xxxHOLiC 9 by CLAMP: A

From the back cover:
Without realizing it, Kimihiro Watanuki has purchased a dream. According to Yuuko Ichihara, the mysterious time-space witch, people usually buy good dreams—but Kimihiro’s dream is a man-eating nightmare. Even worse, it has come true! Then Kimihiro meets a wistful girl who, like him, can see the spirit world. Together they try to prevent a harmless ghost from being exorcised from its beloved resting place, an ancient cherry tree. The girl’s mother wants her to have nothing to do with Kimihiro, but the spirits say otherwise…

I’m not generally one to talk much about the art in manga, but it’s such a big part of what makes xxxHOLiC special. The lines are simple and clean, and offset by great swaths of solid black. Nothing else looks like this; it’s stunning.

The two stories in this volume almost had a slice of life vibe. Sometimes episodic stories bother me, but that wasn’t the case here. The visit with the dream merchant in the other world was a lot of fun, and CLAMP also made sure to show the gradual way in which Watanuki and Doumeki were beginning to get along. They even had a relatively friendly conversation for six whole pages!

I guess I might’ve been annoyed that no progress was made on revealing Himawari’s hinted-at secret, but since I already know that volume 10 is going to take care of that, I didn’t read this volume anxiously awaiting answers.

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