Tag Archives: Domeki

xxxHOLiC (Volume 6) Manga | My Reviews 24 SEP 2008

xxxHOLiC 6Kimihiro Watanuki takes a welcome break from his grueling service to the time-space witch, Yuko Ishihara, only to find himself mixed up in the strangest parade of the Japanese magical world. But a slip up reveals that Kimihiro is a powerless human! How can he survive the festival without being eaten by its dangerous participants?

Then Kimihiro meets a woman grieving for her lost son. Since Kimihiro is an orphan, the two form an immediate bond. But what will Kimihiro do when he realizes that his wonderful new friendship may very well kill him?

Kimihiro Watanuki is an easily excitable, highly strung and extremely unlucky high school student who happens to be able to see and has been plagued by the spirit world all his life. A chance meeting with the beautiful but unpredictable space-time witch Yuko Ishihara who’s business it is to grant wishes has given Watanuki the chance to finally be rid of the spirit world for good – but in exchange the hapless student now needs to work in her mystical shop where all manner of things spiritual and downright scary abound anyway!

Volume 6 sees Watanuki and Domeki dragged directly into the spirit world thanks to a gift from an unexpected visitor to Yuko who then decides to pass the present on to Watanuki as part of his ‘learning’ instead. However, this particular journey into the spirit world is by far the most dangerous yet and the slightest miscalculation or misstep may actually be the death of both of them!

This is then followed by an important lesson as to the origin of old wives’ tales when Watanuki decides to challenge the convention of not clipping one’s toenails after dark.

Now working at the wish-granting shop certainly comes with a lot of perks, but more usually it is paired with back-breaking work and cooking, so Watanuki is more than a little thrilled at the prospect of getting some time off as Yuko and Mokona need to travel elsewhere to take care of some pressing business, leaving the young man to his own devices. But as per usual trouble isn’t far behind and the sad drama revolving around a mother who has lost her son and the friendship she strikes up with the orphan Watanuki is about to unfold, a drama which may just actually end with the death of one of these two people!

And then finally, one last task awaits our hapless hero – a full moon delivery that will only go safely if you know how to play with words!

xxxHOLiC is produced by the super popular, all female mangaka group CLAMP, responsible for some of the most well known manga titles to ever reach us out here in the West. These four ladies started out producing doujinshi (fan fiction) a while ago but word of their work soon caught on and being of such a high standard, they quickly began to make a name for themselves in the professional world. Some of their previous credits including Chobits, X/1999, CardCaptor Sakura, xxxHOLIC and Magic Knight Rayearth, just to name a few!

Volume 6 of xxxHOLiC has to go down as one of the darker and more serious tomes yet, with the focus of the entire story most definitely taken off the silly comedy that one has come to expect from the interactions between Watanuki, Domeki and Himawari and placed instead more on the tangible dangers that the spirit world actually holds in store for the people who would freely interact with it.

There is a lot more sadness to this volume and although it is balanced out with the necessary mysticism, comedy and humour that xxxHOLiC is known for, this time around you will end off the book feeling a lot more down than what you would normally do with any other volume in the series. That said, the quality of story and writing is exactly what you would expect from the CLAMP ladies, so this volume holds up perfectly in the series then.

xxxHOLiC continues its rather unique visual presentation, with its exquisitely detailed costume designs and rather appealing elongated character proportions, all mixed up with some beautifully heavy but clean brush work. As always xxxHOLiC is extremely light on the background details, only filling anything in when it is absolutely essential.

Detailed but always fun character expressions and the occasional use of super-deformed caricatures continues to enforce a lot of the book’s humorous elements and one has to say that volume 6 ranks right up there with the rest of CLAMP’s masterful works.

In summary, volume 6 of xxxHOLiC certainly feels more meaty and dramatic than the previous volumes, but at the same time retains the humour and atmosphere that has made xxxHOLiC such a hit for CLAMP and therefore makes for a well-balanced, enjoyable read that is sure to please almost everyone who picks it up off the shelf.

Related link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XxxHOLiC

xxxHOLiC (Volume 5) Manga | My Reviews 17 AUG 2008

xxxHOLiC Volume5Kimihiro Watanuki is the indentured servant of Yuko, the beautiful but completely unpredictable Space-Time Witch. He must work at her bizarre wish-granting shop until he can pay off his own wish: to be free of the spirits that haunt him. Yuko’s latest customer is a rain spirit who wants Kimihiro dispatched on a rescue mission. Little does Kimihiro know that this mission will take him to death’s door!

And that’s not his only problem: A cute spirit has given him a Valentine’s Day present, which means he’s obligated by Japanese custom to return the favour. What do you get a girls who may not even exist in this world?

Volume 5 of xxxHOLiC continues the mystical and spiritual misadventures of the extremely excitable but unlucky in all sense of the word Kimihiro Watanuki, a high school student who can see and has been plagued by the spirit world all his life. A chance meeting with the beautiful but unpredictable space-time witch Yuko Ichihara who’s business it is to grant wishes has given Watanuki the chance to finally be rid of the spirit world for good – but in exchange the hapless student now needs to work in her mystical shop where all manner of things spiritual and downright scary abound anyway!

This volume sees Watanuki and Domeki team up once again, this time on the behest of a rain sprite that employs their help in attempting a rescue of something that lies beneath the red hydrangea patch. And of course this being a spirit world request, the danger that lies in wait for them is best left unsaid.

Second up is the mystery surrounding one of the girls that happens to attend the same school as what Domeki and Watanuki do. This girl used to be pretty normal, quiet and reserved, but now there is something a little odd about this girl’s behaviour around other people, particularly when they cause her insult – all of which may just be linked to the strange angel-like feathers growing out of her back!

And then finally it is time for Watanuki to make good on his gift received on Valentine’s Day (Japanese custom dictates boys returning the favour received from girls on ‘White Day’), even if the person he needs to compensate happens to be a spirit that resides all the way out on Reisen mountain.

xxxHOLiC is produced by the super popular, all female mangaka group CLAMP, responsible for some of the most well known manga titles to ever reach us out here in the West. These four ladies started out producing doujinshi (fan fiction) a while ago but word of their work soon caught on and being of such a high standard, they quickly began to make a name for themselves in the professional world. Some of their previous credits including Chobits, X/1999, CardCaptor Sakura, xxxHOLIC and Magic Knight Rayearth, just to name a few!

As always xxxHOLiC’s writing is based in well researched Japanese folklore and then mixed up with some targeted social commentary which is then brought to us courtesy of the loveable Watanuki and his various adventures in the spirit world. For the first time since the series started, the story introduces a new, darker back-story for Yuko, laying the foundation for what surely will be an exciting storyline to follow in the future and a welcome break from Watanuki and company’s usually comedic antics.

The writing is once again well paced and the self-contained story arcs are all satisfying and all have something to say, at the same time continuing to build up the main characters and lay the foundations for the future volumes all at once. The stories keep you guessing and CLAMP do a good job of building intrigue and mystery into their arcs, particularly noteworthy if you consider the length of each self-contained arc in the volume.

There is a lot more of a darker feeling to this particular volume and slowly but surely the stakes for Watanuki’s spirit world interventions are on the rise. However, that said, the writing retains its comical nature and xxxHOLiC will have you laughing out a loud more than once.

Visually CLAMP continue their trademark elongated character proportions which gives xxxHOLiC such a distinct yet thoroughly pleasing look. Character and character costume designs are exquisite as always, though I still feel that they are a little light on backgrounds at the moment. The clean, heavyset lines makes for very attractive visuals and combined with the attention to both simplified facial lines and super-deformed character expressions (where necessary – which with Watanuki happens to be often) makes for a very good looking book, just as you’ve come to expect from the CLAMP masters.

Overall, xxxHOLiC volume 5 really doesn’t put a foot wrong and CLAMP produce a beautiful, easy to read work that is drenched in drama and spiritual mystery but at the same time carries all the humour that makes xxxHOLiC as unique and fun as it is.

Thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining, you would do well to pick up this volume – as well as all of those that precede it!

Related link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XxxHOLiC

xxxHOLiC (Volume 4) Manga | My Reviews 02 AUG 2008

xxxHOLiC Volume 4It’s Valentine’s Day – and while Domeki is showered with chocolates and cards from girls, Watanuki receives none. To make matters worse, he must also do the usual chores for Yuko, which includes making chocolate cake for her and Mokona, as well as the treats his boss wants to give away as gifts. But when Watanuki discovers he has a shy and secret admirer who is not quite human, he finds that chocolates can be more than just sweets.

 

Then, after seeing identical twin sisters pass by in the street, Yuko makes a curious remark: that there are chains that only humans can use to bind others. Watanuki meets the sisters and senses that the relationship between them is not what it seems…

Volume 4 of xxxHOLiC continues the mystical and spiritual misadventures of the excellent cook but unlucky in everything else Kimihiro Watanuki, a high school student who has been plagued by youkai (spirits), who seemingly have a very strong attraction to him, for all his life. A chance (?) meeting with the trans-dimensional witch known simply as Yuko Ichihara, a mysterious and beautiful (if a little self-involved) woman whose business it is to grant wishes, promises to rid Watanuki of these spirits for good – but as a fair exchange Watanuki is now forced to work in her mystical shop!

So easily-excitable and over reactive Watanuki now finds himself cooking and running small errands dealing with both the supernatural and normal household chores, all while having to deal with his stoic and athletic ‘rival’ Shizuka Domeki, who has all the luck with women and seems to be the exact opposite of Watanuki! And then of course there is Himawari Kunogi, sweet little Himawari, who Watanuki would just die for – it’s just too bad that she doesn’t seem to feel quite so strongly about him!

This time around it is Valentine’s Day, and as expected, the girls aren’t exactly lining up to present Watanuki with any chocolates this year! However, with Watanuki’s strange attraction of all that is spiritual, it comes as no wonder that there is a particular little girl that takes an interest in him – and who steals a very special ‘chocolate’ in order to present to him – the consequences of which leads to a very madcap and desperate chase around the skies of the city!

The second story arc for this volume deals with two beautiful twins who seemingly get on with each other like a house on fire but happen to be complete opposites in terms of personality – and it all has to do with the ‘chains’ that only humans can use to bind with explains Yuko. Of course, unable just to leave the problem alone, Watanuki (and Domeki) find themselves drawn into the lives of the twins which may just prove too tough a nut to crack for either of them!

The volume then closes off with two quick fire encounters which serves to teach Watanuki the smallest of lessons, but lessons that are sure to make him grow just that little much more.

xxxHOLiC is produced by legendary, all female mangaka group CLAMP, responsible for some of the most well known manga titles to ever reach us out here in the West. These four ladies started out producing doujinshi (fan fiction) but soon word of their work caught on and because it was of such a high standard, they quickly began to make a name for themselves in the professional world, with some of their previous credits including Chobits, X/1999, CardCaptor Sakura, xxxHOLIC and Magic Knight Rayearth just to name a few! They are currently publishing three ongoing titles in Japan, namely Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNICLE, xxxHOLiC and Gohou Drug.

As per usual, the story is drenched in Japanese folklore and legend and oozes with spiritual and supernatural phenomena which provide the backbone for all of Watanuki’s unusual encounters. A strong theme throughout the series is the ongoing growth of Watanuki through serious and often dramatic scenarios and Volume 4 continues this tradition very nicely. The writing style is the usual madcap mix of drama and comedy, with the very hyperactive and over-reactive Watanuki taking first and foremost stage. The comical relationship between him, Domeki and Himawari is plumbed for material as always, with the odd little black mokona and Maru & Moro providing a little extra comical relief when needed.

All the stories contained within the book are nicely laid out, easy to follow and all try to say something, which makes xxxHOLiC even more enjoyable to read as you can enjoy it on both an intellectual and just plain fun level at the same time.

Artistically, CLAMP continue their tradition of exaggerated proportions which gives the book a nice and unique feel without being too jarring all at once. They make frequent use of super-deformed and exaggerated facial expressions for the comedy bits, and this blends in well with the overall style of the book. All the characters are beautifully designed and detailed, particularly Yuko and the multitude of finely designed costumes that she wears every day, but it must be noted that CLAMP seemed particularly lazy when it came to backgrounds in this volume because they are rather sparse in appearance and are often just substituted for a bunch of linear lines instead of surrounding objects! Still, their relatively solid and clean lines make for a very easy viewing and this helps the book flow just that much better.

Overall, xxxHOLiC volume 4 is a nicely self-contained read that delivers on everything that is good about xxxHOLiC. It looks good, reads straightforward and provides a generous dose of comedy and drama, all drenched in Japanese folklore, ghosts and mysteries. So if you liked CLAMP’s other works, then you’ll probably enjoy this one as well!

Related link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XxxHOLiC