UQ Holder Manga Chapter 4 Review (The Headless Horseman trick!)

ユーキューホルダー!/UQ Holder Chapter 4 Review

SPOILER Summary/Synopsis: 

At some point in the past, Kuroumaru is tasked with slaying Evangeline A. K. McDowell or “he” cannot return to the clan. Further, Eva is stated to be only a shadow of her former self, making Kuroumaru’s failing this task to be even more unacceptable. Sometime later, Kuroumaru hears members of the tribe speaking negatively of “him” and how the clan wins if Eva is slain, but they also win if the troublesome and cursed Kuroumaru is killed in the process.

In the present, Touta is shocked to see Yukihime having stabbed Kuroumaru with her hand and flinging “him” to the ground. He starts going off on Yukihime, only to have her point out that Kuroumaru is rapidly regenerating.  She’s not happy knowing that an immortal was dispatched to eliminate another immortal.

Meanwhile, Touta is checking on Kuroumaru when “he” wakes up, punching Touta and demanding to know what Touta is doing trying to check inside “his” pants. Kuroumaru is relieved when Touta claims not to have seen anything, but then catches “himself” and challenges Eva again. Eva points to the defeat Kuroumaru just suffered, but agrees to a rematch if Kuroumaru can defeat Touta. Kuroumaru accepts, but Touta protests. Kuroumaru uses a shundo to get to Touta instantly, launching an attack at the same time. Kuroumaru is stunned that Touta is able to deflect the attack while Touta is stunned that Kuroumaru is going all out.

Touta tells Kuroumaru that he’ll go all out in a fight as well but only if the loser of the fight does what the winner demands. When Touta points out that there’s nothing for him in this fight and that he’s good at running away, Kuroumaru accepts his terms and summons another sword for Touta to use. The two charge each other, but Touta just throws his sword at Kuroumaru. The battle rages, even impressing Yukihime. Touta is impressed with Kuroumaru’s skills and decides to try a trick Yukihime taught him while Kuroumaru decides to behead Touta, figuring a headless vampire will have difficulty avoiding attacks.

Kuroumaru cuts Touta’s head off, but Touta simply holds it in his hand and puts it back on and lands a massive finishing blow on Kuroumaru since “he’s” out of position from “his” sword swing. Touta becomes worried that he’s killed Kuroumaru for good, but Kuroumaru regenerates quite quickly and asks to be killed. Touta has no plans for that, so Kuroumaru suspects Touta wants to do something perverted. Touta’s victor request is that Kuroumaru become his friend.

Thoughts/Review:

Wow. Akamatsu-sensei is most certainly letting out all the stops (within the shounen genre limits) for violence and gore. I’m not complaining at all, but considering how fluffy Negima! was for the longest time, Akamatsu-sensei is certainly showing a much darker manga than anything he’s done before.  Never saw Negi or the like have their head cut off, then put it back on. The Headless Horseman is jealous, I tell you. ^_~

Basically, I think that with UQ Holder, Akamatsu-sensei is exploring elements from Negima! that he wanted to do, but for whatever reasons, could not do.  For starters, there’s the whole vampire element, which despite Eva being a mega powerful shinso vampire, it really wasn’t touched on that much outside of volume three, and even there, it was only lightly touched. Although Akamatsu-sensei hasn’t gone too deep into the vampire aspects with UQ Holder, they are playing important parts right from chapter 1.

With this chapter, it seems clear that Kuroumaru is getting a similar story to Setsuna in Negima!  After Setsuna’s introduction, we learned she was an outcast and that she was a half breed — half youkai (crow/raven youkai clan) and half human, making her a hanyou. This plot element wasn’t really touched again until the Mahora Budokai when she faced Eva in the phantasmagoria. Despite Setsuna’s attempts to hide certain things about herself, Eva clearly saw those things that Setsuna tried to hide and forced Setsuna to face certain things about herself.

I’m getting off track, but the point is that Setsuna’s dark past, including her being kicked out of the crow tribe, was never explored in any great detail, but I suspected that Akamatsu-sensei wanted to explore this story and I know I wanted it explored. With UQ Holder, he now gets to do that, only with a new character, unfettered by the plot elements of Negima!  I’m pretty excited by this, and hopefully, Akamatsu-sensei won’t disappoint.

As for the specifics of this chapter, I really believe that Kuroumaru is a girl. There’s no reason to be worried about the goods if (s)he is a guy. I keep getting flashes of the reverse trap Subaru from Mayo Chiki whenever I see Kuroumaru reacting as (s)he does regarding their gender.

Anyway, if I’m right about Kuroumaru being a girl, there’s a legitimate reason for having Kuroumaru’s gender a mystery. There’s that unwritten rule about “not hitting the girl,” and one which Negima! fans will recall that Kotaro followed closely. It isn’t as if Akamatsu-sensei has shied away from having a guy “choke a b*tch” (Negi choking Tsukuyomi springs to mind), and battling Eva doesn’t really count either in my mind due to her massive power levels and her being a shinso vampire.  But having an all out fight like Touta and Kuroumaru had goes over better IF the audience doesn’t know if Kuroumaru is a girl or not.

I like how Eva is like Eva of old here. She not only goes for the instant kill, proving she’s not lost a step, but she also shows her keen eye of observation in realizing Kuroumaru was immortal. Further, I just loved her attitude toward Kuroumaru’s demand for a rematch.  It was similar to how she treated Negi back when Negi was trying to become her disciple. She’s not going to be bothered handling a small fry’s request for a rematch when said small fry got spanked so badly. But, if Touta fails, well then Eva gives the small fry a second shot. Naturally, small fry isn’t getting that second shot in this case, though Kuroumaru is quite skilled.

I’m still disappointed that Touta is such a happy-go-lucky kind of individual considering these radical changes in his life. He’s part Negi and part Jack Rakan from Negima!  I did love Touta’s remark on how there was nothing in it for him to fight Kuroumaru and that he was quite skilled at running away.  It is a moment like that which keeps Touta from being an annoying character to me.

After four chapters, I’m really liking UQ Holder. Here’s hoping that Akamatsu-sensei does this one right all the way through.

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10 Responses to “UQ Holder Manga Chapter 4 Review (The Headless Horseman trick!)”

  1. SL from MH says:

    >I’m still disappointed that Touta is such a happy-go-lucky kind of individual considering these radical changes in his life.

    Don’t worry, once he learns the truth about the night from 2 years ago and his past before that point (the memory of which he lost), we would definitely see a change in his attitude.

    On another note, what do you think about the talk regarding there being different forms of immortality.

    Also how do you think Kuroumaru ended up being an immortal and why do you think that clan (to which Kuroumaru belongs) want Eva to be dead so badly.

    To me it seemed like they want Eva to be dead for some other reason which is completely not related to her being a Undead/Vampire/Immortal and the Bounty.

    As for Kuroumaru, i believe that if she is a descendent of Setsuna, then maybe her immortality could be related to Setsuna destroying the “Demon Blade Hina”.
    I mean if that blade was something that could be destroyed like how Setsuna did, then why didn’t anyone else try to do the same before her (i mean she isn’t the only powerful Shinmeiryuu in the whole world). Maybe the energy of that blade affected her in some way because she was a Hanyou.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      >Don’t worry, once he learns the truth about the night from 2 years ago and his past before that point (the memory of which he lost), we would definitely see a change in his attitude.

      Will we? I’m not so sure at the moment.

      >On another note, what do you think about the talk regarding there being different forms of immortality.

      This is certainly an unexpected element. I didn’t speak of it before because I’m hoping the next chapter goes into this a bit more to help clarify things. To me, there’s only ever been one kind of immortal, regardless of the type of entity that had it.

      >Also how do you think Kuroumaru ended up being an immortal and why do you think that clan (to which Kuroumaru belongs) want Eva to be dead so badly.

      I don’t think that the clan had any big thing about killing Eva. However, as the most notorious vampire (undead in general) being out there, using her is a win-win for the clan. If Kuroumaru some how manages to kill her, then the clan takes the credit. If Kuroumaru loses, then they are rid of a problem.

      As to Kuroumaru being immortal, I have this feeling that (s)he may be an orphan, but I don’t have any notions on how Kuroumaru may have become immortal. Kuroumaru may be a type mazoku. How’s that for a guess? *lol*

      >As for Kuroumaru, i believe that if she is a descendent of Setsuna, then maybe her immortality could be related to Setsuna destroying the “Demon Blade Hina”.

      That works for me as an early theory.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree it’s a her based on the middle panel on the last page and the blushes. Also, if we’re throwing out crackpot theories about her immortality we also should note Japanese mythology presents a couple additional possibilities: Sennin, or elixir of immortality (tale of the bamboo woodcutter).

  2. Farray says:

    Not much to add. It’s a chapter in which they fight mostly and Kurou taking Setsuna’s role and perhaps having a similar backstory seems to be the case.

    Although I must say I cannot see Touta showing many traits of Negi right now. I’d say he’s more like Kotarou and maybe Nagi.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      >Although I must say I cannot see Touta showing many traits of Negi right now. I’d say he’s more like Kotarou and maybe Nagi.

      With a bit of Jack Rakan thrown in, based on his final smash of Kuroumaru.

    • Farray says:

      Yeah, forgot the touch of Rakan you mentioned. I just wanted to say that he doesn’t resemble Negi really much. ^_^

      Him saying in chapter 1, that he doesn’t mind being immortal because Yukihime is by his side sounds a lot like Negi though.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I think Kuroumaru is, in fact, a boy. Akamatsu is deliberately setting us up so we think it’s a reverse-trap I tell you!

  4. Ultimaniac says:

    I’d bet money dollars that Touta’s character is never gonna change. I had already read chapter 4 before I read your review of chapter 3 and I’m sorry to admit, but I chuckled a bit when I read: “Finally, it appears that Touta is about to lose his annoying happy-go-lucky attitude.” I think we can count on Touta being annoying to the bitter end.

  5. NoLastName says:

    I really enjoyed this chapter, I’m looking forward to finding out what kind of immortal Kuroumaru is, he has a reflection so we know he’s not a vampire.
    Personally I’m starting to wonder if Kuroumaru is a genderless being but has decided to identify as male, I’m looking forward to seeing the different forms of immortality in this series and how Akamatsu manages to create tension with immortal main characters.
    Also I wonder how long before we meet the main villain of the series, we met Fate I think about a year into Negima and the Lifemaker(the guy who was supposed to be the main villain) mot until the magic world arc.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Though I agree Kuroumaru’s probably biologically female, given the level of reaction from him? He probably self-identifies as a guy. Which would make it a good idea to refer to him as a guy.

    Of course, this is a manga, so it’s possible that there’s some convoluted backstory wherein Kuroumaru needed to be raised as a guy but really wants to be a girl. Buuut since he’s all alone and still calling himself a guy, probably not.

    (Also possible that he’s biologically a guy too, and Akamatsu’s being tricky.)

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