FoxxFireArt (Level 25)

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I have been wanting to make a review of the Negima! series manga for a while now. I considered writing a review for Volume 25 that was released to the US last week, but felt I should start things off with more of a primer review for those out there that might not be familiar with the series as a whole.

Negima! Volume 1

Negima! Volume 01
Negima! Volume 01
Publisher: Del Rey
Author: Ken Akamatsu
Rating: 16+
Genre: Comedy / Action / School Life
MSRP: $10.95
Contents: 6 Chapters / 208pg.
 

Plot Summary

Negima! is from the creator of the very popular comedy series Love Hina, Ken Akamatsu. He start working on this series about a year after the completion of Love Hina.
The story starts off following a ten year old boy, Negi Springfield, who is graduating from the Magical Academy in Wales. Upon graduation he is given a special diploma that will show him the task he must take upon to reach the goal of the Magister Magi, a high ranking sorcerer. Oddly enough, Negi's diploma says that his task is to become a teacher in Japan.
 
Negi, a young genius, travels to the Mahora Academy in Japan to be an English teacher of an all girl class. The dean of the school is a mage as well, and several teachers know magic or of it. The task Negi must also be aware of is that he needs to keep the existence of the magical world a secret. If he is discovered his license will be revoked and he could be changed into an animal (ermine).
As most things go in manga, one of the girls in his class, Asuna Kagurazaka, witnesses Negi using magic to prevent a different girl in his class from falling. She confronts him and he tries to erase her memory, but the spell fails. Only thing he erases is all of her clothes. Negi has already been assigned to be Asuna's room mate, and he tries to help her out to make up for this embarrassment. 

Volume Review

The volume may only have six chapters, but like with most first volumes. The first chapter is pretty large. The chemistry is pretty different then what Ken Akamatsu did in the past with Love Hina. Asuna is rather similar to Naru Narusegawa. Negi is rather different then the main protagonist of Love HIna. Being a ten year old boy raised in Wales. He's very much an innocent kid who wants to help and gets embarrassed easily by things. It's sort of refreshing to see a main character that doesn't get a nose bleed every time he sees panties, but gets flustered and shy. It's also nice that the author adds in touches like how most kids his age hate taking baths. This leaves Asuna, his de facto guardian, to make sure it gets done.
 
Ken Akamatsu's art is really great in this. The panels are really beautiful and full of life. The environments are something to see.  I'm impressed with how diverse he makes the class of thirty-one girls look without having people look really over the top with giant hair or bows. The personalities also vary, but seem to balance well. The writing and story come out really well. It's pretty hard to find something not entertaining in each chapter.
 
 Why it's good not to read minds.
 Why it's good not to read minds.
Del Rey is a publisher that really dedicates it self to being as close to the Japanese product as possible, but still easy to read. Every volume they publish has a list of many of the Japanese Honorifics in the first few pages. The back has translator notes. If something is changed or needs to be explained. You can find it there. At the very, very end are a few pages of the next volume as they appear in Japanese. This can be fun if you are like me and studying Japanese.

For a first volume it's pretty good. It's cute and funny, but might not be for you if you don't like fan service. There are a LOT of obligatory panty shots in this series. Still, not a great deal happens in this volume. It feels more like a sitcom with magic in it as we read about Negi trying to be a teacher and getting to know his students. Not as if that is a bad thing. It does feel right to slowly introduce a cast before things pick up. We do get a little hint of what is driving both Negi and Asuna, but there is so much more to be learned. 
 

Score: 3/5

Most first volumes in a long manga series are never too spectacular. This is no exception. It's a cute and fun read. It's a series I enjoy. I just can't let that color my opinion that this volume is very much a 'getting to know you' sort of manga volume. If panty shots are your thing. It's certainly right up your alley. At best I give this volume a 3 out of 5.


Favorite Moment

3rd Period - Welcome to the Miss Naked Japan Competition

Least Favorite Moment

4th Period - Negi's after school tutoring with Asuna

WTF Moment

6th Period - Seniors play Dodgeball?

Favorite Character This Volume

Konoka Konoe 

-Kristoffer Remmell ( FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.-
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