Mahou Sensei Negima! Vol. #02 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Del Rey
  • MSRP: 10.95
  • Pages: 202
  • ISBN: 0-345-47120-2
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Mahou Sensei Negima! Vol. #02

By Mike Dungan     July 17, 2004
Release Date: July 01, 2004


Mahou Sensei Negima! Vol.#02
© Del Rey


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Ken Akamatsu
Translated by:Douglas Varenas
Adapted by:

What They Say
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 to study... stone golems, traps, and secret passageways are the norm thoughout the enormous libaray building. With all of these distractions, can Negi's class hope to climb out of the cellar - both academically and literally?

The Review
The Review: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With finals coming up, the headmaster of Mahora Academy tells Negi he will make him an official teacher if he can keep his class from scoring last among all the second year classes. This is much harder than it sounds, as the class is made up of misfits and has a long-standing tradition of placing last. Asuna misunderstands and thinks that if they place last, not only will Negi be fired, but the class will be broken up and all of them will have to start over from first grade.

To avoid this humiliation, Asuna and the rest of the Baka Rangers, the worst students in the class, make a pilgrimage to Library Island, the extraordinary library complex that floats in the lake on school grounds. The library is more like an enormous obstacle course with traps and pitfalls for anyone not paying attention. To complicate things, Negi has placed a spell on himself, making him unable to use magic for three days. The pilgrimage turns into a full-blown adventure with the search for a magic book, a battle with a giant stone robot, and a game of twister.

After that adventure, which lasts for 5 chapters, we're treated to a string of short stories during spring break which allows us to get to know a few of the other class members better, such as the Narutaki twins, the quiet yet intense Chisame, Class Representative Ayaka and the history of her long-standing antagonistic relationship with Asuna, and finally, Konoka, Asuna and Negi's roommate, gets some much appreciated screen time.

Comments
When you open the book and are greeted by an image of Ayaka and Shizuna-sensei in bikinis that are clearly inadequate in covering their considerable charms, you know exactly what kind of story you're in for. Ken Akamatsu draws fanservice-fests, and takes every opportunity to show the girls in various stages of undress, from panty-shots to naked girls bathing. It's this willingness to push the boundaries that led Del Rey to nearly censor several pages of art in the first volume. Fortunately, a poster at this very website found out about it from Ken Akamatsu's website, and the outcry from fans convinced Del Rey to find another soluntion. Now all books are shrink-wrapped with a round yellow "for mature readers" sticker on the cover of each book. Although the sticker is under the shrinkwrap and applied directly to the cover, it's very easy to pull off and won't leave any residue. Better yet is no censored artwork in any volume of Negima.

Ken Akamatsu is a computer junky who uses them extensively in creating his manga. It can be seen in things like the white outline around characters when they're placed against previously created backgrounds. His artwork has improved considerably in the past 10 years, and his character designs are sexy and cute, with excellent composition and detailed scenery, the last, no doubt, due to his army of assistants.

The English adaptation by Peter David and Kathleen O'Shea David, appears to have been toned down a bit from the previous volume. There are still a few too many obviously hip modernisms that will date the dialogue quickly, but not enough to make it overly annoying. All side comments and sound effects are translated, with small text place right next to the sfx, my prefered way of handling it.

All of the extras present in the Japanese tankouban make it into this volume too. That means 6 pages of notes on the creations of several characters, two pages of explanatory text on all the latin used in the book, and the two page character sheet, which readers will find most usefull. In addition, there are two pages explaining the use of Japanese honorifics, a preview of volume 3 still in Japanese, and 5 pages of translator's notes. This does bring up a question about the translation. One of the characters becomes involved in an arranged marriage meeting, called an omiai. But it's spelled omimai in both the text of the story and in the translation notes. This appears to be a mistake on Del Rey's part.

The front and back covers use the same art as the Japanese tankouban, set against a slightly different background, and it looks good. The art reproduction looks good as well, with Del Rey's handling of screentones better than average.

Ken Akamatsu's skill has always been in creating unique and likeable characters, and Negima is no exception. This volume gives us both a long, high-stakes adventure, and several short stories that allow us to learn more about some of the side characters. It's a fun romp with lots of sexy girls, and any fan of the harem-comedy should love this title.

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