Rating: Teens (13+)
Released: March 2008
Synopsis: “Kimihiro Watanuki has been saved from death by the sacrifices of his friends, but his recovery time is cut short. His special connection with the spirit world is needed to investigate a terrifying haunted house, placate annoyed Warashi spirits, and face the growing threat of a shadowy figure called Fei-Wang Reed.”
It’s a continuation of the usual with XXXHolic, volume 11, but don’t think for a minute that it’s a bad thing. Watanuki continues his service to the Space-Time Witch Yuko, encountering the supernatural and living amidst a mystery so intertwined with everyone’s lives, that it’s a wonder how CLAMP will sort it all out by the time the finale rolls around.
In this volume, Watanuki assures friends that he’s alright after the frightening events of the previous release. He learns the importance of names and bears witness to a young girl’s frightful nights in her haunted home. Doumeki is a given a gift from Yuko and a glimpse at how much more important he’ll become in the coming events while Himawari comes to accept how much her friends care for her, despite all she’s told them. All the while readers are treated to new information about the magical shop, it’s occupants and what the future could hold for them all. “There is no coincidence in the world. The only thing is Hitsuzen.” The young Kohane-chan also makes a return, as does her easily angered mother.
CLAMP continues to do a beautiful job weaving together this entangled web, a plot that winds around and intercepts with their other currently running series, Tsubasa (also released in English by DelRey). While Tsubasa is ruled more by action, XXXHolic is more subtle but no less powerful with its drama, going for a more suspenseful approach. No words could be more daunting (and exciting!) for followers of the series than Yuko’s words at the end of this volume, “The final moment is approaching.” Both are character epics, the maturation and interactions of the characters are one of the series’ strongest traits.
XXXHolic’s artwork will come as no surprise to those following it up until now, still having the same exaggerated, thin proportions and vibrant character expression. It’s a very solid black and white art style that suits it’s subject well as CLAMP uses a nice balance of detail vs simplicity to keep the well-paced pages flowing.
The tone of XXXHolic, volume 11, has a softer feel than the more intense-drama of the previous few but it’s the underlying dread that’s felt by Yuko in worry of what’s to come that will really hold the readers. Watanuki, Domeki and Yuko continue to make a very memorable main cast, making the possibility of a horrific future all the more worrisome, but highly awaited none the less.
Written April 3, 2008 by Lissa Pattillo
Book purchased in-store from independant novelty shop, The Batter’s Box