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Negima: Magister Negi Magi
Ken Akamatsu
Del Rey, 190 pages


Art: Ken Akamatsu
Negima: Magister Negi Magi
Ken Akamatsu
Ken Akamatsu was born in 1968 in Kanakawa. His other series include A.I. Love You and Love Hina.
Past Feature Reviews
A review by Cindy Lynn Speer

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Ten-year-old Negi Springfield has just graduated from sorcerer's school and gotten his first assignment, one that will determine if he becomes a Magister or not: to teach English at an all girl's school. Unfortunately, his well meaning mistakes, combined with the fact that he's taking over classes usually taught by the gorgeous Takahata-sensi, both alienate him with his new roommate and student, Asuna. Negi wants to succeed at two things -- to teach his students well so that he can prove himself worthy, and somehow befriend the extremely temperamental Asuna.

The art is exactly what you hope for in manga. There's not a face in the crowd that's not perfectly cute. Well, save for the Dean, but even he's endearing. Despite the fact that the protagonist is 10 and his students are 15, this is not a comic for younger audiences, because there is a lot of almost nudity and lightly, played for comedy, sexual innuendoes. They're not quite situations, per se, but the sexuality is definitely felt. For me, it sometimes bordered on the almost uncomfortable, but I think that's just personal.

But Negima: Magister Negi Magi is a book filled with charm. Everything Negi tries to do seems to go wrong such as a love potion he makes for Asuna to drink so that she can attract Takahata. Asuna forces him to drink it, causing predictable, but still funny, mayhem. Asuna's reactions (the girl has a fuse as long as the letter A) are sometimes a little over the top but always worth a giggle. There is a great deal of development in a short amount of time, even though nothing really gets resolved (it is after all, part one of a series) we learn a lot about the characters. There's also some interesting commentaries in the text, about the use of magic, and about finding the courage in yourself to overcome things without it.

The art is adorable, the expressions done perfectly. It's the epitome of comic fantasy art, well meaning, with a lovely flow to it that really moves the reader's eyes through the pages -- right to left, though, not left to right. I had no problem whatsoever reading Manga the Japanese way, in fact, thought that Del Rey's decision to print it in the original style and keeping the honorifics shows that Manga is getting the type of respect it deserves from its American publisher.

Cute, endearing and slightly naughty, this comic adventure makes the reader hope that Negi finds every success.

Copyright © 2004 Cindy Lynn Speer

Cindy Lynn Speer loves books so much that she's designed most of her life around them, both as a librarian and a writer. Her books aren't due out anywhere soon, but she's trying. You can find her site at www.apenandfire.com.


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