Hello, my lovelies! I’m here with another series that’s found in our glorious library system. I’ve been into this series since middle school, so it’s not THAT old, but it’s been out for a while. It is one of those series that is easy to overlook. But once you actually open the book or watch the show, it kind of entraps you. Anyways, today we shall talk about xxxHolic!
So, this series starts off with a “regular” high school student (in manga, is any main character ever just regular?) named Kimihiro Watanuki. He has the uncanny ability to see spirits, both good and bad. And for some reason, they are very attracted to him. He explains that it has been something that has happened to him for a long time, and he just wants to be rid of it. To be normal.
At the beginning of the series, he is running from an especially nasty looking spirit, and much to his chagrin, he trips and falls. Placing his hand on a fencepost for stability, he sees that the spirit completely disappears. Looking to see what kind of building the fencepost belongs to, he discovers an old style house doubling as a shop. He tentatively enters and finds a beautiful woman named Yuko Ichihara, who says that her place is a shop that grants wishes. And for a price, she can grant any wish the customer desires.
Naturally, the first thought in Watanuki’s mind is to get rid of his curse (or what he considers a curse). She agrees to help, but states that because the price will be incredibly hefty, he will work for her indefinitely, for that is his wish’s cost. Reluctantly, he agrees to be her assistant, and he becomes sort of an errand boy for her. He, along with his friends Himawari Kunogi (the girl he is in love with) and Shizuka Domeki (who is not a friend according to him), slowly gets introduced into the world of the supernatural.
Yuko later reveals that only those who have a wish are able to enter the shop (Her famous quote is “There is no such thing as coincidence. There is only Hitsuzen.”) To anyone else, it simply takes the form of an abandoned, empty lot. After many wishes granted and even more adventures, Yuko suddenly decides that she would like Watanuki to perform a request in her stead. He struggles a bit, but in the end, is able to grant the request. While being thanked, he states that the customer should really be thanking Yuko, the true owner of the shop. But all former customers that are still alive state that he was the only one in the shop, and that he granted their wishes. Thoroughly confused and hurt, he goes back to the shop to see that something isn’t right and finds that Yuko is dying. Saying her last piece and wishing him happiness, she disappears. Convinced that she hasn’t really died and will come back, Watanuki inherits the shop and becomes the new wish granter, vowing to stay until she returns. With that vow, he can never leave the premises of the shop. He makes Domeki his new errand boy and adventures begin again.
This series was better than I thought it would be on first glance. I think the first time I saw it was when I was visiting the Central Library and I just happened to like the cover. After reading the first volume, I realized that the other volumes were not there, so I just gave up and forgot about the series. I picked it back up when a friend in middle school told me about the series, and again, I only glanced through it. It wasn’t until a little later when I saw episodes of the series that I gave it a fair chance. And I loved it. Just the right amount of creepy mixed with humor, romance, and realism. Characterization is funny in this series. For example, after Yuko is gone, Watanuki’s personality changes drastically. He starts to dress and act more like Yuko, though to be honest, I liked the change.
Also something to be noted is that it has strong ties with Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle which means it’s by Clamp. (Just letting you readers know, I LOVE anything dealing with Clamp.) If you’ve read Tsubasa, the “Dimensional Witch” was Yuko Ichihara. The Mokona are there too, and they are so adorable. There are also larger tie ins but because I haven’t really seen/read Tsubasa in depth, I only know a TINY portion of them (I plan on reading Tsubasa soon).
We have all of the manga PLUS volume one of a spin-off called xxxHolic Rei in our system at the moment. (Shout out to Central Library for having all of the main series at one location!) I personally liked the way that it ended, though I wish it HADN’T ended (but all good things must come to an end, right?) We also have seasons 1-3 of the anime! I hope you enjoyed this nugget of information on this subject! Stay golden my friends.