Friday, January 2, 2009

Everything You Need To Know About Negima

So you've heard about Negima or you have fallen upon this topic somehow or another. But you aren't sure if you want to read it or to continue it. Well read on to find on why you SHOULD read on or pick this up. You do not need to read the whole post, just enough to get you interested. Even if I fail to interest you, I would recommend you read at least until the end of the kyoto saga before banishing this manga (but keep in mind, it gets better and better).

Negima or Mahou Sensei Negima (shortened to MSN) or Magister Negi Magi is a manga created by the famous Ken Akamatsu (creator of Love Hina). It chronicles a ten year old Welsh mage who has one goal in his life: to become like his father, a Magister Magi. He just graduated at the top of his class and now has one final task before full graduation: to be a teacher in Japan at an all-girl's school. Quite strange no? He also can't let them find out he is a mage.

The story starts off like a romantic comedy or even a harem. A harem is a romantic comedy where one male is surrounded by females who all want to date him. It's quite easy to see why Negima seems like this. However, it is not so. The main point of this story is NOT who will get with Negi, it is still about him trying to be like his father. To be more specific, we find out his father, Nagi Springfield, has gone missing for over ten years and it's Negi's goal to find him.

One thing you will notice is that Negima has a lot of fan service (nudity to be more specific) but it's used appropriately most of the time. If you like fan service, rejoice! This is the manga for you! If not, it steadily decreases though it will still appear from time to time.

The plot, without going into specifics, goes much like this: Negi attempts to teach his class so that he can pass as a mage. However he has trouble constantly hounding him. First, he is found out to be a mage by Asuna who does not like him one bit. She easily could expose him and not only would he fail, he would be transformed into an ermine. Next, a vampire attacks him because Nagi, his father, sealed her powers away. Only by drinking all of Negi's blood can she be freed from it. Slowly though, Negi falls upon hints of where his father might be. He even goes on a class field trip to see his house. However, a magical organization quickly intervenes, trying to capture a student who has a lot of magic ability. They believe she can allow them to be gain power and influence in the area.

This is when Negima gets good and loses its harem characteristics. Action and adventure starts to show up though this saga (the Kyoto Saga I have named it) is still funny and humorous. But Negima starts to be a shounen title. A turning point of Negima is chapter 45 when the mood gets tense and Negi fights against Fate Averruncus, a very powerful Western mage.

Sure, chapter 45 isn't an amazing chapter when you compare it to other shounen titles like Yu Yu Hakusho, Hunter X Hunter, or Naruto. But it's very interesting for Negima and is a stepping stone to deeper and darker themes. In fact, the very next saga has a very dark story: the history of Negi's village which is destroyed by demons.

After Kyoto Saga, Negima follows a predictable pattern (but this is a good thing and most masterful writers do it): Set up (of the conflict), tense and amazing action and conflict, and relaxment. Set up means training or introduction of the scene. In the School Festival saga, this when we have those chapters where Chao is fully introduced and we see her being pursued by magical people. The Action section is the shounen part of it: the fights and conflict between antagonist and Negi and his group. An example is in the Vampire Saga, where Negi must somehow persuade the vampire to stop hunting him or otherwise defeat her. The Relaxation section is simple: The conflict is over and we have 'filler' which is very important. It shows character growth or gives better characterization of characters we haven't truly met. It's also personal analysis for Negi to see what his next step is and what to do next. Sure, there is no fighting but there is a lot of planning before the next step. This isn't Naruto where people just keep coming and coming; there needs to be steps to acheiving our goals. Most relaxation sections overlap with the set up for the next saga.

Ugh, I should congradulate myself: I effectively detailed Negima without giving away anything! The reason is simple: Negima is actually a great story. Sure, it has great art and great fights but it has a very good literary impact: good characters and coherence. If someone wrote this not as a manga but as a novel, it would still be good.

Hopefully you are willing to try Negima now. Sure I didn't show you anything interesting but I will tell you one thing: the surprising and plot twists are what makes this amazing! If you have patience and enjoy the little things (even the stuff you hate at the beginning), you will get to the amazing parts soon enough.

There! If you want more information about Negima (it WILL have spoilers but won't be too much, just enough to excite you for sure), I will have another post coming up where it talks about the specifics.

Question: Why isn't Negima super famous if it's so great apparently?
I heard this question alot when I tell people of how great Negima is. It's simple: all the anime adaptations failed. If there was an anime company that did the Kyoto Saga appropriately, there would be a larger fan base. But if there was a company that animated the School Festival (one of the best sagas I have EVER read in manga), Negima would challenge Naruto and Bleach for the most popular anime (at least for these years).

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