xxxHOLiC Manga Chapter 206 Review

xxxHOLiC Manga Chapter 206/xxxHOLiC Rou Chapter 02

SPOILER Summary/Synopsis:

xxxHOLiC Manga Chapter 206Despite being attacked, Watanuki tells Doumeki to keep shooting the attacking youkai. The invisible little one is afraid so Watanuki comforts it as Doumeki dispels most of the attacking creature. A lone arm survives and makes an attack, eluding Doumeki’s rei arrows and forcing him to shoot a bottle of sake on a tray near Watanuki, killing the youkai. When Watanuki asks Doumeki why he did it, Doumeki points out that Watanuki had purposely left this bottle unopened and that it had a red string on the bottle’s mouth as a supernatural seal. That means it is “miki.” Watanuki congratulates Doumeki on this.

A bridge forms from the sky to the engawa where Watanuki and the invisible child are. Watanuki informs the child that the bridge is here to gather it and the child asks if its mother is there. Watanuki says she isn’t but that he’s sure that next time, the child’s mother will thank the child for being born. With that, the child crosses the bridge to the other side and the bridge disappears. Watanuki collapses, covered in wounds. Doumeki grabs him as Mokona comes out to check on them. Mokona mentions that it is unusual for Watanuki to be injured like this and wonders how Watanuki could be so injured from using defensive techniques. Doumeki feels that Watanuki was protecting not protecting himself, only the child and Doumeki.

The injured Watanuki is taken to his bed were a worried Moro and Maru tend to him, thanking Doumeki for his efforts. As they tend to Watanuki, Doumeki and Mokona talk more. Doumeki states that he had considered going into medicine but that Watanuki’s wounds can’t be healed by traditional medicine and that Doumeki couldn’t do Watanuki’s requests as a doctor. With that, Doumeki falls asleep.

Sometime later, Doumeki pays the old fortune teller a visit. Over a glass of beer, they discuss Watanuki’s last customer, which the old lady knows about. Doumeki remarks on how he recovers quickly from an encounter like that but it takes Watanuki some time to do so. The old lady notes that Kohane-chan had received the same e-mail that Doumeki did, telling them to not come by as he is resting and for them not to worry.

Doumeki asks about the child that he could not see. The old lady explains that the child was a fetus who had not been born for whatever reason. As such, Watanuki prevented them from seeing it, especially Kohane-chan since her understanding the situation at the time would have made things worse. Doumeki thinks about Watanuki’s remarks to the child about it not being taken away for the convenience of others. The old lady states that because such children have learned nothing, they are easy targets when they die.

xxxHOLiC Manga Chapter 206Doumeki asks about what it was that attacked them. The old lady doesn’t have an answer other than it is powerful to break through the shop’s barrier and that it doesn’t always take the form of a hand. This thing of negitive emotions and evil craves the pure innocence of the unborn fetus to consume it. However, since that child (upset over not being born) found Watanuki first, it now has a chance to return to the world in some form. She doesn’t know where that bridge leads to, but she does know of those who’ve been near death who’ve crossed that bridge and returned.

With that, Doumeki remarks on an e-mail he has from Watanuki about a delivery, which the old lady knows about even though she’s not involved.

Doumeki brings a package to Watanuki from the shop where Watanuki had delivered that birdcage with the invisible bird in it so many years ago for Yuuko-san. The delivery is a smoking tray since Watanuki couldn’t smoke while the child was at the house. This was the price paid for protecting the child until the bridge came to get it. Doumeki wants to know who paid the price, but Doumeki doesn’t know. The old lady had a divination tell her to have Doumeki run an errand and Doumeki stopped by the antique shop for this old smoking tray. Beyond that will cost Doumeki, who understands that there are things that even Watanuki doesn’t know.

With that, Watanuki goes off to to get another bottle of sake as Doumeki looks at the smoking tray and wishes happiness to the spirit of the unborn child for the next time it arrives on Earth.

Thoughts/Review:

Wow. I’m floored and I have to say that for a now shounen manga, I didn’t expect something this deep.

As I saw it, this 2-chapter story was the tale of a mother who had an abortion for whatever reason and that the unborn child was upset by not having been born. Somehow, the fetus spirit and Watanuki crossed paths, a price was paid for Watanuki to protect the fetus, Watanuki was injured but delivered the child safely, and Doumeki was used to get the payment.

xxxHOLiC Manga Chapter 206
The reason I say “abortion” rather than something like the child being stillborn is that a point was made about the child being cast aside for the convenience of another, in this case, the mother. Further, the child longed for kind words from its mother, something it had not received. A mother who’d lost a child due she wanted to have would have loved the fetus and spoken kind things while it was still in the womb. Even if the child was stillborn for some reason, that mother would grieve. I got the sense that for this fetus spirit that Watanuki cared for, there was no such mourning. Thus, it is my believe that this fetus spirit came from an aborted child.

CLAMP does appear to leave a little bit of room for doubt, thus creating wiggle room. I don’t know how hot a topic abortion is in Japan. I know it was made legal in 1949 as part of the Eugenic Protection Law as a means of population control and to keep eliminate those with mental illness, birth defects, or other such disorders (the law was changed in the mid-90’s to remove the eugenics part of it). As far as I can tell, Japan doesn’t really have a moral problem with abortions as such per se, but I got the feeling that maybe the ladies of CLAMP do.

Some additional research on my part revealed that in Japan, the willing or unwilling termination of a fetus will result with the mother performing mizuko kuyo, a Buddhist ritual where a Mizuko Jizo statue representing the dead fetus is given various offerings. This is done to help the mother mourn the loss of the child, provide comfort to the soul of the dead fetus, and even to protect against it becoming evil and potentially possessing the mother. Mizuko means “child of the water” and is the term used to describe dead, unborn children (whether from abortion or not). Jizo is the deity that guides the soul of the unborn child to the next world.

Still, I don’t think CLAMP made a political statement here as it might be seen in the U.S. I do think they may be opposed to abortion, but not for political purposes whereas in the U.S. and other Western countries, politics on both sides trump everything.

After my research, I reread this chapter. The bridge that formed would appear to be the bridge that in Japanese mythology, allows the souls of the dead to cross the Sanzu River to proceed to the afterlife. Since it appears that no mizuko kuyo ceremony was performed, Watanuki then took the role of the Jizo deity (Ojizo-sama, as the Japanese would address the deity), protecting the Mizuko until the bridge came and the child could safely cross, something it would not be able to do otherwise according to Japanese beliefs. Thus, Watanuki returned Mizuko to the other side to await rebirth in some form or other.

It may be a very big stretch, but part of me can’t help but wonder if this Mizuko story might be setting up the stage for Yuuko-san to be reborn or return. Some have speculated that Watanuki may in fact be Clow and if they are right, then it stands to reason that Yuuko-san could return as well. Himawari-chan maybe? Technically, Yuuko-san was already dead when Watanuki met her, however she was simply frozen in time.

No, no! Bad ANB! That’s taking it WAY too far. ^_^;

So, who did send the Mizuko to Watanuki and who paid the price?

xxxHOLiC Manga Chapter 206
Regardless, CLAMP again wrote a story which caused me to “hit the books” as it were to do a lot of research in order to get more educated on Japanese beliefs and mythology. After all, many of their stories are deeply rooted in Japanese culture and certainly, this 2-chapter story was about as deep as they come.

Although it was only a brief moment, I loved how the “soulless” Moro and Maru show how much they love and care for Watanuki in their thanking of Doumeki.

xxxHOLiC Manga Chapter 206
Speaking of the manga, again CLAMP clocks in with 48-pages. Considering that’s two months in a row where they’ve done 48-page stories, I guess that’s the new norm now. I’ve got no problem with that, especially now that the manga is a monthly publication. Having 48-pages is like doing 12-pages a week with the occasional week off. So my fears that xxxHOLiC would proceed at a snail’s pace appear to be unfounded.

So, a very interesting but disturbing chapter here to complete the Mizuko arc.

Oh, one other note. I’m not sure when the title “Rou” started being used with “xxxHOLiC” but I do know that it is being used now. As such, I may switch the title of future review to reflect this but also note the overall chapter at the beginning of new reviews.

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4 Responses to “xxxHOLiC Manga Chapter 206 Review”

  1. Lan says:

    Thanks for clearing this up ANB. I also thought it was an aborted child, but the information you gave about abortion in Japan was an interesting read.

  2. AstroNerdBoy says:

    You’re welcome. ^_^

  3. Hana says:

    thanks i have been a fan of clamp but with tsubasa i became really confused about some things..

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