- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Del Rey; 1st edition (December 28, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780345477842
- ISBN-13: 978-0345477842
- ASIN: 0345477847
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 7.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #905,346 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Negima! Magister Negi Magi, Vol. 4 Paperback – December 28, 2004
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But seriously, this is shaping up to be one heck of a manga series. After finishing the fourth volume, I've come to understand that I won't soon be disappointed by this series. It continues to stay fresh by bringing in a constant stream of characters, without overwhelming a reader too much. It has added a small element of action that wasn't found in the first couple volumes. And it has moved settings now from an all-girl's high school to a public tourist attraction.
Plus, Negima is still as funny as it was when it first started, still using a subtle adult humor and a mocking style of fan-service.
In this volume in particular, Negi takes his class on a field trip to the old Japanese capitals of Kyoto and Nara, which has since become world famous tourist attractions. Though his battle with the vampire Evangeline is on hold for now, a new dilemma has arisen for Negi, and that is finding his father, the Thousand Master. He learns the first clue may be in Kyoto. Along the way, however, he runs into a couple bumps, including a mysterious girl swordmaster who is also a student of his, some crazy paper-using wizard, a plot to kidnap Konoka, the daughter of the school's headmaster, and a student reporter who wants to know all of Negi's deepest secrets. But worst of all, Negi must confront the idea of having someone in love with him.
As for the problems with this volume, it still suffers from an over-abundance of fan-service. Even if it is comical, it always feels forced. Another problem I found with this one is the appearance of yet another character outside the student body, making it well into the thirties. It's becoming difficult to keep track of the names of the students. While the book has a handy roster at the back, when a character is brought in that isn't in that roster, it's close to impossible to remember them. The characterization is also a bit iffy on some of the characters, though Ken Akamatsu apologizes for this in his earlier volumes, saying the sheer size of the cast causes some problems with keeping things in order. As a writer, I've got to appreciate creative honesty.
With everything Negima has going for it, it's shaping up to be something instantly special (I don't want to use any cliches like "my favorite" or "instant classic"). The manga has me hungry for the anime, which is due in August through FUNimation. Though not yet perfect, I'm sure that it will always stay at least a solid four in my eyes. I recommend this to anyone seeking a change from their normal manga reading list.
Evangeline tells Negi that he should take a trip to Kyoto as his father, the Southern Master, used to live there. Thus Negi-sensei decides the class field trip should be to Kyoto and Nara. The headmaster then gives Negi a quest to deliver a letter to the head of the magic association based there (Kansai Group) to stop an age-long feud between them and the Kanto Group. Thus preparations begin by the students and Negi to take this 4-day trip. Konoka and Negi are out in a nice district of Tokyo and are spotted by the cheerleader squad who think the two are on a date. Naturally Ayaka learns of this and will not tolerate anyone else being with Negi, so she grabs Asuna and begins her plan to make sure nothing happens between Negi and Konoka.
The school trip finally starts with Negi-sensei being attached to a group of girls that includes Asuna, Konoka, Miyazaki (the library girl), Yue, and Saotome. They are also joined by Setsuna-san, a girl with a nodachi - a giant, long sword. Forces opposed to the Kansai Group and Kanto Group making amends begin to work with a series of mild attacks by frogs and then monkeys. Setsuna is comes to the aid of Negi as she is sworn to protect Konoka-chan, whom she has known since a child and refers to with the very reverent title of "oujo-sama". The battle heats up as Asuna (armed with a new weapon), Negi, and Se-chan team up to battle a female Japanese wizard and her summoned demons as they attempt to kidnap Konoka-chan.
Once the battle is over, Miyazaki-san is determined to confess her feelings for Negi, something that has been brewing since Volume 1. Being so shy, she has a very difficult time of it, but her friends Yue and Saotome are there to force her to keep on. She is further aided by talking with Asuna and Se-chan. Hearing someone may be confessing their love to Negi, Ayaka dispatches the class reporter Kazumi on the case. Kazumi is bored with the assignment but soon comes upon the scoop of the century when she learns Negi's secret.
There is a fair amount of fun "filler" in this volume, especially at the beginning. The subplot of Miyazaki's feelings is sweet and while being told, the main story arc is not forgotten. Kazumi's learning of Negi's secret should prove interesting and we'll see where this is taken. There's more naked girl fighting in the manga than one would dare dream.
Del Rey does its usual good job and I noticed that they are starting to use a little more of the sister honorifics (neesan) which is cool. The standard extras of the spell lexicon, the translator notes, and early character sketches by Akamatsu-sensei are all included as are definitions of the honorifics.
Bottom line: While not as intense as the previous volume, it is still very good and I look forward to seeing where the story goes from here. Se-chan is a great charater and Asuna continues to grow on me. Well worth the purchase.
Paper panty-stealing monkeys, a female samurai, and a birthday surprise. The total is one excellent graphic novel.