Reread 2011. Volume 1: The stories are boring. The art is gorgeous. Shop owner and wish granter Yuuko bids fair to become one of my favorite characters--all sly smiles and mysterious eyes, elegant lines and glorious curves, part ukiyo-u and part Art Nouveau.
Flailing excitable Watanuki is chased by spirit creatures most other people can't see. He finds shelter in the shop of Yuuko, who grants wishes in exchange for steep prices, and whose apparent omniscience assorts oddly but well with her fondness for pranks, crude jokes, and liquor. She promises Watanuki will be spared from seeing spirits if he becomes her assistant. Also notable: the twin shop spirits, Maru and Moru; Himwari-chan, a sketchily characterized classmate on whom Watanuki has a crush.
The first volume focuses on cruel morality tales: a pathological liar meets a sad fate for no particular reason. The Legal Drug pharmacy makes a cameo. A net addict seeks help. [b:Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles]!Syaoran and Sakura show up. Yuuko repeatedly declares there is no coincidence or chance, only "hitsuzen," which cannot be translated as "foreordained destiny" or "authorial inconvenience" even though it is indistinguishable from both.