Creator: CLAMP
Publisher: Del Rey
Age Rating: Teen
Genre: Fantasy
RRP: $10.95
xxxHOLiC v1
Reviewed by Michael Aronson

Having read Tsubasa first (Clamp’s other series currently being serialized) and noting the reference to crossover events with xxxHOLiC, it was only a matter of time until curiosity led me to the latter book. Whereas Tsubasa revels in plucking characters from Clamp’s bibliography of stories and mixing them in new environments and situations, xxxHOLiC’s crossover aspects are a bit more subtle. There are references to their other work through items and offhand remarks, but otherwise the series might as well be self-contained. Unfortunately, the guest appearance in the final pages of the first volume by the Tsubasa cast acts as nothing more than a shameless plug for the other series.

The thing is, this series has a lot of potential and it’s a pretty fun read thus far. Kimihiro is a troubled young guy who stumbled into Yuko’s lair, and after she baffles him with talk of magic and predestination, she employs his services as a janitor and cook. He reluctantly acquiesces to her requests, complaining almost all the time – mostly because she goes out of her way to drive him even more nuts. But that’s kind of it. It’s a situational comedy with various episodes.

Yuko occasionally takes on requests from various clients to grant their wishes or cure them of their ills, and there are only three such clients (not including Kimihiro) in this first volume. The chapters are longer than usually, about 40 pages each, and this is kind of nice as it allows each episode to breathe without running into in one another through endless chapters. I like the episodic format, and yet I need a greater hook to want to read this series, because griping characters alone aren’t enough of a draw.

Though the art is sometimes murky, I really like the designs for Yuko’s outfits and her abode. xxxHOLiC is far less visually busy than Tsubasa, and the space granted in the plot is complemented by that in the panel composition. It’s simply a comfortable read, which is good to bring in readers but not necessarily good enough to keep them around. Overall, this series has lots of promise.

11 October 2007
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