Yuri Manga: Negima! Volume 9

March 10th, 2006

I was so not going to publish an entry today, and then Sean Gaffney, god among men, sent me this! So here you go – a new review by our beloved semi-regular guest reviewer Sean.

Negima! 9, at first glance, appears to be a rather uneventful volume. We get introductions to four girls (well, three and a half), a couple of others are developed a bit, there’s lots of wacky comedy of errors, gratuitous nudity, and people getting punched for being perverts. All very typical.

Of course, this is probably one of the most important volumes, for several reasons.

First of all, this volume sets up the School Festival. As of March 2006, Negima is about to finish Volume 14 in Japan, and we’re still only in Day 2 of 3 of this Festival. It’s a HUGE arc, and this volume starts it up.

Secondly, we meet Chao Lingshen, even if we don’t find out much about her (she’s the one-half). She’s brilliant and mysterious, and also wanted by most of the school for various crimes. I suspect her plot will end up being one of the ‘end games’ in the entire manga. Plus, she’s Chinese and wears her hair in odangos, but has a small bust and an IQ in the 200s, which makes a nice change from the Shampoo stereotype. :)

In terms of yuri, we continue to have some amusing bits with our favorite canonical half-couple, Konoka and Setsuna. Setsuna is blushing and stammering, Konoka is oblivious. Setsuna sees Konoka in underwear, she gets very embarrassed. We’re
sort of in a comedy holding pattern here.

Of interest, though, is another ‘non-canon’ couple. We meet the class’s resident ghost, Sayo, a cute yet klutzy girl who was murdered in the 1940s but who still haunts the classroom. After being ‘outed’ by the class, she finds that she can actually be seen by reporter girl Kazumi, possibly as they sit next to each other. The interaction between the two is cute, and naturally since Kazumi’s the one who can see her, Sayo rarely leaves her side after this. Many fans like these two as a yuri couple, despite the obvious problems (such as one partner being non-corporeal), but it’s pure fan speculation.

This is a good if not great volume of Negima, but it does set up the Festival, and there are some very good stories coming up in that. Recommended.

Thanks Sean! The way you describe this almost makes me want to read it – which is quite a feat, let me tell you! :-)

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2 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    A lot of the reason I read Negima is that it can be very, very cute, both in story and drawings (note that cute is not necessarily equal to sexy). For instance, in the latest chapter (127 I believe), Konoka spends almost the whole time in a state of big round blank-eyed shock/panic… and is UTTERLY ADORABLE.

    It also helps that the story is as much shonen action as romance comedy.

  2. d says:

    When I first saw the plot of Negima I groaned, “Oh no, sub-Harry Potter harem hi-jinks”. Which was a pity because I really liked Love Hina.

    Well, I tried reading volume 1. While it was littered with fanservice (in a nice way) it wasn’t quite what I had feared, so I gave vol 2 a chance. From then I was totally hooked. While the earlier volumes are quite lighthearted and actually rather sweet there are hints that things will take a darker turn, as indeed they do.

    I think what makes this such a good story is twofold: first, Akamatsu really loves the characters he’s writing about. He has genuine affection for them; second, the setup is just a starting point, because things get very quickly a whole lot weirder and much more interesting. The perfect example of this is comparing the dodgeball match in volume 2 with the School trip arc or even the story of Ayak’s brother.

    It’s true that vol 9 seems to have little happening but there are lots of little things that sit there, ready to be revealed and built upon later, like Chao. And of course it’s interesting to see that Negi himself is not fully aware of what is going on inside the school. I think we’re starting to see the ambit of the story widen out considerably here, giving lots of good scope for later.

    I’ve just finished vol 13 and have to say that the detail paid to the character development of at least 6-8 separate characters that you care about in that one volume is an indicator of truly good storytelling.

    Vol 14 cannot come soon enough for me.

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