UQ Holder Chapter 16 Manga Review (Retconning the shundo technique from Negima!)

ユーキューホルダー! Manga Review
UQ Holder Chapter 16


SPOILER Summary/Synopsis: 

UQ Holder Chapter 16Touta recalls the shundo training that Kaito gave him, which involved being bare footed, including doing things like eating and brushing teeth with one’s feet. Touta realizes he’s gotten pretty good at it when he accidentally shundo’s into Kuroumaru’s face. Kuroumaru is not thrilled at observing Touta start doing everything with his feet, though the kids at the church love it. Karin observes this and tells the “idiot” that such foolishness won’t allow him to defeat her nor Kuroumaru.  Further, she’s offended by the bad manners of doing such things in front of the children, but Touta won’t stop.

Meanwhile, Kuroumaru wonders who this passing martial artist that Touta met is. Touta excitedly explains about Kaito, saying that he has another appointment to learn on this very day. Kuroumaru offers to help Touta learn since the shundo technique is mastered by Kuroumaru, but Touta refuses, simply because Kuroumaru doesn’t have the right umph. Kuroumaru wants to know why Touta is suddenly interested in martial arts techniques when he’d rejected learning them before. Touta says that like everything he knows, when he finds someone awesome, he learns everything he can from them.

Karin hears Kuroumaru express concerns about Touta and his training. This leads Kuroumaru to suspect that Kuroumaru is jealous of Kaito. Kuroumaru gets flustered, more so when Karin asks if Kuroumaru likes Touta. As such, Karin demands Kuroumaru tell her the truth about Kuroumaru’s gender. Kuroumaru concedes to not being human, but rather demi-human, specifically a member of the Yata no Karasu tribe (Yatagarasu — Crow Tribe). Because of the unique nature of the species, the children of the Yata no Karasu are born without gender until the age of sixteen, at which point they may choose a gender at a ceremony. If they don’t choose, they will naturally become male or female.

Karin decides to attack Kuroumaru to discover if Kuroumaru will become a man or a woman. Karin wants Kuroumaru to become female and pair up with Touta. Kuroumaru protests, expressing a desire to be male and stand as Touta’s equal. As they battle, Karin praises the swordsmanship of Kuroumaru, who has been well trained. However, Karin observes that the reason that Touta did not choose Kuroumaru as a shundo trainer is because Kuroumaru lacks inner strength, citing Kuroumaru’s not having a love for the sword.  As such, Karin recommends Touta become a lovely girl.

Meanwhile, Kaito meets up with Nagumo and another man. Kaito is excited because of his encounter with Touta and says he even taught this slum kid a few things. Kaito is reminded to not get attached as they have a job to do. Kaito turns into a werewolf and the trio set out while Touta plays with the kids.

Thoughts/Review:

Well, as some thought, Kaito was part of this PMSC assigned to attack the slums. I think I saw someone predict Kaito to be the werewolf.

For those who’ve read Negima!, you are well aware of the shundo (shundou) “instant movement” technique. In that manga series, Negi was shown the technique, then trained on it, whereupon he rapidly become good at it. In all that time, none of the shundo users ever did it with bare feet, nor did the subject of bare feet to come up.

In UQ Holder, it suddenly appears that being barefoot is essential in learning the technique. Granted, Karin observes that Touta’s idiocy won’t help him defeat herself nor Kuroumaru, but for some reason, Akamatsu-sensei droned on and on about being barefoot, so much so that Touta started doing everything with his bare feet. *_* I’m guessing we’ll learn more down the road.

I did like Karin’s and Kuroumaru’s chat. Karin is a sharp cookie, and Akamatsu-sensei used it to 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 had in that Kuroumaru is actually genderless (gender-neutral is the term I think I actually used). I was wrong in my earlier thought about Kuroumaru having possibly been female turned gender-neutral.

Regardless, I agree with Karin’s assessment of Kuroumaru. Kuroumaru would be better as a female in my opinion. Further, if Kuroumaru does not love the sword despite being well trained in the sword, then Kuroumaru’s whole “I’m a male” protestations may be equally as hollow. After all, Kuroumaru is only doing those expected things, not the things that Kuroumaru wants to do.

I hope that Kuroumaru will get fleshed out properly; Karin as well.

Anyway, now we have the PCMS mercenary group on station and a fight seemingly in the works. We’ll see how things go in about two weeks.

As an aside, I liked the color image of Eva-chan. I wonder when she returns to the story, though it seems like it will be a while before this happens.

So, be back in a couple of weeks.

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15 Responses to “UQ Holder Chapter 16 Manga Review (Retconning the shundo technique from Negima!)”

  1. Cube says:

    The only thing I did not like about Kuromaru “Not liking the sword” and “being better as Touta’s girlfriend” is that it reminded me waaaay too much of Motoko

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      *lol* That’s very true. Akamatsu-sensei is apparently not only limited in character designs, but in character types too. ^_~

  2. Tim says:

    Hmm… (-_-) ‘deep in thought’

    If Kuroumaru is immortal, which so far seems to indicate ‘ageless’, would s/he actually reach the age of sixteen? Logically, we’re talking about physical age, which would trigger the Simoun like choice.

    Although if we’re talking about ‘magic’ here, then anything goes and the above speculation is all but thrown out the window. 🙂

    My ‘tree in the forest’ musing for today.

  3. Anonynous says:

    I don’t think the barefoot thing is really a retcon. It just seems like a trick Kaito thinks is helpful in using shundou. People sometimes like to put their own spin on things.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Hmmmm…you may be right. It just seemed so…retconish. ^_^; But, next chapter, we may learn that Karin can shundo better than Kaito, and with shoes on to boot. ^_^

  4. EldritchGentleman says:

    Regarding the Shundo I too think it’s not really a retcon. Kaito simply thinks that’s the best way to learn Shundo. It actually makes sense.
    Shundo relies heavily on the user’s contact with the ground and ability to control the entry and exit. For a total newbie who is just starting to learn the skill it would be easier barefoot because then he’d have better “feedback”. Wearing shoes and socks would naturally dull the “feel” of using Shundo and would make it harder to do it. Like you can’t do things as precisely when you are wearing gloves for example. It is possible to learn shundo with footwear on but it would be harder.

    As for Kuroumaru I can’t help but be reminded of Setsuna. Kuro too seems caught up in between what he wants and what he thinks he should do. Just like Setsuna who wanted a friendly relationship with Konoka but at the same time thought she had to push her feelings away and do her job as a bodyguard. I guess Karin will be the no-nonsense heavy-hitter who will beat the idiocy out of Kuroumaru. Eva-chan taught her well ^^

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Yeah, but in a battle, you aren’t going to be taking off shoes and socks. ^_^;;;

      • EldritchGentleman says:

        Well that’s for the sake of training, to get the feel. Once you’ve got the basics down you can start using footwear ^^

        • AstroNerdBoy says:

          Kotaro never spoke of the need for this, nor did anyone else. I guess it isn’t a big thing, but it stuck out to me.

  5. ShadowOfTheVoid says:

    @Tim. I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought of Simoun. The only difference is that everybody in Simulacrum was born female instead of genderless like Kuro’s tribe.

    I too was wondering if Kuro’s immortality would prohibit him (well, Kuro at least acts like he identifies as male, though it does seem to be largely bluster) from being able to choose a gender. While romance hasn’t really been an issue yet in UQH, this is a Ken Akamatsu manga, so it’s probably going to have a romantic element, and Kuromaru is being positioned as Touta’s primary love interest. If so, one wonders what issues Kuro being genderless and possibly unable to choose a gender will present. And if and when Kuro is able to choose a gender, well, I doubt Akamatsu will go the yaoi route, and despite wanting to be seen as male it’s obvious that Kuro will choose to be female. Despite dressing and talking like a male and his constant talk of “I’m a male,” she acts quite girly at times, blushes a lot, reacts like you’d expect a female protagonist in an Akamtsu manga to act, etc.

    @ANB. I see that your new blog here uses WordPress, which is also what I have. However, these comments aren’t standard WordPress comments sections. Is there some kind of sign-in procedure to where I don’t have to keep putting my name & email in every time I want to comment? I have a Google account so posting on a Blogspot blog was simple, but I have no idea what system you’re using here.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Yeah, looks like the theme supplants the normal comments for its own. I’m checking with support before I do anything so that I don’t break the thing. I’ll have to create a new comments.php file for my child theme. Once that happens, you’ll be able to login via any number of connection methods, and in theory, retain said login.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      And if and when Kuro is able to choose a gender, well, I doubt Akamatsu will go the yaoi route, and despite wanting to be seen as male it’s obvious that Kuro will choose to be female. Despite dressing and talking like a male and his constant talk of “I’m a male,” she acts quite girly at times, blushes a lot, reacts like you’d expect a female protagonist in an Akamtsu manga to act, etc.

      I agree. The yaoi/trap/whatever stuff can be gotten away with in a seinen title, but not a shounen title.

  6. arimareiji says:

    I was finally figured out what’s been bothering me about 16: Is it just me, or is it troubling to hear Karin (a girl) apparently feeding into Kuroumaru’s “I have to be male to be his equal”? The only thing I can come up with is that she was trying to goad Kuroumaru on.

    I know, it’s a bit “PC” to be troubled by this – it’s just that it kinda flies in the face of Negima’s “girls can be just as strong companions as boys, sometimes even more”. (Though then again, it seemed like that got abandoned as well near the end.)

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      I saw Karin’s goading Kuroumaru on as more of a way to protect herself from Eva’s prediction that Karin could well end up with Touta in the (distant) future. So as soon as Karin saw Kuroumaru’s weakness in feeling inadequate, Karin pounced. ^_^

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