Weekend reading

February 5, 2007

While John Jakala was playing “Just Imagine: Clamp” this weekend, I was reading actual Clamp. I had a coupon, and I’ve been meaning to read further into xxxHOLiC (Del Rey) to see if it clicks for me, because the first two volumes seemed to be right on the border between “oooh” and “eh.”

After reading the third and fourth volumes, the series is still straddling that damned border. The book is gorgeous, and I love the subject matter, but something is keeping me from loving it. It’s not the crossover elements with Tsubasa (also Del Rey), though my thoughts wander to grocery lists and scheduling an oil change when they come up. It’s not that I have yet to come up with a mnemonic device to remind me how to capitalize the title.

It’s that stupid Watanuki. He’s so whiny and shrill and emotionally tone deaf to the people around him. I’m sure he becomes less irritating as the series progresses, because he’d have to, but how much more can I endure before that happens? I’m torn between wanting Dômeki to just kiss him because it would shut Watanuki up, however briefly, and wanting much better for Dômeki.

I do love just about everything about Yûko – her impeccable fashion sense, her bottomless appetite for libations, her languid cruelty. Put simply, she rocks, and I can even forgive her for constantly creating new reasons for Watanuki to sputter and whine, because I suspect he’d do those things without any kind of external stimulus.

Okay, he’s not entirely obnoxious and ridiculous. There are brief moments when his behavior isn’t akin to fingernails on a chalkboard. But those moments are fleeting.

It’s strange, because I spent a good portion of the weekend wondering how Kazuya Minekura had made what should have been a repellant protagonist so fascinating in Wild Adapter, and I’d almost used my coupon on some early volumes of Saiyuki instead, but I didn’t. And now I’m forced to ponder how Clamp has managed to make what should have been a sympathetic protagonist so grating.

Or is it just me?