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Negima! Magister Negi Magi, Vol. 3 Paperback – October 12, 2004
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From the Inside Flap
BLOOD FEUD WITH A VAMPIRE
There is a vampire stalking the night! Normally ten-year-old teacher/magician Negi Springfield would have no problem dispatching such a villain, but this vampire has a magic-enhancing partner–and worse, the vampire is a student in his own class! Now he must find a partner of his own, but with a class full of beautiful girls all vying for the position, it won't be an easy task. Add in Negi's old friend, a skirt-chasing, wisecracking weasel from Wales, and the nice orderly chaos of Negi's life turns into a hilarious melee of sirens and sorcery!
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After Makie is attacked in a dark street, Negi is determined to find the magical force that harmed her. He barely rescues Nodoka from a cloaked figure, Evangeline McDowell -- one of his students, and apparently also a wizard, a vampire, and with a lethal robot partner.
What's more, she has a grudge against Negi for a curse his father laid on her, and only Asuna's intervention gets Negi away with all his blood. Now it's more important than ever that Negi find a magical partner, but who will it be? Timid Nodoka, cheery ninja Kaede, or street-smart Asuna?
Negi learns more about kind-hearted robot girl Chachamaru, who feeds stray cats, and about the "school hell" curse that the legendary "Thousand Master" -- his father -- put on Evangeline fifteen years ago. But will he and his new partner have the combined strength to defeat the "Dark Evangel," or will Negi become her latest victim?
Akamatsu has a knack for slightly raunchy comedy, but in the third volume of "Negima," he shows that he's got an even stronger knack for adventure/fantasy/horror. Things get pretty grim when Negi is cornered in his own classroom, with a student he can't bring himself to hurt, but who is determined to kill him.
No, it isn't devoid of humour. Most of it is provided by criminal pantyphile Albert Chamomile, a wisecracking ermine who smokes a cigarette and wears a fedora. But Chamo is mostly there to provide information to Negi. Most of the plot is a lot darker and more sinister, especially when Evangeline uses students as pawns against Negi.
This volume also brings Negi and Asuna closer together, when they are forced to team up against Evangeline -- Negi has the power, and Asuna has the strength and guts. Akamatsu also hints at Negi's mysterious past. It was revealed that he had a sister, but nothing about his parents -- now we find out that the lovably twerpy little wizard may be a lot more powerful than anyone thought he was.
The third volume of "Negima" proves to be the high point of a series that started off weakly, and promises future adventures for Negi and Asuna. Well done.
In this volume, Negi finds himself the target of a mysterious female wizard who just so happens to be a vampire as well. Yet after the first battle, many problems are presented to Negi. One, he must find a way to get past his fear of the vampire and teach his class, and two, he must find a partner capable enough to protect him while he must cast the intricate spells needed to battle the wizard/vampire. Along the way, Negi ends up getting closer to a few more of his students who, in some way or another, help Negi in his future fight with the vampire.
What made this so volume so great was that it presented the vampire conflict in the first chapter and ended it by the last. It's not a continuation from the previous volume nor does it go on into the next. It can be read in one shot, without any cliffhangers along the way.
For me, Negima continues to get better. It may not have achieved that perfect point for me, but I'm still laughing at the jokes and I was excited when the action really started in this volume. I highly recommend this volume to the more skeptical Negima reader, especially if you felt that Negima wasn't going anywhere soon. It gets a little deeper into the plot and finally lets Negi be a wizard first and a teacher second. And, of course, a pimp third.
Since the cover of Volume 3 gives away the central characters featured within, it won't be a spoiler to say that the entire volume is about Negi-sensei's fight with the vampire-mage Evangeline McDowell, who's also a student in Negi's class. Eva-chan is partnered with the android Chachamaru, who's also in Negi's class. Negi soon learns how important a partner is to a mage and fortunately for him, Asuna is watching his back.
Joining the cast is the ermine Chamo-kun, who speaks and whom Negi saved in the past. Chamo-kun becomes Negi's closest advisor, but he has his own agenda and really wants Negi to make as many probationary partnerships with girls as possible. While Asuna agrees to be a partner, Negi decides he can't put others at risk and flees to the nearby wooded mountain region, where he runs into one of the Baka Rangers on ninja training - Nagase-san. She manages to be what the doctor ordered and Negi finds his confidence again.
As the battle with Eva-chan and Chachamaru continues, Negi learns that Evangeline has a connection with his father, the man known as the Southern Master who was supposed to have died when Negi was born. As Eva's plot to free herself of the curse of the Southern Master continues, Negi must learn to trust his partner Asuna and Asuna must be willing to go that extra mile in order to gain the full benefits of being a mages partner. Can they do it in time?
I have to say that I was completely taken by surprise with the volume of the manga. Shifting the focus away from ecchi romantic-comedy aspects to creating an enemy for Negi to fight was very good. Not only that, but Evangeline being a vampire-mage was a very good stroke in my opinion. She's a very interesting character made more so with her connection to Negi's father. The mini-Chachamaru that Eva used to use (and may still use) was pretty cool and in a weird way, freaky. Combine this with some nice writing and you've got a real winner.
Del Rey continues to do a good job. In the extras, we have a spell lexicon, initial character sketches by Akamatsu-sensei, translator notes, and a preview of Volume 4 in Japanese.
Bottom line: If you passed the series because it didn't seem like more than a lolicon ecchi-fest, you might want to reconsider as this volume proves the series will be much more than that. Well worth picking up.