Negima Volume 7It’s Training Time! After their adventures on a school trip to Kyoto, you’d think that Negi and his students would want to rest. But now that they’re back at Mahora Academy, relaxation is pretty low on the list! First there are Asuna’s dreams, which hint at a deeper relationship between Negi and his father of which she is unaware. Then Negi starts a quest to improve his abilities. To do this, the teacher will need to become a student – and Negi’s students will become his teachers.

Ku Fei is a master of every martial art imaginable, but can she teach Negi the skill he needs to survive? And there’s only one magic user at Mahora Academy with abilities that surpass Negi’s own. Dark Evangeline might train him, but only at a price – and does Negi really want to be Evangeline’s personal slave?!

Negima!: Magister Negi Magi tells the story of young Negi Springfield, a ten year old wizard from Wales who dreams of one day becoming an all-powerful ‘Master Mage’ and at the same time find out the truth behinds his father’s mysterious disappearance – the legendary Master Mage who was once known as “The Thousand Master”!

After graduating from the Merdiana Magic Academy in Wales, young Negi gets posted as an English teacher to the Mahora Academy – the only problem now is that this young 10 year old is in charge of 31 boisterous (and older) teenage girls… and each one of them is very ‘special’ in their own way. Life at the academy is tough as Negi continues to pursue his goal of becoming a Master Mage and trying to solve the mystery behind his father’s disappearance – as well as befriend all his students and deal with magic attacks from both within and out of the academy!

Volume 7 sees Negi and the girls return from their rather eventful school trip and now Negi is left with some intriguing questions thanks to the clues as to his father’s whereabouts gleaned from the trip. However, there is also the realization that in order to continue on his quest and protect those under his authority, Negi will have to become stronger and therefore he seeks out top martial arts student Ku Fei in order to teach him kung fu in the hopes to increase his physical prowess. And with the teacher and student roles already swapped, there is one other student whose abilities Negi wants to tap into – that being the mischievous and seemingly all powerful Dark Evangeline! However, unfortunately for Negi, she’s not exactly thrilled at the idea of her would be student already studying kung fu under Ku Fei in the first place!

At the same time the energetic but too playful Makie has to deal with the fact that she may not make the national rhythmic gymnastics competition without some proper motivation, and poor old Negi also has to deal with a huge argument that has erupted between him and Asuna thanks to a rather big misunderstanding – though if the class president has her way then this may be the perfect chance to steal Negi away to a small isolated island for her own shot at happiness!

Too bad though: where one girl goes, all girls will follow – especially if it’s the ocean and the perfect weather for some fun in the sun, and splashing around in the waves!

The man behind Negima! is none other than the super popular creator of Love Hina and A.I. Love You, Ken Akamatsu, who continues his tradition of drawing uber cute young female characters that tend to expose a lot of flesh, take a lot of hot spring baths and flash panties as much as possible while they’re at it!

With the action packed school trip now behind us, volume 7 gears it down a notch and we get a more romantic-comedy driven story to enjoy, with a dash of intrigue thrown in as well as a little bit of drama between Negi and Asuna just for fun. The story reinforces the ‘many girls, one boy’ nature of the story and therefore there is quite a lot of fun to be had with the various interactions of all the girls after the cute little Negi. Oh, and of course there is the obligatory fight action that is almost a requirement in any Negima! book, though rest assured it won’t take up too much of the story.

There is a lot less focus on magic in this volume and a lot more ecchi-like humour that is sure to appeal to fans of Akamatsu’s work and in general the story makes for quite an enjoyable, light-hearted read with a feel good ending provided right at the end of the volume which makes the whole thing worth reading in the first place.

Visually, Ken’s artwork is as cute as always, with his well proportioned and extremely pretty girl figures stealing the show for the most part. As per usual his panels are all very clean with well defined brush strokes, and his masterful use of screentone is top notch as always. His pages tend to be very busy, with smaller panels and a lot of background detail, making each and every page a visual masterpiece but leaving the book sometimes feeling a little long to get through in places thanks to all this tiny detail. His backgrounds are as fantastic as ever and his grasp and depiction of actions sequences work well – though sometimes his overly cute faces seem a little out of place when the going gets a bit heavy.

Negima! is as good as what you are going to get from the master Ken Akamatsu and fans of his art style are sure to enjoy this volume. The story is fun and contains enough ‘oomph’ to remain intriguing, and the hi-jinks and escapades of the various guy-hungry girls after the clueless 10 year-old Negi provides a lot of light humour, romantic touches and the whole thing just makes for a generally enjoyable read.

There’s a fair bit of drama and not so much magic in this one, but Negima! volume 7 continues the good work laid out in the previous tomes and is therefore well worth picking up on.

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