The xxxHolic reviews continue – slowly but surely.
Title: xxxHolic Vol. 6
Written & Illustrated by CLAMP
Translated by Bill Flanagan
Lettering by Dana Hayward
Originally serialized by Kodansha’s Weekly Young Magazine
(Story titles are my own invention)
“Kimihiro and the Spirt Parade” – Kimihiro is invited to take part in the Hyakki Yakou, a sort of annual parade of the youkai. However, aside from his ability to see the youkai, he is totally powerless. Will anything… unpleasant happen to Kimihiro?
“Kimihiro and the Widow” – Also, while Yuko is on vacation, he meets a widow who’s also lost all her children. As Kimihiro is an orphan himself, he finds the woman to be a kindred spirit. However, as he continues to meet with the woman his health declines rapidly. Is the woman herself killing him and those around her, or some force connected to her?
“Kimihiro’s Delivery” – Kimihiro is sent out on a delivery on a full moon. However, the trip turns out to be far more dangerous then he first thought.
The High Points
“Kimihiro and the Spirit Parade” does a really good job of bringing all those one-off “Kimihiro chills with spirits” stories together, in a way that provides some sort of story progression for Kimihiro, since it sets up that he’s making more and more of a positive impression in the spirit world.
“Kimihiro and the Widow” provides a lot of character development for Kimihiro and Doumeki, and definitely shifts their relationship a bunch.
The Low Points
While “Sprit Parade” does a good job of progressing its story arc – I can’t help but feel that it’s quite different from the main story arc (which “Widow” is part of).
I liked the concept of word games as wards in “Delivery”, but the story almost feels like a little one-off to fill out a volume – though considering “Spirit Parade” we could see some of the elements in this story come back later.
Originality: “Widow” spends a lot of time focusing on Kimihiro’s background, which is great – and having Yuko leave town temporarily for the first time in the series is an interesting shift that I really like. 5 out of 6.
Artwork: The artwork in this volume is still fantastic, 5 out of 6.
Story: We had one fantastically well written story (“Widow”), one that was alright (“Spirit Parade”) and one that was okay but could pay off later (“Delivery”). 5 out of 6.
Characterization: We get an impressive amount of character development for Kimihiro here – we see a side of him outside of being frustrated with Doumeki and Yuko and pining after Himawari that we didn’t get in earlier volumes. 5 out of 6.
Emotional Response: While it’s safe to say that Kimihiro isn’t going to die here (there are currently 12 more volumes after this one), the potential for emotional harm for Kimihiro is there, as well as damage to the relationships he’s developed, and thus, some decent tension. It’s different from the horror/dread elements we’ve gotten in earlier stories, but it’s still well done. 5 out of 6.
Flow: 6 out of 6.
Overall: This is definitely one of the series best volumes. 5 out of 6.
In total, xxxHolic Volume 6 gets 31 out of 42.