xxxHOLiC Rei Volume 1 Manga Review

xxxホリック ◆ 戻 volume 1
xxxHOLiC Rei Volume 1 Manga Review

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SPOILER****

xxxHOLiC Rei Volume 1 Manga ReviewHighlights from this volume start with Watanuki serving Yuuko-san as usual when Doumeki shows up with a request. Yuuko-san gets a guest with a wish and a double phone strap, one of the mascots being dirty. The woman’s best friend shows up later with an identical double phone strap. The first visitor keeps getting more and more battered with repeated visits as one of the mascots gets the same punishment. The best friend continues to visit, never suffering injury. In the end, the first visitor beheads the clean and perfect mascot to kill her friend.

Yuuko-san deploys Watanuki to his apartment building, specifically to the abandoned apartment next door to his. Over time, Watanuki keeps hearing voices, which he keeps responding to instinctively. One night when he’s not with Doumeki nor Himawari, a youkai mass comes at him, so he flees to Yuuko-san’s shop, where she dispels the creature. However, Watanuki finds himself frightened by Yuuko-san and attempts to talk to her about it, but she’s as elusive as ever. After putting him to sleep, Doumeki swings by for another brief chat about the situation.

Because of how CLAMP treated the original xxxHOLiC manga, it really is difficult for me to muster up a lot of enthusiasm for the xxxHOLiC Rei manga title.  On one hand, it is great seeing the fun and energetic Yuuko-san back and teasing Watanuki. It is nice seeing her mysterious side, where she clearly knows more than she’s letting on. It was interesting seeing her scary side.  On the other hand, I keep thinking, “So what’s the bloody point?”

Seriously, I don’t know what CLAMP is trying to do. It appears that they are attempting to return to the xxxHOLiC manga, but have this be Watanuki’s dream or something, thus allowing him to live this fantasy life that Yuuko-san is keenly aware of. Doumeki also seems aware of it, and even Himawari-chan seems aware of it.

As I see it, Watanuki still won’t end up with Himawari-chan. He won’t even end up with Zashiki-Warashi. He’ll pine away for Yuuko-san, who’s dead, but whom Watanuki may have resurrected in a dream world. It feels like a massive mess, and that in the end, I’m going to be even less happy with how xxxHOLiC Rei does things than I was with how xxxHOLiC did things.

But, being the sucker that I am, I went ahead and bought the manga. Because I’m apparently a sick puppy, I’ll probably buy the next volume too just to see where CLAMP drags us to.

On the Kodansha Comics side of things (I nearly said Del Rey), I’m a bit disappointed that William Flanagan didn’t do the translations here. He did the original xxxHOLiC series, and he does a lot of CLAMP titles, so I figured he’d get this one for sure. But for whatever reason(s), it was not to be.  (And that’s nothing against Stephen Paul’s work in this volume.)

When chapter 2 first came out in Japan, there was some talk about CLAMP shifting from Yuuko-san using the term “hitsuzen” (inevitability) to “hitsuyou” (necessity) instead. I wish Mr. Paul had made a mention of this in his translator notes, of which we get nearly three pages worth.

I was also thinking about how I missed the intro color pages Del Rey used to do, which are absent here. I don’t really care for the cover of the manga, which is different from other manga titles Kodansha Comics (or anyone else) puts out. I’m not sure if it is a CLAMP thing or what.

Japanese honorifics are retained, which is a good thing.

In the end, while there was certainly an element of fun and nostalgia with the “good times” from the original xxxHOLiC in xxxHOLiC Rei volume 1, my inability to trust CLAMP causes my enjoyment levels to not be what they should or could be.

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2 Responses to “xxxHOLiC Rei Volume 1 Manga Review”

  1. Tim says:

    “But, being the sucker that I am, I went ahead and bought the manga. Because I’m apparently a sick puppy, I’ll probably buy the next volume too just to see where CLAMP drags us to.”

    As the esteemable Montgomery “Scotty” Scott, once said:

    “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

    ^_^

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