2010.
The series was released in English by the now defunct Del Rey from April 27, 2004 to February 21, 2012. Kodansha Comics USA has republished the series in an omnibus edition from March 18, 2014 to September 8, 2015 the final two volumes were 2-in-1, while the previous were all 3-in-1. It was also published in Spanish by Norma Editorial from July 2004 to October 2011.
xxxHolic is a series that ties in quite closely with Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles, but for the most part, you don't really need to read TRC in order to understand xxxHolic until you get to about volume 11 or 12. Once you get to that point, though, the two series get heavily intertwined with each other so it might be a good idea to read TRC, anyway, so you don't end up reading 100+ chapters in one go like I did in order to understand what was going on in xxxHolic...Even so, it's interesting just to see where the two plots meet and how one thing that happens in one story makes an impact on what happens in the other.
The story begins quite simply, and for the first bit, the story arcs are somewhat episodic - Yuuko gets a customer, Watanuki gets involved, something happens, and the issue is resolved for better or for worse. At the same time, however, little by little, more is revealed about the big underlying plot and about each character. On the surface, everyone is one way but underneath, you find that there's much more to them than originally thought. And reading back on the older chapters, it's clear that the hints were all there. In typical CLAMP fashion, however, once something is revealed, it seems to be even more complicated and confusing than before, but gradually, things become untangled. Nevertheless, be prepared for some confusion.
Once you get into the main storyline, the plot really shoots forward. There are still a couple pacing issues since, even when there's a big revelation, the story seems to revert back to another normal story arc like before. To me, anyway, it was a little jolting. However, the story is always interesting and you can really see how the story unfolds, slowly but surely, and it's interesting to see how each story arc changes the characters and allows them to mature - and it is this theme that I see recurring through each arc.
Which brings me to the characters! xxxHolic enjoys a relatively small yet diverse cast. Here, you won't have to memorize two or three dozen names like in some other series. Instead, you have your main characters - Watanuki, Yuuko, and Doumeki - and then a handful of recurring characters. At first, they all seem to be somewhat stock-type characters, but like I said, there is more to them than originally thought, and as the story unfolds, they grow and mature. And interestingly, even Watanuki's positive traits are turned against him and he is forced to question his motives and his decisions, and he matured as a result. Ichihara Yuuko, the enigmatic Time-Space Witch, is perhaps one of CLAMP's best creations yet. She's as full of mysteries as she is of laughs, yet at the same time, she's realistic and human (seen more towards the later developments in the series). Despite being one of the most powerful characters in the CLAMP universe, she has her limits and vices like anyone else.
The art, like any of CLAMP's works, is simple yet detailed. There are little to no screentones, and CLAMP makes good use of the contrast between black and white. Yet, at the same time, their designs are something to be marvelled at. Yuuko only has perhaps two outfits that she's worn more than once (always at key points of the story), and even Watanuki once notes when she's worn the same thing before. However, CLAMP does seem to be going through a tall-and-lanky-character phase (they've always had tall and thin characters, but they've recently gone into extremes if you compare it to their past works). It takes a bit of time to adjust to, but once you do, you can really appreciate the detail they put into everything.
Overall, xxxHolic is one of my favourite series to date. Its themes are quite mature and there is much to be thought about and explored here. For example, one of the big questions raised early in the series was about fate and destiny - is our path laid out for us when we are born, or do we carve our own path? However, I'll leave the exloration of themes up to you. While the plot, at times, leaves something to be desired, it's still very enjoyable. To me, xxxHolic is like a deep pit of mysteries just waiting to be explored, and watching the mysteries - and their answers - unfold is somehow very satisfying. Yet, even as these mysteries are explored, more questions come up, leading the reader even further into the story.
So, give it a try. I'd definitely recommend this story, especially if you've liked some of CLAMP's other works.read more
There are very few mangas I give a complete 10 out of 10 for, but if anything, xxxHOLiC excels even at that- I would have given it a 100 out of 10 if possible. It's that delightful and amazing.
xxxHolic is a supernatural story about a young teenager named Watanuki Kimihiro who is troubled by his ability to see spirits and his bloodline's inheritance of drawing them close to him. One day, when running away from the usual spirits, he enters a mysterious looking building, only to find that the spirits have vanished, and that the building is inhabited by a "witch"- Yuuko Ichihara- who can grant wishes. Watanuki wishes to be left alone by the troublesome spirits, but in return, must work at Yuuko's shop- a job that is like no other. Soon Watanuki finds himself learning more about the supernatural world, other dimensions, and stumbles upon two characters from a different universe: Sakura and Syaoran....
In a basic short: xxxHolic is not your typical run-of-the-mill manga. Exquisite in it's detailed art and subtle storytelling, this is manga at CLAMP's finest. Beginning with a series of "events" that Yuuko narrates and reveals something poignant about human nature and humanity and then slowly delving into Watanuki's mysteries and importance of being, it features excellent character depth and development. The chapters flow smoothly, going from one event to another without you really realizing it. It is slow at first, but in a good way, as it gives space for the characters to really develop and show their true colors. Eventually, it's crossovers with it's sister manga, Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles, lead to a main focus around 100 chapters into the manga. Yuuko's exhilarating beauty, seductive and omnipotent nature with young "apprentice" Watanuki is a delightful relationship. Also featuring is a small main cast, and a small minor cast, which allows the manga to focus exclusively on these characters with respect and care, rather than going for halfhearted attempts to cover a large cast. The best thing about xxxHolic is that it is specified for those who like thought-provoking, philosophical manga that manages to be visceral and accessible. It is that quality which allows it to retain a sense of maturity and coherence which draws the reader in, while being relatively simple in plot for a good portion of the story.
Going onto specifics, however, the most wonderful aspect about this series, lies in its balance and characters. Roughly 1/3 of the manga devotes itself to episodic stories, each ending with a certain theme or saying, which may or not maybe as delightful as the viewer would wish to hear. It is here where we get a chockfull of comedy- from Watanuki's exaggerated emotions to Yuuko's fine palette and desire for food. It is here that unusually, we get the most amount of character development. Watanuki slowly transforms from a normal, spastic teenager to a more serious, refined and curious man. Yuuko herself changes- though more subtly, and as Watanuki begins to understand himself better, so do the people around him, and thus xxxHOLiC is really more of a character-based, introspective story than its sister, TRC, which is much more plot-based.
The other 2/3 of the manga go into crossovers with the other series, which in a way is tragic, because in order to fully comprehend what's going on, you're going to inevitably have to read TRC or have a very good understanding of what's going on. That is one of the greatest weaknesses about this manga, one that has put many off from reading it, but let me say it now- don't let it get to you. If you prefer to read TRC - which has quite a long and convoluted plot - then that's totally fine, but the easiest way to understand these events is to simply read some general information about TRC (information that can be obtained by going to WIkipedia, if you wish). It's also around this period that a dramatic shift in tone takes place- a very bold move, and honestly, what makes this manga fantastic in the first place. xxxHOLiC starts off as a comedy, but ends with a much darker atmosphere. It's here where Watanuki's character development really pays off, as we understand that in all things, not just wishes, just as there is a gain for something, there is also a price. Happiness is relative to everyone, and what may be one person's happiness may be another's misfortune. xxxHOLiC explores these themes and excellently, giving quite the realistic (but still with a hopeful edge to it) answers.
Not only that, but lastly, xxxHOLiC is fantastic at giving the setting and characters life. No character feels completely flat and while some additional development could have been added, each character is different in their own way, and most importantly, the relationships between the characters are amazing. Each relationship shapes the character in a completely different way, and as Yuuko said herself- it are these ties that inevitably, make us want to wish, and make us human.
I'm probably ranting at this point at how amazing xxxHOLiC really is, but it changed my entire perspective and philosophy on life, and not many things can do that. A delight that anyone should definitely read, xxxHolic will have you most likely, hooked at first sight. read more
The story focuses on Kimihiro Watanuki, a high school student who sees spirits. One day he wanders in a strange looking shop, where he finds the other main character, Yuko Ichihara, a witch.
In order to fulfill his wish of not seeing spirits anymore, Yuko pretends to be payed. So Watanuki will work part-time at her shop, and this is where the fun part comes!
The idea of a wish-fulfilling shop sounds very nice to me! Every wish that Yuko grants leads Watanuki to a little adventure, which usually involves other characters, a few spirits and a large dose of humor!
It's a great mix of fantasy, comical and horror.
The art is the so-called CLAMP new style. The characters appear to have a very long and skinny body.
The main character, Watanuki, has a weird personality, and he can turn from wonderfully happy (when he talks to the girl he likes) to gloomy and depressed in a second. Nonetheless, this is very funny!
Yuko has a fun personality too, she is good with her job but she usually drinks and laughs a lot... so yeah... she is cherish and Watanuki sometimes gets really angry with her and there are some fun gags.
I had great fun reading xxxHolic, especially because I'm also reading Tsubasa and the stories are mixed, the characters are the same, and they sometimes communicate. So if I read Tsubasa and then I read xxxHolic, sometimes it's like reading each one two times (And I don't really mind, because I love them both!).
So it may only be a matter of personal taste because I love CLAMP comics, but I suggest you to read xxxHolic.read more
xxxHolic is a pritty good manga and one of the masterpieces of Clamp. That said, everyone that is a fan of Clamp, should know and should be reading this manga. For the rest of the community of readers out there, like me, should give it a try to see if this manga is your taste, even if you dont like Tsubasa Chronicle. This manga shows a different perspective of Tsubasa Chronicle. Therefore, you will see characters showing up in this manga once in a while.
The main story goes around a shop that grants your wish in exchange of something. And everyone that has a wish will be able to enter to this shop. It may look simple but its very complicated. Simple as, if your wish is big then the price will be huge. And complicated as, your wish not always goes as you plan it to and sometimes if you dont realize whats happening, then it will turn very ugly. Moreover, every wish comes with some consequence and responsibility. The manga starts slow trying to explain important aspects such as having a name, destiny, wishes, and change. The story gets very complicated as the story progress and it is easy to notice that
If anyone have seen Clamp's manga, like Sakura cardcapter, then you already know how the art/drawing is. My interpretation of Clamp art is that they make it very elegant and sometimes way to elegant with flashy, puffy, good looking art. Of course, this is mainly for girls and teenagers.
The characters are very well made. Each character is special and has its own qualities. Watanuki is the main character of this manga. Even though he doesnt know it, he is part of something big, as you may have notice from the clues and words from Yuuko that made you wonder whats happening behind the scenes.
Overall, I should say that this manga is great, but I get the feeling that its to classic or its easy to predict the ending (maybe I am reading to much mangas this days).
Oh, btw, if you really liked it, give a try at Tsubasa Chronicles to fully understand what is happening.
I hope you enjoy it and fall in love with Yuuko, hahah...read more