Title: xxxHOLiC Genres: Fantasy, supernatural Author: CLAMP Artist: CLAMP Publication: Weekly Young Magazine (sporadic chapter releases?) Start Date: February 24 2003 - ongoing Number of chapters at review: 149 Number of chapters read by reviewer: 149
General Overview: The story opens with Kimihiro Watanuki running from spirits that only he can see. He stumbles across a house that, upon touching the fence, banishes the spirits hounding him. After an interesting encounter with the owner of the house, who is in fact a witch that sells wishes, Watanuki finds himself working for the owner, in order to pay off his own wish. The story that follows details the experiences and encounters that happen as a result of working for the Witch of Dimensions, Yuuko. [This manga is strongly connected to its sister-story, Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, by CLAMP]
Category Ratings: (1-10 scale) Art: 8
Very simplistic art compared to previous CLAMP titles such as X/1999 and Cardcaptors - a similar style to CLAMP's Legal/Gohou Drug, generally only using solid black or stark white, rather than shades in between. The spirits that chase Watanuki are very imaginative, and there is great detail in the scenes which include magic. Highly polished artwork, which is pretty easy to follow and to understand what is happening in each panel.
The plot is very driven by the people Watanuki meets while working at the store, with any lessons learnt coming from the consequences of said people's actions. It can move along pretty slowly, especially when waiting for current chapter releases, with each chapter only moving the story a smidgen (current chapters are creating stronger links with TRC storylines).
The characters in this manga are very well detailed, with as much information given to readers as is needed to understand the situation. Character growth is gradual, and interactions between characters change as as result of this (gradually as well).
The strongest theme in this manga is Yuuko's concept of hitsuzen, 'a naturally fore-ordained event. A state in which other outcomes are impossible. A result that can only be obtained by a single causality, and other causalities would necessarily create different results' (according to Yuuko). Other themes focus around Watanuki's growth through experiences, and his changing view of his worth (without trying to spoil too much), as well as individual lessons/themes within each chapter/set of chapters.
There are some similarities with CLAMP's Legal/Gohou Drug, mostly with the interactions between Watanuki and Doumeki - however, the general concept/storyline/etc is, so far as I know or have seen, pretty original, as most CLAMP manga are. [There are small references to previous CLAMP manga/characters/etc as the story goes along]
The extensive wait for new chapters, and the slow progression of story reduces the vote a little, but otherwise a very interesting manga to read. Classic and awesome CLAMP
although a slow start to the manga... it creates a new world for the reader.
I can't say it is my favourite manga-- but it sure is one of a kind. It made me read TRC <-- (sometimes confusing). xxxHolic is a good manga and I love the gothic ( would it be gothic) sort of design to it.