Friday, April 25, 2008

There is no coincidence - only "hitsuzen"

This 11th volume of my favorite manga series is the narrative equivalent of a gathering of storm clouds. Many things are set into motion here, and there is a sense that they will be played out in future volumes. Yuko, the space-time witch who runs the magic shop where Watanuki works, often says, "There is no such thing as coincidence in this world. There is only hitsuzen." Hitsuzen means fate, something that is bound to happen. There are many meetings and events in this book that appear to happen for an unknown, mysterious purpose.

Watanuki is healed from the accident that befell him in the last volume. Even though he learned that Himawari causes accidents and bad things to happen to the people she cares about, he still loves her and refuses to give her up. It doesn't seem that things can be too hopeful for the two of them. Watanuki is still amusingly infuriated by his friend Domeki, but it is also becoming evident that he truly does respect and care for him (in his own ridiculous way).

Part of the storyline is the development of these relationships, and part of it centers on a young girl who comes into the store for help. She keeps hearing frightening noises in her house and begs Yuki for a way to make the house less terrifying - with unexpected results.

This manga series "crosses over" with another series by the same authors called Tsubasa. I read the first one long ago, but I haven't had a chance to get back to it since then. Each volume of xxxHOLIC mentions the connection between the two series, but also states that it is not necessary to read one to understand the other. But for the first time I felt that wasn't the case. Something is happening in the world in which Tsubasa takes place, and it is affecting Yuki and the magic shop, and it is definitely something that is potentially dangerous to both worlds. This is the first time I remember seeing Yuko seriously worried about something, which makes me wonder what is going on. I think I will start reading Tsubasa to see if I can find some clues while I wait to see what happens in this series.

I enjoy this series very much because of the unusual, likable characters, the engaging mix of humor and dark fantasy, and the fact that it is never predictable. I am looking forward to seeing how these events play out in future volumes - and I hope the series won't conclude too quickly, because the journey is so much fun.

xxxHOLIC, Vol 11 by Clamp (Del Rey, 2008)

Also reviewed at:
Deep Thoughts
Kuriousity

See also B&OT reviews of:
xxxHOLIC, vol 9
xxxHOLIC, vol 10

4 comments:

  1. I don't read nearly enough manga or watch nearly enough anime. I generally do enjoy each when I come across them. More than anything I think it is the expense. I was watching Bleach and enjoying it. I need to start using Netflix to catch more of these.

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  2. Netflix is a great way to see anime series - I like that it's all nicely in order, and I can start from the beginning so I have some idea what's going on. I have not seen Bleach - I'll have to check it out!

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  3. This is another stunning cover after the last one you reviewed. Will definitely keep an eye out for this series. I don't really watch anime (yet!) but I have been enjoying the manga I have read recently,

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  4. Thanks, Rhinoa - I do love the artwork, and this volume has several glossy color pages at the beginning that make me wish the entire book were like that. I haven't watched much anime either - I tend to stick with what's appropriate for my girls, because they get annoyed if I'm watching cartoons and tell them they can't watch them too! I've heard there's an anime version of this one, but I haven't seen it yet.

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