UQ Holder Manga Chapter 3 Review (It’s a trap! Maybe.)

ユーキューホルダー!/UQ Holder Chapter 003 Review

SPOILER Summary/Synopsis: 

Touta and Yukihime are walking down the road when Touta realizes the tower is still super far away. Yukihime reminds him that taking public transportation would be bad if a bounty hunter found them. Rolling with it, Touta sins again, then mentions that once they get settled in the capital, he can return to visit his friend Shinobu. Yukihime tells him to give up on making friends due to their undying condition, saying he’d regret it if he did. Touta rejects this.

At a rest area, Touta decides to take a swim, having seen a waterfall nearby. Yukihime warns him to be careful of bounty hunters. Getting into the water Touta is floating on his back, relaxing, when he bumps into another person butt with his head. The person takes offense and attacks with a sword. Touta is blasted out of the water and lads on a nearby rock, but as he goes to praise his opponent, that person challenges him. Touta thinks it is a girl, leading the person to take great offense, coming in to punch Touta for it.

Out of the water and fully dressed, Touta apologizes to the “guy” for thinking “him” a girl. Touta is told that anyone would be bothered by having been groped in the fashion Touta did. The two head to the rest area and discuss how the population of Japan has migrated to the capital, leaving ghost towns all over. The two finally introduce themselves, the newcomer stating their name as TOKISAKA Kuroumaru. After making amends, Touta lifts up Kuroumaru’s hair to uncover the face, believing this to really be a girl, leading to Kuroumaru’s anger.

When Touta hears that Kuroumaru comes from the tower, he really wants to be friend with this person from outer space. Since the two get along, Touta figures he has one over on Yukihime.  As they sit and chat, Kuroumaru reveals that in order to return, “his” mission must be accomplished, “he” must find Eva. Touta reveals that this is his traveling companion, shocking Kuroumaru. Then Kuroumaru notices Touta has no reflection in the glass and reveals that “his” clan hunt the undead and demons. As such, Kuroumaru has to put an end to Touta’s life. Using the Shinmeiryuu techniques, Kuroumaru starts an attack, but “his” blade is caught by Yukihime with her finger and thumb. Kuroumaru realizes this is the target, but before anything else can happen, Yukihime puts a hand through Kuroumaru’s chest.

Thoughts/Review:

There’s only eighteen pages, but yet there’s a ton to talk about her.

First, lets get to the least important item — it Kuroumaru a girl or a boy?  Because of the “who are you calling a girl” aspect of the chapter, and Kuroumaru’s usage of the masculine pronoun “boku” to refer to themself, I’ve used the masculine pronouns, though with quotes for now.

Do I think that Kuroumaru is a guy? I think “he” is actually a reverse-trap. Although there are some masculine aspects to Kuroumaru in the drawings (which could be the result of disguise techniques), certain things purposefully done by Akamatsu-sensei leave room for doubt. Kuroumaru’s first instinct upon having a boy’s face planted into “his” ass is to cover “his” chest and attack.Then, while holding a sword in a defensive stance, Kuroumaru makes sure to keep the towel up.  I ask you, what guy does that, especially a wiry guy who’s in shape?

Touta never actually saw Kuroumaru’s naughty bits, so when Touta looks closely at Kuroumaru’s face, he again sees a girl, not a guy. It is not uncommon for a girl to pass themselves off as a guy in anime or manga, especially in a story like this. We may find out pretty soon whether Kuroumaru is actually a dude or a chick.

Those who were worried about Eva having lost a step, I think this chapter proves that to be an unfounded fear. Granted, we haven’t seen Kuroumaru doing much beyond the attack and punch of Touta, but one would think “he” wouldn’t be sent on a mission to hunt Eva without being fairly highly skilled. Eva stopped Kuroumaru’s attack with a finger and thumb without even trying, then put her hand through Kuroumaru’s chest like it was paper.  She hasn’t lost a step.

Still, this chapter reminded me of when Eva gave a very brief racap of how she became a vampire and her life afterward to Setsuna and Asuna. Asuna kept wanting to forgive her, and Eva rejected that because she took lives willingly, even if it was forced on her.  As such, her going for an immediate kill of Kuroumaru makes sense to me. Here’s someone hunting her down, and the best way to remove a threat like this is to kill them.

While I’m always wondering about the bounty on Eva’s head, this chapter would explain why people have reason to fear her and to put a bounty on her. We haven’t seen Eva create thralls yet, but that could happen. We haven’t seen her use her doll abilities either, but that could still happen. Akamatsu-sensei has a tightrope to walk with Eva’s character, who’s been established to be a powerful, boss-type in a video game (though not the final boss). One can’t have her blowing away ever opponent, so it will be interesting to see how he deals with her.

Another thing that strikes me is how Eva is underestimated. She has what I assume is an impressive bounty for the current future date of this manga. The bounty hunter of the first chapter manages to get the drop on her, but doesn’t finish the job, allowing Eva to regenerate. (Whatever happened to him?)  Kuroumaru’s clan is underestimating Eva since Kuroumaru was sent out with a specific mission to hunt Eva. Unless they were ridding themselves of Kuroumaru.

I saw CanonRap mention this story setting up the Setsuna angst story, and I agree there. But I think we are going to get a bit more than that. I think we are going to get the Setsuna outcast story that Akamatsu-sensei never got to tell in Negima (beyond us knowing that Setsuna was cast out from her tribe because of her white wings). My sense of things is that Kuroumaru’s clan cast “him” out, but with an option to return should “he” do the impossible — kill Eva. We’ll see what Akamatsu-sensei does with all this.

Finally, it appears that Touta is about to lose his annoying happy-go-lucky attitude.  There’s being positive and such, but I’ve been rather bothered by how he so readily accepts the fact that he’s a vampire.  Yeah, you can point to the previous chapter where he whines about not physically maturing any, but it was all superficial stuff. There was no deep thought behind this massive change in Touta’s life. Eva putting a hand through Kuroumaru’s chest not only accomplishes what she wants to do in dealing with a threat, but she’s using it as an educational moment for Touta — “Get real, little puppy! The world is a dangerous place for us.” She may force Touta into a position of having to save Kuroumaru by cursing his new friend with immortality (assuming Kuroumaru isn’t some sort of youkai already).

Well, I thought that would be it, but then I remembered something else. Another element from Negima which seemed would play a more important role, but then got shoved to the side, is Eva’s vampirism.  Volume 3 of that manga was where the majority of the vampire stuff came out, with minor bits happening thereafter (such as Eva’s tuition “payments”).  Now that we discover that Touta has no reflection, I’m kinda hoping the vampire elements play a larger part.

Three chapters in, and I’m liking things quite a bit. UQ Holder is much darker than Negima! was, certainly at this point. I don’t have a problem with that.

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13 Responses to “UQ Holder Manga Chapter 3 Review (It’s a trap! Maybe.)”

  1. NoLastName says:

    Was Eva having no reflection ever mentioned or seen in Negima?
    I wonder if Koroumaru is completely human since we know she’s gonna be a major character and Eva just put a whole in her chest.
    It’d be surprising(in a good way) if he is dying next chapter and Touta gives him some of his blood and the Immortal Hunter becomes an immortal.
    It would also make Koroumaru’s relationship with Setsuna more pronounced; a demon demon-slayer and an immortal immortal-hunter.

    • NoLastName says:

      I was rereading the chapter and noticed that Koroumaru mentioned that she was “kinda” a foreigner and of Japanese descent. I’m guessing she’s gonna be part-human part-something or from another world. This remind of when Akamatsu said Mana Tatsumiya was half Portuguese and it was later revealed in-story that the other half was demon

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      >Was Eva having no reflection ever mentioned or seen in Negima?

      I don’t recall it.

      >I wonder if Koroumaru is completely human since we know she’s gonna be a major character and Eva just put a whole in her chest.

      Ditto. Initially, it seems Kuroumaru is being set up to be another vampire, but Kuroumaru may be mazoku, youkai, or the like.

      >I was rereading the chapter and noticed that Koroumaru mentioned that she was “kinda” a foreigner and of Japanese descent.

      I’m going to wait for RHS’s scan before going anywhere. That’s because CanonRap is a much better translator than the other two who are doing it.

  2. Anonymous says:

    That sounds awesome. I hope it happens. The next best thing would be the romantic comedy (yaoi?) route where touta and koroumaru make a pactio, which allows him to heal his wounds.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      >s. The next best thing would be the romantic comedy (yaoi?) route where touta and koroumaru make a pactio, which allows him to heal his wounds.

      *lol*

      That reminds me, Eva can make pactiones although I doubt Touta can since he cannot use magic.

  3. Farray says:

    I’ll repeat what I said on other forums already. I don’t care about genders, but I in general dislike it, if the author wants to keep it ambiguous. It doesn’t serve any purpose, but to rile the fans up. It doesn’t help that Kurou is using “boku”. For now, I’ll refer to Kurou as “he” because that’s what is officially assumed.

    But just for the fun of it, I’ll say Shinobu is a boy and Kuroumaru is a girl. Akamatsu just wants to troll everyone.

    For now, we can only speculate about Kurou and his connection to immortality. Whether he will heal from getting impaled by Yukihime or whether he already is immortal… we will find out soon anyway, so I will just wait patiently.

    And this is the first time I’ve heard Akamatsu vampires have no reflection. Until now, I just thought they were kinda modeled after Nasu’s shitos and shinsos. Then again, I’ve never seen Eva having a true animalistic thirst for blood…

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      >Akamatsu just wants to troll everyone.

      *lol* Yes, he does. ^_^;

      >…so I will just wait patiently.

      As will I, but also for chapters 2 and 3 from RHS. Reread their version of chapter 1 as translated by CanonRap. Quite a bit of difference and I trust CanonRap to have it right.

      >Then again, I’ve never seen Eva having a true animalistic thirst for blood…

      After volume 3 of Negima, the whole vampire thing sorta got lost. Eva eats normal foods for crying out loud. She was only seen consuming Negi’s blood once as payment for her lessons. She’s so powerful in magic, martial arts, and the like, her being a shinso vampire is almost just a afterthought. ^_^;

    • Anonymous says:

      Pretty sure that as a Shinso she doesn’t actually need blood, though it strengthens her. The same goes for the vampiric vulnerabilities, they just make her weaker, and anything obvious can be covered with illusion magic.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Well, vampirism is a tradeoff system. You gain bonuses in some areas (immortality being a common one), but lose things in other areas (have to avoid the sun at all costs). Eva is not bound by those weaknesses, and blood does apparently strengthen her, based on volume 3 of Negima. Eva being a shinso allows her to overcome many vampire negatives, and as you said, magic can cover the fact that she’s eternally a kid.

  4. SL from MH says:

    The 4th chapter is out (released by MS).

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Thanks for the alert. That’s just insane. I can’t imagine the Japanese will be too happy about a scan coming out some six days prior to its official release. ^_^;

    • SL from MH says:

      Well that’s how that group works. They mostly release there stuffs around 5-6 days before the official releases in Japan, that too for popular series like Naruto, Bleach, One Piece and Fairy Tail.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      I just worry about Kodansha doing drastic things because the manga is being released online six days prior to Japanese release.

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