Saturday, 21 September 2013

xxxHolic: The Title Is Confusing, But Bear With It For A Great Manga!

A Review By: Amelia
I’ve always been unhealthy obsessed with the supernatural. Ghosts have always fascinated me. Of course, with ghosts and spirits the subject matter is usually pretty heavy where I prefer light-heartedness and humour. With xxxHolic, they strike a good balance of horror, drama, and humour.

xxxHolic is a nineteen volume manga that follows a group of rag-tag, strange, social outcast, supernaturally-gifted people as they solve bizarre situations with more bizarre solutions. The creators of xxxHolic are a group of female Japanese manga artists that named themselves CLAMP. They formed in the 1980s and had upwards of 11 members at any given time. Nowadays, they’ve thinned out to four members: Nanase Ohkawa provides much of the storyline for the works and Mokona, Tsubaki Nekoi, and Satsuki Igarashi are the three artists whose roles shift for each series. CLAMP has written many notable manga series including the very popular Cardcaptors series.

Yuuko on the left, Watanuki on the right
The main characters of this manga are Watanuki, a teenage boy who has the ability to see and communicate with spirits and Yuuko who is a physic/mystic who owns a gift-granting shop. There’s also a few secondary characters: Himawari, who is Watanuki’s love interest, Doumeki, who Watanuki dislikes strongly because he thinks he’s trying to steal Himawari, Mokona, who is a small cat/rabbit-like creature who’s a smart-ass and always hungry, and Maru & Moro, who are twin spirits who live at Yuuko’s shop.

An example of the art
The art style of xxxHolic is some of the best I’ve seen. It’s very, very stylized with the human characters having unnaturally long and thin limbs and wild expressions, and that might put some readers off, but that highly specialized style looks amazing on the supernatural characters. All the characters are cute and good-looking but all the attractiveness does get a little boring as background characters just become cookie-cutter replicas of good-looking nobodies.

All in all, xxxHolic is something really special. It’s a supernatural drama piece that doesn’t disappoint in its horror or its humour. The characters are likable and funny, the artwork is unique, and with nineteen volumes in the first series, you’ve got more than enough for hours of manga enjoyment.

My final thoughts on Clamp’s xxxHolic are that it’s wonderful. It’s my favourite manga. It’s hilarious: Watanki’s reactions are enough to leave you giggling for hours all on their own. It’s a chilling and creepy with some of the supernatural terrors they introduce being truly scary. It’s touching and sweet, as this strange collection of characters do care for each other and have very sweet and tender moments. This is just an all-round great manga and if you haven’t read it or aren’t even considering reading it, you’re doing yourself a great injustice!

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