When Tôta and Kurômaru arrive at the base of the organisation of immortals known as UQ Holder, they find that things are a little different than they expected and they must pass an entrance exam that could take up to eight years to complete, if they survive that long. Afterwards the pair finds out what life is life in the organisation as they are sent on their first mission, to protect the population of the Tokyo slums from the people who wish to exploit and endanger them.
This second volume of 'UQ Holder!' is another entertaining instalment of the series and one that has far more action than the previous volume. The action itself is very good with some great artwork, while the involvement of immortal combatants leads to some interesting moments in the fight. The volume introduces a number of new characters to the story, the most prominent of whom is Karin who takes an instant dislike to Tôta. Karin is easily my favourite character from the entire series so far as she is both incredibly strong and quite funny in her seriousness. Tôta is still a little annoying in places but he is starting to grow on me.
The first half of the volume deals with Tôta and Kurômaru's initiation test for entering the organisation. This is quite interesting with some very humorous moments and some additional information on how Tôta and Kurômaru's forms of immortality differ. This part of the volume also introduces Jinbei Shishido, the oldest immortal in the series so far, who is quite funny himself, and visits a location that should be familiar to those people who have read 'Negima!'.
The second half of the volume deals with the Tôta and Kurômaru's first mission as UQ Holder Numbers, and is the most action orientated part of the series so far. Both of Karin's fights in this section are very good with the beginning of her battle in the shower being particularly good. This section of the volume does increase the amount of fanservice quite a bit, but it is still less than some other series. The antagonists for this arc are all quite interesting in design and mentality as well with some interesting abilities on show. This half of the volume also reveals the truth about Kurômaru's gender issues.
This was another very good volume of 'UQ Holder!' and once again I will have to give it a full five stars.
on 24 July 2014
This is getting a lot more tense and dark. Tota and Kuromaru are taken to UQ Holder Headquarters where they are thrust into a deadly challenge, a test to see if they are worthy enough to become members of the esteemed UQ. While we know Tota is a vampire, we find out the world he belongs to is filled with the yokai and Kuromaru's secret is finally revealed (which makes the OT rating for this series appropriate for 16+). There is plenty of battle with just a bit of magic and it is much more mature in presentation than other shounen. They have been sent out on their first mission which proved to be violent and we don't know whether successful yet or not. The main character Tota adds the light-heartedness to the series, even though he is proving to be much more powerful than he thought, his attitude is laissez faire and remarks flippant. On the other-hand we are getting to know much more about the serious characters of his partners Kuromaru and Karin. This follows a lot of the common shounen tropes but much more serious and mature which is reflected in the 16+ age rating. I like this!