Negima Volume 1
Created and Drawn by Ken Akamatsu
Translated by Hajime Honda
Adapted by Peter David and Kathleen O'Shea David
Published by Del Rey, 208 pages $10.95
Ten year old Negi Springfield has just graduated from a prestigious magic academy in England, and can't be any happier. That is until he learns what his next assignment on the road to becoming a Magister Magi, a sort of guardian angel magician, is to teach junior high girls in far off Japan.
There he has to deal with an odd group of personalities. Some who don't want to take him seriously because of his age, and one who at first hates his guts because he's taking the position of a professor she has a crush on.
As any reader of his Love Hina series should be able to tell, Ken Akamatsu likes drawing young women. Which this book provides ample opportunity for with more than 31 female characters as regular cast members. The foreword promises they will all have unique personalities, yet so far they seem to only have different body types.
Which given the artist's penchant for having their clothes torn from their bodies, is likely the reason why for large cast. After all, I'm sure it would get boring to draw the same two or three characters nude all of the time.
There is supposed to be a story here, I think, about friendships and growing up. Yet it gets lost in all of the titillation jokes and pandering panty shots. Instead of having different personalities the girls only have different reasons for liking, or disliking, Negi.
The more I think on it, the more this reads like a selfish guy's fantasy of the world revolving around him. Everything in the book revolves around his life and experiences, and the other characters are only ciphers to reflect on him as the center of attention. Even when they don't know he's around he's the topic of everyone's discussion.
The humor here is very low grade, filled with women rubbing their breasts on him, bath jokes, etc. I think they try to appeal to the younger readers who read Harry Potter with Negi's background. Yet there really isn't anything remotely like Potter in this series beyond that he's a wizard, and is more like the Girls Gone Wild Videos you see commercial on TV.
The book just left me cold, even with all the pandering and teasing of Love Hina at least there was the nifty plot of the burgeoning romance between its lead and one of the girls. This lacks even that, and doesn't leave me with any real need to read more.