xxxHOLiC Manga Volume 17 Review

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xxxHOLiC Manga Volume 17

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Note: At some point, an omnibus edition will replace the single edition.

*SPOILER WARNING!* 

xxxHOLiC Manga Volume 17Even though I am still unhappy with how xxxHOLiC was ended and treated by CLAMP, there are still elements I liked and I was very keen to read the story as translated by William Flanagan, who’s been there all along and very well suited to deal with CLAMP’s writing style and making the vague more understandable.

As I reread this volume, I felt my anger returning (well, to be honest, I’m pretty much always angry these days due to the economy, so in reality, what happened is my anger started turning into a rage of sorts) as I recalled how I felt when these chapters were first published and how much I had hoped for xxxHOLiC to rise to new heights now that it was unfettered by Tsubasa.

In the first story, the villain character Jorô-Gumo returns, only she’s not a villain but a customer of Watanuki’s, even though she had to trick her way to get past his barriers.  I remember at how excited I was at her return.  It made sense to me for someone like Jorô-Gumo to cross paths with Watanuki again.  After all, Ame-Warashi and Zashiki-Warashi had both returned for visits and though Jorô-Gumo had fought Watanuki and consumed his eye, the notion that she’d need his services as a customer was quite intriguing. I loved how she used her “womanly wiles” on Watanuki, although it really had no effect on him.  For him, it was just a job, no matter their past antagonistic relationship.

This story also presented a new way for CLAMP to bring their xxxHOLiC stories to life — Watanuki could do certain things via dreams, but Doumeki and Kohane-chan could be his eyes, hands, and feet support.  Later on, Doumeki getting a spiritual bow made it seem like he’d have a nifty weapon to deal with problems that he might encounter, especially when on a job with Kohane-chan.  Alas, none of that came to be and a nice, new premise for the characters we already knew got flushed unceremoniously down the toilet.

The job that Jorô-Gumo hired Watanuki to do returned the series to that xxxHOLiC notion, this time, the abusive relationship.  I hadn’t realized that CLAMP hadn’t assigned a sex to Yaobi-kuni’s partner, but it didn’t surprise me.  However, I like the idea of it being male (as did Mr. Flanagan, who made a rare choice to go ahead and assign a sex to a CLAMP character that they’d not assigned a sex to) because it fit best.  I liked the notion of a guy meeting a beautiful, young woman who tells him she’ll never age.  As I guy, I can tell you that we love beautiful women and no matter how much we may love our spouse/girlfriend, if we could keep her young forever, I think all of us would do this.

Regardless, the guy in the story was excited by the prospect of being with a hot babe for the rest of his life but then as he aged and she didn’t, it appears that his fears of her leaving him grew and so he took out that fear in the form of beating her before killing himself. Thus, CLAMP returned to a classic xxxHOLiC-type story and things looked quite good.  Too bad, CLAMP decided to go for new pastures in the form of Kobato and Gate 7.

The only negative thing story-wise that this volume of the manga produced was the revelation that Himawari-chan could only see Watanuki once a year.  CLAMP has the two of them say they love each other but then the conversation between Doumeki and Monoka reveal that this is a doomed love since the shop is detrimental to Himawari-chan as is Watanuki visiting her via dreams.  I remember not liking that aspect, but hoping CLAMP would let us see Himawari-chan for Watanuki’s birthday. Too bad that didn’t happen because CLAMP loves poking its readers in the eye.

“Oh, did you want to see Himawari-chan and Watanuki together?  OK, open your eyes wide and come close.”  *POKE!!!*  “There, can you see them now?”

*_*

Granted, I kinda wanted Watanuki to hook up with Zashiki-Warashi but I just didn’t like how Himawari-chan was treated by CLAMP.

On the Del Rey side, honorifics and the like are all there, as expected.  Mr. Flanagan’s translator notes are informative, as usual.

Well, there’s only one more volume of xxxHOLiC before the final CLAMP “up yours” is given.  I know that Kobato is ending soon and I wonder what kind of shaft I’m in for there?  I wonder what kind of shafting CLAMP will have for me in Gate 7?

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10 Responses to “xxxHOLiC Manga Volume 17 Review”

  1. junior says:

    And in completely unrelated news…

    ANB will no doubt be happy to here that Atlus left all of the honorifics in their just-released translation of Persona 2: Innocent Sin.

    😛

  2. I think a lot of people’s eyes hurt from being poked. CLAMP are the masters of ship teasing, after all. Out of all the teased pairings, how many became canon? Like, four or five?

    Anywho, CLAMP are planning on resuming Legal Drug in November (possible reboot from what I can gather). Personally, I wish that they’d finally go back and finish X/1999. Maybe once they finish their unfinished projects (X, Legal Drug, & Clover), they could take a break from making manga for a while, perhaps taking up jobs as fashion designers. They’d probably do a better job at that than they did on the ending of xxxHolic.

  3. Lan says:

    I used to be such a fan of anime. I was one of those people that always considered every series perfect and flawless.

    Clamp is one of those groups that i really hate; how they manage to fuck there own series up is beyond me.

    I also really cant stand unfinished work. Anime has plenty of these series, take Tenchi Muyo for example. it promised loads, and ended up an over-convoluted unfinished mess. I can name over 100 anime series better than it now, and it was once my favorite.

    Then you have those series that dont adapt the rest of its manga. latest example being Usagi drop. these series i avoid like the plague (damn you usagi drop). Im waiting on roughly 10 anime series worth of continuations >.< at the end of the day, anime bites you in the butt more so than manga. but i always come back for more :/

  4. O-chan says:

    Yeah, next to Rumiko Takahashi CLAMP is the other major artist(s) to have fallen from grace since my freshman anime fan days. Unlike Rumiko Takahashi, who just went with what she knew worked CLAMP pretty much insulted the readers with how they handled Tsubasa and xxxHolic. They baited us with these innocent stories that used EVERYONE in the CLAMP-verse and were linked by certain plot threads. Both stories had major excellent plot twists that were game changers for the remainder of the manga, then all that build-up just pettered out into either incoherent plot twists tripping over each other and/or plot threads that really don’t lead anywhere. At least in the old days CLAMP knew how to do proper endings for the series that did have endings. These days I’m not too sure.

  5. AstroNerdBoy says:

    ANB will no doubt be happy to here that Atlus left all of the honorifics in their just-released translation of Persona 2: Innocent Sin.

    A win for sure. *lol*

    I think a lot of people’s eyes hurt from being poked. CLAMP are the masters of ship teasing, after all. Out of all the teased pairings, how many became canon? Like, four or five?

    I’m not sure. ^_^;

    Anywho, CLAMP are planning on resuming Legal Drug in November (possible reboot from what I can gather).

    Yeah, I’ve heard that. I have access to the original Legal Drug but have never read it. I know the characters had a cameo in xxxHOLiC and I think I remember reading somewhere that CLAMP decided to have xxxHOLiC do what Legal Drug was doing in terms of types of stories. Not sure if that’s true or not.

    Personally, I wish that they’d finally go back and finish X/1999.

    Didn’t they stop in the first place because of some major earthquake? If so, the disaster in the Tohoku region may further prevent CLAMP from returning to that series.

    Maybe once they finish their unfinished projects (X, Legal Drug, & Clover), they could take a break from making manga for a while, perhaps taking up jobs as fashion designers. They’d probably do a better job at that than they did on the ending of xxxHolic.

    Well, Clover did nothing for me. CLAMP was trying to be too clever by half in that one by telling the end of the story in two volumes, then going back and telling the middle of the story with two volumes. I understand the plan was to then tell the beginning of the story with two volumes. Problem is, after slogging through four volumes, I really am not interested in the beginning of the story. ^_^;;;

    But yeah, xxxHOLiC got the shaft for sure and looking back, it was doomed from the start by being saddled with Tsubasa.

  6. AstroNerdBoy says:

    I used to be such a fan of anime. I was one of those people that always considered every series perfect and flawless.

    Did you read the manga first or watch the anime first?

    For me, I hated the first xxxHOLiC anime series, though I didn’t at the start. However, when the story of Zashiki-Warashi’s encounter with Watanuki was changed from Valentine’s Day and the giving of chocolate to some obscure holiday with general food, I felt so much was lost. Valentine’s Day brings with it an automatic sense of romance and love, which is why I so enjoyed the original manga series. You had Zashiki-Warashi innocently putting someone’s life in danger (Doumeki) for the sake of they guy she’d fallen for (Watanuki) in order that Watanuki get a very special Valentine’s Day chocolate from her. In the anime, all the romantic stuff is mostly purged (IMO) by having the holiday be some unknown food holiday.

    Clamp is one of those groups that i really hate; how they manage to fuck there own series up is beyond me.

    Actually, I believe I have an answer — they get bored or paint themselves into a corner and just say, “time to move on.” I think in their earlier works, they had a greater sense of how everything would be resolved but starting with xxxHOLiC and Tsubasa, they tried to do something different. xxxHOLiC shows signs of being well planned for quite some time and when certain things like Himawari’s curse are revealed, it all makes sense.

    With Tsubasa, I think it was planned to a point, but then they got caught up in the fun of plot twists, after the success of the first one dealing with Syaoran. They then plot-twisted themselves into an out of control spin and in trying to recover that and end the series, xxxHOLiC became a casualty. Thus, things about Watanuki’s parents had to be retconned. Himawari-chan’s curse causing Watanuki to fall out of the school building’s upper floor got retconned to make it somehow Watanuki’s fault. Yuuko-san had to be wiped out.

    So yeah, I can see how they managed to screw up their own series.

    I also really cant stand unfinished work. Anime has plenty of these series, take Tenchi Muyo for example. it promised loads, and ended up an over-convoluted unfinished mess. I can name over 100 anime series better than it now, and it was once my favorite

    In the case of TM!R, I understand your frustrations. Sadly, some of that is due to us not being Japanese and not having access to all the other materials released to Japanese fans. The rest is due to the limitations Kajishima-sensei puts on things by getting carried away with slice-of-life comedy tales.

    Then you have those series that dont adapt the rest of its manga. latest example being Usagi drop. these series i avoid like the plague (damn you usagi drop). Im waiting on roughly 10 anime series worth of continuations >.<

    Well, when I first got into anime, it was this phenomenon that you describe that caused me to go into manga in the first place. There was the original, five-episode Ah! My Goddess OVA series which led me to start buying the flipped Dark Horse graphic novels. It was the Love Hina TV series being incomplete that led me to buy the manga to get the whole (and in places, radically different) story.

    Its weird, but today, there are anime titles I won’t touch because I know they’ve been too modified from their original manga source for me to be interested in seeing them. I cite Fairy Tail first in that list.

    at the end of the day, anime bites you in the butt more so than manga. but i always come back for more :/

    *lol* I hear ya. ^_^;

  7. junior says:

    ———————
    Actually, I believe I have an answer — they get bored or paint themselves into a corner and just say, “time to move on.”
    ———————

    That’s because you haven’t watched Blood-C. The most recent episode was… disappointing… to say the least. It had an interesting lead in at the end of the previous episode… and was entirely (and I mean *entirely*) exposition, of the somewhat dull sort.

    >.< About half of said exposition was stuff that anyone with half a brain had already figured out, and the other half was completely out of left field “pulling stuff out of thin air” nonsense. At least there’s only one or two more episodes left. I’m still holding out hope that there’ll be a mecha series next season – even if it’s barely watchable.

  8. Anonymous says:

    What junior said above is a strangely faultfinding description of last week’s episode of Blood-C… Personally, I enjoyed it a lot, just as I have the rest of the series.

    I’m not saying it’s a perfect anime or even close, but it absolutely doesn’t deserve all the bitching and whining it’s gotten from some people over its run. It’s like this show has attracted a ship of fools who have to keep watching even though they can’t enjoy it even a little bit. And they have to remind the rest of us about that every single week. It’s really annoying.

    With most of these people it’s totally obvious that they’re upset because the show is not the Blood+2 or Blood:TLV 2 they were expecting to get. Never mind that it’s not supposed to be that – it’s Blood-C by CLAMP, perfectly enjoyable in its own right if people could be bothered to keep an open mind while watching it.

    I think AstroNerdBoy would like it because he can enjoy things as they are and isn’t overy hung up on what they’re “supposed to be”.

  9. AstroNerdBoy says:

    That’s because you haven’t watched Blood-C.

    It just never gripped me from what I was reading, so I gave it a pass.


    I think AstroNerdBoy would like it because he can enjoy things as they are and isn’t overy hung up on what they’re “supposed to be”.

    I appreciate the compliment, but I do think I fail at times when it comes to anime adaptations of manga. ^_^;;;

  10. junior says:

    —————–
    What junior said above is a strangely faultfinding description of last week’s episode of Blood-C… Personally, I enjoyed it a lot, just as I have the rest of the series.
    —————–

    The only significant fault that I’d found with it prior to this episode was the way that the writers were rather painfully dragging things out. Most of what was going on was already pretty clear before now. And then we get this episode, which quite literally has five characters standing in the exact same spot for 20 minutes talking (or rather, four of them are talking – the fifth spends most of that time on her knees staring into space).

    I haven’t seen the other Blood productions, so I didn’t go into this with pre-conceived notions. And as someone who didn’t have any pre-conceived notions, I have to say that the pacing on Blood-C has been horrible.

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