Moving right along with the reviews of some of CLAMP’s less apocalyptic work, and now in its own Mokona-approved category, with xxxHolic Volume 8.
Title: xxxHolic Volume 8
Written and Illustrated by CLAMP
Translated by William Flanagan
Lettered by Dana Hayward
Originally serialized by Kodansha’s Weekly Young Magazine
(Story titles of my own invention)
“Kimihiro and his Eye” – Kimihiro discovers that the flashes he’s been occasionally getting where his missing eye should be, are from his own eye… just in time to find out that the Zashiki-Warashi who he’d given chocolate to on White Day had been abducted while searching for his eye.
“Kimihiro and the Refrigerator” – Yuuko’s fridge has stopped working, so she’s dragging Kimihiro along with her when she goes to buy a new one. However, there’s a spirit present in the electronics store, and they have to find a new one.
“Kimihiro and the snow day” – The first snow of the year has come, and Yuuko drags Kimihiro and Doumeki to a park to build snowmen.
The High Points
“The Eye” does a wonderful job of building off of every Youkai story we’d gotten earlier in the series that I mistakenly dismissed as throwaway chapters.
“The Snow Day” also is a great little gag story after the heavier fare in “The Eye”.
The Low Points
I found the griping by the Lightning Spirit in “The Fridge” about how modern technology only harms people, blahdyblahdy blah to be obnoxious and tiresome – and reminded me far too much about why I stopped reading urban fantasy entirely a few years ago.
There is some blood in this story, but nothing major. No nudity, harsh language, or even particularly mature themes either.
Originality: The main chapter of this volume builds off of a lot of earlier plot threads in the series in a fashion that isn’t totally original, though it puts some nice twists on it. 4 out of 6.
Artwork: Still very well done, and the design for the Spider Matron is particularly nice. 5 out of 6.
Story: The “Kimihiro Interacts With Youkai” arc of the series has really redeemed itself in my eye(s) with this volume. 5 out of 6.
Characterization: Kimihiro gets a lot more character development here, hopefully bringing his character in a more assertive direction. 5 out of 6.
Emotional Response: Considering what happened in earlier volumes, I found myself wondering what sort of harm would come to Kimihiro in this volume, but I’m a pleased that they found a resolution that brought him to a slightly better place than he was then at the start of the volume, but without restoring the status quo – and full vision. 5 out of 6.
Flow: 6 out of 6.
Overall: Reading Hanako and the Terror of Allegory last week reminded me how much I really like horror manga, and made me wish the series would try to fit in at least one of the creepy shop-of-horrors cases into each volume. However, “The Eye” really compensated for that. 5 out of 6.
In Total, xxxHolic Vol. 8 gets 35 out of 42.