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xxxHOLiC, volume 2
CLAMP
Del Rey, 190 pages

xxxHOLiC, volume 2
CLAMP
CLAMP is a group of four women who have become some of the most popular manga artists in America -- Satsuki Igarashi, Mick Nekoi, Mokona Apapa, Nanasa Ohkawa. They started out as doujinshi (fan comics) creators, but their skill and craft brought them to the attention of publishers. Their first work from a major publisher was RG Veda but they are perhaps best known in North America as the creators of Cardcaptor Sakura and Chobits. In Japan, CLAMP is currently publishing xxxHOLiC and Tsubasa with Kodansha, and Gohou Drug with Kadokawa.

SF Site Review: xxxHOLiC, volume 1 and Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE, volume 1
SF Site Review: Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE, volume 2
Del Rey Manga
Cardcaptor Sakura
Tsubasa
xxxHOLiC

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Cindy Lynn Speer

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Kimihiro Watanuki works as a servant for the mysterious Yuko Ichihara, a time-space witch of considerable power. In the beginning she sends Sakura and Syaoran, along with two others who have their own agendas, on a quest. She sends with them Mokona Modoki, a cute, long-eared creature that Yuko and another wizard made to give to the travelers. It has a twin, just like it except black, that stays with Yuko, becoming a pet of sorts, but also able to let her know what's going on with the others.

Meanwhile, Kimihiro has problems of his own. He sees spirits, attracts them to himself, and he has a terrible crush on one of his classmates. Yuko decides to take him to a fortune teller to help him straighten some things out in his mind, and eventually invites everyone together to a temple to have a night of ghost stories -- just Kimihiro, his crush, and his greatest rival, Domeki. They were once friends, but now they can't seem to spend a second together without arguing. Yuko does nothing without a greater purpose, and Kimihiro learns a lot from these encounters, about what is real and what is not, and about his future.

This series is interlaced with another, Tsubasa, but it doesn't affect the tale. Once in awhile we get a clue or two as to what's going on with the others, but mostly we concentrate on Kimihiro and Yuko. I genuinely liked Yuko. Hard drinking, intelligent and beautiful, one moment she's discussing the mysteries of the universe, the next she's saying things like, "The quicker we get there, the quicker I get my booze!" Kimihiro is not always kind to her. He calls her very selfish once, as an aside, and she hears it, but she grins instead of getting upset. She's a fascinating character. Kimihiro is also interesting, a young man, going to school then going straight home to wait on Yuko, he has the same normal young guy reactions, going from extremely happy to freak out in a matter of seconds. Sometimes I wanted to tell him to calm down, but it's understandable. He wants to be a normal young man, but he's not, and he's stuck in a very abnormal situation. In a lot of ways xxxHOLiC, volume 2 is more preparation for the future. I feel that Yuko, by including Domeki, is trying to give Kimihiro another ally, but in what fight, we'll have to wait and see. For me, the highlight of the book was the ghost story night. The stories are well told, and everything comes together extremely well.

The art is also very well done, with just the right amount of gorgeous detail on things like robes and magical items, going perfectly to the almost satiric stylized expressions of Kimihiro's anger.

CLAMP is actually a group of four women who've come together to draw some of the most popular Manga in Japan and America, something that I think is really nifty. The story they've created continues in Tsubasa 2 and xxxHolic 3.

Copyright © 2004 Cindy Lynn Speer

Cindy Lynn Speer loves books so much that she's designed most of her life around them, both as a librarian and a writer. Her books aren't due out anywhere soon, but she's trying. You can find her site at www.apenandfire.com.


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