Volume ten of Negima sees the start of the Mahora Academy Festival, this being Mahora the festival is no ordinary event, it's campus wide, with the attractions themselves are comparable to commercial theme parks. Negi doesn't want to let down any of his students so mistakenly over books his schedule. On top of this he falls asleep after his very first event missing out on almost the entire first day. If only he had a Harry Potter style Timer-Turner he could go back and back things right.....
If you take one look at Negi's design J K Rowling's boy wizard will immediately spring to mind. In fact if you read closely there are a lot of references to Western fantasy literature scattered throughout- Tom's Midnight Garden and Earthsea actually appear as books within the story. The parallel is particularly strong with Potter this volume with all the time shifting shenanigans, but that said Negima is it's own creature. After all Negi is only ten years old, and is still able to teach a particularly unusual set of female students –whose clothes don't seem to be able to stay on very long at all. This does at least keep the pace fresh as Negi dashes between all the different events he's been signed up to. The mix of fantasy action and comedy works well, bringing to mind Akamatsu's earlier series A.I love you. The plot here is a little deeper, aided somewhat by the somewhat extensive cast. Most of who are fairly distinctive, even if it can sometimes take a page of two to remember all the details when they reappear after a long absence.
Akamatsu mars things by resorting to so much fan service so often, it has been his trademark in series such as A.I love you and Love Hina, but both were more typical rom-coms and it at least seemed in place there. Tanoshimi give it a 16+ rating due to this. It's a shame ,younger readers able to tackle young adult authors such as Nix, Pullman and Rowling would find plenty to like here since a deeper sub plot runs through the comedy, and the hero's age would make him an appealing hero.
The fight scenes are handled well here too which means Negima at times also feels like a shonen action series, but it works well with the rest of the story which flows between genres seamlessly.
Surprisingly Akamatsu is also able to juggle the extensive cast well, many of them – the girls especially - can be put firmly into anime/manga stereotypes but thankfully each has enough quirks to keep them interesting. Like many harem style comedies all the girls seem to have a crush on Negi, whilst it makes for funny comedy and allows for some typical date humour, it's just a little uncomfortable in places because of the age gap.
Negima is well written with strong well executed art, the characters are likable and the pace is spot on. It's just a shame the author wasn't ready to break away and try something totally new.
Total number only reflects number out in English at the moment.