Okay, here’s something I didn’t expect: instead of developing Kohane, this episode decides to ignore her for now and instead focuses on taking care of the spirit we saw in the previous episode that came to live in Doumeki’s sakura trees. It’s basically one big Mah-jong-game (with obvious references to Akagi). While it doesn’t beat the epic snowball-fight of season one, it was quite fun to watch.
There’s nothing much to say, really. This is one of these episodes you need to watch for yourself. While the rain and vestal sprite came rather from out of nowhere, their chemistry with Watanuki was really enjoyable. This is really the beauty of xxxHolic: you’ll never know when it’s going to be serious or laid-back, and it’ll be enjoyable either way.
I do want to use this opportunity to say something about the nature of parodies, though, because I felt that the appearances of Akagi were rather useless. I personally really lke parodies, but they only work when they make the thing they parody look ridiculous. Just including a reference to another series here and there gets boring, especially when overused (yes, I’m talking to you, Lucky Star). Take Master of Epic for example: it did an excellent job in creating an entire setting out of a parody. Or take Ooedo rocket with its FMA-references. It’s quite humorous to see the voice-actors of FMA playing completely different roles, and that’s why these “Nii-san!”-references worked so well. Watanuki’s Akagi-face was actually one of the least funny jokes in this episode, and I see more series that try to just include a reference in an attempt to be funny.