on 24 October 2011
Negima - the latest work from Ken Akamatsu (Love Hina) has been running now since 2003 and despite initially seeming to be another harem/romance manga like Love Hina, Negima has fully separated itself from that series to become one of the best shonen/action/romance/comedy manga's out of there. I have read a lot of shonen action manga's over the years, Naruto is a good series but runs at a snail's pace, Bleach got repetitive, Historys Strongest Disciple has dissolved into fan service, One Piece is too bizarre and Yu Yu Hakashu ended prematurely. These are all great action manga's (along with many others) in their own right and will have legions of followers who will swear that 'they' are the best shonen manga out there these and yet for me, Negima remains the most enjoyable, action-packed manga out there - why?
The set up for Negima initially seems bizarre. Negi Springfield (aged 10) from Wales dreams of becoming a Magister Magi and as part of his studies is sent to Japan to become an English teacher at the all girls school of Mahora Academy for a class of 31 older girls. Between his magic studies and work as a school teacher he is on the hunt for his father, Nagi, the legendary 'Thousand Master' believed to be dead.
Thus the first volume introduces Negi and he is as overawed and confused by his class of 31 ladies as the reader is, what quickly separates this series from many others is that over time, each of the 31 ladies (plus many other supporting female and male characters) becomes fully developed and integrated into the story. Many other authors would struggle to make each character individual and special, yet Akamatsu largely succeeds, hence why each character has a fan club of some description back in Japan... Many of the characters are indeed anime clichés, there's the 'bookish' one, 'the jock,' 'the reporter,' 'the computer nerd,' etc etc. However despite these clichés and the repetition of some of his older character traits from Love Hina (Asuna = Naru) some of the twists are surprising, the character friendships well done and their personal growth interesting. Following your 'favourite' character and never being sure what will happen to them is very fun, some of the most surprising characters (as in, some of the ones that would never see the light of day in other mangas) get a lot of development and chapter time which really helps put this ahead of its rivals.
Negi himself as the lone 10yr old male is the exact opposite of Keitaro in Love Hina, competent, kind, well-mannered and polite its easy to actually like the main character rather than face-palming whenever they do/say something stupid. Negi, his growth in strength, experience as a teacher and his battle to keep his magical powers a secret from his pupils is funny and genuine. The girls rush of affection for him (ranging from 'love-love' to 'awwww') sometimes nearly crosses the line into perverted and 'awkward romance' but is largely just played for laughs and satire at other romantic amines.
As Shonen manga's go, this has plenty of action from brawls/sword-fights to end of the world boss battles. All the villains and opponents are interesting and the story arcs which include vampires, a martial arts tournament, a kidnapping and the like are interesting and don't overstay their welcome. Unlike Naruto, Bleach and many other Shonen fight scenes don't last for several books making each panel critical to the flow of combat. The magical spells and the like are dazzlingly drawn and each is expanded in a commentary section at the back.
As for the art, Akamatsu makes liberal use of computer aided design for a large number of backgrounds which enables him to do his favourite thing - draw absurdly attractive women. There is a lot of fan service, particularly in the first few volumes, it moderates eventually and is mostly played for gags but still - there is a lot more than most Shonen manga (barring 'History's Strongest Disciple')The art is always detailed, interesting and clean, some drawings are very congested however with the text barely squeezed in!
Negima! Omnibus 1 includes the first three volumes of Negima including his arrival and introduction to the school, a quest for an ancient magical book and the arrival of a vampire on the school campus. This is just the tip of an epic book series which is currently still ongoing (Approaching chapter 350 now!) with each story arc getting progressively longer. However reading the first three volumes is probably the best way to start allowing you to see what you can expect for the next 35+ books)
These are just a few of the reasons I would recommend Negima happily to anyone. It's not going to please anyone looking for just an action manga (check out Berserk) nor is it just a magic/fantasy manga (Try One Piece). If you are looking for something that covers a whole range of genres, is funny, interesting and enjoyable, Negima is one of the best shonen manga's out there and I heartily recommend it.
Best for - Age 14+
on 4 August 2012
Not only is this a high quality and nicely presented product, but the quality of translation is (in my opinion) far better than the original English release.
If you, like me, are a manga fan that wants a translation to be accurate and faithful to the original Japanese text then the Omnibus translation is for you. I have compared it to the original Japanese text and the new translators have done a great job of keeping the English extremely close to the original without sacrificing clarity or flow.
The previous translator of the Del Rey release of Negima on the other hand evidently had no issue at all with changing the script and attempting to add his own creative touch to the translation. Whilst this can sometimes add energy and humour to a manga and improve the overall reading experience for English fans, in this case I have to say that he took one too many liberties in my opinion. Yes, Negima contains fan service, but I never realised how many additional sexual puns and suggestive references had been added in the Del Rey English translation when they were completely absent in the original Japanese release. To give one example, there is a scene on a train in volume one where Negi is travelling to the school and some giggling girls ask him where he is going. In the original Japanese and Omnibus translation they simply tell him that he has missed his stop as the next stop is the Mahora girl's school. However, in the Del Rey translation they tell Negi he should have "gotten off" and then ask him "have you ever? Gotten off I mean". This is just one of many added sexual references which were not present in the original Japanese and yet were added to the English release. Looking back, the original release feels kind of smutty in comparison...
As a huge Negima fan (it was the first manga I ever read), I highly recommend purchasing this Omnibus. The translation quality is far better in my opinion and re-reading it with a more faithful and less perverted script was fantastic fun.
Ten year old wizard Negi Springfield has graduated top of his class from his magic school in Wales. In order to complete his training and become a fully-fledged Magister Magi like his famous father he must now teach a class at Mahora Academy, an all-girls school in Japan, without anyone discovering that he is a wizard. As he deal with both his own problems as well as those of his students he quickly discovers that his class and the school itself aren't quite as normal as they first appear.
'Negima!' is a brilliant series that is easily my all-time favourite manga. This omnibus contains the first three volumes of the series and I must say that it was very enjoyable to read the early parts of the series after reading through the entire series as it is nice to see how much the series and the characters have developed over the years. The original Del Rey release of these volumes was quite infamous for the poor translation and this omnibus retranslates these volumes to be much better, although there are still a few minor issues here and there.
The first volume in this omnibus is an introduction for the characters, allowing us to see how Negi deals with his first few weeks as a teacher and introduces the various students. The volume doesn't have much in the way of plot but it does lay the groundwork for the series and has some foreshadowing of future developments.
The second volume consists mostly of the Library Island arc where the Baka Rangers, the five worst students in the class, search for a magical book that will make them smarter so that they can pass their exams. After this there are four chapters that each focuses on a one or two of the students (Chisame Hasegawa, the Narutaki twins, Ayaka Yukihiro and Konoka Konoe respectively). This is a very nice volume with some interesting moments throughout. The Library Island arc begins to show some of the abnormalities of the school and class with the massive and dangerous library and some students who are far more powerful than most fourteen year olds. The four other chapters are also good with some nice humour and give a good insight into the characters they focus on.
The third and final volume in this omnibus is where the series begins to get really good as the focus begins its shift from harem comedy to action comedy with harem elements. The volume sees Negi and Asuna have to deal with Evangeline A.K. McDowell, a mysterious student with a grudge against Negi's father. The volume is where some of the secrets of the class begin to be shown with revelations about Kaede Nagase and Chachamaru Karakuri as well as Evangeline herself. The volume has the best action of the omnibus with some nice battles and does a reasonably good job of shifting the tone towards a more serious direction without losing the series sense of fun.
The omnibus includes most of the extra material of the individual volumes such as concept art, designer's notes, translation notes and the Latium Lexicon Negimarium that explains the spells and concepts of the series. The omnibus is missing the cover sketches that were in some of the individual volumes, which is slightly annoying.
As I have already said, 'Negima!' is easily my favourite manga series (despite the unfortunate way it ended) so I am probably a bit biased and couldn't ever think of giving this omnibus less than five stars.
on 7 April 2015
Negima! is one of if not the best Shonen manga. As others have said Ken Akamatsu fully develops each of the 31 girls in Negi's harem (class). It is very hard to choose a favourite because there are so many great characters in this series. If you like magic, school romance, ecchi and a great story with great artwork then you'll love Negima!
on 27 July 2014
I bought the individual books in print as they came out and always found myself very eagerly waiting the next one. This is the best manga series I have ever read and one that got me very much into manga and anime. I decided to buy the kindle version, because it is alway a pain to take manga with you anywhere (it fills your suitcase way too quickly!). If you enjoy this series there are also other offshoots including anime, as well as a follow up series by Ken Akamatsu set significantly later than this one (I haven't read it) and a less serious alternative version called "Negima? Neo" (its fun but not as good as this one in my opinion, still worth reading though).
If you enjoy magic fantasy and school comedy romance I would 100% recommend this series without reservation. As the series progresses it gets more and more exciting and interesting, with fan service, humour and awesome battles throughout. The drawing style is great in every respect. Even better the series has a good length and is 100% available in english (I don't think the last omnibus is out yet, but the individual books are still available), so you can enjoy it for even longer and it has a great conclusion. Don't you just hate it when you find a series with a great start, but it ends after just a few books without a proper conclusion, or at least the english language version does?! I cannot find fault with this series. Ten stars out of five :)