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XxxHolic. 1
CLAMP (Mangaka group)
Teen Fiction CLAMP

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Although it contains many familiar manga elements, this tale's goth sensibilities, stunning art and nonstop philosophizing sets it apart. Watanuki Kimiharo appears to be an ordinary guy, but he's able to see spirits, who are following him around and causing trouble. One day Watanuki finds himself unwillingly drawn to the shop of Yuko, a beautiful witch. She helps him, but there's a price: he must become her servant. As things progress, Yuko extracts bargains from other damned souls, such as a woman whose constant lying is symbolized by a cloud of black smoke around her, and Hana Hana, an Internet addict whose attempts to ditch the monkey on her back may resonate with many readers. Throughout, Yuko expounds endlessly on fate, predetermination and self-control. Created by Clamp, the all-female artists' collective behind the hit Chobits, this work avoids the more obvious sexual aspects of Watanuki's situation, instead plunging readers into an Edgar Allen Poe-esque world of melting candles, castles beyond time and doomed protagonists. Although the story can be garbled, the art is exquisite, possessing a stunning Pre-Raphaelite sensibility. This book should greatly appeal to teens, especially those with a goth bent. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Teenage Watanuki is hounded by spirits and currently working off a debt to Yuko Ichihara, the Time-Space Witch, who has promised to free him from this curse. The alluring and mysterious Yuko--whose teasing, capriciousness, and heavy drinking exasperate Watanuki--runs a shop where she grants wishes. But the payments are more karmic than financial, and the wishes don't necessarily lead to happiness. The cast also includes Himawari, a cute girl Watanuki likes, and their classmate Domeki, who can exorcise the ghosts that Watanuki sees. The series is quite enjoyable overall, but some of this volume's material is weak; in the main story, about a pessimistic girl who always talks herself into failing, too much is made of the simple idea that words can bind people. Three shorter tales, one quite spooky, provide the book's mystical quotient. Yuko's occult domain is ornately depicted in a decorative, clean-lined style, while the mundane world is drawn more simply. As an added treat, this series refers to several other CLAMP titles, most notably Tsubasa. Recommended for all collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

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