Although Kirie calls Tota incompetent a lot in this episode, UQ Holder! has returned to being a mostly competent show. Let’s see how it works as an adaptation as the Fate arc begins.
Following Up From Last Week
As I mentioned in my previous episode post, the last episode adapted content not originally placed in between these arcs. The decision to make these two events occur on the same day makes the time travel elements of the arc a bit more confusing timeline wise, but thankfully doesn’t create any real holes. The fact that because of the changes Tota now fights Chao twice in one day is amusing, but not damning. I’d say the biggest problems with this episodes were not completely linked to adaptation, but overall poor pacing.
The episode adapts roughly chapters 31-36 but due to the previous episode and changes made to the previous arc, the execution is clunky. Karin’s inclusion in much of this episode is completely original, which changes a lot. In the manga, she’s sent to the moon in the previous arc. The reason they’re at the tower in the first place is to pick her up. Anything referencing the previous episodes is also original of course. One change though brings a lot to talk about in regards to the anime’s future.
Near the end of the episode, a cloaked figure bumps into Tota, using some sort of magic. This is Cutlass, a key character from the UQ Holder! manga. They don’t appear in the manga for another thirty or so chapters, so this is surprising. I honestly thought she wouldn’t appear in the anime, seeing as there was no announcement of her casting. It does make sense to introduce her here though, as the anime is pretty clearly cutting the Investigation arc (seeing as Sasaki isn’t in the OP) and going straight into the parts with Cutlass and Al Alba.
I’m very interested to see how they handle the coming episodes. It’d be impossible to adapt the content until the stuff shown in the key visual, but I’m interested to see how the staff will try. It should be interesting at least. It won’t be everything it could be though because UQ Holder! is missing key things.
Thematic Emptiness in UQ Holder!
I’ve mentioned in the past weeks that much of the content that makes up the thematic weight of UQ Holder! has been cut to allow for the main narrative to flow. It doesn’t hurt the show this bad this episode but themes were still cut. Chao mentions that killing Kirie would be fine in the manga, seeing as she’s an “immortal monster.” This disregard for immortals humanity, as well as the idea of keeping one’s humanity, are important to the series. But, you don’t get that here. Not including these aspects of the story in the anime aren’t inherently bad, but it makes it a very different UQ Holder!, you can decide for yourself if that’s a good thing.
The Staff and Look of UQ Holder! episode 7
The script for the episode was once again handled by the man in charge of series composition, Shogo Yasukawa. Shigeru Kimiya returned to do the storyboard and directing, having also done episode 2. The episode, and the series as a whole has slowly become more and more visually unappealing. The color work especially isn’t very nice to look at. I could be biased as I’m a big fan of Akamatsu’s sharp lines and hard blacks, but UQ Holder!s visual design doesn’t do anything for me. The occasional scene does make UQ Holder!s journey into a moving medium feel worth it, but those are far and few between.
I’ve felt a lot of things over the seven weeks of UQ Holder!s run so far, much of which now is melancholy. I don’t anticipate new episodes, but I don’t dread them either. Maybe by the end I’ll have a reason to remember the show fondly, but for now, It’s just a show that exists.