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Negima!: Magister Negi Magi, Vol. 6 Paperback – June 28, 2005
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About the Author
Ken Akamatsu is the best-selling creator of Love Hina, one of the most popular manga series translated into English. It was selected by Kodansha for their prestigious 'Manga of the Year' award. Love Hina has been converted into an anime series that is popular in both the US and Japan. Ken Akamatsu lives in Tokyo. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The gang arrives at the Kansai Magic Temple, which also happens to be the home of Konoka and her dad, the Elder of the West. Negi and Co. are assured of their safety -- but then a strange white-haired boy petrifies everyone except Asuna (who merely loses her clothes and gets tickled almost to death). Konoka is kidnapped, so that her latent magical power can be manipulated.
To get her back, and keep the Monkey Woman from releasing a legendary demon, Negi enters a pactio with Setsuna, and she and Asuna take on an army of ancient demons. Negi sets off to rescue Konoka, but is stopped on the way by the white-haired boy, and by dog-boy Kotaro. But Negi will receive help from an unexpected source: vampire mage Evangeline, who is also his enemy...
This is perhaps the most intense volume of "Negima" so far, focusing on magic, battles, and the friendships that make them possible. The only flaw is that they switched translators somewhere, which means that some characters, like Fei Ku, sound EXTREMELY different. Suddenly she's speaking in pidgin English. Ah well...
And yes, there's still gratuitous nudity, but at least some of it is humorous, such as poor underwearless Asuna being pursued by an army of ogres, wailing, "Why do these things happen to me?" The focus is a lot more on Negi's burgeoning powers, and on the increasingly elaborate fights between characters. Yet Akamatsu still has a knack for humor, such as Evangeline's sick little sidekick doll. Freaky.
And some of the characters get new dimensions: the Elder reveals that Konoka might be even more powerful than Negi's dad, , and Setsuna reveals that she's not really human. And Tatsumiya (whom Akamatsu only noted for her "endowments" before) gets to show off her magical sharpshooting skills by defeating ogres.
Ken Akamatsu's new fantasy series hits its stride, with an epic fantasy battle and lots of new battle pals. Time for some downtime.
Negi and his group of girls (including Asakura) head back to the temple where Negi delivers his letter to the head of the temple, who also happens to be Konoka-chan's father. He accepts, but unfortunately the enemies that have been fighting with Negi, Asuna, and Se-chan have a powerful new ally who has the form of a blonde-haired boy in a school uniform. He overcomes the temple's natural defenses including those of Konoka's father. Despite Asuna's best efforts, she is unable to keep the boy from kidnapping Konoka, though she is able to resist his petrifaction spell at the cost of her clothes. In attempting to rescue Konoka, Se-chan, Asuna, and Negi have to face scores of summoned demons. In order to rescue Konoka and fight the demons, Se-chan and Negi form a pactio so that she and Asuna can fight while Negi rescues Konoka.
The reasons behind Konoka's kidnapping become clear as Negi's enemies intend to unseal a powerful demon that nearly destroyed the world centuries ago. The battle looks grim until Yue, who's discovered the truth, contacts Kaede, the powerful ninja in the class. Kaede and her allies Fei Ku (who knows powerful Chinese martial arts) and Tatsumiya (who is an expert with guns and who's bullets have been enchanted) provide cover for Negi, Asuna, and Se-chan. Se-chan reveals a secret about herself as she rescues Konoka, while Negi is saved from death by an unexpected source. With so many allies, can Negi now defeat the unsealed mega-demon?
I have to say that this is my favorite volume of the series to date. This is aided by Del Rey's decision to take the plunge and make the translation a bit more otaku-ish in nature. This means that the various forms for "big brother" and "big sister" are left un-translated. Each form has a different feeling and while someone like me may understand it, newbies may not. That's not a problem because Del Rey gives an explanation as to why they are doing it. I think they should have gone into a bit greater detail on the differences, but I won't complain. Regardless, it adds depth to characters, primarily Chamo-kun who uses them the most.
Another interesting item was when one charater calls Negi "böya". This is Engrish for "boy", and I think they've been translating it as "kid" in earlier volumes. However, leaving "böya" un-translated gives so much sass to the character saying it that completely belongs! Obviously, the new staff in charge of "Negina!" understood this and I applaud Del Rey for this! Del Rey also left Greek, Latin, and Japanese in the manga when spells were cast. This gives it a more interesting flavor since it comes off more like spell-casting. Del Rey has complete explanations at the end of each chapter which I liked better than having the spell lexicon at the end of the manga.
Finally, Del Rey has a really cool extra (beyond the standard extras) which has Akamatsu-sensei's original artwork for the various tankoubon covers (front and back) and include his notes. Tama-chan from "Love Hina" shows up in the notes and Akamatsu-sensei hints at a link between Motoko from "Love Hina" and Se-chan. Very cool!
Bottom line: Clearly, Del Rey understands the manga market with this volume of "Negima!" and it shows. Combine that with Akamatsu-sensei's great story and this became the best volume to date!