Mahou Sensei Negima! Vol. #05 -

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Mania Grade: A

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  • Art Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Del Rey
  • MSRP: 10.95
  • Pages: 202
  • ISBN: 0-345-47785-5
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Mahou Sensei Negima! Vol. #05

By Mike Dungan     June 15, 2005
Release Date: March 15, 2005

Mahou Sensei Negima! Vol.#05
© Del Rey

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

What They Say
A kiss is not just a kiss. When ten-year-old Negi Springfield graduated from university with a degree in magic, he never imagined he would soon be teaching English to a bevy of gorgeous high school girls. Now Negi's old friend Chamo, a lecherous weasel from Wales, and student Asakura have arranged a competition among the girls to see which of the lovely students will be the first to kiss the teacher! Sure, a kiss will strengthen Negi's magical abilities, but doesn't this contest just support Chamo's voyeuristic proclivities? On the other hand, Negi needs all the help he can get when the magical creatures of western Japan strike back!

The Review
The cover is a group shot of Negi and about 15 of the girls all running, the girls in yukata. The rather dour looking Yue is front and center, dragging Negi behind her as chaos reigns behind them. The back cover features the class's journalism club member Asakura in a saucy pose, holding her cell phone and digital camera, set against a pale purple background. There are several extras, such as a Negima character popularity poll what tracks the movement of characters up and down the chart. There are two pages of character concept sketches for Yue and Kotaro; three pages of magical terms, both Latin and Japanese; three pages explaining the significance of the character cards; another page of clothing concept sketches; a page of fan art; four pages of translation notes; and a four page preview of the next volume, translated into English.

Ken Akamatsu, arguably the king of fanservice artists, once again shows that his real strength is in drama and action. His style is exceptionally smooth, with beautifully designed characters. With an army of assistants, it's no wonder that his art is some of the busiest in the industry. Despite that, it's never crowded or confusing. While the lovingly drawn fanservice is still the obvious draw, it's the magnificent action scenes that keep the reader interested. Akamatsu also has a talent for slowing down the action to draw the most drama out of the more emotional scenes.

Del Rey handles sound effects with a combination of small unobtrusive translations on the page, and editing the art to replace Japanese characters with English. It's effective and the reader always understands what they're supposed to be hearing without having to pull themselves out of the story. The team of Peter David and Kathleen O'Shea David, who had been handling the English adaptation previously, have been replaced by translator Douglas Varenas. It's an interesting move, since it was Varenas who had been mistranslating "Thousand Master" as "Southern Master" in the previous two volumes. It's clear that Del Rey has heard the complaints, as they've admitted to the error in their website. Despite assurances that they will work harder in the future, the "Southern Master" mistranslation did pop up once in this volume. On the other hand, the rest of the time, it was correctly translated as "Thousand Master". As for the adaptation itself, it doesn't have quite the fluidness of the David's work in the previous volumes, however, it does have the air of accuracy to it that wasn't always present in previous volumes.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Negi Springfield is a ten-year-old magician from Wales teaching English to 31 beautiful junior high girls. The problem is that he's supposed to keep his magical abilities a secret. Unfortunately, more and more of the girls keep discovering his secret. The latest is the worst one yet: Kazumi Asakura, the class's journalism club member. Instead of publishing his big secret, she decides to use it her advantage, aided by Negi's old friend, the lecherous Chamo, a talking weasel from Wales.

Negi's been tasked by the school's headmaster with delivering a letter to the western Kansai region magic association in an attempt to end the infighting between Kanto and Kansai. A school field trip to Nara and Kyoto is used as a cover for the trip. To complicate things, the Kanto magicians are attempting to kidnap Negi's student and roommate, Konoka. She has tremendous latent magical abilities and is from the Kansai region. Negi must deliver the message and protect Konoka, all without anyone learning the truth. Now that Asakura is in on the secret, keeping that secret will become much more difficult.

Asakura, with help from Chamo, devises a competition to have teams of girls try to steal a kiss from Negi while they stay at a local hot springs hotel. Kissing Negi will create a contract that will help improve Negi's magical abilities, and give the person kissing him some impressive abilities of their own. The girls who sign up for the competition aren't aware of the last part, however. The competition is made more difficult by the fact that one of the teachers is one the warpath, looking for anyone who is causing trouble after lights out. On top of that, Negi's difficulties with writing Japanese cause five extra fake Negi's to appear. This causes some of the best comedy of errors humor I've seen in quite a while.
With the class out sightseeing for the day, Negi and Asuna ditch them to go deliver the letter to the Kansai magic association. Nodoka, who has come into possession of a magic book, secretly follows them. Negi and Asuka are caught in a trap, and even a magical spirit that Setsuna provided them isn't any help. Setsuna herself is protecting Konoka in town and is unavailable to help. Negi takes a terrible beating from a cocky young boy from the Kansai magic association, but in an stunning action sequence, Negi is finally able to turn the tables and win the battle, thanks in no small part to some unexpected help from Nodoka.

Meanwhile, Setsuna is attempting to protect Konoka in town. Setsuna's family has been protecting Konoka's family for generations, and Setsuna is completely devoted to Konoka, even calling her "Ojou-sama", a very formal and deferential form of addressing a young woman of high breeding and social stature. Konoka treats Setsuna as the childhood friend they've always been, referring to her affectionately as "Se-chan". The oblivious Konoka drags Setsuna off to Eiga Mura or "Cinema Village", a reproduction of Edo-era Japan complete with actors who play out scenes for the enjoyment of tourists. Nodoka gets into the spirit of it all by dressing herself as a young princess in a gorgeous kimono and Setsuna as a valiant young samurai. Their outfits are so convincing, when they are attacked by a member of the Kansai magic association, the crowd believes it’s all part of the show. The class rep and several other students, also similarly dressed up, arrive to protect Konoka, even though all they see is a very polite and cheerful young girl dressed in gothic lolita fashion. What transpires is both exciting and hilarious. Konoka proves her devotion to Setsuna is as great as Setsuna's devotion to her in a scene that is possibly the most beautiful and moving Akamatsu has ever drawn.

The Kyoto arc continues with a fun fanservicey diversion, and then a couple of powerfully dramatic stories. With Del Rey working harder at cleaning up the few translation and adaptation issues of previous volumes, things look bright for this title. For a title that many people initially dismissed as little more than "Harem Potter" when it was announced, it's proving to be one of the most exciting and well-written stories on the market. I loved the way this volume ended, and I look forward to future volumes.


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