Normally no one would enter this shop, unless they desire to have a wish granted. This is how the plot of xxxHolic was introduced to readers. With the services of mysterious shopkeeper Yuko, payment must be equal to the amount of services are conducted. In the first volume, payments aren't as readily discussed as in other volumes. What occurs though is the fate or hitsuzen of Kimihiro Watanuki in meeting and becoming Yuko's assistance occurs. More advice and mentoring would be experienced by Watanuki as the story continues in later volumes.
CLAMP as a team of mangaka love to conduct crossovers between all their series. xxxHolic is a work that can be read as a standalone title, but it had been drawn specifically in connection with events of Tsubasa Chronicles. Reading both titles allows the reader to have a fuller picture of this CLAMP created world. There are 19 volumes with this book, and readers can catch the crossover nuances that CLAMP loves to write into their storyline, X, Tokyo Babylon, Card Captors Sakura, and Legal Drug were mentioned in passing within volume 1.
If there is ever a need for a complete or multi-volume art book, it should be this series. So many costume and clothing changes that this cast goes through. However, there is a lovely guide book alternative, as well as two art books from Tsubasa Chronicles. Till then, fashion, manga, or design aficionados shall read this series, and marvel at how lovely CLAMP designs black and white drawings paper.
Reviewed by Linda Yau, January 2012
Anime DVD Review
No, it's not about being addicted to porn. Get your mind out of the gutter, this is from CLAMP after all, so it's got a level of taste and sophistication, style and sensibility, as do all CLAMP creations. But in this case, it also has a definite sense of irony, dark humor, and horror.
It's about obsession. And once an obsession becomes overwhelming, it's an addiction. Or, it could simply be you're possessed by a bad spirit. Either way, if you can find yourself at Yuko Ichihara's shop, she might be able to help you. Yuko is a witch, got a problem with that? And she'll help you out of any addiction, for a price. But the secret to her success is that you'll end up doing most of the work yourself. And the cure might ultimately be worse than the disease.
xxxHolic walks a fine line between comedy and horror, sometimes falling too far to one side or the other, so you're never sure what it's trying to be although it certainly succeeds at being entertaining. Production I.G. pulled out all the stops for this one however, as the art-deco stylings and the unique look of Yuko's shop pull you into this universe that otherwise simply looks like modern day Japan.
But, the demons and spirits are all too real here, often causing more than one of Yuko's clientele to try and off themselves. And of course, those unrepentant sometimes find themselves at the wrong end of Yuko's peculiar brand of justice, in which case, death starts to look like a vacation.
And of course, Yuko herself has an addiction... to food and booze, and she also seems to have an addiction to causing grief for her servant, Watanuki.
Of course these addictions are never addressed by Yuko, which leads this reviewer to ask if she can heal thyself. But, with a second season on the way, and a movie in the works, as well as crossovers to other CLAMP series, who knows... Maybe Yuko will make amends, or maybe she's just having a big joke at our expense.
Below: The trailer for the American version of xxxHolic.
Below: Artwork from xxxHolic manga.
The Official xxxHolic Guide
Manga Guide Review
If you're as 'addicted' to xxxHolic as the rest of us, fret no more dear comrade, for we are blessed, blessed I say, to have, courtesy of Del Rey, a guide, clear and concise, revealing secrets, storyboards, and characters so nice.
I've never had the free time to compile a list of all of Yuko's best quotes, but here it is in the book already layed-out for me...
Learn more about the folklore behind the story and the various connections to other works within the CLAMP universe. Filled with fascinating story details, creator interviews, fashion highlights, a glossary of special terminology, a spirit guide, lavish illustrations and more "other stuff" than you can imagine, the Official xxxHolic Guide is your handbook to a world that Yuko runs, and we slathering idiots are just here for her amusement.