Negima!, Volume 10 continues right where the previous volume left off, with the Festival opening. (It’s a 3-day festival. To date, we’re up to stories for Volume 15 and haven’t even gotten past Day 2. Suffice to say, it’s a big arc.)
It’s a very good volume. Early on Negi and Setsuna discover what Chao’s present of a fancy pocketwatch does – it’s a time machine, and by reading the instructions they can go back and forth across the day. This solves Negi’s main problem of how to pack about 40 events into 3 days, so he sets about visiting the various festival events.
Among other things, Negi visits his class doing their Haunted House, has a ‘date’ with Nodoka, patrols the World Tree with Mana, goes on an unofficial date with Yue, and begins the preliminaries for the Fighting Tournament that will be the focus of Volumes 11-13.
Nodoka fans should be happy with this one, as she gets a lot to do and shows that despite being the shyest of the class, she’s got the most bravery when it comes to admitting her feelings. On the opposite spectrum, we have Yue, who is trying to put things off with Negi and Nodoka because she loves him herself, and the unfamiliar feelings are eating her alive with guilt.
As for yuri fans, our canon couple are pretty much separated in this volume. That does not, however, mean there’s no yuri. At one point, Setsuna makes a pledge to help Negi with his troubles no matter what. Kamo suggests that this sounds like a love confession, and notes that Setsuna said if she fell for a guy it would be Negi.
Setsuna gets very flustered, and says “Look, the one I’ve got in *my* heart is Konoka-ojousama!” After which Negi promptly starts to tease her about this. Setsuna is just adorable.
In the end, we get the preliminaries for the Fighting Tournament, which turns out to be run by Chao, with a prize of ten million yen (about 90 thousand dollars). After the dust settles, Negi, Kotarou, Kaede, Mana, Ku Fei, Evangeline, Asuna, Setsuna, and
Takamichi are the main characters we know in it. And there’s also a mysterious hooded gentleman who calls himself “Colonel Sanders”. Remember him; he’ll be very important.
I remain impressed with Negima, which is much better than Love Hina. It balances comedy, action, and mild romance, and avoids too much squick with Negi being ten, mostly as it reminds us of this constantly. No one is getting any anytime soon in his manga. And Setsuna remains a kickass manga lesbian. With a sword and big fluffy wings, no less.
If only this series was as charming and enjoyable as you make it sound, Sean… ;-)