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UQ HOLDER! 1 Paperback – March 18, 2014
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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I've been a huge fan of Ken Akamatsu ever since his hit work Love Hina. I fell even more in love with his work Negima!, to the point I bought up every single volume and obsessed over how much detail he poured into it. Not only that, there was the amazing drawings of fights that would take up pages, leaving you wanting more and more, and more and more he provided, going from a small scale battle in a lake to one on Mars, fighting for the fate of the entire magical world. It kept me hooked from beginning (like after volume 4 it gets good I swear!) to end, and I was honestly disappointed in the manner in which it ended. I looked up the controversy surrounding it, and found out a lot that I will not discuss here.
What I will discuss is UQ Holder though! It is a continuation from one of the timelines derived from the Negima endings, one in which many people assume *spoilers, you have been warned* Asuna had not returned from her slumber on Mars, and one in which Negi has died despite being immortal.
We see this new story start with the immortal vampire Evangeline A.K. McDowell, telling us the loneliness of being an immortal, and how this story is of those that banded together despite the curse of everlasting life. After this, we are introduced to Touta Konoe, seemingly descended from the Konoe family and Negi himself, as well as his friends and caretaker, Yukihime. He does not remember much, though we can already guess that he holds a lot of potential within him due to his lineage. Some things happen, and he ends up having to become a vampire through Evangeline (Yukihime). Because of this, they must leave their home, and along the way meet up with a swordsman of the Shinmei school (Setsuna reference for the win!) Kuromaru Tokisaka. Without revealing too much, they finally meet the organization UQ Holder, and boy are they...eccentric toward their leader.
I hope you see that I loved this work already. I already placed the second on preorder and am in love with all the nods towards the characters of Negima! Let's meet again in the next volume!
After the bill mentioned above failed in the Japanese parliament, Akamatsu decided to revisit the Negi universe, this time through the eyes of immortal vampire Evangeline from the original series, and her ward, Negi's grandson Touta.
<i>UQ Holder!</i> begins two years after Evangeline, now going by the name Yukihime, became Touta's guardian. Following some tragedy which everyone thinks was a car accident, Evangeline took Touta in and he lost his memories of before that point. This doubtless will become a major plot point later on.
Touta has some big, but largely indeterminate dreams. They are really quite vague. He just knows he wants to go places, do things, sing, other stuff. Really, my description is not that far off how vaguely he himself describes his dreams. At first, Evangeline doesn't want him to leave the small rural town where they live, but events change that.
Those events are Evangeline having no choice but to sire Touta as a vampire to save both their lives when he is nearly killed by an evil bounty hunter. The newly-vampirized Touta saves the day, but now is an immortal vampire.
They decide to leave town and start anew somewhere else where folks won't know their secrets. Somewhere they can have peace from those who would want to harm vampires and other immortal people. Thus the adventure begins.
This is kinda fun to see the two characters play off of each other. They are such opposites. She's a really old female vampire, and he's a young, brand-new male vampire. She is jaded and tired of immortality, while he thinks immortality is great. She is gruff and stern, with a hidden heart of gold, and he is kind and very trusting, but can be <i>very</i> tough when the need arises. Each one really is what the other needs.
This dynamic between the two, and allies they meet along the way, is at the heart of the story. It is what makes it worth reading. Oh, it has lots of action, and, in the beginning, probably too much gore (though that stops quickly enough to a typical shonen level). But that's not what makes the story so riveting. Their familial bond of love does. It is quite funny and heart-warming all at the same time.
A quick note about the title. The letters “UQ” are translated from the Japanese kanji for the word meaning “eternity”. The title <i>UQ Holder!</i> literally means <i>Eternity Holder</i>, which refers to the main characters' immortality.