Yuuko Ichihara is a fictional character from the manga, xxxHOLiC, created by the manga team CLAMP. Yūko, an enigmatic, powerful and fashionable sorceress, is one of the principal characters in xxxHOLiC. She is known by many names throughout the multi-verse, most notably as "The Dimension Witch" — a title that reflects her unique reach in time and space. She has also been called The Far Eastern Witch as one of her aliases. However, she also claims that her name, "Yūko Ichihara", is just an adopted name, meaning her true name is unknown.
One thing that Yuuko enjoys the most is drinking. There is never a time that when customers visit or communicate with her in some way, that she doesn't have a glass of wine, beer, or sake on hand. She drinks so much to the point that she ends up getting frequent hangovers which are usually painful headaches. Her speech doesn't slur nor does does her intoxication affect her job. Which many who have encountered her and work for her in her shop find to be quite odd. She also has a very large appetite for food. Loves to eat almost anything as long as it tastes good. Because of her strange metabolism, she doesn't gain any wait from what she eats. She stays, relatively the same size all the time. She also does smoke a lot as well and has a soft spot for fashion for she has a large variety of outfits that she wears to fit her current mood. She is never seen wearing the same outfit twice. She's also a very crass woman, not caring at all what others think of her or her methods of the job she does. Almost all the time she has a sense of eccentricity about her. When necessary, she does provide helpful guidance to others. Another thing is, she is also quite a powerful sorceress due to the job that she has that requires a great amount of power to be used that would drain the usual magic user. But because she doesn't needlessly engage in battle frequently, Yuuko remains almost always at full strength. Despite how she treats Watanuki, it is proven that she does have a very soft spot for him and is concerned for his well-being, even if she shows it in the strangest of ways.
Yuuko is the type of person that doesn't show her the true side of herself to her customers but when around close friends, she is kinder and more open to them. She shares more opinions and thoughts with them. Though she is close with her friends, she still keeps serious feelings to herself, not wanting to burden others with her serious problems. The most thing that she regrets is giving up her only child was was a boy that she'd named Sai. This was done out of guilt for lowering her standards into sleeping with a demon. While she still communicates with him on an occasional basis, she doesn't feel that they share a strong bond as a mother should with their child. She doesn't regret having Sai but she does regret meeting his father, Sebastian Michaelis whom she despises. It is unknown why Yuuko keeps a lot of her feelings to herself but it is thought to be because she doesn't want to get hurt or too attached, mostly because she knows that one day she will eventually die despite being an immortal witch. Though she acts sarcastic, bossy and annoying towards Watanuki, it's quite evident that she cares for him. Sometimes she uses her lecherous side to disturb Watanuki (to her great amusement). She also loves alcohol, which traduces in sending Watanuki to the drugstore every time she's got a hangover. Yuuko can sometimes act immature to keep Watanuki from realizing the gravity of the situation around him. Yuuko received many nicknames because she never revealed her real name due to a kind of spiritual self, because, as she herself says, who knows the name of another person can control it.
Yuuko appears as a tall (being at the height of 5'11"), thin woman with pale skin and long black hair up to the back of her knees. Her hair is cut in many layers having front bangs up to her eyebrows, then another layer, reaching up to her jaw, and a layer at her hips and a final one at her knees. Her eye color is usually red though sometimes it changes to purple or even a turquoise blue so it is suggested that she changes eye color randomly and so, her real eye co lour is not known. She always wears a kimono at her home (though she would prefer to wear a more revealing outfit when she goes out in public) but she never wears the same thing twice. When Yuuko wears a kimono, she usually has accessories to accompany it. For example, if her kimono has a rose pattern with lace, she will wear a rose in her hair and a lace choker and bracelet. Also, when she has the time, Yuuko will style her hair is a neat yet creative fashion and will always decorate her hair with some sort of accessory such as colored pins or chopsticks. Like her clothes, Yuuko has never been seen with the same hair style other than letting her hair loose. On some occasions, the length of her hair is shorter than it looks. An example can be observed when her hair is tied up in a small bun as it is almost impossible to hold all her hair.
Yuuko is the owner of a mysterious shop in Tokyo, Japan who has lived over a thousand years. She is a dealer in wishes as she will grant the sincere wish of anyone who is willing to make an appropriate sacrifice in return; the price is always equivalent to the weight of the wish, no more, no less. In the case of Watanuki Kimihiro (an orphaned boy who lost his parents 12 years ago), who sought to be rid of the evil spirits that plague him, the price was a long period of frequently demeaning servitude. As a result, she now has Watanuki as a sort of "personal assistant" to clean, cook, and perform other tasks she considers beneath her. As for the shop itself, the people residing within it other than herself and Watanuki are Maru & Moro (child-like beings) and Larg (Black Mokona). The store offers to grant wishes in exchange for a payment equal in value to the wish, it is a kind of reference point through worlds, which traditional design contrasts with the modern architecture of the contemporary buildings of the XXI century. However, this residence can only be seen by those who need help or by spirits and monsters of all kinds, especially the bad ones, as the house is protected by a kekkai, a spiritual barrier, which keeps these spirits away.
In the eyes of those who do not have a deep desire for something, they will only see an abandoned empty field among other buildings adjacent to the property. The presence of Yuuko at the shop takes on a ghostly touch since it can always be seen the smoke of incense lit as well as the smoke from her kiseru, thereby showing the personal touch of the witch to the place. The objects found there are not strange to Yuuko, who knows their origin and the person they are intended for, but never says so; she doesn't reveal her true intentions waiting for the inevitable to happen. The shop's existence is connected both to the fates of EVERYONE in the world. It should be noted that Yuuko has stated that this shop was especially created for one purpose; "for the day which has to come". What day that is, no one knows but her and anyone else who has the unique ability bestowed upon them to control time and travel through different dimensions.
Now, as Wakanuki's employer, who performs domestic chores for her and she has a strong connection with his future, for which she keeps him close and searches for him whenever he's in trouble to protect him. This is a connection she shares with Doumeki who's always by his side in the hardest moments due to his ability for exorcism. When it comes to the gastronomical requests, she always challenges Watanuki to prepare the most varied dishes, which the boy makes without much problems unless some complaints, since he is very good in the kitchen. Yuuko feels something very special for Watanuki, which is nothing more than a motherly bond that she wished she could've formed with her own son that she'd given up seventeen years ago that she doesn't like to talk about to ANYONE. Now Maru and Moro (full names Marudashi and Morodashi, roughly translated to mean streaking and flashing) were child like beings that Yuuko had created with the use of her own magic.
They cannot leave the shop or touch the Mokonas (at the time she had White Mokona because she'd given it to a young boy named Fai La Britannia) because they have no souls. The two have the function of grounding the shop to its unique location between dimensions. Moro and Maru have also been seen sleeping to where Yuuko comments that they are focusing on keeping the house in place. Apart from this function, the two greet visitors, assist Yuuko, and annoy Watanuki. Yuuko also goes to a fortune teller every so often. When Watanuki asked her why she needed to see a fortune teller if she had the ability to predict the future, Yuuko explains that one cannot predict their own future or else there will be chaos. Though she does not explain this matter any further, but in her own way it is to be suspected that by this, she means that if we tell our own future, we may not want to accept what we see and so we will try to twist our predictions. So forth, Yuuko goes to an older fortune teller, whom she calls Oba-chan. The two are old friends and often talk.
And in case you were wondering, yes she has died before. So many times that even she has lost count. But each time she is near death, it is always stopped and she continues on living despite being old but never aging a day. Yuuko remains calm and secretive about her deaths or impending death. She was already aware of the fact that she would inevitably die but didn't want to worry anyone else with something that she felt was solely her own problem. Though it is not known as to whether or not the Mokonas or Oba-chan know anything about her inevitable deaths that tend to occur when a certain time approaches that could decide the fate of the world itself or the lives of certain people. Due to this, she tends to not waste time forming bonds with others but ends up doing so unintentionally. As such she has had an somewhat ambiguous with the great Clow Reed who has since passed on. They made the two Mokonas together using their magical abilities. They also met the original Mokona of Cephiro together in the` other world. Clow Reed is the one who wished for Yuuko to stay alive, thus, stopping her time and making her continue to live on. It is been hinted that Clow and Yuuko had somewhat a love relationship before but it was never an intimate one.
Yuuko has an eccentric personality too. Aside from being very crass when she wants to be and doesn't care how she says what she does half of the time, she has given Watanuki guidance that grants him a state of spiritual and paranormal awareness of great importance. Therefore, some of her resolutions are meaningless at first, but eventually the plot reveals the origin of her wise decision. Many times she seeks to act as a spectator, but in most cases, her intervention yields results that govern the speed and dynamics of the plot. Her histrionics confuses Watanuki, but end up involving him in serious situations, in which Watanuki, is driven by it as part of it. She's fun and respectful of all beings, being these kind or not. She's also very bossy and annoying towards Watanuki, it's quite evident that she cares for him as she has told him that her wish for him is to continue living on when she eventually dies.
Now, concerning a transaction, or lack there of one, seventeen years ago involved a young boy by the name of Ciel Phantomhive and a demon butler by the name of Sebastian Michaelis. They had traveled from their hometown on a mission given to them by the Queen of England, as Ciel was the Queen's personal Guard Dog as many had dubbed him. They had came in search of information regarding a series of murders in the area in which that although she was fully aware of who was behind it, she didn't get involved. Again, she played the part of a spectator more than she did actually engaging into any battle or the lives of others unless absolutely necessary and it is usually to make sure that if those involved were customers, she makes sure they hold up their end of the bargain. She turns away no one as a customer, human or non-human. There was nothing to be given out of the deal as she'd been instantly swayed in by the simple words of a charismatic demon but that was because she was unfortunately drunk and willingly gave them the information they were looking for after sleeping with Sebastian.
Since then, she's hated herself for it and especially hates Sebastian, not wanting anything to do with the filthy creature who uses such a way to gain information out of others. She felt sick to her stomach falling for it but knew it was her own fault. The only thing that she gained out of it was conceiving a child by him to which she'd named Sai and but gave him up for adoption, feeling that she wouldn't be able to provide him the life she felt he deserved. It wasn't until he'd gotten older that she'd found out that he'd become part of a faction known as the 'Writher's House'. Apparently, it housed not only humans but non-human being as well. They're employed and trained as hunters to fight against those who are actually doing wrong. Yuuko is proud of her son, hopes that he doesn't resent her for the choice she made. They communicate occasionally but that is usually when neither of them are busy with their respective jobs. And unfortunately, Yuuko is always busy.
Her relationship with Clow Reed is somewhat ambiguous. They made the two Mokonas together using their magical abilities, also met the original Mokona of Cephiro together in the other world. Clow Reed is the one who accidentally wished for Yuuko to stay alive, stopping her time and effectively preventing her from dying for an untold amount of time. In the first chapters of xxxHOLiC manga, he is being called by different names by Yuuko. It is been hinted that Clow and Yuuko had somewhat a love relationship before but the details of this supposed relationship are unknown.
Initially Yuuko is merely Watanuki's employer, but their relationship gradually becomes one akin to that of a close mentor-student bond, or perhaps something even more personal, such as a mother-son one. She teaches Watanuki valuable lessons about the world and gives wise advice. Despite often giving him grief with the many requests and jobs she gives him to fulfill, and also her merciless teasing, Yuuko proves to care a lot for Watanuki, helping him and giving him guidance even though he does not always realize it. Yuuko cares for Watanuki in much of a way that she cares about her son as she is unable to be near him. She can be affectionate towards him when she wants to be and treating him in a motherly fashion unsuspectingly which Watanuki can tell through her actions when she does this, part of her desires to spend more time with her son. There are times when Yuuko tends to show that she cares for Watanuki in a fashion that could be considered a little more than just a mentor-student relationship. Normally, her perverted teasing is part of her everyday charm to get on Watanuki's nerves, it is possible she may hold some sort of romantic feelings toward him that she has yet to admit.
Mokona Modoki (Larg)Edit
Yuuko and Larg are good friends. They share similar interests in food (they love snacks and sake) and can usually be found together. Mokona is usually seen on Yuuko's shoulder or sitting beside her on the porch drinking with her. Yuuko and Mokona also seem to be interested in the same activites. They were both very excited to do the 100 Ghost Stories and the Winter Games along with other things. Yuuko sometimes also refers to Mokona as her "drinking partner."
Yuuko is aware that Doumeki's spiritual power keeps the spirits away from Watanuki whenever he's around him. He also is able to negate Himawari Kunogi's bad luck that she was born with but Watanuki is unaware of. The two of them are considered good friends on good terms and always asks of him to take care of Watanuki for her much to Watanuki's annoyance. They also seem to share the same appetite as they both can eat quite a bit without gaining anyway and they're always requesting of Watanuki to prepare them dishes to eat. Overall, Yuuko has no problem with Doumeki and doesn't feel the need to troll him like she does Watanuki.
Sebastian is a demon that was tied down with a master by the name of Ciel Phantomhive and the both of them had visited the shop in search of a way to free Ciel from his etertnal living as he'd grown quite bored with it and missed being human. That and they also sought information on a case they were working on. However, all it did was turn into basically a one night stand with no objection achieved and Yuuko was drunk and ended up later becoming pregnant and having a son. Yuuko shows obvious dislike of Sebastian as he set out to basically seduce her for information that he never really got. There was no feelings of love between these two and Sebastian seems to share the dislike of Yuuko but to a much lesser degree since he doesn't focus his mind so much on her as she does on him the moment his name comes up in a topic of conversation.
Sai is the son that Yuuko had but gave away when he was a baby. She didn't know much about his growing up but did know that he'd been part of the Writher's House Faction for quite a long time. She would not openly admit this but part of her was worried that because she'd given him up, Sai would resent her for it but he did not. They may not communicate as often as she would like but they do from time to talk talk to one another. She tries to form a motherly bond with her son even though she feels it's not working as Sai doesn't show much emotions sometimes unless it is around his lover Hanataro Tenshi.
Powers & AbilitiesEdit
Yuuko is a sorceress of great power and spiritual energy whom receives multiple adjectives but is commonly known as the “Witch of Dimensions” due to the travel she has sent many people on. Besides the ability to time travel, she is powerful enough to handle from dangerous objects to protective seals, create powerful barriers to protect (and even instructing Watanuki to create them) and sending Mokona to his side to play with words to block spirits on a full moon night. She can also talk on good terms with anyone of the non-human realm, including ghosts, gods, spirits, etc. Many of which often save Watanuki from certain death. When using actual magic, Yuuko often summons a magic circle. Among her abilities besides granting wishes, transverse dimensions, is creating items, even if in the form of a person for other worlds, manipulate time, and can speak through Maru and Moro as well through other people's minds. Though she doesn't have many offensive attacks, Yuuko is able to effortlessly dodge most attacks thrown her way and appears unscathed from a direct hit. Anyone that visits her shop as a customer must pay a price in order for their wishes to be granted, which can be no more or no less than the one demanded or else harm will come to one's way. She is not one to tell the customer the most direct way to solve his or her problems because in the end, it can be only solved by that own person's realization and resolution to change themselves. Often if the person lacks the sincere determination to change themselves, an ironic disaster will inevitably befall them. Her abilities themselves are not unlimited and may almost seem like a curse as it appears she is unable to do anything for anyone or grant any gift (other than feelings) without it becoming a binding transaction. Yuuko also possesses knowledge of all types of magic objects that exist, many of which are in her store presently.
- Her true name is not yet revealed.
- She had a past relationship with Clow Reed.
- She has the longest hair in the whole xxxHolic series.
- Yuuko is an alcoholic. This however, is pretty obvious as she is most of the time seen drinking wine, beer or other alcoholic beverages.The most is that she is seen drinking sake with fish as she called it really delicious.
- Interestingly, all of Yuko's customers in the story are all female - with the exception of the old man that received the cage filled with "Illusion Birds", birds that can only be seen its shadow in the full moon. Watanuki and Doumeki are not included as they are employee and friend respectively.
- Her real eye colour is not known as she changes it most of the time to fit with her outfits. However, the most consistently used color for her eyes is a wine red.
- Her recurring theme is the butterfly. Almost all of her outfits have a butterfly design to it. An example is her OVA kimono, the obi is designed to resemble a butterfly.