UQ Holder, Volume 2 – Review

Love Hina was a legitimately formative experience for me, and Negima! also an off-kilter favorite, so it was pretty much inevitable that I eventually check out Akamatsu’s most recent manga. Unfortunately, so far this investigation has not been rewarded – UQ Holder has been a slog, frankly, possessing none of the creativity or hooks that made his last work fairly reliably rewarding. And this one doesn’t even start off pretending it’s a harem – it jumps straight into shounen territory, but that shounen is just not at all entertaining. Negima! has demonstrated Akamatsu can do some fantastic things in this genre, so hopefully UQ Holder finds its feet eventually.

You can check out my full review over at ANN, or my chapter notes below!

UQ Holder!

Chapter 1

Right, the story is about a family of immortals

The CG backgrounds can lack in personality at times

And the character designs are maybe a bit too standardized

“Polish” is absolutely the word for Akamatsu’s style. That and reliability

The incidental slapstick humor. The world is always kinda loose

Tota’s the lead, Kuromaru is his friend

Karin is the new girl

Tota is the opposite of Negi. He’s the classic optimistic, thick-headed, go-getter shounen hero

Chapter 2

Some decent white-black contrast in a couple of these pages, but the art here is far more functional than beautiful

The slapstick momentum is good, though

Tota’s weakness is that if his body parts are separated but not destroyed, they remain that way

Chapter 3

Moving from a big test to training. The story knows how to keep momentum going

Good momentum and sense of weight to the fight scenes

Jinbei Shishido, who’s been immortal for 1400 years

His type of immortality isn’t particularly strong

Many of the scenes, particularly in fights, just lack backgrounds altogether

Seeking a weapon. Another chapter hook. Chapters aren’t built around full stories but around moving from one hook to the next

Chapter 4

Evangeline characteristically forgot she’d condemned her group’s leader to the sewers two years ago

Some good quick gags here

The CG setpieces are a little underwhelming

A sword that can multiply its own weight

A month of training montage and he can wield it at two thousand-fold weight

Chapter 5

“I have received no orders from Yukihime-sama to smile” lol

Nice spread of the whole group showing off their monstrous nature

Chapter 6

The scale of some of the big shots is very impressive. This spread of the slums is very good

The fight shots here are also pretty compelling, though there’s not much of a sense of tension. Negima’s best fights worked because of tactics and character investment, and we’re not there with either here

Fights are also often obscured through too much effects usage and explosions

Chapter 7

Aaaand another random sensei shows up. Hrm

Chapter 8

Some super fun gender essentialism nonsense in this chapter

One thought on “UQ Holder, Volume 2 – Review

  1. Reading up to the latest chapter, so far it doesn’t seem to get any better. I’m still sticking with it because it knows polish and momentum, but it hasn’t find any substance yet. Not to mention it eventually resorts back to harem shenanigans I thought Akamatsu has grown tired of. I’m still hopeful it’ll regain at least some of Negima’s spark when the Tournament arc actually begins though.

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