This Monday we continue with xxxHolic, as our first villain starts to make his (or her) presence known.
Title: xxxHolic Vol. 5
Written & Illustrated by CLAMP
Translated by Bill Flanagan
Lettering by Dana Hayward
Originally serialized by Kodansha’s Weekly Young Magazine
Yuko’s latest customer is a rain spirit wanting Kimihiro to undertake a rescue mission, to save another spirit. Later, at school Kimihiro sees a girl with a mysterious set of wings. Finally, White Day is coming up, which means Kimihiro has to give a return gift to the spirit from last volume – and then there’s the whole matter of finding the right spirit.
This volume gives us our first bit of the series “metaplot”, aside from Kimihiro’s attempts to pay off his debt and date Himawari.
Much as with last volume the Valentine’s Day story felt tacked on, the White Day story felt like they put that sub-plot in there because they had to have one after having a Valentine’s Day story.
Minimal blood and a little suggestive dialog.
Originality: While the concept for the first story has kind of been done before, the second story feels completely new (though we do get a continuation of an earlier story in the series). 5 out of 6.
Artwork: The artwork is still absolutely rock solid and extremely enjoyable. 5 out of 6.
Story: I really liked both stories in this volume, with the second story really feeling like the best of the bunch. 4 out of 6.
Characterization: The new characters we get (a rain spirit, a ghost kid, and the girl with wings), are pretty well fleshed out – except for the last one. I feel the girl could have stood for a bit more back-story – I understand why we didn’t get it, we’re operating from Kimihiro’s perspective after all, and revealing that would have told us something that not even Yuko knew, necessarily. Still, that would have helped make the character’s story more tragic. 4 out of 6.
Emotional Response: Not a helluvalot. I knew the first story would probably turn out well, under the circumstances. I didn’t know the second story would end as tragically as it did with Wings Girl losing her soul but unlike our other tragic figures – the woman with the Monkey’s Paw and The Liar, we can’t tell if her ultimate “fall” was by her own accord, nor can do we really know what she was like before she got the wings, so the character ends up being very much a cypher. 3 out of 6.
Flow: 6 out of 6.
Overall: While I like the plot progression this volume, it isn’t an improvement from last volume. 3 out of 6.
In Total, xxxHolic, Vol. 5 gets 30 out of 42.