Negima, Vol. 2 : Magister Negi Magi (英語) ペーパーバック – 2004/8/3
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KNOWLEDGE CAN BE DANGEROUS!
For ten-year-old teacher Negi Springfield and his all-girl class, it’s time for final exams! If his students manage not to end up with the lowest scores in school, the principal has promised to make Negi an official teacher. To prepare for the tests, the class takes a trip to the school’s Library Island. But this is no quiet place of study . . . stone golems, traps, and secret passageways are the norm throughout the enormous library building. With all of these distractions, can Negi’s class hope to climb out of the cellar–both academically and literally?
Includes special extras after the story!
Obviously, though, I took the risk and bought the second volume, along with three, four, and five. And I'm glad I risked it. The story, while not exactly getting any deeper into the plot than what it did in the first volume, was delightful and just as funny as it was in volume one. Negi is still trying to get the respect he deserves as a teacher and to get people to stop looking at him as a ten-year-old boy, even though that's what he is (that and a pimp). In this volume, he takes a more active role in getting this to happen, and that includes raising his class's intellectual standards. It becomes a difficult task, however, as Negi must collect the worst of his class and get them to study hard in order to raise their grades. Of course, this involves a lot of magical hi-jinks in a mysterious library and even more fan-service. Later, Negi spends a lot of time during his spring break meeting some of the girls who didn't have much of a role up to this point, and all of it generally involves some sort of affectionate, rather audacious, ribbing toward Negi from these girls.
Now, for the problems. One I had was the number of characters and the fact that most of these characters were shoved onto me before I could get a grasp on some of the ones who came before. A lot of the times it seemed the author was overwhelmed as well, as the characters don't always do what would be normal for such a character. Example, Asuna, one of the lesser minds in the class, quotes a classic Russian novel. Another, though this is not fault of the manga, is that the pages were aligned too close to the binding and it was hard to read some of the stuff inside.
As a comedy manga, this is definitely one worth reading, and one I'd quickly recommend to anyone looking for this sort of thing. Yes, it's a little more mature than the stuff in Shonen Jump, but I'm all for that. Negima was especially good for me, someone who thought he had his interests and tastes locked-in, therefore I give this manga even more credit. It was a great find (I thank the person who recommended this to me) and one I plan on following all the way through to completion.
Meanwhile, gymnast Makie-chan discovers her coach finds her too childish to be a great gymnast. Devistated, she happens upon a training Negi and decides to train to get even better for an upcoming competition. While they train, Se-chan and Asuna-san decide to train in sword techniques. On the night of Negi's fight with Chachamaru, Negi takes a beating but gets Evengeline to agree to train him.
Meanwhile Yue-san and Miyazaki come to Negi with some clues about Negi's father. This leads the trio on a trip to library island without Asuna where they discover yet another dangerous secret of the island. Asuna finds out and is offended, but things get worse when she and Negi get into a verbal fight and Negi seriously insults her. A trip by the girls to Ayaka's private beach doesn't help matters. Will Negi be able to appologize for what he said? Will Asuna forgive him? Will Negi be able to master all of the training in time for the next battle? Will Makie-chan prove her coach wrong?
With this volume, Akamatsu-sensei is clearly taking things down a few notches in intensity but is laying the groundwork for the next big story. The fight between Asuna and Negi was a lot like the fights between Naru and Keitaro in "Love Hina", but I suppose that's to be expected. I enjoyed watching Negi train as he decides whether to be a battle mage or a traditional one. Now that he has four full partners, it is even more important that he get better.
Evangeline continues to be a cool character, though with a new translator, the very sassy "boya" is back to "kid" or "kiddo" (as I understand it). The later two just lack the sass that "boya" has (IMO) so that was disappointing, but a minor thing. Evangeline's puppet Chachazero continues to steal scenes when she appears. ^_^ Akamatsu-sensei knows a good thing and decided to find ways to keep her in the story. It works and adds some nice spice to things.
The tease about Asuna's past was VERY interesting as well.
Bottom line: another good manga volume worthy of purchase despite not really advancing the main story. However the time is not wasted and the groundwork is clearly being laid for the next volume when the main story arc is picked up again.