Monday, January 13, 2014

xxxHOLiC: AnotherHOLiC by NisiOisiN

Monday, January 13, 2014 with 2 comments

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Nothing could have thrilled Kimihiro more than stumbling upon the bizarre wish-granting shop of the beautiful but unnerving Yûko Ichihara, who solemnly promises to make the spirits plaguing Kimihiro go away just as soon as her fee–rendered in daily afternoon chores at her shop–is paid in full.

Of course, the thrill wears off as soon as Kimihiro realizes that his payment plan bears a disturbing resemblance to indentured servitude . . . eternal indentured servitude. Still he soldiers on, ready for whatever number of adventures lie ahead. But in Kimihiro’s case, three may not be the charm!

His first assignment–to procure a pair of fake eyeglasses–is exceptionally pointless, even by Yûko’s standards. Or at least it seems that way, until Kimihiro watches a woman throw herself into traffic. He soon discovers that the doors of bespectacled perception can swing both ways.

Next, when a classmate seeks help solving a mystery involving text messages from the dead, Kimihiro is glad to play Sherlock. But he must turn to Yûko to determine whether the root of the riddle is otherworldly shenanigans, deceit, or murder.

Finally, however ready, willing, and able Kimihiro thinks he is to face the most unusual of circumstances, he still finds himself completely bewildered by the stranger who chases away his darkest spirits, condemns Yûko as a craven charlatan, and offers Kimihiro a way out of his preternatural predicament–and a fortune besides.

Let me start off by saying that I have never read the xxxHOLiC manga, nor have I seen the anime. I'm a fan of CLAMP and Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, but this light novel was my first venture into the story of Watanuki Kimihiro. I'll admit that there were a few moments when I was a bit lost, if only because I wasn't familiar with the original story, but it wasn't really that hard to figure out what was happening once I got further into the stories.

This book is comprised of three stand-alone short stories - the first is about a girl who can't help but break any taboo that she comes across (if the pedestrian light is red, she'll cross the street, if a sign says 'do not enter,' she enters anyway); the second story is about a girl who seems to be receiving text messages from her dead best friend; and the third story was about an obnoxiously rude man who can see demons but also has the power to 'unsee' them if he wishes. All stories feature high school student Watanuki Kimihiro and the dimension witch, Ichihara Yûko, and are tied together through the idea of wish granting.

While I liked the stories well enough, I do have to say that the writing was a bit flat. This may be because it was translated into English from the original Japanese novel, but it felt a bit unattached, as though I were watching an anime with no sound and having to rely only on subtitles. This bothered me quite a bit, but as the stories themselves were pretty interesting, I was able to keep reading - they each had a unique spin on some oddities of human behavior, which I found entertaining.

I now think that I'd like to check out the original xxxHOLiC manga to get a better grasp of the story-line - the idea of a boy working as an indentured servant to a wish-granting 'dimension witch' in exchange for losing the ability to see and attract demons is rather intriguing. But for now, this particular story collection gets 3 out of 5 stars from me.



  1. omg - I didn't know they had a light novel for xxxHolic too! I have read the manga, seen the anime and even reading the reboot (xxxholic: Rei) but how did I NOT know about this.
    BTW, great review - although, I would admit, reading translated light novels takes a little fun out of the experience. I read the whole Haruhi Suzumiya series (you should check it out, by the way) that way and though it was fun, I wish I understood Japanese enough (i am currently at N4 level) to read the original.

    1. I know this would have been a lot better in Japanese, but I'm only at a basic level so I'm too far away to get to that point. :(

      But I've been wanting to read the Haruhi Suzumiya series - I saw the books on Amazon for a relatively cheap price, so maybe I'll get them soon enough.


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