After much delay, I’m continuing with my review of CLAMP’s xxxHolic. Perhaps this is the perfect time for the review as well, because this volume is set in the summer, and it’s almost summer now.
Title: xxxHolic – Vol. 2
Written and Illustrated by CLAMP
Translated by Bill Flanagan
English lettering by Dana Hayward
Originally serialized in Kodansha’s Weekly Young Magazine
Kimihiro Watanuki continues to work at Yuko’s magic shop. In this installment we get an alternate take of the opening of Tsubasa Volume 1, Kimihiro learns something about fortune telling, and at Yuki’s insistance, Kimihiro gathers some of his friends (well, his sweetheart and his rival) from school to tell ghost stories.
The High Points
While the Fortune Telling chapter was alright, the Hundred Ghost Stories chapter was excellent, continuing with some of the semi-horror that we got in the first volume of the manga.
The Low Points
The little bit of cross-over we get with Tsubasa Volume 1 in this book is incredibly exposition heavy.
Aside from some creepy material in here, some suggestive dialog, and some alcohol consumption, there’s no graphic violence and no nudity.
Originality: The series goes in some different directions than it did in the first volume – which I like. While the ghosts stories told in the Ghost Story chapter are fairly generic, the payoff is excellent. 4 out of 6.
Artwork: Still good, as it was in the last volume. The smoke that cluttered the first volume is mostly absent here (and when it returns it’s a significant point). 4 out of 6.
Story: Instead of doing the “Pet Shop of Horrors” episodic morality play stories of the first volume, the stories here tie in more directly with our main characters, while still maintaining that air of mystery, which I like. 4 out of 6.
Characterization: The characters which are introduced in this volume are much more fleshed out than the two generic customers from last volume, plus Kimihiro and Yuko are fleshed out a little bit more. 4 out of 6.
Emotional Response: The Ghost Story chapter was successfully creepy, in my opinion, though not particularly scary. The rest of the chapters provoked more of a sense of interest (with a bit of humor at some of Yuko’s antics) over any degree of creepyness. 3 out of 6.
Flow: 6 out of 6
Overall: This volume definitely improved over the last volume of the comic. 5 out of 6.
In Total, XXXHolic Vol. 2 gets 30 out of 42.