UQ Holder Chapter 156 Manga Review (Pactiones Time)

ユーキューホルダー! 魔法先生 ネギま!2 Manga Review
UQ Holder! Mahou Sensei Negima 2
UQ Holder!: Magister Negi Magi! 2 Chapter 156
UQ Holder Chapter 156

SPOILER Summary/Synopsis: 

UQ Holder Chapter 156Kirie, Kuroumaru, Mizore, and Shinobu all wonder where Touta is. When Touta and Karin return together, the girls become suspicious. Karin tries to downplay it, but Jinbee shows off Karin’s pactio card. Touta makes matters worse by using language that could be taken the wrong way. As such, Touta is dragged off by Gengorou. Chamo has a chat with Mizore and Shinobu, while Karin explains what happened to Kuroumaru and Kirie.

Elsewhere, Mizore and Shinobu have used age magic to appear to be young adults. They ask Touta to form a pactio with them. Touta’s abilities return them to their loli bodies. He tells them they are cute as they are and forms pactiones with both girls. Karin, Kirie, and Kuroumaru arrive where Chamo shows them a replay of the pactiones. Kirie sees that even Santa has a pactio card, meaning she’s the only one without one.

Karin is freaked out by this, so Karin decides that Kirie must make a formal contract with Touta. She gives Kirie one of the age-illusion candies to give her a busty body, but acknowledges that Touta doesn’t seem to have any carnal desires. Kirie flees from Karin and Kuroumaru, pausing only to kiss Touta in order to stop time. However, Touta is not affected by this, so he has a long talk with her. He tells her that there’s a way to form a pactio with her that doesn’t involve kissing.

Touta uses a scroll that causes magic circles to appear on both of their bellies. Kirie is all flustered and not happy that Touta seems unfazed by the prospect of having their stomachs in contact for three hours. Eventually Kirie completely freaks out about the situation. Touta explains that his training makes it natural to stay calm in any situation. In the end, Kirie realizes that Touta does care about her. He pats her on the head and she falls asleep. When she wakes up, she has a pactio card. She’s happy, but becomes frustrated at Touta’s cheerful, unfazed attitude.

Thoughts/Review:

Someone recently mentioned to me that in this modern age, Akamatsu-sensei’s ecchi work is rather tame. With UQ Holder chapter 156, Sensei decides to again push the pseudo-sexual elements without showing the goods. ?

The Thing I Wanted: Shinobu and Mizore Pactiones

When it came to Touta going on his pactio romp through the ranks of UQ Holder, I felt that both Mizore and Shinobu were prime candidates. Yeah, there’s the harem element, but there’s a practical element too. While Mizore has some good martial arts training, she’s not really useful in the battles that Touta and company are sure to face before Akamatsu-sensei ends the series. As such, she really needs a pactio to enhance her skills and be useful.

The same is true of Shinobu. Her skills are mechanical and racing. So she too needed a pactio to provide her with some ability to be more useful in the fight to come.

The Thing I Didn’t Expect: Santa and Ikku Pactiones

While impatiently waiting for comiXology to post UQ Holder chapter 156 (Crunchyroll has apparently decided they can’t be bothered with UQ Holder, so up yours Jobu), I checked out the Chinese scanlation. I laughed out loud at Kirie’s reaction to the knowledge that Santa scored a pactio.

UQ Holder Chapter 156

Ikku appeared to have one as well, though his was played down the most.

Still, from a battle perspective, it means that Santa and Ikku will have more stuff at their disposal to use in combat.

The Thing I Should Have Expected: Kirie’s Pactio

Although I should have expected Kirie to get a pactio, I had actually felt that things would go on fine without this happening. Touta could have his battle harem of Karin, Kuroumaru, Mizore, Shinobu, and possibly Isana and Honoka thrown in as well. But, since Mizore is the girl Akamatsu-sensei is bound and determined to ram down our throats as Touta’s main squeeze, it figures he’d come up with a way to have Touta form a pactio with Kirie.

UQ Holder Chapter 156

To be fair, back in Negima!, Chamo did state that there are non-kissing ways to form pactiones, but that they are a pain to do. So UQ Holder chapter 156 allowed Akamatsu-sensei to show us how this happens.

Unfortunately, nearly half of the bloody chapter was dedicated to Kirie’s pactio. Since Akamatsu-sensei wasted lots of pages showing full on naked pseudo sex in the previous chapter, he decided to go the clothed pseudo sex route in UQ Holder chapter 156. I really could have done without both.

I get that Sensei is also trying to pump Kirie’s character and have her deal with her own self-esteem issues. But to me, this could have been done in more efficient way that didn’t involve pseudo sex. After all, the manga is ending in 2-3 years.

Touta and the Harem

Karin may still be protesting that she doesn’t “like” Touta, but it is clear that she does. I do want her to fall more and more for Touta as the manga proceeds to its end.

UQ Holder Chapter 156

Although I’m not a Kirie fan, I did find it interesting that although Akamatsu-sensei keeps forcing her on us, he had Kirie actually decide to be an oneesan to Touta until the end. Of course, that doesn’t mean she isn’t in love with Touta romantically. That will remain, if for no other reasons, harem hijinks. (Not that we have a lot of time for that.)

Still, I don’t want Touta to have the single girl. I want him to have a bloody harem and form formal pactiones with Karin, Kuroumaru (as a lovely girl, of course), Kirie, Mizore, Shinobu, and hopefully Isana and Honoka. No Eva or any other girl.

Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Time to wrap up my review of UQ Holder chapter 156.

  • Akamatsu-sensei did a flashback, then a flashback within a flashback, howbeit via a video recording. I find myself not really keen on this, but I suppose it worked.
  • I still shake my head and laugh at how in a time freeze, Kirie can take a shower and Touta can activate a scroll. Yeah, I know Akamatsu-sensei set up very loose rules on this so he could get away with…well, anything.
  • Also, the chapter heavily implies that a formal pactio is made via intercourse. I’m guessing there are other ways to form a formal pactio, but as with the provisional pactio, those ways are more of a pain in the arse.

In the end, UQ Holder chapter 156 rapidly pushed forward five pactiones, but wasted a ton of time on Kirie’s pactio. And I really could have done without yet another chapter featuring pseudo sex.

So what did you all think? Let me know in the comments.
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27 Responses to “UQ Holder Chapter 156 Manga Review (Pactiones Time)”

  1. akamatsu has successfully portrayed touta as a playboy,really makes me feel nauseous¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Well, he’s a playboy with zero sex drive. ?

      • OverMaster says:

        And there are five billion playboys with zero sex drive in manga and anime already.

        • AstroNerdBoy says:

          Really? I’m not that versed. I always thought they had a sex drive, but were too embarrassed to actually do anything. Whereas Touta seems abnormal in that, “Naked chick? Who cares! Simulated sex? My loins don’t even stir.” ?

  2. LoneWolfx03 -]===- says:

    Honestly my friend… this is the worst chapter ever. I really hate it. My opinion.

    BeoWolfx03 -]===-

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      I’d love to hear specifics on what makes you hate it. I’m curious to see if they match the elements I disliked.

      • LoneWolfx03 -]===- says:

        I don’t know if you know…but I’m a girl.
        My full reaction while reading this chapter is that I really REALLY want to punch Touta because he’s acting like a playboy and his MAJOR cluelessness at the same time (it got worse compared to the previous chapter). Heck, even my girl friends hated it too. I’ve seen this cliché over and over again as if the publishers just wanted it for FULL fanservice. I just want to go on to a next Major arc (praying to get to know Touta’s real parents more).

        And then there’s Kirie. I don’t hate her to be honest but I don’t like the premise of giving her screentime (plus, she looks like a loli regardless of age putting up with Touta in a ‘sexual’ position). I get it, she’s sad because she can’t have a pactio because of their power but their Time Stop power is already OP and she can kiss him whenever she wants. What’s there to be jealous about? She can just go for other people than Touta to get the card so that she can at least bond with other characters (what even happened to Santa or Ikku x Kirie bonding time? I missed that).

        This whole chapter is actually a loop from all of her previous main chapters making this a useless information. I really don’t mind Kirie being the star but just for once, I want it to be sweet. I mean we just came from a ‘full blown’ Karin chapter and KA did again on the next. Eventhough I am a Touta x Kuroumaru fan, that doesn’t mean I don’t support them. Remember the chapter when Kuroumaru had a pactio with Touta? They were bonding together, sharing his/her secrets and dreams of going to the stars. It was really sweet and I love it.

        Relationship grows through getting to know one another by talking or hanging out like a date, not like this. At least Negima got it right but UQH made it worse for every upcoming chapter and it’s not funny anymore.

        • AstroNerdBoy says:

          I don’t know if you know…but I’m a girl.

          No, I did not. ? But then everyone who comments here could be girls and I wouldn’t have a clue. ?

          I’ve seen this cliché over and over again as if the publishers just wanted it for FULL fanservice.

          I’m not as versed as I could be on manga stuff. As such, I was unaware of the clueless harem MC being so popular. I guess I’m used to the beta male MCs who are all flustered and can’t do anything. ?

          What’s there to be jealous about?

          She’s supposed to be madly in love with Touta, meaning she wants him exclusively. So Touta snogging other girls doesn’t sit well for her, more so since until Touta arrived on the scene, Kirie pretty much kept to herself.

          what even happened to Santa or Ikku x Kirie bonding time?

          Yeah, the Ikku-oniichan element of the story in regards to his relationship with Kirie was dropped. When Kirie was introduced, Ikku and Kirie seemed pretty tight. But I guess that got in the way of Akamatsu-sensei wanting the megane girl to be Touta’s girl.

          I really don’t mind Kirie being the star but just for once, I want it to be sweet.

          What I would have rather seen is how Kirie came to the attention of Eva and UQ Holder. Why did she decide to join the organization in the first place, especially with her trust issues?

          Anyway, I appreciate your thoughts on why you disliked the chapter. ?

  3. Kx says:

    Interestingly, unlike Karin and Kuroumaru, Akamatsu-sensei uses Kirie’s blu-ray card design instead of the bonus card from the manga special edition

    How did Nagi form pactio with Rakan and Albireo?

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      How did Nagi form pactio with Rakan and Albireo?

      Officially, we don’t know. Unofficially, most fans believe Nagi just gave them a smack. I don’t believe any of Nagi’s pactiones were formal.

  4. Yue Ayase says:

    I really wish Akamatsu would pump the brakes on Kirie, especially the ecchi stuff. I dislike yaoi and I would’ve preferred seeing Touta pactio with Santa (who still is criminally underused) over that act with Kirie. Also kinda made the previous failed pactio with Kirie pointless.

    Kuromaru and Karin pactios were fine, this one just… ehh. Even the ones with Shinobu and Mizore (who I don’t feel add much to the story) were okay.

    I assume this is the end of the pactio sub-arc and we will be hitting endgame before too long.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      I assume this is the end of the pactio sub-arc and we will be hitting endgame before too long.

      Outside of Isana and Honoka getting pactiones, I think you are correct.

  5. Dave says:

    Kind of a silly chapter to be quite honest. Honestly Kirie and Touta have bathed and slept together before. Her getting all flustered about laying belly to belly while fully basically dressed is just odd.. BTW Crunchyroll has the chapter up now if anyone cares.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Whoa! They actually got chapters 155 up as well. Only took over a month. ?

      As to your point on Kirie and Touta, I wasn’t surprised. I’ve been (slowly) rereading Love Hina. In order for the relationship between Naru and Keitaro to not really progress forward, Akamatsu-sensei would often have Naru become flustered and wishy-washy. It is somewhat the same with Kirie. She’s constantly back and forth ’cause “reasons.”

  6. Missingmoney says:

    I hate how they gloss over everyone but Kirie.
    Once again Akamatsu’s overwhelming favourism is on sight for everyone to see.

  7. Rob C. says:

    I personally don’t know what is Akamatsu doing anymore. He goes on a rampage trying to do adventure, then were harem manga sort of, then were a hybrid-Negima flashback manga, now were back to melodrama who get’s into relationship with one another. Touta remains clueless part of the time. It be nice find out he been playing everyone for fool, he actually got functional brain undert here. Negi was a genius, his cousin (Asuna) wasn’t until she got older (not older looking. 😉 )

    With only couple years aledged left in the series, i wonder where this thing going. Alot of fan service until we have next fight with MOTB?

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      I’ve long believed that what Akamatsu-sensei was attempting to do was to follow Mashima-sensei’s example and create an adventure tail like Fairy Tail, where there’s a notion of a bigger plot, but one just writes whatever one feels like at the moment. One doesn’t worry about the big picture, just the individual adventure arcs.

      When that didn’t work, he brought in the harem elements. That still wasn’t enough, so he just went hard on the Negima tie-in.

      What we are seeing now is Touta taking the role of Negi, including pactiones and romance stuff.

      Anyway, hope this goes on for three years to have a chance of a semi-decent ending.

  8. magine says:

    Jinbei showing the photo of Karin and Touta as evidence, I found it funny, Chamo showed up in UQ Holder and everyone started with the pactios XD, I thought how Touta and Kirie would do a pactio and it turned out to be that way, at the end of the chapter, Karin and the others were watching them, there is no intimacy at all ^^”, I think that in the next chapter it will be Evangeline’s pactio, she’s the only one left.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      I think that in the next chapter it will be Evangeline’s pactio, she’s the only one left.

      Somehow, I doubt she gets one. I do think that Honoka and Isana will both get pactiones (they should), but Eva…I can’t see her not being the magister.

      • magine says:

        I know, I also don’t like the idea of Evangeline is not a magister, but apart from the pactio card that the author made of her in Negima, he made two pactio card of her in UQ Holder, one is in her adult form and the other is in her 10 year form, it looks like the pactio card he made of Kirie, Kuroumaru and Karin.
        That’s why I have the impression that she will end up having a pactio card.

  9. Alliriyan says:

    Hi Astro I am about to post a rant about UQH here, but I think we’re far enough between chapters that it won’t torment all your readership haha.
    You don’t need to respond to all of it but I’d like your opinion on the pacing and use of cast members compared to Negima.

    Thanks : )

  10. Alliriyan says:

    Hi, don’t know if you remember me but I once translated Eva’s timeline from Chinese for you.

    I’m afraid I have to go on a long rant for this manga, and I’m not sure it deserves to be inflicted on anyone here but there’s a dearth of places to discuss UQH, I wonder why. The TL:DR is ‘The manga is terrible, vote Kuroumaru.’

    I also have to start by explaining that when I started reading this manga I was the most ill I have ever been in my life whilst isolated at uni, and a combination of these factors made me glom onto this series like a baby chick meeting its neglectful mother for the first time. I’ve never done that before or since. It’s more normal for me to absorb a series, invent something for it that never gets written then move on really really fast.

    So I had terrible fatigue and a university meltdown, which I needed distracting from. This at its worst had me trying to ‘fix’ UQH every minute of every day for 2-3 years, but too unwell to just write a fanfic and move on with my life. And, because the source material was so inconsistent, I couldn’t make any ending logically sound. It was maddening.

    I will hold up my hands and say I was overinvested and unable to walk away from this drivel, which is no one’s fault and certainly not the author’s. But I also honestly believe in the potential of the setting Akamatsu has here and it’s heartbreaking to see it go to waste. This set-up is almost Battle Angel Alita lite plus magic. What joy? Magic AND future Tech AND vampires AND aliens AND youkai AND time travel AND immortals AND cyborgs AND real world? All in one beautiful pie? And somehow they don’t clash? I wish this was mine just so I could explore it to the full.

    My first draw to the series was the Touta-Kuroumaru broship. It certainly wasn’t Touta himself. I was deeply lonely and avoiding even my flatmates for weeks at a time until I ran out of food. I wanted that all-forgiving friendship. I also thought Kuroumaru was a fresh and complex proposition in a sea of cookie cutter characters, with the possible bonus of fluffy wings. (We still don’t know if he has those.)

    Imagine a gender neutral perspective on the madly skewed gendered societies, or just living on a foreign planet where the absolute first thing anyone notices about you is whether you’re male or female, and not falling into either camp. Imagine all the hundreds of ways his own culture might operate, or the different eras it might have had. Or the way Kuroumaru has grown up clearly isolated and hero worshipping his older brother and suddenly being cast out by said brother, and having every person he meets assume he is nothing like the one person he’s aspired to impress and become, to whit, his masculine role model.

    Now imagine that main character suddenly starts getting barely a frame per chapter. No development. No backstory. No victories. He’s relegated to cheer squad and occasional glorified pen knife to fulfil some task for his friend such as – opening a door with a sword. The manga explicitly states that he doesn’t put his heart into swordsmanship, his sole (self-)permitted method of expression from his homeland, and instead of exploring this or giving him new hopes and dreams, it ignores him for a year except for the occasional blush and stutter.

    He’s the only person in their team, if anyone else noticed this, with a personal vested interest in saving Mars. He’s the only person in UQH who will die if they fail against the Lifemaker. Never. Mentioned. Instead his sole motivation is a crush on a boy (and being raised to do the right thing with pointy objects).

    I did get some peace of mind from their excellent Pactio chapter which only highlighted the fact that Akamatsu knows how to use his characters well and just constantly chooses not to; or frequently pushes his personal agenda and/or market need(?) for cheap lolicon harem fanservice ahead of the needs of the story. But god, that was a long wait, and god, even I was so past it by then.

    I hate harem, so that was a nasty shock when he started changing genre for ‘reasons’. His undermining of core story structures for ‘reasons’ meant I didn’t even care by the time he revealed some of the truths. I speed read Negima after getting caught up on the UQH manga as it was in 2014-15. Again not fantastic, but much much better than this. More logical, more satisfying, great Mars plot twist, fights that mattered. There have been several good scenes in UQH and the comedy tends to surprise me, but there is so much baseless bait and switch. It’s like playing a freemium game that wastes your time until you either pay more or quit. Except there’s no pay option.

    You frequently mention that you think he wanted to make something like Fairy Tail. I think I read more than half of Fairy Tail and stopped when it got too repetitive with saving every baddy and starting over again. I see what you mean on flexibility but I don’t think so. A considerable stretch of Fairy Tail had good pacing, good stakes, good character exploration and every arc had a flow to it. It had an ensemble cast and used all of them. It eventually had too many and went the way of One Piece (bless you One Piece I hope you end someday). The arcs jump around but they also made sense.

    UQH never made sense. Except for right at the beginning, when it was all possibilities and this endless genre swapping hadn’t kicked in. I feel like Akamatsu should be doing the art while working with a writer who has the capacity to plan ahead while Akamatsu churns out the drawings. Full respect to his workload. Look at the difference in quality between early planned chapters and the moment he had to start making it up on the fly. I also see that the low page count high turnaround start was stressful and restrictive. I certainly couldn’t do his job. Perhaps he is being pulled in too many directions by editors who just want mass readership for mass fanservice. I have no idea, I don’t like fanservice most of the time. Maybe his wife really does pressure him for a self-insert!

    But even all my Kuroumaru bias aside, they’re the only match-up option actively trying to be healthy for each other in a two way partnership. Kirie and Karin both treated him with contempt until the author switched this to tsundere. Even Touta can tell Mizore is a child. Evangeline has a huge and complex, constantly evolving relationship with him that she…prefers to remain off screen for. I don’t know. I was too frustrated by all the other issues to fully enjoy the time travel mothercon. I hope that when she held him as a baby it all turned to unconditional maternal feelings and the rest was just closure she needed due to her long, tumultuous life. I really hope she isn’t in love with someone she held as a baby. I’m less annoyed by Eva than by Kirie, but in general the manga is throwing him at people who push him away and telling him that’s true love or at least normal. Touta doesn’t have the charisma to deserve all this attention. He’s improving but he started life as a clusterfuck of bad shounen tropes. He’s too young and too naive for a harem. Aside from the LITERAL CHILDREN, most of them are burnt-out immortals drawn to his fast fading innocent optimism, not his future. Except he has all the powers and will fix all the things, so I guess they are drawn to his future by Gary Stu powers. If he’d been allowed a personality instead of amnesia he might have been like Steven Universe. Touta is a happy, hopeful, gullible serial murderee. Who never receives emotional help, just curve balls.

    In conclusion, I guess UQH makes me feel like there’s so much potential, but the dynamics it chooses to go with are almost toxic. They’re trying to get Touta to save the world by constantly taking away his agency or chance to make informed decisions. There’s main characters like Santa or Ikuu not even being used.

    Thank you for making it to the end of this rant, if you did, obviously this has weighed heavily on my mind and I needed to explain it to anyone who’d actually heard of UQH.

    Also thank you for the phrase ‘reasons’, which I now use for any book or film that glosses over why plot can’t happen yet, haha.

    Someday I am going to write a Touta / Kuroumaru fic just to make use of all my wasted time being ill, and it’s all the most fun ideas I could come up with combined with plenty of backstory. I’ve got the entire plot ready. But, I’m still learning how to write again after a 4 year gap so UQH might well be over by the time I do.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Or the way Kuroumaru has grown up clearly isolated and hero worshipping his older brother and suddenly being cast out by said brother…

      I’m not entirely convinced that is Kuroumaru’s older brother. Yes, Kuroumaru addressed him as “Oniisama,” but that doesn’t automatically mean kinship. But, this is an area that is sorely lacking in exploration, and one of the reasons I wanted to allow Kuroumaru to have some chapters and for them all to head to Mars or where ever Kuroumaru’s clan is at.

      I see what you mean on flexibility but I don’t think so. A considerable stretch of Fairy Tail had good pacing, good stakes, good character exploration and every arc had a flow to it.

      But Mashima-sensei also was the king of the retcon. So in exploring characters, he often retconned things to one degree or other because he felt it made for a better arc. This got worse as time went on, but it was still there earlier in the Fairy Tail manga. Shame too ’cause in those early days of Fairy Tail, it seemed something rather different and fun.

      UQH never made sense.

      There are certainly elements that make no sense, such as UQ Holder members suddenly racing out and finding Eva, Touta, and Kuroumaru in the middle of their journey. (I think this was done because someone felt the pacing was too slow, even though I rather enjoyed the journey and thought it should be used to give us more insight on the immortals and such.)

      Perhaps he is being pulled in too many directions by editors who just want mass readership for mass fanservice. I have no idea, I don’t like fanservice most of the time.

      Nor I. But Akamatsu-sensei is well known for being a fanservice mangaka. Funny thing is, he’s almost tame by some of today’s standards.

      In conclusion, I guess UQH makes me feel like there’s so much potential, but the dynamics it chooses to go with are almost toxic. They’re trying to get Touta to save the world by constantly taking away his agency or chance to make informed decisions. There’s main characters like Santa or Ikuu not even being used.

      That has been a weakness of UQ Holder. In the first several volumes of the manga, Touta is pretty much a Mary Sue character. He’d see something done one time and be proficient at it. Then he’d have it mastered in no time, all while saying, “I don’t care about this, blah, blah, blah.” At least in Negima, Negi had a goal and was focused on that goal. That, combined with his superior intellect and his constant training explained why Negi was able to rise up so fast.

      Thankfully, Akamatsu-sensei toned this down somewhat with the Dana arc, whereupon Touta learned to actually bother to train. And though he still gets a cheat on his skills, at least he does train now. (Which isn’t saying much.)

      Still, Akamatsu-sensei was probably afraid to not have his MC out of sight for too long. In Love Hina, he put Keitaro on the shelf for nearly an entire volume, and man, that volume is horrible. Keitaro returns and things get a bit better.

      So for UQ Holder, having other characters take the focus for a while was something I don’t think he thought he could get away with. But as we’ve seen of late, other characters can carry the series for arcs, as witnessed with the Karin flashback arc.

      Thank you for making it to the end of this rant, if you did…

      I did. 😁

      Also thank you for the phrase ‘reasons’, which I now use for any book or film that glosses over why plot can’t happen yet, haha.

      Hahahahaha! Awesome! Glad to be of use there. 😂

      I’d like your opinion on the pacing and use of cast members compared to Negima.

      I actually had some problems in Negima as well. For example, I believe Arika to be a retcon. So everyone with information about Arika that would be helpful to Negi won’t give him that information ’cause “reasons.” (😉) I hated that with a passion.

      I also had an issue in Negima about lack of character work for Negi’s support team. I really wanted to learn about Eva’s past in Negima, but other than a couple of tidbits, we didn’t get anything. When it came to Setsuna, I wanted to learn a ton more about her and her people. But alas, no dice there. Ditto Mana, Kaede, Zazie, etc.

      As to pacing, it was mostly fine. I remember when reading the series on a weekly basis, it seemed like it took forever to get to Asuna. It doesn’t seem so bad now. I still wish we could have seen more of Nodoka’s early adventures on the Magic World. And I would have liked to have seen Setsuna’s crew going down into the ruins.

      UQ Holder’s problem started with the poor way Negima ended. Then when it was clear that this was heavily tied to Negima (via Eva), many folks were only interested in seeing how the Negima storyline got resolved. Ultimately, that’s why Akamatsu-sensei had to shift UQ Holder’s focus from random adventures to finishing up Negima.

      • Alliriyan says:

        —I’m not entirely convinced that is Kuroumaru’s older brother. Yes, Kuroumaru addressed him as “Oniisama,” but that doesn’t automatically mean kinship. But, this is an area that is sorely lacking in exploration, and one of the reasons I wanted to allow Kuroumaru to have some chapters and for them all to head to Mars or where ever Kuroumaru’s clan is at. —

        There’s a thought. His second flashback makes them seem more like family than the first did, but nii-sama can apply to lots of people. I’m still sure that Kuroumaru wasn’t very social growing up, Touta seems to be his first friend.

        I had an idea I liked where the females had black hair and the males white, on a yin yang theme (like the ‘wings’ are) – but then they animated the brother with brown hair I think. Cue me being shot down in flames. :D.
        You can invent a lot of culture based off 3 panels of vague information. ; )

        —But Mashima-sensei also was the king of the retcon. So in exploring characters, he often retconned things to one degree or other because he felt it made for a better arc. This got worse as time went on, but it was still there earlier in the Fairy Tail manga. Shame too ’cause in those early days of Fairy Tail, it seemed something rather different and fun.—

        Like when Natsu suddenly had a sister who was suddenly alive again? Haha.

        UQH never made sense.

        —There are certainly elements that make no sense, such as UQ Holder members suddenly racing out and finding Eva, Touta, and Kuroumaru in the middle of their journey. (I think this was done because someone felt the pacing was too slow, even though I rather enjoyed the journey and thought it should be used to give us more insight on the immortals and such.)—

        It feels like, because many of these things are typical of many series, like journeys on foot or tournaments or other shounen cliches, Akamatsu thinks we’re not missing out by skipping or glossing over these things. But he doesn’t understand which parts of character development need to be balanced out if the characters aren’t actually getting down time together.

        —-Nor I. But Akamatsu-sensei is well known for being a fanservice mangaka. Funny thing is, he’s almost tame by some of today’s standards.—-

        It’s tame for today, definitely. But it’s also got a weird vibe like even the characters aren’t sure why they’re doing it. I wish they were even slightly older to make it less weird.

        —-That has been a weakness of UQ Holder. In the first several volumes of the manga, Touta is pretty much a Mary Sue character. He’d see something done one time and be proficient at it. Then he’d have it mastered in no time, all while saying, “I don’t care about this, blah, blah, blah.” At least in Negima, Negi had a goal and was focused on that goal. That, combined with his superior intellect and his constant training explained why Negi was able to rise up so fast.

        Thankfully, Akamatsu-sensei toned this down somewhat with the Dana arc, whereupon Touta learned to actually bother to train. And though he still gets a cheat on his skills, at least he does train now. (Which isn’t saying much.)

        Still, Akamatsu-sensei was probably afraid to not have his MC out of sight for too long. In Love Hina, he put Keitaro on the shelf for nearly an entire volume, and man, that volume is horrible. Keitaro returns and things get a bit better.

        So for UQ Holder, having other characters take the focus for a while was something I don’t think he thought he could get away with. But as we’ve seen of late, other characters can carry the series for arcs, as witnessed with the Karin flashback arc.—–

        There have been amnesia/copy cat characters before and it can work, I think usually you’d need more sense of the looming evil that made them or they’d need a more consistent learning curve like – showing more of the normal life skills they don’t have, that kind of thing. Some heavy investment to balance out the free talent. Like you said, Dana did improve that. (and all things considered, I’d say Dana is pretty damn unique! He did well with her.)

        Santa’s arc was great. But most of the other arcs still revolve around Touta ,or here’s my past, how will Touta judge me type stuff. And here’s the thing, he’s not an authority. He’s also under too many expectations to be treated as an innocent or a moral compass for the others. Akamatsu has tried so hard to make it different and in changing his tune all the time taken away our ability to trust in the sub plots paying off. They won’t. Even if we got Kuroumaru’s past, it might be played for fanservice?

        —I’d like your opinion on the pacing and use of cast members compared to Negima.

        I actually had some problems in Negima as well. For example, I believe Arika to be a retcon. So everyone with information about Arika that would be helpful to Negi won’t give him that information ’cause “reasons.” (😉) I hated that with a passion.

        I also had an issue in Negima about lack of character work for Negi’s support team. I really wanted to learn about Eva’s past in Negima, but other than a couple of tidbits, we didn’t get anything. When it came to Setsuna, I wanted to learn a ton more about her and her people. But alas, no dice there. Ditto Mana, Kaede, Zazie, etc.

        As to pacing, it was mostly fine. I remember when reading the series on a weekly basis, it seemed like it took forever to get to Asuna. It doesn’t seem so bad now. I still wish we could have seen more of Nodoka’s early adventures on the Magic World. And I would have liked to have seen Setsuna’s crew going down into the ruins.

        UQ Holder’s problem started with the poor way Negima ended. Then when it was clear that this was heavily tied to Negima (via Eva), many folks were only interested in seeing how the Negima storyline got resolved. Ultimately, that’s why Akamatsu-sensei had to shift UQ Holder’s focus from random adventures to finishing up Negima.—–

        Agreed. Arika is really annoying, watch her not get mentioned when Dana shows them the alternate reality. I guess this means Asuna, Negi and Touta are actual Lifemaker descendants, but I’m not clear on whether the Lifemaker herself can use magic cancel without the master key?

        I think it would be most interesting if inverse Mars was a giant blood magic, and the Lifemaker needs to kill off all her descendants in order to destroy it, hence all the messy wars. Then you’re down to about 3 people in the UQ Holder manga holding it together (cue energy crisis). One is possessed, one is in a crystal and one is an amnesiac. You’d also have ‘reasons’ why Arika might have vanished/died between series. And then Touta has value whether he’s competent or not, poor kid.

        That’s my plan anyway 😀

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