Posted On March - 18 - 2010
  PAGES:   186
  RELEASE DATE:   03/23/2010
  REVIEW DATE:   03/18/2010

Watanuki undertakes teaching a young woman how to cook, but the task proves far more complex than it seems.  The way food can reflect a person’s inner nature torments the woman and leads to insights about Watanuki. As his memory fades due to the cost of his wish, his gentler side is becoming increasingly predominant. Domeki shadows him everywhere as if he is waiting for something. Yuko watches him with a sad knowing smile on her face.  Great events are about to unfold that will break the heart and begin the end of a dream.

Ominous dreams torture Watanuki. He keeps seeing Yuko disappear. He speaks to Yuko and they talk about the shop, existence, and hitsuzen.  After their chat he can’t find Yuko anywhere. Weeks pass and Yuko does not return to the shop, nor does Mokona, Maru or Moro. Domeki moves in and fans are treated to some of Watanuki and Domeki’s hallmark squabbling. However underneath it hides Watanuki’s fear and Domeki’s concerns. Domeki still holds the egg and time is coming close when he will have to use it, despite not knowing what it does.

Watanuki is disturbed by a sudden vision of two Syaorans and two Sakuras (characters from Tsubasa that have crossed over to this story). They disappear and suddenly parts of Yuko’s shop fade in front of Watanuki’s eyes. Even more distressing to him is the run-ins with other customers from the shop and none of them have any memory of Yuko whatsoever. It is as if she no longer exists and never has. Watanuki rushes to the shop only to enter utter darkness. There he meets Yuko, she tells him of a wish, one that led to the shop and their first meeting. She tells him of her past to a limited extent. He speaks his heart, she speaks hers, wishes are granted to the heartbreak of the wisher. A new wish is formed, one with no hope. Watanuki has no choice now, he must face the future alone.

What occurs in the final chapters of this volume are tragic, inspiring, and beautifully, breathtakingly sad. Only xHolic could reveal Yuko’s fate and Watanuki’s soul crushing heartache with such mesmerizing illustrative vision. It is unparalleled imagery to an unparalleled story.  This is not the final volume but it heralds the end of the dream, a saying spoken more than once in the past few volumes and now is nigh.  One finds oneself hoping beyond hope that somehow, someway, Watanuki can make his latest wish become reality.

Manga extras include translation notes and three full color pages of which one is a mesmerizing splash page of Yuko and Watanuki.

The inspiring, loss filled, and beautifully rendered story in this volume make this the issue xHolic fans cannot miss.

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