Manga Review: UQ Holder

UQ Holder 1

UQ Holder by Ken Akamatsu

Volume 1 published March 18th 2014 by Kodansha


Ken Akamatsu’s newest manga is set in a world in which there is magic, futuristic technology, and the majority of Japan’s population is clustered in the Capitol city. Those in rural villages are seen as backwater, stupid citizens – but not everyone dreams of going to the big city. Touta is a short boy with huge dreams and an endless source of motivation and energy, and his dream is to travel to the city, go up in the space elevator tower, and perform in space. He’s a little bit crazy, really reckless, and a lot of fun. 

What makes UQ Holder stand out from all the other shonen manga out there is the touch of seriousness to Touta and his story. Of course Touta is an orphan, but the circumstances under which his parents died is mysterious and secretive. Touta also has a frightening source of power that just multiplies once his epic mentor, Evangeline, lends him her immortal power. 

For example, at one point very early in the first volume, Touta nearly dies after getting his arm cut off. And then he does die. And then he comes back – only to once again lose his limps AND THEN HIS HEAD. Holy shit. Touta grabs his own freaking head, sticks it back on his neck, grins like a maniac, and then keeps on fighting. The story continues with Touta and his mentor going on a journey to the Capitol city, and Touta resumes his happy-go-lucky demeanor. 

UQ Holder is very different from Akamatsu’s previous work, Love Hina and Negima, and I highly recommend it. 

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