Rereading Negima: a foreword

Negima class

It would be nothing short of an understatement to say that Akamatsu Ken’s Mahou Sensei Negima has been one of the most influential manga to me. One of the first manga I ever picked up back in 2006, I stuck by until its conclusion six years later in 2012. An epic tale of friendship, magic, battles and love. Negima is a crowd pleaser in a lot of ways, yet goes by undetected to many. Its uncrediting synopsis and ecchi inclination scares (attracts?) the masses and the first few volumes smell too much like Love Hina. But there’s an incredible series that lies beyond that and I want to take you with me to see it for yourself. I want to show you just how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Given the wealth of content Negima provides us (40+-ish characters, 38 volumes), I’ve been itching to get started on a series of posts that really delves into the manga. Much postponing later, here we are, nearly a year after the ending of the manga. There are many topics I want to touch upon, such as:

  • Great moments of character.
  • How to (in)correctly build up hype in a shounen battle manga.
  • Translation of Greek and Latin spells (but perhaps dive fresh into Arabic and Sanskrit).
  • Since language is inevitably tied to culture: Greek and Roman mythology! (because it’s what I deal with the most, but research on other mythologies is warranted of course)
  • Shipping! There’s oh so much shipping.
  • Whatever we find on the trip (and it’s sure to be a trip).

To give all of this a little structure, I’m simply going through the entire series, a few volumes at a time. Since sticking to unspoilered analysis is simply boring, I’ll try to separate two sections: one which talks about the volume at hand so you can read along and another which talks about it in context with future volumes. Of course, the latter case isn’t always bound to happen.

Pictures of books

My weapons of choice: Negima Omnibus v1, the Japanese volumes v22-24 and a Latin-Dutch dictionary.

A big part of my enjoyment stemmed from seeing the discussions and various theorycrafting over at the Aquastar Anime forums. It has since become a barren wasteland, but much of my appreciation finds its roots there. Another source to credit is Vetus, diligently updated by @Canon_rap at the time, but naturally deserted when the manga’s run ended. AstroNerdBoy’s blog provides a more digestible list of the events over time.

About Negima

Negima is a manga by Akamatsu Ken of Love Hina fame. Authored between 2003 and 2012, the series spans an impressive 38 volumes. As of January 15th  2013, 37 of those have been translated with 38 slated for April. The story follows 10-year old Negi as he graduates from the magic academy when his magic diploma forecasts his future training: he is to be a teacher at an all-girl middle school.

…as I said before, the synopsis doesn’t do the series credit. See you soon. 🙂

3 thoughts on “Rereading Negima: a foreword

  1. Yerocha

    Negima! I loved this series back when it was still running, so I think I’m going to really enjoy these posts, especially since you seem to have been reading for longer than me.

    Reply
    1. Numbers and Space Post author

      I’ll try to dig up some old discussion and speculation if I can.

      I thought it especially impressive some people could figure out where the magic world really was a year before the story said.

      Reply
  2. dragonjek

    This is the series that I have loved the most. It is the story that hooked me onto manga and anime, and gave me an appreciation for the research an author can put into his work to give it authenticity.
    I own every volume of Negima that’s come out in English, and the Omnibuses/Omnibi too. I’d call the Omnibus (the first one or two, at least–I’ve been told the beginning volumes of the series weren’t well translated, though they’re still enjoyable), a more faithful translation, but I do have a warning about them.
    The text chosen is… boring. Throughout the normal Negima volumes, the size, shape, boldness, and position of words in the speechboxes change to convey feelings of emotion, drama, intensity. This is sadly lacking in the Omnibus. It remains enjoyable, however, and I still recommend it to any Negima fans.

    Reply

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