This week UQ Holder! mostly took a break from its plot to give us some time with the characters. Once again this entailed skipping to content later in the manga, content that ranks upon my least favorite parts of UQ Holder! Let’s see how it faired.
A Mish-Mash of Manga in UQ Holder!
When I say that Episode 9 of UQ Holder! skipped around a lot I mean it. This episode adapted parts of chapters 95, 98,100,110, 112 and 129. Along with that, the part of chapter 110 they adapted is heavily changed to fit the context of the anime, as it’s the conclusion of a skipped subplot in the manga. That’s the biggest thing with this episode, it takes various elements of the manga and changes them to fit with the anime. This isn’t inherently a bad thing, and it does so fairly well. As a whole the episode does feel rather unneeded. The harem aspects of UQ Holder!’s manga have felt quite extraneous most of the time, so giving them a whole episode of a 12 episode anime is a questionable move. Enough complaining about what could have been, this episode was actually… fun?
Mizore and Class 3-A
I’ve complained a lot about Mizore in the past, I feel she’s a character that adds nothing. In Episode 9 however, I found her entertaining. Perhaps it’s because this is episode nine that she’s being introduced and not chapter 95? At the point of her introduction in the manga UQ Holder! had just finished up a training arc that had a lot of development for Tota and expanded his goals. Chapters later Mizore appears and I sat through months of harem chapters. Perhaps I hated what she represented to me rather than her herself? This is an interesting idea that doesn’t come up a lot. Adaptation can greatly change one’s impression of a character. A character is defined to the viewer by the events you see them in. Thus, if an adaptation changes the context, the character is presented, and can be received, differently.
The episode also introduced Ayaka and a Negima! flashback along with it. The flashback comes from chapter 129 of UQ Holder!, and is actually a continuation of the one from episode one. As I said last week, I’m a sucker for Negima! callbacks and this one actually fits pretty well. Yukihime and Ayaka remembering their past is quite a nice scene and a nice balance for the silliness of the rest of the episode. Negima! will seemingly become more and more relevant to this adaptation, so including scenes to establish what Negima! was, makes sense for new viewers.
The Truth About Negi and Tota
Tota’s a clone! Bet you didn’t see that coming! The reveal was quite different in the manga though. In the manga, Tota got attacked by Cutlass, who reveals it to him. I wonder go further than that because I do believe that skirmish will be adapted somewhat in the next episode, so I’m looking forward to that. The explanation of Negi’s situation wasn’t in this part of the manga either, it was from chapter 112, and it was given by a different Negima! character. The conversation between Tota and Yukihime on the dock, as well as the moment in the baths, were interesting to see adapted, as they have a very different meaning in the manga.
At this point in the manga, Tota and Yukihime were in an awkward place, and these moments were something of a reconciliation between the two. Admittedly, I’m not much of a fan of that part of their story, but it’s interesting to see UQ Holder! continually adapt moments in appearance but not in content. Parts like this are UQ Holder! in name only. Seeing these aspects of UQ Holder! is something, but lacks the heart. The biggest thing I’m getting to here is context is super important in adaptation. It can make bad things good and good things bad. If it’s done well. UQ Holder! manages to do both in this episode. It’s an odd idea, this episode takes a bunch of different bits of manga and makes it into a coherent 20 minutes. It’s messy and has its ups and downs, but that’s what makes it fascinating.
The Art of the Harem
Kana Kawana returns to the director’s seat this episode, having also done episode 5. He was also in charge of the storyboard. Like last week, the animation was somewhat subpar but more acceptable considering the content. This is a personal thing, but I feel I don’t need as great animation with harem hijinks. That’s just me though, so fans of goofy character animation won’t find much in this episode. Despite the animation, I was reasonably impressed by this episode of UQ Holder! While I feel that some of the premises of the harem are weakened as character development is missing, I felt this episode was fun enough that I wasn’t wasting my time. With only three episodes left of UQ Holder!, I’m curious to see how they’ll manage it’s ending. I’m looking forward to this final stretch if only to see how they might mess it up.