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UQ HOLDER! 1 Paperback – March 18, 2014
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Just as Negima! started as a rip-off of Love Hina (nice continuity, Sensei!) but ultimately became something completely different, UQ holder starts where Negima! left off, and who knows where it will end up?
The one character who remains, pathetically, is Evangeline. Remember, she can't die. Everyone else from Negima! appears to be gone for good, including Negi! (Hey, I thought he was immortal too! But not in this story.) The protagonist, Toota Konoe, is about Negi's age and was raised by Evangeline (aka Yukihime), who is also his mentor.
If you read Negi, then you'll be very interested to know that both of Toota's parents take the name Konoe, as in Konoka Konoe. This suggests, strongly, that Negi did not couple with Konoka (no big surprise), but Negi's daughter and Konoka's son were parents of Toota. So Toota has the genes from the two strongest mages of Negi's generation. Yet he knows nothing of magic! And so far, he can't do any magic at all.
Toota is strong in martial arts tho. So did Negi marry Kuroshi? Not derned likely! Ha ha. But Negi did marry and have children, so... Will we ever find out who Negi chose?
Back to the manga at hand - it seems like Toota doesn't see Evangeline as a love interest at all (poor Eva!). Also, this doesn't seem to be spinning out like a harem manga, but more like a fighting manga with a twist.
I love how Akamatsu comes right out and tells you who the characters are, by reference to his previous manga. Toota comes across a very interesting girl, Shinobu Yuuki, who is a ringer for Shinobu from Love Hina (LH, http://www.amazon.com/Love-Hina-Omnibus-Ken-Akamatsu/dp/1935429477/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1397993064&sr=1-1&keywords=love+hina) or Nodoka from Negima (http://www.amazon.com/Negima-Omnibus-Magister-Negi-Magi/dp/1935429620/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1397993287&sr=1-3&keywords=negima). But this time Shinobu's last name is "Yuuki." Just as Nodoka was a less-inhibited version of Shinobu (LH), Shinobu (UQ) is a fully self-actualized Nodoka, with a bit of motorcycle-girl mixed in. (Wait! How could innocent Shinobu (LH) become a motorcycle girl!? My dreams are shattered!) (^_^)
Other characters have names reminiscent of previous manga. I enjoy the fun of figuring out the relationships.
Back to the story -- as with all of Akamatsu's work, the story starts slowly. Akamatsu-sensei takes his time setting up the characters so they are very distinctive and deep. I believe Akamatsu's characters are generally more interesting and filled-out than those of any other writer in the genre.
Akamatsu's art is stunning, as always. If you haven't read this author before, you really should take a look just to see how well manga can be done. This guy is at the top, and in the peak of his powers. Watch the backgrounds -- they are incredibly detailed and professional. There isn't much blank space anywhere; it is filled with gorgeous art. So far, the art is not as ecchi as LH or Negima!. Lets hope that changes! Ha ha.
I'm thinking this manga will be another big hit!