UQ Holder, Volume 3 – Review

The UQ Holder reviews continue, through a volume that… still isn’t particularly good. There’s plenty of spectacle here, but not much reason to care – the manga’s characters are still pretty one-note, and there are no tangible stakes in most of these fights. Writing a manga about immortal characters who already start the series with incredible powers is a pretty tall order, and it feels like Akamatsu still hasn’t quite figured out how to make that interesting. Fortunately, having read further ahead of this myself, I can say there is hope on the horizon! Three lousy volumes is a harsh way to start a series, but it turns out Akamatsu does have some good ideas hiding in here after all. Just gotta soldier through.

You can check out my full review over at ANN, or my frankly pretty limited chapter notes below.

UQ Holder

Chapter 1

The first two chapters of this volume actually do have a bunch of compelling fights. A neat mix of immortals versus those trained to fight them, good visual spectacle, decent bits that actually go into the characters somewhat. Just stronger in general than the previous material

Revealing new details about their powers not through exposition, but through the give and take of the battle – and it’s not “I suddenly powered up,” it’s “oh, now we have context on why they act this particular way.” Solid work

Chapter 3

Some very dramatic single panels here. And the conflict makes sense

Crazy full-page spreads here. Tota gets a powerup

Chapter 4

Solid movement throughout this chapter. With stuff actually happening, the manga gets better. Still not great, and the character material is still mediocre, but it’s something

I like that they don’t drag out the werewolf identity reveal

Chapter 5

The drawings here are excellent, but the battle itself is not the most exciting. Tota remains too good – none of his wins feel earned, they’re just weightless excellence

Some very dramatic foreshortening across panels here. A good trick

The more Akamatsu gets creative in his visual storytelling, the better

Chapter 6

Great effects drawings for Magia Erebea

Tota’s already got Magia Erebea powers out of nothing. Man

Flashbacks to adult Negi Springfield. This stuff won’t mean anything to new readers

Chapter 7

Tota fights to hold back his own Erebea

More solid spreads

Tota commands the power of the earth to win an arm wrestling tournament. That pretty much sums up the issue with this manga

Chapter 8

A solid fight between Karin and the swordsman. His style is very unique

Chapter 9

Jeez, this volume is intense! Tota basically crucified here

Chapter 10

And the other Numbers show up and kick royal ass