Ohkawa: Very few of our series have a setting nowadays. The parallel stories and fantasy episodes from Miyuki-chan in the Wonderland didn’t, for instance. We wanted to create a CLAMP World gathering all those elements. And on the other hand, we wanted to draw, simultaneously, two series that were related to each other.
Which one of both series was born first, Tsubasa – RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE – or XXXHOLiC?
Ohkawa: XXXHOLiC was born a bit earlier, but they’re almost twins. What we proposed to Young Magazine just right after Chobits was XXXHOLiC. Tsubasa‘s idea already existed back then but we had no idea were to publish it. It could’ve been in Nakayoshi, where Magic Knight Rayearth and Card Captor Sakura ran, but it was too complicated to crossover a weekly series with a monthly series. We even considered other publishers, but as soon as we took the project to Shounen Magazine they gave us the green light and we started the publication.
Where does the title come from?
Ohkawa: At the beginning we thought something on the lines of “Addicted”, but the term is a bit general. However, “holic” reminds of “workaholic” in English, which is more used and easier to interpret. This is why we named it XXXHOLiC. In Tokyo Babylon we treated the social pathologies and this time we wanted to give a more esoteric tone to it.
Do you like occultism?
Ohkawa: I love it (laughs). I’m a fan of movies like Angel Heart, The Dead Zone, and The Omen.
Nekoi: I like occult-themed literature. And Kamon Nanami’s works.
Mokona: I was so frightened by Kamon Nanami’s Kaidan Tsurezuregusa. She told me the plot herself.
Why did you create Yuuko?
Ohkawa: Because there had to be a character aware of CLAMPverse in its entirety. And in order to design her we based on a real life model: the aesthetician who makes our manicures, who has the exact same personality (laughs). Physically speaking they have nothing in common, of course.
Igarashi: And we were lucky there was a person at the aesthetician’s who was like Watanuki (laughs).
Ohkawa: When we showed them the project, we had thought of three possible conduct patterns for Yuuko. When we met the aesthetician we thought her strong character suited Yuuko like whoa.
What can you tell us about the character designs?
Ohkawa: It costed us so much to design Yuuko. I could describe with words the image of her in my head, but we took a lot of time to decide how her facial features were going to be like. Watanuki came up right away, though.
Isn’t it too complicated to develop two related series, simultaneously?
Ohkawa: Not so much right now. Later on, things will become harder, but so far they’ve just crossed over in scenes such as the Valentine’s Day sweets or the White Day’s present. What it’s more difficult is to decide where to tell the scene first: XXXHOLiC on Mondays, or Tsubasa on Wednesdays.
Besides Ohkawa, are the rest of the CLAMP members informed about the outcome?
Ohkawa: No, they don’t know either XXXHOLiC‘s endings or Tsubasa‘s. A while ago I told them a little bit of what’s awaiting for Watanuki, and there was such a fuss at the studio. I’m explaining to them how the story will go on little by little, but I haven’t given them enough information for them to know the outcome.
The theatrical movie release is coming soon. Have you given many directions to the animation crew?
Ohkawa: No, this time we let everything in their hands. I’ve checked the script and the storyboard, but I don’t think my opinion could be of any help, so I just directly let the whole thing in their hands.
Mokona: Besides, Yuuko comes a lot in the Tsubasa TV animation series and, even though Watanuki only says two lines, he’s in the movie too, with Himawari and Doumeki.
Nekoi: I’d rather discover it like someone else from the audience how the characters move, how they talk… let it be a surprise.
Translated from Japanese by Kiri (taotrooper).
Interview originally published in CLAMP No Kiseki vol. 10 (Kodansha), released on June 22, 2005.
If you found mistakes in this translation or would like to contribute with translating other interviews, please contact me.