Touta and Kuromaru go on a date in the city together! Wait, what?! And who’s the sneaky shadow assassin trying to capture Touta? Remember, if you like this article and 5 Point Discussions, please remember to share it everywhere you can. And if you have any questions or comments, please hit me up on Twitter @SageShinigami!
1. MANGA STUFF: Normally I’d put this further down but…wow. I wasn’t sure when the real butchering would start if we were confined to what I’m assuming is only 13 episodes, but we finally got to it here. Though the first five episodes were largely faithful to the source material, this time the anime has skipped far ahead, leaving out massive chunks of story such that it’s barely the same story at all. I couldn’t even begin to describe what all’s missing as we’ve skipped arcs wholesale and jumped from chapter 30 to chapter 100 in a single episode. There are characters in the manga that don’t even exist in the anime, and some great character growth bits we should’ve had that simply are not here, and the story’s all the poorer for both. Negima fans remain cursed, I guess. Either that or whatever rabbit’s paw I wished on in the early 2000’s to get a Houshin Engi anime also decided to screw up my favorite franchise of all time as well.
2. In between the more slice-of-life-y harem elements, we get to see Yukihime discussing Touta’s newfound powers with UQ Member No. 2, [First Last]. By now in the manga you’d have a much better idea of Touta’s limits and how his handling of this massive power-up has been going, but since we’ve skipped all the times he’s ever used it, not only are we robbed of exactly how that power’s been developing, but we’re robbed of all the hints he’s learned surrounding its origins, and the character who trained him to use those abilities to begin with. As a result the conversation feels ominous but slightly hollow—people barely know what this power is to begin with.
3. In the middle of Touta and Kuromaru’s date (more on that later), they get interrupted by a sadistic, creepy looking shadow mage sent by a guy that they mentioned last episode: Fate Averruncus. At this point I’m legitimately not sure how much they’re going to tell everyone about Fate, so I’ll just say that he spent a large portion of the original Negima series as the main bad guy before finally succumbing to the ultimate shonen trope of Defeat Means Friendship. Still, his “friendship” with Negi has always been somewhat tentative, and events between Negima and UQ Holder have…shifted his attitudes somewhat, and lead to him coming after Touta.
Now they’ve been teasing Fate’s first appearance for quite some time now, which I’ll be honest is still pretty hype, changes or not. There’s really no way to have Negi show up as he should be now and it still make sense if we’re only running thirteen, so I’m betting on Fate being the main big bad that we’ve been building up towards for the end of the cour.
4. So they went ahead and decided to detail the bit about Kuromaru’s character where he’s secretly in love with Touta, so now there’s egg on my face for spoiling things a couple weeks ago.
Having said that, the last arc they did cover cut so much of the relationship-y stuff that makes Kuromaru’s crush work, to say nothing of the dozens of chapters of unresolved sexual tension they’ve left out all this time. When this bit with the date happened as a result of a contest between all the women in Touta’s harem plus Kuromaru, it felt like they were dealing with a plot point that had been properly teased and left dangling for nearly two years. Still, though a lot of the emotional base of this has been drained, the date itself was adorable. Kuromaru’s convinced to dress up as a girl and pretend to be his own cousin, asking Touta to take him out on the town. Easily the strongest character in the show, watching him try to figure out both what he wants his sex to be and whether or not he wants to live together with Touta is some of the most compelling character development shit a shonen anime has ever done.
Granted, it’s still troublesome that neither the show nor the manga has ever thought to include the obvious answers of: he could stay a male and ask him out that way, or he could become a girl and still be a bad-ass. But there’s a moment where he magically summons his signature overcoat to cover up his dress and beats the crap out of the people who’ve captured Touta where he decides he’d rather protect his love than date him that’s one of the coolest things I’ve seen all season, so all is forgiven.
5. This episode ends curiously. Introducing Chisame clone Kirie Sakurame, judging by the way it finished and by the fact that the title card for next episode matches up with the title of a chapter from the manga, we’re headed all the way back to where we left off last episode. With no actual episode count confirmed after making it nearly halfway into the Fall, I’m still left wondering if we’re running 13 episodes or 24-26.
In either case, get ready for one of the most unique forms of immortality next week.
UQ Holder is available for streaming on Amazon’s Anime Strike.