Mania Grade: B-
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- Art Rating: B+
- Packaging Rating: B
- Text/Translatin Rating: B
- Age Rating: 16 & Up
- Released By: Del Rey
- MSRP: 10.95
- Pages: 202
- ISBN: 0-345-47046-X
- Size: B6
- Orientation: Right to Left
Mahou Sensei Negima Vol. #01
By Mike Dungan
June 02, 2004
Release Date: May 01, 2004
Mahou Sensei Negima Vol.#01
© Del Rey
Translated by:Hajime Honda
Adapted by:What They Say
Don't touch that wand! Ten-year-old-prodigy Negi Springfield has just graduated from magic academy. He dreams of becoming a master wizard. Instead he's sent to Japane to teach English...at an all-girl's high school! All the students are delighted with the cute new teacher - Except for Asuna, who resents Negi for replacing the teacher she secretly has a crush on.
Although he is forbidden to display his magical powers, sometimes Negi can't resist. And when Asuna descovers Negi's secret, she vows to make his life as difficult as possible - just the thing to prepare Negi for the challenges of life as a master wizard!The Review
The Review: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Despite being only ten years old, Negi Springfield has already graduated from magic academy. His first assignment is rather unusual, though. Teaching English in Japan at an all girl's school. His introduction to the class doesn't go well, though, as he falls for every single trap and trick they throw at him. He has an immediate enemy in Asuna Kagurazaka, who has a crush on the teacher he's just replaced. He does have some backup in Shizuna-sensei, an impressively endowed and very beautiful teacher at the school who is Negi's advisor.
In the first chapter, Asuna discovers Negi's secret: He's a magician. He was forbidden to use it, but couldn't help using it in small ways. The clincher is when she sees Negi using his powers to save a Nodoka, a classmate who fell over a railing. Asuna uses that knowledge to make Negi work for her, like trying to find out what Takahata-sensei, the teacher she has a crush on, thinks about her. On top of this antagonistic relationship, he's been ordered to share a dorm room with Asuna and Konoka. Konoka is very easygoing and has no problem with her new roommate, and she' very good friends with Asuna. Negi genuinely wants to be friends with Asuna, and his earnestness finally wins her over in the end, though it's still a rather prickly friendship.
In the next chapter, Asuna forces him to drink his own love portion that he made for her. Unfortunately, it works. The girls in the class can't keep their hands off him, especially Nodona, the girl he saved in the first chapter. She's very shy and cute and works in the school library. She already has a crush on him, so the love potion just makes the situation worse.
Next, Asuna's akward attempt to thank Negi for his help by washing his back in the communal bath goes very wrong when the entire class walks in to bathe at the same time. Asuna's attempts to hide Negi from the girls will be familiar to fans of Akamatsu's previous work, Love Hina. Lots of fanservice and compromising situations.
A chapter about students having to stay after for remedial tutoring, including Asuna, is followed by a chapter about a game of dodgeball with a group of rather unpleasant high school girls.Comments
With one 10 year old magician and 31 Japanese school girls, Negima has been called "Harem Potter" by some. It's not so far off the mark. There is a two page spread early on showing Negi's class book with head shots, names and hobbies of all the girls, which is essential with a cast this large. Fortunately, Akamatsu doesn't attempt to introduce all the girls at once, instead giving us a little bit of time to get to know them one or two at a time. Is this a retread of Love Hina? Well, mostly, yes. Negi is far smarter and attractive than Love Hina's Keitarou, but he still has the amazing ability to be whereever there are naked girls and even unintentionally causing their disrobing. Asuna has the same personality as Love Hina's Naru, and even has the same crush on an older teacher. The rest of the cast is considerably different from anyone we've met in Love Hina, though. Nodona, the goth looking, shy librarian is not like Shinobu. She has her own personality and is quite adorable.
Akamatsu's art is smooth and fanservice friendly. He's a strong believer in using computers in his compositions. Any time you see a character with a white outline, it's been created seperately and then laid over the background art. He has an army of assistants who do all the extensive backgrounds and screen toning. Character designs are very attractive, with a wide range of styles and body types.
Del Rey hired Peter David and Kathleen O'Shea David to create the English adapation of Hajime Honda's translation. Peter David will be very familiar to fans of both comics and science fiction. His work with Marvel's X-Men and his Star Trek novels are some of the best work done in both franchises. Unfortunately, this adaptation is little too liberal, creating new jokes and dialogue to apparently punch-up the original dialogue. A representative example of this can be found on page 25. Negi's first intruduction to Shizuna-sensei is by being pressed into her amazing breasts. Her "Yoroshiku" (an all purpose greeting) and his "Hai" are changed to "So... any questions?" "Can I... ...have a cookie?" The excessively liberal adaptation is especially ironic considering the editorial written in the back of the book by Dallas Middaugh, Del Rey's Director of Manga, which states "We strive to keep the translations as true to the original as possible, while giving the English versions the same sense of adventure and fun."
Another downside is that the first eight pages of the book which are in color in the Japanese version are published in black and white.
The printing quality is good. Screen tones come out well, and the blacks are solid. All honorifics are retained, with an explanation at the beginning of the book so you'll know what they mean. All sound effects are translated right on the page, though there are a couple of instances of less than professional looking art retouches. There is an introduction from Ken Akamatsu, and several pages of extras in the back, ranging from early sketches to translation notes to a preview of the next volume still in Japanese.
Negima is good fun, if not anything we haven't seen from Ken Akamatsu already. The thinking must have been, "If six girls are good, then 31 must be better". So far, it isn't better, but it's not worse, either.