People who know me well know just how much of a CLAMP fanatic I am. I adore these women and the universe they have created. xxxHOLiC, both as the original manga and anime adaptation, ranks highly on my list of favourite manga and anime franchises. Everything they have written, I have loved. So I was curious to see how I would feel about another hand writing tales of Watanuki’s adventures as Yuuko’s after school slave.
Comprised of three short tales focused on Watanuki, AnotherHOLiC promised to add to my experiences within xxxHolic’s corner of the CLAMP universe.
The first tale, OuterHOLiC, begins with Watanuki participating in a treasure hunt of sorts that Yuuko has put together for him. After acquiring a cheap pair of reading glasses from a 100 yen shop, Watanuki witnesses a woman throw herself straight into traffic. Concerned for this woman and after sharing her name with his employer, Watanuki brings her to Yuuko’s shop hoping to help her have her wish granted.
Watanuki finds himself pulled into a situation regarding a haunted cell phone in UnderHOLiC. When a classmate tells him the story of a very distant connection receiving text messages from beyond the grave, Watanuki shares what happened with Yuuko, who aids him in seeing that things are not quite as they seem.
Finally, in AfterHOLiC, it seems Watanuki’s wish to no longer see spirits has been granted. However, it turns out someone other than Yuuko knows about Watanuki’s special eye sight and is hoping to convince the student to join him and leave Yuuko’s care.
Unfortunately, these Watanuki-centered stories contained little of the supporting cast which made the manga as wonderful as it is. Mention is made of Domeki-kun and Himawari-chan, but NISIOISIN never actually brings them into the story. Maru and Moro, Yuuko’s soul-less assistants, and the adorable black Mokona Modoki are completely absent in this light novel. It’s as though the author was only given license to use Watanuki and Yuuko (to a degree) so as not to affect the reader’s perception of the other important people in Watanuki’s life, which is very much a shame.
I failed to find any of the stories told in this book to be as engrossing as original CLAMP material. Those women can make you feel so many emotions at once, but here everything just seemed so flat. I missed laughing one minute and then being fearful for Watanuki the next. There was one tone throughout the entire book, and the banter between Yuuko and Watanuki too drawn out, taking away from the xxxHOLiC experience.
Unless you are an avid collector of all things CLAMP, I would not recommend adding AnotherHOLiC to your bookshelf any time soon, unless you manage to pick it up on sale somewhere.