First, UQ Holder! is a sequel to the 2007 anime Negima!? Magister Negi Magi, though it is set more than 80 years after the original story. The protagonist Touta Konoe is the grandson of Negi Springfield, the protagonist of the original series. 14-year-old Touta lives with his teacher and guardian Yukihime, also known Evangeline A.K. McDowell. She is a vampire and one of the main characters from the original series. The two are discovered by people out to kill Yukihime and have to flee their quiet life in the countryside. Touta has no problem with Yukihime’s true identity and soon finds himself immortal as well. Yukihime and Touta escape to her private island fortress populated by members of a secret society of people with supernatural powers whom she leads in efforts to fight injustice. The rest of the story is one of battle, adventure and friendship as Touta learns to use his powers to unravel mysteries from 80 years ago.
The original story Negima! is a harem story with plenty of fan service and this incarnation is no different. Touta’s story isn’t school-based like his grandfather’s but based around the UQ Holder Society. The story doesn’t slack off in the harem aspect, so don’t worry there will lots of cute girls. We have girls of all kinds, Kirie the loli-looking genius; Karin, the heavy-handed senpai; a student maid named Shinobu; and Kuromaru, a genderless immortal who is only genderless until their 16th birthday when they choose a gender (very progressive). At times it feels like Yukihime is part of the harem as she shifts between her adult form and her natural form as a young girl. All that being said we now count down the Top 5 fan service scenes in UQ Holder!
5. Episode 2
“You Can’t Hate Someone You Meet Naked” is one of the strangest “cute-meets” you’ll find in anime. Touta and Yukihime have been traveling a little more than a day and they have had at least one battle. Yukihime decides that they should take a rest; Touta decides that he’s going to go clean off in the river. He quickly runs off, strips naked and plunges into the river. He swims for a few moments floating on his back, spacing out and thinking about his newfound immortality when he bumps into something, reaches back and squeezes. Of course you’re thinking boob, he’s squeezing boob, but no, and we like the way you think. He is squeezing butt. The person in question, Kuroumaru, quickly and hilariously punches him, sending Touta flying before covering up their front from the chest down with a towel and drawing a sword with the other hand. Touta, on the other hand, acts like a puppy meeting a new friend. The two nearly kill each other before becoming friends mainly due to Touta’s overwhelmingly friendly personality. Touta assumes that the “boy” in question is just shy and covers himself out of modesty. We find out later the reasoning isn’t quite that simple.
The episode also has Touta attempting to sneak a look at Yukihime as she bathes outdoors. He says after living with her he’s seen her naked a lot and it’s more about the challenge of doing it without getting caught. We then find that Yukihime does have a “rockin bod” as Touta puts it and she has more than one form. Touta refers to one as a “washboard loli” and the other is an adult version of herself that has very dangerous curves. The whole scene doesn’t carry the ecchiness factor you’d think; the nakedness isn’t really sexualized it just happens to be.
4. Episode 4
“Invasion of the Assassins” Yukihime and Touta have settled in at the UQ headquarters and Touta begins his journey as a member of the society. Karin is one of the highest ranked UQ members and doesn’t really like Yukihime’s close relationship with Touta. She is however forced to take an assignment to with him in tow. The mission is to help some orphans at a church in the slums outside the capital. A land developer is trying to force them off their land and take their lives if that gets them out of the way. Karin settles into the dorms of the orphanage, goes for a shower and is attacked by a mage that controls shadows. The ensuing battle kind of reminds you of Viggo Mortensen’s fight in the steam room in Eastern Promises. Karin is naked the whole time yet she doesn’t seem to care one bit as they clash. We get some obvious censor lines and some not-so-obvious ones as she defends and counterattacks. At one point she even gets wrapped up in a ribbon made of shadow that seems to cover all the sensitive areas for a good wide shot of her and the villain. We find out from this scene that Karin’s skin is near impenetrable and she is one scary woman when she gets serious.
3. Episode 7
“Reset and Restart” Touta has just barely survived a date and was returning to the island when he is introduced to Kirie, one of the UQ Holders he hasn’t met before. Kirie looks to be about 11 years old but age seems to be a rather fluid idea on this show, so she could be older. The group travels back into the capital and she pulls him aside into an alley and begins to berate him. She reminds him that he should treat her with respect as she is his senpai and demands that he let her step on his face. She tells him that he failed to save her multiple times and so she gets to step on his face. Touta is rather confused and doesn’t quite get how they just met yet she says he failed to save her. The fan service moment comes from -- you probably guessed it -- the face stomping. The moment is a classic fan service moment, too; as she repeatedly raises her leg to abuse him we see her pink panties. The scene doesn’t last all too long but it is definitely a traditional moment of fan service
2. Episode 9
“Love, Baths, and Vigorous Exercise” The harem has become well-rounded at this point in the series. The collection of girls and Kuroumaru are told by one of the adults that if you visit the hot spring on the island and you scrub the back of the person you like 50 times they’ll be yours forever. We have a breakdown of the girls into two teams, Karin and Kirie representing the immortals and Yukihiro Mizore, the granddaughter of one of the characters from the original anime, and Shinobu the teenage maid. Kuromaru also takes up the challenge though they’re confused as to if a lover or friend is what they’re after. The girls chase, punch and deceive each other all in their attempts to corner Touta and wash his back in the big open-air bath. Oh, did we mention that they all are just wearing towels the whole time. We witness dozens of near-miss nudity moments. We even get a second chance to see that “rockin bod” of Yukihime’s as she gets in the 50 strokes.
1. Episode 11
“Her Love Story” We are ready for the climactic battle between the overpowered bad guy that is determined to abduct Touta in an attempt to destroy/save the world. The opponent facing down the forces of good is none other than Touta’s grandfather, the hero of the previous series. Negi Springfield’s body and mind is partially corrupted by an evil entity. The heroes all assemble: Touta, Kuromaru, Karin, Kirie and Yukihime, and begin their face down. Negi stands there with his own allies, some from the original series, and things are getting tense. Negi, the most powerful wizard in the world, suddenly sneezes. The heroes and everyone else nearby have their clothes suddenly blown off. We are, once again, graced with the sight of four partially clothed or completely naked young heroes. For all his badness, Negi does apologize for the sneeze to which Touta replies “that’s a really pervy ability.” We agree. We also enjoy the partially clothed parts in the aftermath, like Karin only wearing a white dress shirt.
We used the definition of fan service because the scenes were just revealing enough to make you look but not very explicit. The exposure or perverted scenes weren’t the point of the anime, either. The fanservice in UQ Holder! was just a little spice to add to the dish -- not the main flavor. We feel the story is a little compact and light on character development and know there is a lot more there if you’re a fan of the manga, but the show was entertaining and if you were a fan of the original you’ll more than enjoy this update.