Mahou Sensei Negima! Vol. #23 (Mania.com)

By:Robert Harris
Review Date: Friday, December 04, 2009
Release Date: Tuesday, July 07, 2009

While Negi chooses between the paths of darkness and light, his students continue to converge on the magical city of Ostia. Will they make it in time for the festival? Will Negi win the fighting tournament? Didn't we already do all this a few volumes ago?

Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Ken Akamatsu
Translation: Alethea and Athena Nibley
Adaptation: Alethea and Athena Nibley

What They Say
The great tournament that will decide the fate of Negi and his friends is fast approaching. Negi has no choice: He must become a great wizard like his father and soon. For Negi will have to face his powerful nemesis, Fate Averruncus, and make a profound decision, one that will bring him victory or death!

The Review!
Content:
When a series has been running as long as <B>Negima</B>, surprises are in short supply. Particularly in battle mangas, the creators seem to recycle the “new enemy + new ally + new surrounding = gold” formula forever, relying on situations rather than characters to support what boils down to a never-ending battle. <B>Negima</B> has been guilty of this as well, but has tempered it with some really impressive characterization, aided by its use of two lead characters with uncertain pasts. Which makes it even more surprising that there is a twist present in this volume, not dealing with the past or new information, that took me completely by surprise. The fact that I can't fully predict a character's choices this far into a series is a <I>delightful</I> shock, though I wish it were the rule rather than the exception.
 
I think one of my favorite aspects of this Magical World arc is seeing just how capable some of Negi's students are. Sure we all know Setsuna, Asuna, and Kaede can take care of themselves, but watching Nodoka channel Indiana Jones to power her artifact up, or seeing an amnesiac Yue prove that a young girl from Earth can stand up to the best the Ariadne Academy has to offer is good stuff. More importantly, it shows that even the most apparently helpless members of Negi’s cadre have what it take to be heroines in their own right. That’s not even mentioning Chisame’s role in the story so far; I wouldn’t doubt she’ll be many people’s favorite character before too much longer. Who would have expected it from her first appearance all those years ago?
 
In Summary 
Is it a little disappointing that Akamatsu tantalizes us with this new direction for Negi at the start of the volume, only to switch gears and stay focused on other characters for the remainder? I’d be lying if I said no; but at the same time it’s so much fun to read about the girls and how they’re handling themselves in this new and dragon-infested environment that I can’t fault him much. Better to get the smaller stories out of the way now, before we’re washed so far down the raging river of awesome we can’t even see other storylines anymore.

 



Mania Grade: A-
Art Rating: A
Packaging Rating: A
Text/Translation Rating: B+
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Released By: Del Rey
MSRP: 10.99
Pages: 192
ISBN: 978-0345514264
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: Mahou Sensei Negima!