Del Rey, 192 pp.
Rating: T (13+)
With a quiet life restored thanks to her wish, Kohane gives her mother the space necessary for her to gain an understanding of how she must change by moving in with the fortune-teller from volume two, who will also take the opportunity to pass on her craft to Kohane. While visiting, Watanuki teaches Kohane to cook and Doumeki reveals to Kohane the reason behind his friendship with Watanuki. As they walk home later that evening, Watanuki startles Doumeki with a confession (no, not that kind) of his own. Back at the shop, a new customer arrives—a young woman with a wish to obtain cooking lessons. Watanuki is (unwillingly) tasked with fulfilling her wish, which gives him some unexpected insight into both Doumeki’s eating habits and the individual nature of cooking.
Though this volume proceeds more quietly than the last, it is filled with wry humor and thoughtful revelation, two of the series’ best qualities. Also notable in this volume is a strong sense of warmth, something that has increasingly become a part of the series. This is particularly evident in each character’s relationship with Watanuki—from Yuuko to the fortune-teller—including even dry-humored characters like Doumeki and Mokona (with whom Watanuki shares an especially sweet moment in this volume). It is the connection between people that makes this series feel so rich, a point made stronger in this volume when Watanuki reveals that it is these connections that have inspired him to continue his own existence. As usual, this volume also provides enough mouth-watering discussion of food to send every reader running to the kitchen (or at least the nearest Japanese restaurant).
With its gorgeous artwork and philosophical tone, xxxHOLiC continues to provide a feast for both the eye and soul.
Review copy provided by the publisher. Review originally published at PopCultureShock.