xxxHOLiC Manga Volume 16 Review

xxxHOLiC Manga Volume 16 Review

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SPOILER Summary/Synopsis:

xxxHOLiC Volume 16With the departure of Yuuko-san in death, Watanuki takes over as master of the shop and has Maru, Moro, and even Mokona as helpers.  Yuuko-san has arranged it so that Doumeki, Himawari, and Kohane remember her and are able to come by the shop if they so desire.  Time passes and Doumeki is in college while Kohane is in middle school  Watanuki has learned much in the four years and is now better able to grant wishes without severely injuring himself.

During a visit by Doumeki and Kohane, she has a message from the old fortune teller that Watanuki will have a customer.  Both Doumeki and Kohane are worried about Watanuki’s ability to handle the wish without being injured.  The customer is a blind woman with a shamisen that will no longer play.  Watanuki is able to grant the wish of the shamisen, which is alive and contains the spirit of the cat from which it was made, and does so with no injury to himself. Afterward, he’s paid a visit by Haruka-san in the dream world to discuss things, including the fact that Yuuko-san tasked him to look after Watanuki.


I remember thinking when Tsubasa was winding down that surely xxxHOLiC would also end.  After all, Yuuko-san had finally passed on and the series could have ended with Watanuki simply stating that he’d wait forever to see her again while in the meantime, running her shop.  I’m rather glad that CLAMP decided not to do this but to proceed with the series with some minor modifications.

It is interesting that CLAMP decided to fast-forward four years and basically skip Watanuki’s OJT.  Now, we see a Watanuki who’s still the same person, but who’s matured and thus not given to his wild, frantic (and loud) outbursts.  CLAMP makes this change in Watanuki’s personality understandable, not only because of the loss of Yuuko-san, but because of the prices Watanuki has had to pay when he didn’t charge the right amount for granting wishes.  Thus, we have one of the subtle changes in the xxxHOLiC manga as some of the humor aspects are toned down.

The first customer we are shown Watanuki to have made for an interesting but not too serious tale.  I had no clue that shamisen were made from cat hides until I read that story arc.  Interesting what one learns.  ^_^  Still, we in the West aren’t fond of thoughts about cats (or dogs) being anything other than our pets.  Certainly, the idea that taking one and killing it just to make a musical instrument carries with it a certain level of horror.  I gather that’s not the case in Japan and indeed, CLAMP’s story has the cat quite happy in its life as a shamisen, though longing to be struck with bachi that was used to play it sometime back.

Regardless, the story showed how far Watanuki has come and as the entire volume is basically setting the stage to where ever CLAMP is taking xxxHOLiC to.

The subject of Doumeki’s egg came up. It is interesting that after four years, Doumeki still hasn’t used it.  I wonder when that will be resolved?

The only chuckle moment (which was also a cute moment) was when Maru and Moro attempted to sneak up on the sleeping Watanuki and scare him awake, only to be made scared themselves.  ^_^  It was a nice touch on CLAMP’s part.

So, from a story standpoint, we have the aftermath of Yuuko-san’s death, followed by a four-year jump forward in time to see how Watanuki handles the wish of a customer.  There’s nothing really major here but as I said, this is setting the stage.

On the Del Rey side, the final volume they publish for the xxxHOLiC series is fine.  Translator William Flanagan deftly handles CLAMP’s sometimes purposefully vague and confusing writing style.  I hear that Mr. Flanagan keeps current with the series when he purchases the magazine it is published in.  No doubt, that would help by allowing him to better know where the heck CLAMP is going with things.

Also, I have to say that I liked how the term “Obaasan” was handled when it came to addressing the elderly fortune teller.  I would have been fine if the term “Obaasan” had been used since the lady has yet to be named and that’s what people address her as. Indeed, for the manga Hayate the Combat Butler, the Japanese terms like “Obaasama” are used when a non-family member addresses the person and “Grandmother” when a family member addresses the same person.  I rather liked that because it is a way of separating family members and non-family members.

However, Mr. Flanagan went with the literal translation of “Grandmother,” complete with quotation marks.  It is the use of the quotation marks which wins my approval here.  That’s because simply saying “Grandmother” without the quotation marks leaves in the mind of English readers that this person is the blood relative of Kohane-chan.  Having the quotations in flags the reader that this person is NOT Kohane-chan’s grandmother but simply a woman with whom she has a relationship akin to a grandmother-granddaughter.  I think this is the first time I’ve seen a family member “title” dealt with in such a way.  So had Mr. Flanagan used “Obaasan” I would have been good, but since he’s going with a literal translation, it is the use of the quotation marks that win my approval.  ^_^

Also included are the nifty translator notes.  Hopefully, whenever Kodansha gets off their keesters and ramps xxxHOLiC production back up, they’ll not only have Mr. Flanagan doing the translations in the same style he does now, but also include translator notes.

So, until Kodansha gets their act together, no more volumes of xxxHOLiC for a while.  I’ll keep doing the chapter reviews as I’m able.

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One Response to “xxxHOLiC Manga Volume 16 Review”

  1. ivanov_2020 says:

    i probably said this many times in many forums… even here b4
    IMHO the story now revolve around the transformation from watanuki becoming clow reed, that will create fei wong reed in the process. it’ll end at the ‘first’ meeting of clow reed and yuuko and the sealing of fei wong reed inside that egg forever by doumeki with the use of his ring
    this is indeed the craziest love story ever made..

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