Translation/Adaptation: Stephen Paul
What They Say
RETURN OF RECOGNITION
Since returning to his roots working for Yuko alongside Domeki, Watanuki has been plagued by a sense of déjà vu, and upon receiving another visitor with a tale of exchanged coins and a chance encounter with a familiar bird cage, everything falls into place. With understanding comes purpose, but sometimes, as the saying goes, ignorance is bliss…
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
These past few days have seemed like a dream for Watanuki. Some things remind him of past happenings, but he can never quite remember it clearly and when he tries to, he gets a headache or even passes out. Yuko and Domeki haven’t been much help. Yuko speaks in even more obtuse riddles than usual and Domeki has just been around without saying much of anything. Well, Domeki has said even less than he usually does.
Nonetheless, Watanuki still loves his moments of alone time with Himawari. At least, until Domeki shows up and demands lunch. These interactions remind us of the old days, times when Watanuki and Domeki do their old married couple comedy routine. However, even this seems somehow strained.
Watanuki eventually stumbles across a massive blossoming cherry tree. Which is extremely odd considering it is autumn. The owner of the tree invites him inside, where he finds not only a parasitic flower growing on the cherry tree, but also the thread of his truth. Thread in hand, Watanuki returns to Yuko and begins to unravel that truth, slowly coming to the realization that this world is not his world. Watanuki has not returned to a past time when Yuko was still with him, nor has he traveled to the world where Yuko currently resides. This world is somehow an alternate world where an alternate Yuko exists, but Watanuki and Domeki do not.
Watanuki and Domeki have traveled to this world to retrieve that parasitic flower for someone, but he still has the choice to leave or not. He can choose to stay in this alternate world with Yuko, or return to his world where Yuko no longer exists and he is only allowed to see Himawari once a year. Watanuki can return to his world and deliver the flower to his client, but it will cause him to lose everything. What will he choose?
Fans still following the Tsubasa manga series will relish in this volume of xxxHolic Rei as it creates an opaque mirror between these series just as the original xxxHolic did from time to time. Both series hinting at each other without being too upfront about it. Unfortunately, for fans of Yuko, we have some hard truths to live up to with this volume and likely the “Rei” series going forward. This also places Watanuki in a heartbreaking position. He can choose between staying with Yuko or leaving to help a friend, but that means leaving forever. It will be an incredibly difficult choice for Watanuki, and I know that personally, I would choose to stay with Yuko. What would you do?
Content Grade: A
Art Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: Teen 16+
Released By: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: April 28th, 2015