UQ Holder!, Vol. 7

By Ken Akamatsu. Released in Japan by Kodansha, serialization ongoing in the magazine Weekly Shonen Magazine. Released in North America by Kodansha Comics.

Seven volumes into UQ Holder, and again I’m asking the question I’ve wondered about since it started: who is this meant to be for, exactly? I don’t know how Japanese fans of Negima reacted when it came to its messy end, but the Western fans were appalled and angry, for the most part. And after seemingly destroying his own series due to an argument with the parent company (details will likely remain forever sketchy), Akamatsu has now leaped 80 years into the future, helpfully thus losing most of the main cast of Negima, and begun what seemed like a spiritual sequel but has now amounted to a direct sequel. And just as Negima was able to ditch some of the wacky comedy and naked fanservice of Love Hina in favor of fighting and battles, UQ Holder takes it further, and you can almost safely read this in public.


I know that there are readers of this series who have not read Negima, having picked up the series via Crunchyroll or Kodansha, and are purely interested in the new story and new generation of characters. This volume must be particularly frustrating to them, as almost all of it features old Negima cast members, old Negima plots that never got resolved, and teases of Negima characters long-dead doing badass things. As a Negima fan, I admit it’s nice to see Mana again, and even if it was just a tiny flashback, the idea of Ku Fei and Yue teaming up to win the Grand Magic Games tournament is both hilarious and awesome. And, of course, we have the major UQ Holder characters who *are* carryovers from Negima: Yukihime (aka Evangeline) and Fate.

This leads to what is probably the most interesting part of the volume, when touching an application for Tota to do the Grand Magic Games triggers a booby trap that shows them a vision of Negi, Nagi… and the Mage of the Beginning, who is delighted to see Evangeline again, and (it’s implied) Tota as well. The reason this is the most interesting part of the volume are Eva and Fate’s reactions, which are desperate and yearning, the most emotion we’ve seen from either of them this entire series. Eva’s love for both Negi and Nagi was a significant part of Negima, and now in UQ Holder it seems it hasn’t diminished.

Of course, this leads to what kickstarts the next arc, as after this she realizes (I assume, motives are murky) that Tota is in danger if he’s near her, and forbids him from fighting in the tournament, or even leaving headquarters. Needless to say, all this does is spur him on to try harder. And it also spurs the author on to work in more Negima references. Not only can Tota seemingly use Dark Magic Erebea, but he is revealed to literally be a clone of Negi, which will no doubt lead to some excellent soul-searching and character development on his end, but from a meta perspective is both hilarious and sad.

I enjoy UQ Holder for what it is, but then I’ve read Negima, and have gotten over my grudge. For anyone else trying this series, I imagine it must seem like the image of Negi we see in this volume: a cool image surrounded by the dark, binding tentacles that make up its past.

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  1. Are you keeping current via Crunchyroll? Just curious.

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