UQ Holder, Volume 4 – Review

We’re there! We’ve arrived! UQ Holder is finally good! For the first time, I actually enjoyed a volume of this manga from start to finish. The conflict was actually engaging, the application of the new version of immortality was really creative, and Tota’s rapport with this volume’s new character was actually engaging. It’s honestly just a relief to see Akamatsu can still write – I was really worried for a while there, and figured this manga might just ride entirely on his polished-but-kinda-sterile art chops, but here we are back in the kind of inventive shounen storytelling that made Negima so much fun. Of course, this volume rode almost entirely on how much Kirie adds to the story, so I guess I’ll just have to hope she either sticks around or the manga finds other ways to stay this fun.

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

UQ Holder

Chapter 1

We actually get a pretty compelling fight this time. Decent dynamics to it. MC is still boring as hell

Chapter 2

This text to Karin where she says she’s on the moon is a great gag. One of the few good character beats so far

Tota’s eighteen million yen in debt for blowing up everything

Chapter 3

Now we’re getting a reintroduction to the premise, after the intro arc is finished

Kirie Sakurame, Number 9, their greatest benefactor, and a little girl

Kirie creates a “save point.” Now that’s a pretty unusual style of fantasy immortality

Chapter 4

Jeez. An absurd two-page spread of the city

We learn more about Ikku, who’s apparently entirely a robot

Tota continues to not have a real dream

A neat visual trick with these spreads that aren’t actually full panels – one goes vertically against the usual view, which forces you to turn the page and stare up the panel to match the characters’ view up the tower

And we get to meet the real Kirie, who’s actually a hot-headed sadist

Chapter 5

Dang. Really dramatic attack panel on Kirie here

And yep, Kirie can reset time from a save point, and even bring someone else with her. This is easily the most compelling power so far, with tons of cool possibilities

So she only goes back in time if she dies, and by the time Tota learned about her power, he’d already failed to keep her alive six times, thus why she was made at him for no reason he could understand. That’s pretty great

“You’re not cut out for time loops.” NOPE. He immediately begins accidentally fast-forwarding through the conversations he had before, which is both funny and very natural for his character. We’ve finally arrived at good material!

Getting mad at Tota for running off to stop the attacker as Kirie died over and over. And her expressions are great. This chapter is fantastic

Fate Averruncus appears! Who Kirie frames as their true enemy

Chapter 6

Great fight to open this sequence! And Akamatsu has discovered another way to create drama in spite of invincibility – make it a hostage situation, where Tota must protect the target

It’s also nice that the story has introduced a character who isn’t a fighting genius

“He might be back.” “Ugh, please, no.”

Kirie is adding a really necessary counterpoint to the personality of the others. Whew

Chapter 7

The other Numbers assume Kirie’s power is precognition, not the ability to fail in the future and then try to arrive at a better timeline over a series of tries

Man. Crazy demonstration of Fate’s power, and again, another strong way of demonstrating the limitations of immortals. They get crushed here

Fate tears them apart, and it’s only through Kirie’s preparation that she’s able to kill herself and reset

Chapter 8

When Negi died thirty years ago, Fate became a threat to mankind

“You could do that, you cowardly piece of trash”

Kirie has absolute confidence in her own powers

“If I touch him, we win”

Kirie can also drag literal people back with her, not just consciousnesses

Ikku buys into the plan, says he wants to come back too, and doubles down by saying they should use UQ Holder’s space weapon to torch the airport, since they’re just going to reset anyway. Actually following through on the fundamental concepts here, treating these powers like things worth discussing and bending as far as they can. This is what was missing from the Negima days

Fate arrives, and two of Tota’s friends are there too

Chapter 9

And now with Tota’s friends there, they’re going to have to still do this suicide, airport-destroying operation

“You have no past, and you’re afraid, because you’re nobody. You’re afraid that you’ll never be anybody.”

Fate insults Yukihime, and Tota is a simple man

Chapter 10

Karin arrives, and there’s a great sequence of all the UQ Holder members playing out their segments of the fight

And they end up chucking Kirie at Fate. Great chapter in general

Chapter 11

“Member of the world-saving team, Ala Alba.” Aw dang. So Ala Alba still exists, and it’s Fate’s organization now

Everyone squares off against a different member of Fate’s troups

Awesome extended sequence of Tota being tossed aside by Fate

Fate keeps comparing Tota to Negi

Chapter 12

Jeez, great panels throughout this sequence. Really great sense of energy and spectacle

And Tota actually using the gravity blade in an intelligent way, shifting its weight to make it effortless to move but devastating to land

And their plan works. Greaaat stuff

One thought on “UQ Holder, Volume 4 – Review

  1. Wait, you’re at what volume now? I remember you tweeted about the encounter with Tota’s “brother” which is IIRC volume 6.

    Anyway. Yes, this is UQ Holder at its best. Fate is a great antagonist.

    But it seems that it must goes down before it goes up again. After some brief diversions its training arc time (not bad, but training arc’s not the most exciting part of shonen manga), though it does provide bits of interesting glimpses about Yukihime/Evangeline’s past. Then it goes really bad as it goes back to Akamatsu’s harem antics for around a whole volume. After that is the current arc, the tournament arc. It’s currently still on the prepping period, but I have faith it can reach its best again once it really begins.

    Kirie is becoming one of the major players with her powers, but I’m rather disappointed at her current development (see: harem antics).

    I guess you’ll still be sticking around though.

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