UQ Holder Manga Chapter 12 Review ("…a boy without a winkle is a girl, and everyone was really disappointed.")

ユーキューホルダー!/UQ Holder Chapter 12 Review

SPOILER Summary/Synopsis: 

Touta has a memory dream before waking up in the cramped room he shares with Kuroumaru at UQ Holder. Heading outdoors, some of the regular members of UQ Holder are drinking in their humanoid form. Their constant addressing him as “Touta-aniki” or as plain “aniki” irritates him since he thinks they are making fun of him, not showing respect. They refuse to stop since they are required to address the “numbers” members of the group with such honorifics.

Touta is also upset at the menial chores he does day in and out for only ¥200/hour. He wants to speak with Yukihime, but is denied at her request until he moves up to executive status by doing jobs. When Touta hears this from Basago, he thinks he has to do more cleaning, which amuses Basago, who then corrects Touta by assigning him a real mission with Kuroumaru, along with Karin as backup.

Meanwhile, Karin gets ready and goes to Touta’s and Kuroumaru’s room, where she discovers a naked Kuroumaru. Not only that, Karin discovers Kuroumaru is not male as she claimed. Kuroumaru desperately insists that she is male, but Karin isn’t buying it, citing how improper it is for Kuroumaru and Touta to bunk together. Kuroumaru begs Karin not to tell Touta her secret, which Karin agrees to for the moment.

Now geared up and ready to go, the trio race to the job cite on foot. Karin explains they are going to the slums, an area outside the capital where the poor and undesirable are, placed there after the world decided to redistribute poverty equally among all nations. UQ Holder’s mission is to protect such people from those who would attempt to slaughter the innocents living there.

They head to a church, where a nun has some small kids outside. Also outside are a group of yakuza-looking guys. Touta charges in, thinking these are the villains, and attacks. The nun tells him that they were part of UQ Holder.

Thoughts/Review:

Bwah!ha!ha!ha! I’ve been thinking all along that Kuroumaru was a girl, which is why my reviews of late have refused to use a gender term with her…until now.  Girl it is.

I chose my catch line quote in the header from Blackadder II, where the character Nursie is recalling when Queen Elizabeth I was born and everyone initially thinking the child to be a boy.

Out you popped, out of your mummie’s tumkin and everybody shouting, ‘It’s a boy, it’s a boy!’ And somebody said, ‘But it hasn’t got a winkle!’ And then I said, ‘A boy without a winkle? God be praised, it’s a miracle. A boy without a winkle!’ And then Sir Thomas Moore pointed out that a boy without a winkle is a girl, and everyone was really disappointed.

Besides being a funny line from a funny, British comedy, the line reflects fandom’s attitude about Kuroumaru. For whatever reasons, a lot of folks wanted Kuroumaru to be a girly dude, have a romance with Touta, and so on. A lot of folks have stated how unhappy they’d be if Kuroumaru turned out to be a girl.

I never saw Kuroumaru as a dude. Everything about Kuroumaru screamed “girl” to me. As I have seen it, Kuroumaru was born a girl. She has all of the instincts of a girl in how she kept her chest covered to how she held up her arms in front of her, fists clenched below her chin, to express frustration with Touta. So for me, her whole body modification thing was an attempt to make her male, which failed.

Kuroumaru is desperate to be thought of as male. When Karin discovered her secret, Kuroumaru’s initial response was to still deny her gender and insist she was a guy. When Kuroumaru saw that Karin wasn’t going for it, she shifted to a plea to just not tell Touta her secret, and relief when Karin agreed, even though it was conditional.

So, I got to thinking. Why would Kuroumaru be like this?  We know almost nothing about her background, but we know that she’s in a clan of some sort who appear to wear masks of some kind of bird design. Then it hit me — what if Kuroumaru’s clan is not a crow-youkai clan like Setsuna’s, but were instead a clan of karasu-tengu — a different kind of youkai?

Again, this is just speculation based on very limited evidence, but tengu are almost always male, hatched from giant eggs. We only saw males talking about Kuroumaru. The bird masks the men in Kurouaru’s clan wear could be karasu-tengu type masks.  Tengu have great supernatural powers, and certainly we’ve seen Kuroumaru do something unique with the Kenfuka Bakuenheki attack (though admittedly, this could just be a previously unknown Shinmeiryuu attack, but it could be something special to Kuroumaru’s tribe). Tengu can do shundo, as I understand it. Indeed, tengu martial arts skills are quite good, enough so that they’ve apparently taught ninja, samurai, and others.  Tengu, in more modern times, are protectors shrines, temples, and even help humans. Kuroumaru’s tribe may have been the ones to teach humans the Shinmeiryuu arts.

So I can easily see a clan of karasu-tengu discovering a rare female born from a clutch, who then attempt to transform said female into a male because tengu are supposed to be male, but they fail. If Kuroumaru’s body was already that of an immortal, then it would make sense that their attempts would fail. (Update: As pointed out, the various translations strongly suggest Kuroumaru’s immortality came from the body modification. In that case, I’d say the clan’s failed attempt to transform Kuroumaru into a proper male which resulted in her not only remaining female, but also resisting any further attempts to modify her body, no wonder they’d considered her cursed.) In a clan of nothing but men, she would be raised male, but she’d feel shame about being female, and now doubt, she learned to cover herself to prevent others from learning her secret.

Anyway, it is just a theory of mine which fits with the available facts at present. I could easily be wrong.

As to Touta, he’s a mixed bag to me in this chapter. I give him brownie points for deciding that if he had to scrub and clean his way to see Eva, that’s what he’d do. Naturally, he loses all of his brownie points by leaping before looking, thus attacking his allies because he assumed he already knew everything.  Touta’s stupidity is what makes him so irritating as a character.

Regarding Touta’s flashback memory-dream (which gave me a flashback to Asuna om Negima, who had similar amnesia and flashback memory-dreams), man was he torn up. No wonder Eva had to do something to save his life, otherwise he would have bled to death from his ripped off arm and leg wound.  People are speculating that Eva caused Touta’s memory loss, and that may be right.  She would have done that to spare him the trauma, then just takes over as his guardian.

Speaking of Eva, I hope we learn what caused her to soften enough to join a group like UQ Holder, and its mission to help the weak. I’m pretty sure it was her time with Negi and the class, but I’d like to see that confirmed.

Sheeze, I’ve already written a ton. I’ll have to be brief now. ^_^;

The slum thing is interesting, but exactly what I expect from social engineering types who think they know how to make everything equal and “fair” even though that’s not possible.  I wonder if the nun at the church turns out to be Cocone. That would rock. ^_^

In the end, this chapter ended up being more enjoyable than I expected, as evidenced by how much I’ve spewed here. Looking forward to reading more. ^_^

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20 Responses to “UQ Holder Manga Chapter 12 Review ("…a boy without a winkle is a girl, and everyone was really disappointed.")”

  1. nick.s says:

    “Oh yes, well you see, he was a very perceptive man, Sir Thomas More!”

    Classic British comedy aside yeah I am also finding Touta stupidity to be a bit overplayed atm- though I must admit to a slight giggle at the end with the ‘dude that was our ALLIES!’ moment…

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      >Classic British comedy aside yeah I am also finding Touta stupidity to be a bit overplayed atm- though I must admit to a slight giggle at the end with the ‘dude that was our ALLIES!’ moment…

      I can understand the giggle. I didn’t have a similar experience, but I did wonder how many times he’d leap before he looked before he’d learn his lesson. ^_^;;;

  2. Philip says:

    In regards to Kuromaru, it’s ultimately settled on the “Ryuunosuke” direction?

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Heh! Well, the only difference there being that Ryuunosuke actually would have preferred to have gotten to dress and be seen as a girl, but yeah, a “guy” who’s really a girl.

      Now, where’s Ataru to come hit on Kuroumaru like mad? *lol*

  3. I think there is more to Touma’s character that meets the eye. It is getting very obvious that Touma is Asuna MkII, not the Negi Mk II that most people probably expected Akamatsu to make. What I am more curious about though, is the personality under the amnesia.

    For some reason, I suspect Yukihime/Eva encouraged Touta’s post-amnesia idiocy, possibly based on her memories of how Asuna’s “idiot” personality overrode her possibly much less stable and deader Pre-memory wipe self. If that’s the case, then Touta’s idiocy may well be an insurance to prevent Touta from breaking to bits or plunging into the deep end once he gradually recovers his memories.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      >I think there is more to Touma’s character that meets the eye.

      I hold out hope for this.

      >What I am more curious about though, is the personality under the amnesia.

      And there is where Touta could become very interesting.

      >For some reason, I suspect Yukihime/Eva encouraged Touta’s post-amnesia idiocy, possibly based on her memories of how Asuna’s “idiot” personality overrode her possibly much less stable and deader Pre-memory wipe self. If that’s the case, then Touta’s idiocy may well be an insurance to prevent Touta from breaking to bits or plunging into the deep end once he gradually recovers his memories.

      That works for me as a theory. I suspect that much of Eva’s current actions, including being part of UQ Holder, is based on her past experiences with Negi, Asuna, and company.

  4. Haha ! I`m glad that our journey of guessing on Kuromarou`s gender has finally rest , Yet the joke continues ! But i`m happy that Kuromarou didn`t turned out to be a dude ( Yikes ! ) Now all we have to do is wait and get a story on her ” Body modifications “

    As for Karin`s speech , I Didn`t quite understand of what she was saying , But i quite get it now , Hopefully it`ll be related on why japan`s been getting alot of ghost-towns lately and all of that good stuff.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      >Haha ! I`m glad that our journey of guessing on Kuromarou`s gender has finally rest , Yet the joke continues !

      Amen to that!

      >Now all we have to do is wait and get a story on her ” Body modifications “

      Yeppers.

      >As for Karin`s speech , I Didn`t quite understand of what she was saying , But i quite get it now , Hopefully it`ll be related on why japan`s been getting alot of ghost-towns lately and all of that good stuff.

      I think we may get into more of this with this “first job arc” but we’ll see.

  5. Anonymous says:

    You know, if someone insists that they’re of one gender, it’s rude to call them the opposite gender.

    For those confused, gender and sex are two different things. If Kuromaru identifies himself as male, then male he shall be, unless/until he decides/says differently.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      I don’t subscribe to political correctness because the PC mindset is the biggest form of censorship ever.

      That being said, if Kuroumaru identified herself as a dog and demanded to be addressed as such, it doesn’t change the fact that she is in fact a human. I will continue to address Kuroumaru as a human being, not a dog.

      It is rather like Yukihime/Eva. Yukihime’s real name is “Evangeline”, or “Eva” for short. As such, I will continue to address Yukihime as Eva. And I won’t add “-sama” to her name, even if she demands that’s the only way she should be addressed. ^_~

      Oh, and on the gender/sex thing, as defined by Merriam-Webster…

      Gender : the state of being male or female
      Sex : the state of being male or female

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m not that Anon, but there is no such thing as “political correctness.” It’s called being a considerate and decent person. It’s only people like you who cry out “everything has to be PC these days!” or “you’re just trying to censor me with PC!” when called out on saying or doing something bigoted. No, you’re just using it as an excuse to be disrespectful and not see what you’re doing wrong. Yes, Kuroumaru is just a fictional character, but this line of thinking is hurtful towards real life trans*people.

      And no. Sex is biological. Gender is mental. Your explanations/excuses to that anon are so very rude and immature. You’re an adult, I suggest you take time to educate yourself on the topic and own up to your mistake.

      http://www.cheryl-morgan.com/?page_id=6098
      http://srlp.org/resources/trans-101/

    • Anonymous says:

      Anon 2, I think you’re missing the point at Astro was trying to make: An apple is still an apple, its make no difference if the fruit seller insists that it’s a banana.
      Another example is the China zoo’s lion: the sign says it’s a lion but it barks like a dog and looks like a dog, but by your line of thought, you would call it a lion then so that we can be “decent adults?”

      Yes Astro may have used a wrong analogy that offends you but your words clearly makes you seem butt-hurt about it. Look past the mistake and get the gist of the message.

    • Anonymous says:

      Original poster here: I wasn’t talking about Political Correctness, I was talking about transsexuals, both pre- and post-op. Deliberately calling them the wrong gender can hurtful, not to mention rude.

      As for Yukihime? If she wants to be called Yukihime, that’s her business, and something completely different from being called “-sama”. If someone prefers to be called by a nickname, or wants to change their name, isn’t just basic politeness to use that, barring certain circumstances?

      As for your dog example: weird, but okay. If it makes them happy, I don’t really care. As long as it makes them happy, unless such a belief is actually harming them, in which case I would try to get them help.

      Finally, while gender and sex may be interchangeable, theirs a still growing trend to separate them into two different things: gender is a social construct, sex is biological.

      It’s not completely accurate, but that’s what definition I was using. Sorry if I confused anyone.

  6. NullApostle says:

    You have to cut Touta some slack there at the end. The ‘basic’ UQH members don’t exactly look like reputable folks, do they?
    What would you do if you were a Shonen hero facing a scene like that – scary dudes in black suits advancing on a nun and a group children, possibly orphans?

    Interesting theory on Kuroumaru, but I don’t think she was immortal before the experiments. At least that’s what I got from the context of the last few chapters, especially from chapter nine where Kuroumaru introduces herself as an ‘immortalization curse test subject’.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      >You have to cut Touta some slack there at the end. The ‘basic’ UQH members don’t exactly look like reputable folks, do they?

      True, but after previous failed “leaping before looking” moment(s), Touta should be more cautious, including knowing that UQH regular members all look like yakuza.

      >Interesting theory on Kuroumaru, but I don’t think she was immortal before the experiments.

      And you are quite correct. I’ve made an update to accommodate that element.

  7. Anonymous says:

    What if that theory that Kuroumaru had a male body that was turned female by the curse turns out to be true? Will everyone call him a boy because he was originally born one then?

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      I don’t think that’s going to happen since Kuroumaru has instinctive female traits. That being said, if Kuroumaru was born male, I think you already see that they would address Kuroumaru as male solely because that’s what Kuroumaru wants people to think.

  8. […] finally explain Kuroumaru’s gender and race. I had thought Kuroumaru might be a member of the Karasu-tengu tribe, but it was actually the Yata no Karasu tribe.  So this goes back to the original thought that I […]

  9. […] volume covers chapters 7 through 17 (original reviews for chapters 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, & […]

  10. Anonymous says:

    88

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