UQ Holder arrived at another peak in this volume, with the Santa arc’s second half offering both big visual thrills and some legitimate emotional sensitivity. The manga deliberately and somewhat unexpectedly sidelines basically all its established characters in order to give Santa’s story more room, a choice that really ends up paying off. Santa is one of the most compelling characters introduced in the manga so far, so I hope this is a sign that the central dynamics will continue to improve.
You can check out my full review over at ANN, or my chapter notes below!
Jeez, people actually getting their throats ripped out by zombies. This volume isn’t messing around!
Santa says it’s his fault, and Tota is ready to help him
And they even retreat to a roof. Their mission is failed, hundreds of people are dead already, and now they just have to contain the outbreak
Welp, Kirie shows up. Turns out they actually can save everyone
A very imposing spread of Sayoko taking Kirie
Sayoko’s a pretty solid horror villain
And Sayoko’s defeat of the Holders is complete, with her taking over two of their most powerful members in the bargain. It’s time for the Santa solo adventure, apparently!
The Holders being immortals does mean that when they lose, they lose hard
And here in the sixth volume, the entire world is being taken over by zombies. UQ Holder does not slow down
“I don’t think you’re worth protecting, but I’m going to stop Sayoko.” Santa is great
We get Santa’s full backstory
And his interactions with this “first class student” are great. Santa’s right, this kid is total garbage – a racist, classist, privileged piece of trash. He’s not a person who makes the world seem worth saving, and so this isn’t any easier for Santa
But now he gets to be a hero for people who are worth a damn
Santa gets to be the big damn hero but also be emo the whole time. Good deal for Santa
His hacking skills are a nice bonus
Her black feathers and general negative-space aesthetic is solid
The CG is still really awkward, but the scale is pretty solid
Sayoko finally goes full-on Lovecraftian blob-angel
The fights are still too busy to create a sense of momentum
The losses and returns actually feel relatively earned, though. Tota got crushed, but recovered in an expected amount of time. Karen will also show up for a last-minute save some time now
“It’s not like we’re gonna be trash all day every day for the rest of our lives.” Goddamn. This conversation is probably the best character sequence of the series so far. Some actual moral/character complexity going on. Nice
And we learn the real truth – Sayoko killed Santa’s tormentors for him, and then erased his memory of it when she learned he didn’t want that. Actually character arc stuff, dang
“I don’t give a damn about revenge!”
Crazy epic conclusion here. Great stuff
“I said I was going with you! Take me with you!”
A goodbye for Sayoko
If you’re gonna be evil, you might as well be awesome
“Are you disappointed in me?” “Well, you did get possessed a few too many times.”
Wow, this chapter is entirely about bathhouse shenanigans and messing with Kuromaru’s gender identity. Way to end on a low note, UQ Holder
This conversation between Tota and Kuromaru is actually great. A very human misunderstanding, and a very endearing resolution.
And Santa thinks it’s okay that the jerk is still a jerk, because his life is worth more