UQ Holder Volume 02 Manga Review

ユーキューホルダー! Manga Review
UQ Holder Volume 02

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***SPOILERS***

UQ Holder Volume 02This volume covers chapters 7 through 17 (original reviews for chapters 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, & 17).

Rereading volume 2, Akamatsu-sensei rapidly pushed things forward to get Touta powered up as rapidly as possible. I’m not saying this as a slam on the character, but as a simple statement of fact. It is pretty obvious to me now that Sensei had no wish to have Touta undergo a normal character growth period as happened with Negi in Negima. Instead, he wanted Touta to be up there and in the thick of it as soon as possible. In my mind, this is an unfortunate direction because Touta has no character development, but is given massive power jumps so that Sensei can do major action scenes with his hero and not wait. Indeed, I think this volume is the last one where we see anything about Touta’s mysterious past, which has been shelved.

Speaking of things getting shelved, another disappointing development for me is Eva’s character (Yukihime) getting put there. I’d rather hoped that as a carryover character from Negima, we’d get to finally explore her past. Alas, that’s not to be.

On the positive side, there is the new character Karin, who is pretty awesome due to her “I ain’t taking jack” attitude and her skills in combat.  We get some hints about her past, which is nice, but it is only crumbs.

Akamatsu-sensei also gives us the scoop on Kuroumaru’s gender, or rather Kuroumaru’s lack of gender. Unfortunately, that’s all the development Kuroumaru gets.

As to the stories, the first one dealing with Kuroumaru’s and Touta’s initiation into UQ Holder (and their meeting with Jinbee…or “Jinbei” as it has been spelled for some reason) was just OK. The only truly interesting part was seeing the ruins of Al’s old underground residence (from Negima).

The second story, which is not complete when the volume ends, is somewhat more interesting. There’s a lot more action with Karin, Touta, and Kuroumaru defending a church in the middle of a slum. Karin and her brand of immortality are the highlights of things (did I mention her badarse attitude and fighting abilities?) for the story. We get some name-drop nods back to Negima, and Touta prepares to level up a lot, but otherwise, things aren’t too special.

On the Kodansha Comics side of things, the Twins are handling the translations, so no issues there. There are no extras, including translator notes. Whatever margin notes the Twins wrote when the chapter was published on Crunchyroll’s site are all there is. As to other extras, my understanding is that there were none in the Japanese release either.

The volume isn’t bad as there is certainly stuff that is entertaining. However, it doesn’t have the umph to make it a really good work. That being said, I don’t regret buying it.

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30 Responses to “UQ Holder Volume 02 Manga Review”

  1. NML says:

    I hope we get to see this animated, the slums arc was pretty fun, had some great fight scenes and would be a great finale for season one since it has the battle with Nagumo and a tease of Fate.

    • I didn’t like the slums arc that much, was kinda meh to me, but since it’s just the beginning, I guess that’s alright. It was okay at best for me. Fate’s arc and Sayoko’s arc, on the other hand, I enjoyed a lot.

    • chaosprophet says:

      Generally one manga volume is adapted in 3 anime episodes. So the slums arc would be a bit too early for an one cour anime to end, imo. But if you also add the Fate arc it could be great on the pace I think. In any case, I think if we get an anime it will be a 2 cour one so we need to wait until at least about 8 volumes are out. Following the pattern so far, the 8th volume should be out September 2015.

      • NML says:

        I guess the Slums arc was long in my head :L
        Yeah, the end of the Fate arc would also be a really good season finale, it has a great cliffhanger.

        • Dargor says:

          As far as I’m aware, most seasons of anime (adaptations or otherwise) tend to run somewhere around 13 chapters. The slums would be a pretty anti-climatic way to end things at without going off in its own direction like Xebec’s Negima did, and trying to shove Fate’s in would result in cutting other stuff out. Not that there’s anything interesting that’d be lost anyway, but still.

          • chaosprophet says:

            Animes tend to be sized in cours, where one cour is one weekly episode for a period about 3 months, so 11-13 episodes, 2 cours would be 22-26 episodes and so on.

            And as I mentioned, a generally good pace for a manga is to spend 3 episodes per manga volume. So a one cour anime of 12-13 episodes could do with a good pace up to volume 4, which is up to the end of Fate’s arc.

          • OverMaster says:

            They always could cut out ultimately pointless material like the rematch against Chao the Rapist, or Shinobu’s intro (of course, there’s always the case Shinobu could reappear later in the manga, but let’s be honest, an Akamatsu adaptation that would last past a season and long enough to reach that far, since there’s no sign Shinobu will resurface anytime soon? Yeah, right!)

          • cold_menthol says:

            That’s just the negative point of view. Considering chaosprophet’s post, we haven’t even reach 8th volume, and it’s not like 8th volume is the decisive point whether a manga gets an anime adaptation or not. Btw, isn’t the rematch against Chao is when Kirie’s ability first revealed? I think that scene is not as pointless as you said.

            Well, if it really gets animated, I myself will think twice to watch it. Unless the animation is at least at the level of Fate/Zero.

      • AstroNerdBoy says:

        Even if UQ Holder gets animated, based on how Love Hina and Negima were adapted, I’d expect lots of stuff to be changed.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      If the manga is popular enough, eventually, there could be an animated series, but there’s no guarantee. After all, A.I. Love You has never been animated. And even if it is animated, expect a lot of changes.

  2. OverMaster says:

    I can’t help but wondering about the lack of the usual extras Akamatsu’s studio used to put in prior series. Would it have taken them too much time and/or effort?

    Other than that, I still think the series is mediocre stereotypical Shounen fare, and that’s when it’s at it best, but let’s just leave it at that. It’s certainly nothing I would spend hardly earned money (or even easily earned one) on. But hey, the masses liked Naruto, so it’s no wonder they should like this too.

    • Krono says:

      Akamatsu’s basically managed to maintain a weekly schedule without breaks by dropping from 18 pages a week, to 16 pages a week. I suspect that does not free up sufficient time to both do that, and have the volume extras people are accustomed to.

      • OverMaster says:

        But character sketches are something that is done during the preliminary stages of a series or an arc/introduction of a character or place. They’re something that should be done anyway, since I doubt he’s doing everything straight to the finished page, with no preliminary discussions or refining with his staff. Then again, him basically quickly throwing concepts into the page with no previous trial and definition would explain a lot about this manga.

        Not to mention, it’s not like he’d need to take time away from his work schedule to have fanart published like Negima often did, but then, UQ fanart seems to be exceedingly rare. By the fourth volumes of Negima and Love Hina, there altready was a sizable amount of it.

        • Dargor says:

          I have have no idea about things like concept art (I’d imagine he did some, but given that Holder is what it is…), but something like Negima’s lexicon is a no-go due to lack of a language guy and…Holder doing nothing interesting. I don’t know, maybe giving the various cultural myths of certain types of immortals and folk tales where applicable? I figure he got all of his ideas somewhere, but he doesn’t seem to take the time to do anything anymore.

          Sad, if anything, a lot of the extra material Negima produced is one of the reasons why I loved the sereis so.

          • AstroNerdBoy says:

            Sad, if anything, a lot of the extra material Negima produced is one of the reasons why I loved the sereis so.

            The extras were certainly nice.

        • AstroNerdBoy says:

          I think he’s doing everything digital, so who knows how much preliminary art there is.

          As to fanart, UQ Holder doesn’t have the popularity that Love Hina or Negima had.

      • AstroNerdBoy says:

        I suspect you are correct there.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      I can’t help but wondering about the lack of the usual extras Akamatsu’s studio used to put in prior series. Would it have taken them too much time and/or effort?

      Not sure. Maybe.

      Other than that, I still think the series is mediocre stereotypical Shounen fare, and that’s when it’s at it best, but let’s just leave it at that. It’s certainly nothing I would spend hardly earned money (or even easily earned one) on. But hey, the masses liked Naruto, so it’s no wonder they should like this too.

      Naruto, One Piece, Fairy Tail, etc. are all much more popular than UQ Holder.

  3. Krono says:

    “Akamatsu-sensei rapidly pushed things forward to get Touta powered up as rapidly as possible.”

    “had no wish to have Touta undergo a normal character growth period as happened with Negi in Negima. Instead, he wanted Touta to be up there and in the thick of it as soon as possible.”

    Slow power increase =/= character growth. Indeed, power increases in general aren’t character growth. Ken could spend a dozen volumes showing us Touta in training grinding his way up to his current power level, and his character would be exactly the same at the finished as it was at the start. Character growth occurring with power ups is only peripherally related to the increase in power. A goofy or a lazy character getting series about training is character growth. A prideful person lowering themselves to asking someone for training, or recognizing that they aren’t as strong as they thought and training themselves is character growth. An ignorant character learning new things about their power, or their world and it changing their perspective is character growth. Level grinding against a bunch of underground monsters is not.

    That’s why Negi and Kouta preparing to face Rakan, indeed much of the actual training in general in Negima, takes place off panel or in montages. The thing important to character growth isn’t the training itself. It’s the change in mindset that triggers the training, or that the training results in. Touta was never going to get any real change in mindset from training then and there. We saw the only important bit, him learning his immortality has it’s limits. Watching him grinding his way to using the gravity sword effectively changes nothing.

    The real opportunities for character growth come while he’s out on missions for UQ Holder. Meetings new people, learning more about the wider world than the backwater rural village that’s all he knows, succeeding and screwing up on missions. Not training in isolation, he’s already done that for two years under Eva.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Slow power increase =/= character growth.

      True, and I should have been more clear about that. Negi had changes of mindset that challenged his world view and thus set him on a different path. Negi faced challenges and had to reach deep inside himself. Sometimes he had to be bailed out. However, this was all growth experience for him.

      Touta is going to be Touta. He’ll learn anything in a flash, just because the story will need him to know it. He won’t reflect on anything. He’s always going to be stupid, but he’ll always win in the end. I see no evidence that he learns anything from the missions (though he does master new skills).

      My lament is just that when this series first started, there was a golden opportunity to make Touta an interesting character by developing him as a character. That didn’t happen because of the “must get Touta to top tier immediately!” 🙁

      Oh well.

      • Dargor says:

        When the series started, most of us assumed UQ Holder would be geared in a different manner, learning about different types of immortality and how these people coup with it, and providing a character driven narrative (Which plays to Akamatsu’s strengths). We got a shounen action series with little substance in of itself that only garners major attention (based on what chapters draw the most attention) when anything Negima related comes up, and YMMV on whether or not those sorts of things should be touched on to begin with.

        • I admit that the story has it’s flaws – and of course, I know that it changes from person to person how many of these flaws are acceptable. As I said, I did enjoy Fate’s Arc and Sayoko’s Arc, but I understand those who didn’t. My biggest problem with the series is TOUTA. Man, how I hate this character. I was re-reading Negima these days, during the part of the story that Negi is starting to obtain Magia Erebea in the scroll. The guy almost died several times. Was suffering in a coma in the real world while fighting Eva in the phantasmagoria. All of that just to BEGIN learning it, and then comes this random guy that not only gets everything for free, but also masters ME in a flash. Not to mention the other things he pulls off, but let’s not get started on that. UQ Holder minus Touta would be way better to me… Aside from that, the only thing that annoyed me in the series so far was the BS that Kirie’s app was able to cancel FATE’S PETRIFICATION. Right, a random app canceling the spell from the ex-disciple of the MotB? Who is now the strongest in the solar system? Yeah. Okay. Right.

          • seimei says:

            Ragna as we understand better no (I now know that you’re not a hater, (besides, I apologize for the mistake) like some people who will recognize very goods, also you just answered in one of them in your comment (dargor^^) lol) so I will be able to respond peacefully because I know you’re someone with whom you can discuss it. ^^

            1. Personally I have already said, but Tota is not my favorite character. For now my favorite characters are Fate, Eva, Santa and Kuromaru. If I defend Toya here is because I have the distinct impression that some people have misconceptions about the character.

            a) Regarding his fast learning, well sorry but I’m glad it progresses quickly. I would not have seen the interest that Akamatsu spends 25 chapters explain how the shunpo for example. That it was said. I’ll still be treated by some here to be “a stupid fanboy” because I enjoy UQ but never mind) lol

            b) Concerning the magia-erebea there TWO factors that you have forgotten. The first, Negi was human and Eva herself said in Negima that magia-erebea NOT it been designed to be used by humans but by already immortal beings (like vampires) or just Tota is. Then it is implied that he was born with that magic in his body then learned to master before his amnesia. If we combine the non-human nature of Tota, with hiss biological predisposition for it (Negi’s blood), and his amnesia, I would have found it shocking to me that he can not contain it kaito face.

            Also I’m sorry but you’re wrong : Tota was NOT mastered magia-erebea. He pushed again (and I’m sorry to tell you this but Negi did the same against Kurt Godel so no, tota did not “something that Negi has never done” (huh Astro-san ?^^) and has used a basic form against Sayako, not even a armationem! So NO Tota not control the M-E, for now it is at the same stage as Negi just after he got it. He’s still VERY far of Negi’s level.

            3. For the anti-petrification application of kirie, you’re not wrong but I want to say:
            a) Fate has several petrification spell, he may have used a lower level spell and not his famous “aionon petrosis” (which he has used against her in the first timeline ^^)
            b) Even if property was the case, among Negima and UQ-Holder it took 80 years, it is not absurd to think that reconciliation between science and magic that took place, may allow create spells and applis that can affect even aionon petrosis?

            And I said that while not being a fan of kirie (I can not stand the Lolies except Eva in Negima for obvious reasons (she’s badass !!!^^) and so far only useful kirie was literally save the game lol. Seriously one hand I love because the idea was completely delirious “RPG and video games” of Akamatsu since Negima, but on the other, I hope it will not be used too often anyway. Against Fate that was good because it was part of the arc’s logic and was integrated into the tactic of the heroes (without that Fate would have crushed them hehe !^^)
            In the arc Sayako was already a little abusive, then I hope they stopped to use it for a moment right? Except of course if we are presented with intelligent use of this power, for espionage for example).

          • seimei says:

            pe :” I would have found it shocking to me that he can not contain it AGAINIST kaito”, sorry an error^^.

        • AstroNerdBoy says:

          When the series started, most of us assumed UQ Holder would be geared in a different manner, learning about different types of immortality and how these people coup with it, and providing a character driven narrative (Which plays to Akamatsu’s strengths).

          Yeah, that was the story I was wanting for sure.

  4. SEIMEI: I’m replying to you here, since there’s no more space in the other comment. And indeed, I don’t hate this series – just some aspects of it, but I can live with them and still enjoy the show. I mean, I managed to enjoy Negima even with that excruciatingly dull 3-A class(again, I didn’t give a damn about the majority of them and was pretty satisfied when they died). I can live with Touta, too… I guess. Too bad this one won’t be dying anytime soon. But I (can try to) understand where you are coming from, so I’ll go trough all your points this time.
    1. About Touta and Kirie’s save point: Before we go on, I’ll make one thing clear again. I like UQ Holder(and it’s progressively getting better, at least in my point of view), but I hate this character. No, seriously. Touta is the ONLY character in the entire series I have so much against, so far. Kirie seems to be the most hated due to her save point stuff – indeed, that takes a lot of impact out of things, since you know bad things that happened can be reset and everything will be fine, but there are ways around that, and I expect that, in arcs to come in the future, they will be unable to revert something. Now I DOUBT Akamatsu would do something of the sort, but It would be a nice twist if a villain destroyed her save point beforehand and then killed Kirie off for real, surprising the entire cast. I mean, they would be there waiting for the time travel at anytime… And nothing happens. She just stays there, dead. Now THAT would have impact. That said, I don’t care that much about her save point stuff either. As long as it doesn’t slow down the plot (as so many of the 3-A girls loved to do with their everyday tedious banter. I lost count of how many chapters we lost with their pointless antics), I have nothing against the loli or her powers save for two things during Fate’s arc, which I will talk about soon enough.

    1A and 1B(About Touta as a character): At this, we will not enter an agreement, Seimei, so I’ll refrain from answering you at these points. If you’re okay with Touta the way he is(not saying he is one of your favorites, just that you don’t see anything wrong with him) and doesn’t have a problem with it, I’ll respect your way of thinking, it’s alright. But all the same, you will not make me like this character at all. Dude, even if you fill this entire page just to explain things about him to me, I will still see Touta as I see him now: The guy I hate in this series. It just so happens that our perspectives regarding his growth, his powers, his attitude… Ultimately, the character as a whole, are completely different. Let’s leave that aside, shall we?

    3A(About Fate’s petrification being cancelled, part 1): I dunno about that. The first time someone cancelled his petrification in Negima!, it was Konoka with her uber Healing Powers. Near the end of the MM arc, he petrified even A GHOST! When Sayo fell to the ground as stone, I was like: “Holy cr**, Fate, you… … …How did you even do that?” And he was not even aiming anyone in particular, he just used a random spell with a lot of stone darts, there wasn’t any incantation. Now that he is even stronger than he used to be, It would be right to assume that the weakest of his spells would be way more than an app can handle, as it’s True Magic. Do you wanna hear about another BS that Kirie did during Fate’s arc? In the timeline where Fate annihilated the numbers, he used Aionion Petrosis on her, right? Then, she got a knife and pierced/slit her neck with it. You can see clearly that she moved her arm… When her elbow was already petrified. Also, her body was turned to stone up to her shoulders, so she couldn’t move it to the knife either. Fate would have won there, because Kirie didn’t REALLY have a way to kill herself… But she did anyways. Oh, snap.

    3B(About Aionion Petrosis, Real Magic and apps): Well, If Aionion Petrosis was cancellable, they wouldn’t call it Eternal Petrification in the first place… I guess. If they ever say that there are apps able to cancel even the highest of spells, then there’s another BS to me. But I doubt this is the case, Seimei. If you remember right, they made a clear distinction between magic and these apps. Evangeline called the spells she used true Magic, while the apps seem to be weaker in comparison. She said in these exact words: “I’ve never shown you this before, have I? None of that recent app stuff here. This is THE REAL DEAL. I’m showing you ancient magic!” And, whenever real magic appears, the guys who use apps are usually stunned at how it’s much more powerful.

    Finally, on Kirie’s defense: While I still find it hard to accept… She IS the richest character in the series, as far as I know – perhaps Fate himself has more in his wallet than her, but that is yet to see – so, after getting owned a lot of times, she may have went back to buy the last word in petrification canceling, for like… I dunno, hundreds of millions or even a billion? Who knows. It’s not like this will ever be explained.

    • Seimei says:

      1. Yes reassure yourself I know you love UQ Holder is why I apologized to have you confused with a hater (like Dargor Over-master) the last time ^^. Personally I understand what you mean. Myself although I am a very big fan of Nekketsu I am rarely a fan of the main characters. But rather than hate or rather they leave me indifferent. AND IS LIKE TO TOTA! Certainly I find nothing to repproche his evolution or growth but I like neither his appearance nor his personality, He isn’t enough badass or cool for me. Hes just stupid, yeah I admit.^^

      So he leaves me indifferent, neither hate nor love, for the moment…^^ This is just apart his idiot personality (although it STARTS to improve) I find the criticisms made of him is exaggerated, it’s all.

      By cons I am so glad that I am not the only one to be satisfied by the loss of 3A (exept, Kaede, ku-fei, Setsuna and MAYBE Yue) knowing that the only still active are the badasses (and immortal lol), Zazie, Eva, Mana (oh yeah!) and Chachamaru!

      I died laughing when I see guys who treat those who are happy to never see the majority of the 3A sexist. LOOL! Because make 25 schoolgirl in a class of 33, more than a high school girl (I forget his name, the shadow master) fall in love of a 10 year old boy that’s not sexist?! (and a little unhealthy?)

      Seriously I wonder if Negi has not actually used a love potion without telling Asuna, there is no other explanation!

      And then they can say that UQ Holder is a parody of Nekketsu, but why they do not recognize that their beloved 3A was a parody of the harem and romance!? On this point I think we will be Totally agreements, Ragna my friend, yes indeed adios 3A we do NOT regret you!

      2. On kirie, me too I think for me a big fail of her power in the future. And personally, I would be surprised if as I press, once the numbers asseble, the manga would trensform in a “Akame ga Kill-like” or “jojo adventure-like” with several deaths (or seal) of the main characters (I think in first to Jinbei and Kirie, gengoro and ikkyu, their immortality is weak).

      I mean, akamatsu repeat to us from chapter 1 that the immortals are not invincible and I think it’s not for nothing. After that, even if none people die in the cast, I will continue to love UQ Holder huh ?^^ I just said that was a possibility that I will not rule, and I am seriously considering.

      3. petrification and the story of the knife : I had not noticed. I suppose it is a drawing error. And I wonder if this is not the reason for the introduction of the “pill scuicide” of kirie. At least with this method so that the mouth is not petrified its functions and has logic. ^^

      Oh yeah! You will laugh, but I had NEVER paid attention to the fact that Fate petrifies a ghost, what the f..k lol !. Or rather, I was told that was because Sayo was maerialisé but Santa has shown us that even a “revenant” (a ghost can take material form) could go tengible or intengible at any time! So yes it makes even Fate mor badass and mor pwerful (cool ! yeah !^^) and that does not bode reassuring things for Santa-chan when he will end up with Tota and the other against Fate! And I do not even talk to you about the mage of the begining lol !

      Moreover you’ve said yourself, kirie is rich, so one can imagine that she bought a super rare and virtually untraceable application to de-petrify.

      what do you think of my theory my friend?^^

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