UQ Holder!’s second episode leaves little for me to complain about! In many respects, this is what a good anime adaptation of UQ Holder! should look like. Honestly, if it weren’t for the key visual and OP I’d have no worries about the show going forward. So today, let’s dig into what made this episode work so well, as well as what some of the changes might mean for the series.
Chapter 2 of UQ Holder! was skipped
In a move that didn’t surprise me in the least, chapter 2 of the manga was skipped. This chapter discussed some of the sadder parts of immortality, some of which was addressed in this episode, and likely will be added in later. Additionally, the chapter introduced the character of Shinobu. The skipping of this chapter makes sense, seeing as the anime will likely be 12 episodes, the staff probably wanted to get the introduction of Kuromaru and UQ Holder right. It’s sad to see it skipped but from the standpoint of wanting to adapt other material in the series, it makes sense. This does lead to some interesting speculation since the opening theme makes it clear that Shinobu will make an appearance and a prominent one at that. I’m curious to see how her introduction might be modified.
Adventure in the Baths
As for what episode 2 did adapt, that would be the remainder of volume one, or chapters 3 – 6. These chapters introduce the third primary character of early UQ Holder!, Kuromaru. The episode remained generally faithful to the events of the manga, changing somethings, but nothing worth highlighting in a negative sense. A smaller change made near the end was the inclusion of Karen in the scene where UQ Holder! makes its first appearance. This change makes perfect sense as it allows for viewers to get a quick introduction to her character while not taking up too time. It’s a prime example of how faithfulness in adaptation isn’t always the best route.
This type of restructuring makes sense when turning a mini-arc into an anime episode. Some of the moments before and after Tota and Kuromaru’s fight were cut, but the vision remains. Visually, the fights didn’t feel the need to stick to the exact angles that the manga did. This allows for the anime’s staff to produce their own take on UQ Holder‘s content. The freedom creates more exciting cuts that work better with animation.
Like last week, fight scenes have a lot to gain from animation and exciting storyboards. So, who’s responsible for it this week? This episode was directed and storyboarded by Shigeru Kimiya, and the storyboard work is quite nice for the fights which, while not always the most animated, were consistently nice to look at. This allows for the anime to stand on its own, being its own UQ Holder!.
On the inclusion of Negima! references
Another key example from this episode is the inclusion of an explicit reference to Konoka and Setsuna. In the manga version, Setsuna is only alluded to when Kuromaru first appears, but the anime makes that callback explicit. This makes sense because, at this point in the manga, it wasn’t officially known as a sequel to Negima!. The anime is clear about this from the beginning. Though this is where I must admit my bias, I love Konoka and Setsuna, so any appearance of them makes the fanboy in my heart explode. I do, however, think that that does make it a good addition into a UQ Holder! anime regardless. The inclusion of this scene paints a clearer picture of what it’s supposed to be then the manga.
UQ Holder! Going forward
This episode gave me a lot more hope for UQ Holder!. Episode 2 was everything I’d ever want from an anime adaptation of UQ Holder!, which excites me. I’m still worried going forward, but it’s important to give credit where credit is due. The next episode will likely be very important, as it is introducing UQ Holder proper. Once again I’m looking forward to next week more than the last, and that’s a good thing.