Tag Archives: CLAMP

xxxHolic Rei Volume 1

Yuko, Watanuki, Domeki and Himawari are back! xxxHolic Rei represents a “return” to the otherworldly setting of Yuko’s shop, where wishes are granted., but always for a price. The visitors are as strange as ever–two best friends whose cell phone trinkets share eerie similarities, a disembodied voice that is impossible to resist–but even by Yuko’s sordid standards, something is truly odd…Return to the elegant world of CLAMP’s metaphysical masterpiece.

xxxholic rei 1xxxHolic Rei Volume 1
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Age Rating: Older Teen
Genre: Supernatural
Price: $10.99
Rating: ★★½☆☆

xxxHolic returns after a 19 volume run to continue the adventures of Yuko, Watanuki, Domeki and Himawari as they grant wishes at Yuko’s wish-granting shop. While this is a return for the characters, only returning readers will really have an idea of what is going on.

xxxHolic Rei starts out as if it were another chapter of the xxxHolic series before it ended. Watanuki is the cook and housekeeper for Yuko, the shop owner with strange mystical powers that draw people to the shop “because they need to.” Domeki is Watanuki’s classmate who also works at a shrine, and drops by for Yuko’s help. While the opening scene shows that there is an established relationship between these three people, how or why is never explained to the reader. The assumption is made that someone picking up this volume will already have read the first series, and knows all about these people, how they are related and why they all work together. As someone who only read the first volume of the first series, this felt very alienating. There was a lot I could guess as a reader, but it diminished by potential enjoyment of the series to have work out all these things as I read it. A first volume of a series, continuation, sequel or whatever should have enough of an introduction that new readers don’t feel left out. This volume failed in this respect.

There are two stories in this volume. The first is about two “best friends”, who are drawn to the shop for some reason. As the story progresses, one of the girls keeps getting her, and her injuries are mirrored on cell phone charms both girls share. This story was okay. It showed how ugly women can be toward each other when they feel betrayed, and what lengths they will go to for some sort of retribution. The second story involves Watanuki being used by Yuko to lure a spirit to her shop where she can destroy it. This story was close to what I would can an arc story. It implies there is something about Watanuki and a choice he will have to make. I didn’t care for this story as it left more feeling confused and lost more than anything else. With there being so much I don’t know already about the series, is this a new mystery that will be played out, or is it connected to the previous series and I am just missing something? Neither story really engaged me.

The characters didn’t engage me either. Watanuki comes off as a jerk, especially to Domeki, who doesn’t seem to do much of anything to incur his wrath. Even his compliments are met with hostility. Domeki seems unemotional and apathetic, and Yuko–she’s all over the place. Mostly she’s mysterious in that frustratingly annoying way.

The are is very CLAMP. Lots of tall and lanky characters. Yuko’s kimonos are elaborate and beautiful. Just looking at the cover design with the play between Watanuki’s and Yuko’s is amazing. The styles continue in the volume along with some elaborate hair styles. CLAMP continues to do incredible art work.

xxxHolic Rei is a series that is made just for fans of the previous series. There is nothing here to help ease a new reader in, or make the characters appealing to those who don’t know how they got to this pint in the series. I don’t mind a story that starts in middle, there should be something for the new reader to latch onto as an anchor. This volume doesn’t do that. A first volume to pull the reader in, not push them away. Fans of CLAMP will by this series regardless. New readers should exercise some caution.

Bandai Entertainment’s got the Code

My thanks to Mangacast for catching this. At the NYAF, Bandai Entertainment quietly announced the licensing of 3 new manga and one light novel: Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion. This was an anime series that premiered in Japan last year, becoming an instant hit. With character designs by CLAMP, and a well written story, this series has spawned not only a second season, but three manga adaptations and light novel. 10 years ago, the Empire of Britannia invaded Japan, using it’s mecha called Knightmares and overwhelmed the Japanese people. The country became known as Area 11, and the Japanese called Elevens. Now, a 17 year old boy named Lelouch, a Britannian, seeks revenge on his father, the Emperor, for the assassination of his mother and crippling of his sister Nunnally. That’s just the basic plot, and doesn’t even begin to cover what going on in this series.

codegl.jpgCode Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion is a direct adaptation of the series. It follows Lelouch as he gains the power he needs to enact his revenge and possibly bring down an empire. The complexity of the plot and how well it stays true to the series will determine it’s success. The balance of drama, relationships and battle I think is just right to get a female audience. It is a shojo title and is 3 volumes long.

codegs.jpgCode Geass: Suzaku of the Counterattack looks at Lelouch’s story from a different angle. It follows Suzaku, Lelouch’s childhood friend who wants to see Japan free of Britannia’s rule, but chooses to do it from the inside. So it will have many of the same situations as Lelouch, but we will see it from Suzaku’s point of view. This is another shojo version and is at 1 volume and counting.

codegn.jpgCode Geass: Nightmare of Nunally is a side story, an alternate going off in different direction. In this title, Lelouch’s fate isn’t known, and it’s Nunally, his crippled sister that makes the Geass contract. She gets the power to see the lines of the future and a new body with which to fight. This is a shonen take on the story and is 2 volumes long.

code GEASS: Lelouch of the Rebellion is a light novel adaptation of the series. It’s 4 volumes long.

I’m really excited by this license, and am really surprised it didn’t get the attention that a lot of other announcements did. Code Geass is a big property in Japan, and was all the buzz in the anime community when it was showing. And for once, the buzz was justified. This is a great drama that I truly hope translates to the manga medium. With Lelouch and Suzaku covering both sides, the complexity will hopefully be kept intact. Check it out when it comes out.