As much as I’d like to enjoy a return trip back to the Negima universe, I can’t help but wonder why this anime even exists. Watching Uq Holder is like reading an incomplete book, one that has unsalvageable mistakes. It’s as if the producers gathered together at the last minute to procrastinate this like a school project. Don’t me wrong though. This show would have a lot of potential if the staff and directors actually had an elaborate plan. Unfortunately, it ended being broken in ways that can’t be repaired.
I’ll address this early so anime only viewers won’t shake their heads in disappointment and regret
losing their valuable time. As a manga reader, Uq Holder is crammed into a 12-episode show that can’t hold itself together. Beyond the rushing, many details are left unexplored and we hardly get character development in the proper places. It also doesn’t help out that the show sells itself as a sequel. Some characters from the original anime make cameos while introducing new ones and ideas. The term “Uq Holder” is a central focus in this anime. Essentially, it’s an organization made up of outcasts that are non-humans and immortals. The show attempts to get new viewers into a comfortable position with exposition. What ends up happening is an unimpressive story that leaves unfavorable impressions.
Honestly, there isn’t really an elephant in the room. With a quick glimpse of the key visual, it shouldn’t be surprising at what viewers should expect already. Anyone familiar with the Negima universe will likely recognize some of the character. For new viewers, this will probably evoke a thought at what a potential conflict the show will bring. To add insult to the injury, the principle character cast isn’t well developed. Touta Kono is a good example. He is the main male protagonist and honestly a guy that’s too carefree. Being optimistic and energetic isn’t an issue in itself but the show makes him look behave like a kid at almost any chance it gets. It doesn’t help that he often speaks his mind and is too dense to certain situations. Touta’s relationship with others become an important part of this show especially with Yukihime, a vampire and leader of the Uq Holder. Indeed, their relationship seems to be unique among this show that they are very close as friends, comrades, or perhaps something even more. Unfortunately, this show doesn’t develop them more than they should have. It’s pretty much a slap in the face for fans of the manga and general audience as a whole.
Beyond these two, there are also some other characters that get noticeable attention. Kuromaru Tokisaka is a character that I have mixed opinions on. First of all, the anime makes it clear that Kuromaru seems insecure about his gender. It becomes a recurring joke that gets old fast. Next, I can’t help but find Kuromaru and Touta’s relationship to be lacking. The two gets along well and seems similar in personality. However, there’s really not much beyond that. It doesn’t really exceed expectations or leave memorable impressions. There’s even an episode that puts the two together on a date but nothing really develops from it. This applies to other characters in the show where their role is minimized but instead puts Touta in the spotlight. It tries to get him over but fails on multiple levels. For instance, Kirie’s interactions with him feels like a bickering between young siblings. Karin also treats him with distaste that makes Touta look like a fool. Shinobu Yuuki (the maid) and Touta seems to have one of the only normal interactions in this anime but it only goes far as that. Nothing ever really stands out beyond their small talk. Additionally, I can’t proclaim the antagonists to be interesting either. Their motivations aren’t too clear and most of them are generic to the bone. One of them even has a perverted personality that makes crude jokes towards women. There’s a sense of mystery that is meekly explored about them although by story adaptation standards, it’s really more of a misshapen product. So in retrospect, I can’t really say this show has an impressive character cast at all. Too bad really.
Now I do have to admit, watching this show hit me with a dose of nostalgia. The original Negima manga was popular during its run and while the anime adaptation quality was subpar, it still had its moments. Uq Holder tries to remind us of those moments through the flashbacks and storytelling. Negi and his students make cameos in some way or form. Honestly, watching those segments were worth it despite the inconsistency with storytelling. The comedy of Uq Holder is also what people can describe as sexy and fun. It shouldn’t take long for viewers to recognize that the creator of this anime really want us to be get sucked into his ideas. However, that can really end up being a mess with and at its worst, a terrible executed joke.
Adapted by JC Staff, this anime’s visual quality turned out to be what I had expected. It gives off a very shounen feel with its action and choreography. It does go beyond the usual punches and kicks as it adds blood and even violence. Some of the battle scenes goes over the top with even body horror elements. Fan service is very evident throughout the show with clothes torn off and eye-catchy angles. Character designs are consistently adapted with the mature appearance Yukihime and feminine look of Kuromaru. To say the least, JC Staff did its job but not one that you can talk about them for years to come in regards to this anime.
I can’t say much for the soundtrack except that it seems to work on certain levels. The OP and ED theme features montages of the main characters although is saturated with fan service. Character voice seems to work on most respects although listening to Touta talk can be quite annoying at times. On the other hand, I do appreciate how this show maintains a good balance of battle OST. When it gets serious, it maintains that mood.
After watching UQ Holder, I can’t say this is recommendable unless you’re absolutely curious about the adaptation or wanted to be hit with some nostalgia. It’s one of those shows practically screaming “read the manga!” The humor gets old fast and despite the nostalgia it can bring, it still ends up being very underwhelming. Ultimately, this anime turned out to be a poorly executed plan. When you put all the broken pieces together, it still ends up being broken.
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Synonyms: Yuukyuu Holder, Eternal Holder
Japanese: UQ HOLDER! ～魔法先生ネギま！2～
English: UQ Holder!
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Oct 3, 2017 to Dec 19, 2017
Premiered: Fall 2017
Broadcast: Tuesdays at 00:00 (JST)
Licensors: Sentai Filmworks
Duration: 23 min. per ep.
Rating: PG-13 - Teens 13 or older
Score: 6.941 (scored by 7746277,462 users)
1 indicates a weighted score.
2 based on the top anime page. Please note that 'Not yet aired' and 'R18+' titles are excluded.