xxxHOLiC Vol 9 (Ch 103-108) *SPOILERS*

Here is the second part of my look at volume 9 of the most excellent xxxHOLiC manga. Remember, Del Rey will release the volume in May 2007.

Chapter 103

Summary: Himawari-chan, Doumeki, and Watanuki are having lunch together when Himawari-chan mentions a TV show she saw were a girl had the power to perform exorcisms. Later when Himawari-chan and Watanuki walk home together, they see a large cherry tree which is in full bloom with a girl standing under it looking up. Before they can communicate, an adult woman angrily approaches and demands Watanuki stay away from the girl. She thinks he saw her on TV and that’s why he’s there. As the woman takes the girl home, she passes Watanuki and remarks that he is someone who does understand (spirits, youkai, and stuff). As she leaves, Himawari-chan remarks that this is the exorcist girl she saw on TV.

Thoughts: This is the start of a new story, so there’s not much beyond the introduction of the new characters that will play a role.

Chapter 104

Summary: Watanuki relays his encounter with the girl to Yuuko-san. Yuuko almost seems concerned, but states to Mokona that this is something Watanuki has chosen on his own.

The next day at school, Doumeki and Watanuki discuss the girl and their shared eye, with which Doumeki can at times see the spirit things that Watanuki sees. Doumeki suspects that whenever Watanuki’s emotions get elevated, that’s when he can see whatever spirit creature Watanuki sees. After school, Watanuki is walking home in the rain and sees the girl standing at the cherry tree again.

Thoughts: Yuuko-san certainly doesn’t seem that approving of Watanuki meeting that girl, but I could be wrong. Certainly, she’ll allow it to proceed, as she has in the past. Doumeki and Watanuki’s discussion of their shared eye was interesting, especially in regards to the girl Watanuki met.

Chapter 105

Summary: Watanuki and the girl begin talking in the rain at the Cherry tree, and during the conversation, she reveals that she wanted to see Watanuki again because they are close (both have spiritual abilities). The reason the girl has been drawn to the tree is that there is a ghost in the tree, which Watanuki can see as well. This female ghost just loved the cherry tree and so has not passed on, but her being there is the only reason the tree is still alive.

Watanuki invites teh girl to come with him to Doumeki’s temple. The ghost apparently follows them to the temple grounds and decides to settle there. The girl needs to get back, so Watanuki gives her his umbrella. He asks her name, which is Kohane.

Thoughts: There may be some Japanese culture items that I don’t understand. If the ghost stayed on Earth because of the Cherry tree, what in the world would a Shinto shrine/temple do to entice the ghost to go there? Hopefully, Del Rey’s release will have a translator note about this.

Chapter 106

Summary: Watanuki and the girl continue to talk. He gets permission to address her as Kohane-chan. Apparently, she has not been called by her name in a long time. She leaves the temple grounds with Watanuki’s umbrella and Doumeki arrives on scene and his own umbrella. Doumeki has Watanuki come inside and states that he’ll read the female ghost the sutra later. The two of them discuss the fact that Doumeki can see the ghost, then the conversation shifts to names. Doumeki is called Shizuka by his family and Watanuki was called Kimihiro when his parents were alive.

Meanwhile, Kohane-chan’s mother is upset with her for leaving and potentially ruining a TV appearance. Kohone-chan confesses she went to the tree with the ghost, where the TV show is supposed to film her on the following day. Her mother says that had she known, she would have gone with Kohane. Kohane-chan responds that her mother is not with her, she’s only just there. From there, we see Kohane-chan’s mother taking a call from the show’s producer in which she’s not happy with the amount of money she’s receiving for her daughter’s appearance. Kohane-chan slowly (and sadly) makes her way past a large pile of gifts to her room where she then embraces Watanuki’s umbrella.
Thoughts: The Kohane-chan story is different in that Yuuko-san is taking her most passive role yet in dealing with it. Without giving Watanuki any warnings or the like, she’s allowing him to proceed on. It is sad to see how a mother would treat her daughter in such a poor way (not calling her by name, not allowing her to eat certain foods, and basically being distant from her) for fame, money, and gifts.

Chapter 107

Summary: Watanuki returns to Yuuko-san’s shop in the rain, only to discover that while she’s standing in the rain without an umbrella, she’s not wet. Further, she’s in the garb she wore when Syaoran, Sakura, Fay, and Kurogane came and were sent on their adventures in Tsubasa. As before, the sky “falls” and a different Syaoran-kun arrives. His wish it to go the person that originally owned his right eye (the other Syaoran no doubt). Yuuko-san states that payment for the wish has already been made and sends him on his way. Before he disappears, he give Watanuki a strange look. Watanuki is concerned for the Tsubasa group, but Yuuko-san states that they can’t do much from here, but they do what they can.

Thoughts: Clearly, stuff is happening in Tsubasa which I haven’t read yet. The last volume I read did show another Syaoran-kun who would apparently be a tool of that series villain, but I don’t know what happened after that. I guess I need to start reading. The look he gave Watanuki before being dispatched to where the Tsubasa crew are at was interesting as was the fact that apparently the payment for his trip had already been made.

Chapter 108

Summary: Yuuko-san takes Mokona and Watanuki to Doumeki’s family temple to play mahjong. The ghost from the Cherry tree is nearby and apparently observing the game. Apparently, the game and the various Japanese incantations that they state throughout the game causes the ghost to pass on. The Sutra that Doumeki-kun did wasn’t enough, but Yuuko-san states that the ghost did enjoy it. Since it was Doumeki who asked for Yuuko-san’s help to get the ghost to pass on, he pays her with some special sake from his grandfather.

Thoughts: There’s not a lot here beyond resolving the ghost in the tree thread. Again, Doumeki uses the services of Yuuko-san. It seems odd that she would say that he has no need of her shop when he has now made a wish (and I’m pretty sure this is the 2nd wish she’s granted, but I’d have to go back and look).

Well, that concludes volume 9. I look forward to adding the Del Rey release to my bookcase. ^_^

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