Touta meets a young girl that’s claiming to be a member of UQ Holder. But what’s the secret to her immortality, and why does she hate Touta so much? Remember, if you like this article and 5 Point Discussions, please share this online. And if you have any questions or comments please contact me on Twitter @SageShinigami!
1. I consider myself one of the more sensible anime fans, and as such I try not to do things like this too frequently. So I do hope you’ll grant me this brief indiscretion, but:
BEST GIRL HAS ARRIVED! Admittedly, I hate that the way things are in anime and otaku culture means that “best girl” is an immortal trapped in the body of a twelve year old, but that doesn’t stop Kirie Sakurame from being one of the coolest characters in UQ Holder. She’s essentially the best parts of Chisame Hasegawa from Negima: a straight shooter that takes absolutely no shit from the main character and points out the absolute absurdities of the events happening around her and the rest of the main cast. Chisame would help the lead of the last series, a classic over-thinker, from getting stuck in his head. Kirie on the other head, will remind Touta when he’s being stupid and point out to him how to be more thoughtful about what’s going on around him.
Plus, she has the coolest power. While Touta, Kuromaru, Yukihime and the yakuza-looking grunts of UQ Holder just seem to have the ability to recover extraordinarily easily, Kirie’s ability is much more unique: she creates save points in the form of a unique ritual involving a burning branch, and they restore her to life in the past at that save point if she ever dies. This ability grants her the ability to avoid not only her own misfortune, but help people avoid others.
2. Manga Watch: Unsurprisingly, this episode doesn’t stray terribly far from the manga. After leaping ahead into the early 100s, this week we jump all the way back to chapter 31 and cover nearly six chapters, with only a few minor changes. To start: Kirie explains how her ability works to Touta after having already been assassinated by the same shadowy jerk that Karin had to fight a few weeks ago, pointing out that she can transport people to the past with her…except she has to be holding them, and every time the shadow assassin murders her, Touta has run off after him like an idiot.
With this seventh time, Touta manages to go back in time with her, and stop her from dying when they get attacked in an alley inside the city. There’s a very brief fight that the manga makes much longer by letting UQ Holder’s resident mad scientist/android get involved, and stopping the assassin once and for all. Unfortunately, the anime hasn’t been terribly keen on developing the members of UQ Holder outside of Touta and the members of his harem, so we get robbed of seeing Amemiya Ikku be awesome this episode. Maybe next week.
3. Fans of shonen anime always talk about something called the Sorting Algorithm of Evil. In other words, the heroes only ever face villains that are just far enough out of reach to be a challenge and make the hero the underdog you can root for. People have long wondered what a series would look like without such an algorithm, and well…UQ Holder gave you an episode of it.
During Kirie’s first timeline, she and the rest of UQ Holder arrive at the tower when suddenly Fate arrives and spots Touta. To give you some idea of what they’re dealing with: after being introduced Fate spent over half the remaining chapters of the original Negima manga serving as the “boss”, the goal that the main character and everyone working against him had to learn countless spells and spend weeks upon weeks training to beat him, and before he finally turned “good” the best Negi could do was STILL just make things a draw. Fate was pretty close to being the “final boss” in that series, and facing this group of far less powerful (even if they have superior experience and training) characters…it’s barely even a challenge. He decapitates Touta and obliterates Ikku, Kuromaru, and Karin in a variety of brutal, horrific ways before carrying Touta’s head back up the tower with him.
Everything about what happens in the first timeline sets up that this is NOT a guy you want to mess with. Gee, I wonder how that plays out.
4. Kirie realizes that there’s probably no way around UQ’s encounter with Fate, so they set up a plan to use Kirie’s ability to “bind” someone and take them with her when she dies to a save point beneath UQ headquarters, where they can capture him and avoid a full-on conflict. But as they’re about to put their plan in action, someone bumps into Touta–a very special someone, who casts a hidden spell on him before fading out for a while. At the risk of avoiding spoilers, there’s a good chance you’ll see this person if they skip the next arc of the manga (entirely possible), and you’ll get to see what a version of Touta without a happy family looks like. Hint: It’s not positive.
5. Kirie’s off-the-cuff plan to capture the world’s strongest mage is unsurprisingly quite good, taking advantage of each Immortal’s strong points in a way that would hopefully lead to an easy win. But when Fate arrives right behind Touta’s friends from school, they’re left with no choice but to confront the World’s Strongest Mage head-on, and hope a new solution presents itself.
If you were curious as to what it looks like when a group of immortals have their backs against the wall, next episode’s got you covered…
UQ Holder is available for streaming on Amazon’s Anime Strike service.