The Philosophy and Psychology of XXXHolic

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CLAMP has always told great stories. Cardcaptor Sakura has captured the imagination of a generation of young girls and remains one of my all-time favorite animes to date. It weaves magic, heroism, and romance in a way that keeps you coming back to see what new card or what new mystery Sakura will have to solve this time. Chobits offered an interesting look into the problems of human and android relationships. It commented on the meaning of love and of existence in general. Tsubasa took some of CLAMPS most famous characters and turned them upside down to discuss the nature of relationships, of memories, and the interconnectedness of the universe. And now, one of my other favorite CLAMP series seems to go a step further, offering a peek into the human psyche and the universe itself, XXXHolic.

There are a few universal truths to this series that each story arc builds off of, and then some smaller commentary on different phenomena and human nature within those general rules. I’d like to take a look at a few of those today and begin to build a picture of what exactly the philosophy and psychology of this series is. To start, there are two main rules the universe and characters of XXXHolic follow: equivalent exchange and hitsuzen (or fate). Continue reading

Last Week in Geekdom – Your Weekly News Round-up (9/24 – 9/30)

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Welcome back to another installment of “Last Week in Geekdom” where I comb the internet for all the news you need to know so you don’t have to. Tomorrow is the big day! The start of the October Mythology Special. I’m working hard to get three posts a week scheduled and work on my Inktober drawings, so be sure to check back with this blog weekly to see some great new content. So many great posts and news bits are linked down below, notably: more of Kaoru Mori’s manga will be getting a digital release this November; Netflix will be airing the Violet Evergarden extra episode the same time it comes out in Japan; and Masaaki Yuasa is teasing a new project at the end of next month. There are some great interviews and videos this week, so I highly suggest checking that section out. As always, have a great Sunday! Continue reading

Waxing Philosophical: On the Fate of Those Who Can See Youkai

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I love stories about youkai, whether it be in anime or manga form. Mythology, especially that of Japan, has always been a huge interest for me, as you can probably tell from the plan for next month and my posts on the mythology of Ancient Magus Bride. Which also means that I’ve spent a lot of time watching all sorts of different shows that have youkai and reading different manga as well, and through that process, I’ve come to notice a few things.

There are some common threads throughout all youkai stories that seem to paint a picture, both troubling and hopeful, for those who have the ability to see youkai and spirits. For the purposes of this post I went through some of my favorite youkai anime and manga again, namely: Ancient Magus’ Bride, Kakuriyo: Bed and Breakfast for Spirits, XXXHolic, and Elegant Youkai Apartment Life. These shows may all focus on the interaction of human and youkai, but they are all also so different from one another in terms of mood, setting, and story. The aspects I found that seem to stay constant however are the background of main character, the kinds of interactions humans can have with youkai, and the impact seeing youkai has on human-to-human relationships. Continue reading

Last Week in Geekdom – Your Weekly News Round-Up (9/17 – 9/23)

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Welcome back to another installment of “Last Week in Geekdom” where I comb the internet for all the news you need to know so you don’t have to. October is slowly upon us which means delightful cold weather here in New England, but it also means the debut of this blog’s October Mythology Special. Be sure to come back on October 1st to see what I have planned. Suggestions are open all month long. For this week’s highlights: Seven Seas Entertainment has just announced a whole ton of new manga licenses; controversy has been brewing over the appearance of Batman’s penis in Batman: Damned; and the Ignatz award winners have been announced. Be sure to check out those and more down below as well as the tons of interviews and other announcements. As always, have a great Sunday! Continue reading

A Bride’s Story Manga Volume 3 Review

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No matter how much I grumble about the price of a volume of this manga (17 USD), I will always enjoy picking it up and reading on with the story. The price really is worth it. For a hardcover edition, larger pages, and great quality art, I really shouldn’t be grumbling too much. Not to mention that the series is finally getting an ebook edition that just might be cheaper, so if you like to read manga digitally more than in print, this is your chance to pick up one of my top 10 favorite mangas. Whenever I get around to reviewing my top 5 lists that I did a year or two ago, I might just add this one up there. You can feel the just vast amount of work and dedication Kaoru Mori put into this series through her intricately detailed art and in-depth historical knowledge of the setting and cultures she’s depicting. It creates this great cross-over of enjoyment for me between my history buff side and artistic side, providing a great well-rounded series I can really sink my teeth into.

The plot of each volume of A Bride’s Story follows one or two different potential brides through their lives and troubles as they try to find a marriage partner. For this volume we have Talas, a five-time widow who now lives alone with her mother on the land left to her by her husband’s family. The potential groom in this case is Mr. Smith as he continues on his journey back to England. At the start of the volume, we see him arrive at the meeting point where he is supposed to pick up his guide to Ankara, but due to some unforeseen circumstances (like his bags being stolen and his guide nowhere in sight), Mr. Smith is invited to stay with Talas and her mother until it is time for him to leave. Continue reading

Skip Beat Manga Review: Volumes 10-12

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Skip Beat never ceases to pull me back over and over again. It’s been awhile since we last took a deep dive into the manga, and I was definitely starting to feel that pull to read it again. Each time I pick up a volume I’m reminded why this series is on my top manga of all time list. One of the things I love so much about this series is how much time Yoshiki Nakamura takes to explore the backgrounds and weaknesses of each character, even the smaller ones. In these three volumes alone, we get an exploration of Ren’s big weakness in acting, the growth of Kyoko as an actor, the origins of the director’s mental illness, and a lot more. The romance is real in these volumes too with a some big revelations and explorations of what it means to fall in love with someone. Every volume feels like a journey where we get to see the characters grow and change fully, with us reading along every step of the way.

Volumes 10-12 continue where the story left off last time with one of the biggest and most important arcs for the series: the Dark Moon drama arc. Kyoko has been scouted for one of the most important roles in an upcoming remake of a popular drama. It’s not only a chance for her to have a big break, but also a chance to costar alongside Ren who will be playing the starring role. The only problem, the president of LME has recommended Ren turn down the role, citing a weakness in Ren’s ability to act in deep romance dramas. As Kyoko succeeds in creating her character of Mio that is sure to surpass the original, Ren struggles to understand what it means to love someone. Continue reading

Last Week in Geekdom – Your Weekly News Round-Up (9/10 – 9/16)

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Welcome back to another installment of “Last Week in Geekdom” where I comb the internet for all the news you need to know so you don’t have to. I realize I haven’t been keeping to my schedule of posts the last couple weeks, but I’m planning big things for the future. If you haven’t checked out my blog update post, please do so! I could really use your help. Also, I was just interviewed over on LitaKino’s blog, so be sure to stop by there and show her some love. In this week’s news: anime music producer Akihiro Tomita is predicting a big change for anime opening and endings; more anime debut dates are announced for the Fall and Winter season; and controversy is brewing at Marvel after it cancels their unpublished series Vision. Be sure to also check out my new feature sections Twitter Threads and Interviews, there’s some great stuff in there. As always, have a great Sunday! Continue reading

Time to Spookify the Blog for October! [Blog Update]

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Hi there!

One of my favorite times of the year is coming up in two weeks! Trees changing color, various apple flavored desserts and ciders, and the digging up of old spooky stories told to pass the growing nights. As you can tell, I love Fall and the month of October especially. October means Halloween, one of my favorite indie comic conventions, and Inktober! So, I wanted to try something new this year and get the blog into the spirit of the season so to speak.

You all seemed to love my Mythology of Ancient Magus’ Bride posts, with a total of 1,297 views for the first one alone. What better way to usher in the season then to take a dive into more mythology in a special month-long event! Continue reading

Last Week in Geekdom – Your Weekly News Round-Up (9/3 – 9/9)

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Welcome back to another installment of “Last Week in Geekdom” where I comb the internet for all the news you need to know so you don’t have to. Phew, this week has been busy with coming back from vacation sore as can be from hiking and trying to get back in the flow of things for the blog. I won’t say that I’ll reliably get back into a two-post-a-week schedule, but I damn well will try. Anyways, this post introduces two new categories: Twitter threads and a separate interview category, so be sure to check those out down below. Some highlights for this week: so many premiere dates announced for the Fall season of anime; Hanebad!’s 11th episode is delayed due to the Hokkaido earthquake; and the all-women comic retail group The Valkyries disband. Check out the links down below and have a great rest of your Sunday! Continue reading

Twisted Romance Issue #1 Review

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Image Comics has always been one of the publisher’s I find myself gravitating towards the most in terms of comics and stories that capture my interest. They always have a wide variety of genres and stories to choose from and have the market share and money to fund experimental projects. Like Twisted Romance. Last January, Image Comics took a chance on a short, 4-issue romance anthology, marketing it as a special weekly event that would last the month of February. It features both prose and comic writings with one story written by Alex de Campi and a new artist every issue. Three self-contained stories wrapped up in its 44 pages, longer than a standard single issue and definitely worth the $3.99 price tag.

Because I’m slow on the uptake, you can actually find all four issues in one combined volume now, but I figured I’d take it one issue at a time and just have a shorter than normal review for each. Twisted Romance started as an experiment in romance comics, one of the first after many years of publishers leaving the genre by the wayside in favor of superheros and the ever-popular zombies and post-apocalyptic stories. But in the past, Image has been one of the big publishers to take a look at the genre and see some real potential, with series like Saga and Sex Criminals winning a lot of attention from fans and even multiple awards. Continue reading