Yesterday, I was brutally ill. Like, thank all gods my bathtub is next to the toilet ill. Like, vomiting on the kitchen floor trying to get a ginger ale ill. The pit bulls tried to “HALP”, and were not actually helpful. Which is why this particular post is a day late according to my schedule, and although I feel worlds better today I don’t feel bad about it being late. As I lay miserably on the sofa, I decided to turn on some TV; coincidentally xxxHolic. Now, I 100% love the anime adaptation of xxxHolic; and I adore the live action adaption of the anime as well. But between the language translation and the switch from one medium to another, a few things get lost and nothing will replace the original manga in my book.
xxxHolic (pronounced Holic, and written by the fabulous collaborative group CLAMP) follows the misadventures of Kimihiro Watanuki as he works off a debt to Yuuko Ichihara, a woman known as the Time-Space Witch. Yuuko runs a shop that grants wishes (for a price!), and often granting wishes to people who accidentally made magical problems for themselves. The first volume immediately jumps into musings on the nature of fate, the nature of names, and the weight of lies and addictions. That might seem like a heavy start, but the comic relief is excellently timed and the series moves at an excellent pace.
Yuuko’s dialogue is something that ended up being a large stone in my magical and philosophical foundation. Her approach to inevitability and fate is something I use to this day. Her discussion of Will in the second (third?) story is a cornerstone in my philosophy on how magick works. I genuinely can’t stress enough how much this character influenced my philosophy.
In a physical and stylistic sense, she is who I want to be when I grow up. Yuuko is a delightful ball of dualities: she’s a gourmand and borderline alcoholic who is yet exceptionally active and healthy. She wears a glorious wardrobe with an impossible ease, even for manga and anime standards, but with a playfulness that is absorbing. Yuuko can deliver a striking speech about Will, yet turns around in the next panel and uses a red aluminum t-ball bat as an athame.
I think in some ways I got very lucky, or maybe it was inevitable, that I would pick up xxxHolic when I was in high school. At the time, I was a hot mess; not only was I blundering my way through puberty but I was really struggling with the dualities of my own nature. Yuuko and xxxHolic came at just the right time for me to sort through all of that and start to get on the right track.