xxxHOLiC Manga Volume 15 Review

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xxxHOLiC Manga Volume 15 Review

(This will be included in an omnibus volume in the future.)

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SPOILERS to follow.

xxxHOLiC Manga Volume 15CLAMP returns to the cooking arc in volume 15 of xxxHOLiC with Watanuki attempting to teach the unnamed, soon to be wed woman how to cook while at the same time, attempting to get he to eat her own cooking. This arc, which as before is scattered throughout this volume of the manga, is one that frustrated me a great deal during my chapter reviews. Frankly, I never cared a wit about this wacky woman or her eating disorder. If she didn’t want to eat her own cooking, that’s her business. Watanuki sticking his nose into this aspect of her life just struck me as annoying.

However, reading the cooking arc as part of the manga as a whole, I can now see the bigger picture that CLAMP was attempting to make while at the same time, dealing with the last of the Tsubasa crossover materials (more on that in a bit). Yuuko-san knew she was going to leave and had set up Watanuki to grant the woman’s wish as his final act as Yuuko-san’s apprentice. Since the root of the woman’s cooking issue was her dislike of herself, Watanuki took a long time to get her there and grant that wish. But he did and though Yuuko-san did not “live” to see the results of it, she obviously felt Watanuki could handle the job and when Watanuki sees her the final time, he does tell her about it.

Now, onto the major aspect of this manga — the departure of Yuuko-san.

If you haven’t been reading the Tsubasa manga (and I know, at this point, reading that manga can be quite trying), the final interruption of xxxHOLiC by the events in Tsubasa can be jarring. Yuuko-san’s discussion of ending the dream and her departure can also leave you scratching your head if you haven’t read Tsubasa. Thankfully, since Tsubasa ends, future volumes of xxxHOLiC won’t be burdened by the crossover.

Still, it is sad to see Yuuko-san go. Watanuki had to watch her go twice. The first was the final dream when she dissolves and the second is the last goodbye when she is swallowed up for good (at least, for now). Their final goodbye is very touching with Yuuko-san finally granting Watanuki’s wish of not having to see the spirits/youkai/etc. and that they won’t be drawn to Watanuki’s blood. It should be noted that she doesn’t say he won’t see them.

So now, Watanuki vows to stay in the shop until he meets Yuuko-san again and thus becomes master of the shop, starting a new direction for the manga. Sadly, now that xxxHOLiC has moved from a weekly seinen magazine (Weekly Young Magazine) to a monthly shounen magazine (Bessatsu Shounen Magazine), we’ll only get two volumes of xxxHOLiC a year from Del Rey. Well, at least now it won’t be so inconsistent as it was before.

There were some nice cameos this volume. Himawari-chan and Kohane-chan show up for a bit before the final phase of the cooking arc. The doubled Sakura’s and Syaoran’s show up for their final interruption. The female twins from volume 4 show up to help with the story element of Yuuko-san not only disappearing, but not even being remembered by folks. (Which reminds me, did those twins have a name?)

On the Del Rey side of things, translator William Flanagan does a great job handling some of the more difficult aspects of translating CLAMP. His translator notes are always a welcome thing. ^_^ Del Rey also includes four color pages at the beginning of the manga, something I was afraid they might drop for good. However, the book feels flimsier in my hand, almost like the TokyoPop volumes did when they went to a cheaper paper but not quite as bad. I compared it to xxxHOLiC Volume 6 and the two volumes felt roughly the same. So, I guess I’m being a bit over sensitive there. ^_^;

It will be interesting to see where CLAMP takes xxxHOLiC now that it is a shounen manga.

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