It’s been a really long time.
OK, since it’s been out for a while I thought I’ll just keep a running tab on the more interesting stuff to come out of that first chapter …
1. Some people have already picked up on this, but the ‘UQ’ in the title is a play on ‘yuukyuu’ 悠久, meaning more or less ‘eternal’. Basically, the title refers to ‘Holders of eternity’. By the way, Ala Rubra was also known as 悠久の風 yuukyuu no kaze, Austro-Africus Aeternalis (the eternal south wind).
2. There are a couple of terms being thrown around related to 1:
不老不死 furoufushi – ‘ageless and deathless’, this is what they used to refer to the immortal jellyfish. This was also the term used to describe the vampiric immortality that Negi gained after his rebirth via Magia Erebea. Shiraishi (the Fate lookalike) defined this as ‘having no life span’, ie. immortality.
不死身 fujimi – ‘deathless body’, this is what Touta apparently gained by sucking Yuki/Eva’s blood. Shiraishi defined this as ‘not dying no matter what’, ie. invulnerability.
For comparison, the Mage of the Beginning was described by Albireo as 不滅 fumetsu, which I rendered as ‘ceaseless’ though more literally it would be ‘without destruction, suppression, annihilation’.
3. As for why the ‘new’ spells are all in English, the in-story may be that they are using the ‘Physical Apps’ Yuki mentioned which allows commoners to use magic without training. Basically, imagine your smartphone is a wand and you can buy, download and install magic spells.
… The meta reason is because Akamatsu probably doesn’t have a foreign language consultant on his team any more.
4. Touta wears two different T-shirts with stuff written on them. Here’s my take on what they mean:
(1) When he ambushes Yuki from he ceiling, his shirt says 塩味。 which is literally ‘salty’. The connotation here is probably that he’s being ‘weak’ or ‘cowardly’. This comes from sumo, where salt is tossed on the ring to ritualistically purify it. So, if one side is constantly on the ground or forced down by his opponent, he would be constantly touching the salt. Hence the connotation of ‘salty’ or ‘salted’ with weakness, disappointment, cowardice, etc.
(2) During the flashback when Yuki first adopted him, his shirt said 人間五十年。 which literally means ‘fifty human years’ and refers to a line in an old play … and is way, way too complex to explain in detail here. But it boils down to ‘life is ephemeral’ which is pretty fitting given what just happened.
5. The name of the Japanese Orbital Elevator, ‘Amanomihashira’ is the ‘Pillar of Heaven’. It’s actually mentioned here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onogoro_Island) so you can read that and decide if the naming is purely because it sounded fitting or if there is some other meaning.