xxxHolic is a manga comic from Clamp, a famous team of four women who create manga.
It concerns a young man, Kimihiro Watanuki, who can see spirits because of some abilities he inherited from his family. He wants to get rid of this ability to see and attract these spirits, and by a twist of fate ends up getting drawn into Yuko Ichihara's shop, where she offers to cure him in return for something of great value. Now Watanuki is working for Ichihara to pay off his debt, and watches as she cures different spiritual ailments for others.
The art in this manga is very typical to the Clamp and manga movement in general, where everyone is sleek and lanky, the men are effeminate, the women are seductive and flowery looking and the children are drawn to look adorable and certain cover pages has them standing together in provocative looking poses that I can only imagine will appeal to the paedophiles. The backgrounds and objects aren't as detailed as mangas tend to be, but makes good use of the black and white format, dramatising most of the panels and giving it an elegance.
The most interesting character here so far is Ichihara, as she seems very psychic and well versed in the occult arts. She also likes to throw strange questions at Watanuki, make him do weird things that only make sense later, and seldom explains anything (though when she does, rest assured it won't be the complete answer). Infuriating and wily, brash and intelligent, powerful and mysterious, she basically embodies the personality-filled characters you tend to find in manga comics.
The story is somewhat cliched, revolving around questions of fate, occultry, philosophy and spirituality, with a fair bit of slapstick humour for some laughs. Fans of Clamp manga will find the comic very interesting as it featues cameos from other Clamp comic characters.
From the first book alone, Rikuo and Kazahaya from "Gohou Drug" (Legal Drug to the rest of us non-Japanese speaking folks) make an appearance, and so does Sakura of "CardCaptor Sakura" (Watanuki even finds a plastic replica of Sakura's sceptre in Ichihara's house).
I found it a somewhat predictable yet entertaining read, with a storyline typical of manga comics yet followed through with other interesting sub-plots and art well enough to overlook that. Last I heard, an anime movie is in the works for this comic, and I'll probably check it out when it's done because this comic has a lot of potential.
Available at RM 8.90, in English, reads from right to left.
Lainie from http://tabulas.com/~Lainie is a woman after my own heart. She reads non-acdemic books like comics, etc. when supposed to be studying! Ahhh. We should get married, or something. (jk.) graceshu # 5:33 PM