We’re continuing with the other half of the Tsubasa equation this week with xxxHolic volume 3.
Title: xxxHolic – Vol. 3
Written and Illustrated by CLAMP
Translated by Bill Flanagan
English lettering by Dana Hayward
Originally serialized in Kodansha’s Weekly Young Magazine
Available at Amazon.com
Kimihiro and his rival for Himawari’s heart, Domeki, must work together to exorcise some spirits infesting a school because of a bunch of students using an improvised Ouija board. Also, a woman purchases a small box from Yuko, under the condition that she never open it. Naturally she opens it, and discovers a monkey’s paw. Things don’t go well after that.
The High Points
The interplay between Kimihiro, Yuko, and Domeki is excellent. I’m definitely interested in seeing more of Domeki and Kimihiro working together dealing with some of Yuko’s clients. Additionally, the Monkey’s Paw story is probably one of the best “Shop of Horrors” stories thus far.
The Low Point
The ending of the Ouija board story really felt like a Deus Ex Machina.
Some suggestive dialog here, and an unnamed character is killed in a gruesome fashion off camera, with a large spray of blood splashing into the panel.
Originality: The Monkey’s Paw story is something of a deliberate adaptation, and I’ve seen a few creepy Ouija board stories, though none with quite the bent of this. 4 out of 6.
Artwork: Still good. This volume has the return of Yuko’s billowing smoke, but I feel it’s better executed here, allowing a sensation of mystery, but without cluttering the panels. 4 out of 6.
Story: This volume returns to some of the “Shop of Horrors” bent of volume 1, while spending more time on the individual customers than on earlier volumes, which is a nice shift. I could see this becoming a fun little supernatural horror series, not too grim, but not too silly either. 5 out of 6.
Characterization: As mentioned under the High Point, this volume spends a fair amount of time fleshing out the Kimihiro, Yuko, Domeki and Himarwari relationships. Similarly, because they spend more time on the Monkey’s Paw story, the customer in that story also gets fleshed out more. 5 out of 6.
Emotional Response: Again, because this volume spend much more time on the individual customers “cases”, we as viewers got more time to empathize with them. 5 out of 6.
Flow: 6 out of 6
Overall: The series has continued thus far to be an excellent urban-fantasy-horror series. 5 out of 6.
In total, xxxHolic volume 3 gets 34 out of 42.