Negima! Omnibus vol 3 (7-8-9) Review

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Ah Negima, king of the gratuitous nudity in a pg-13 setting. Although that’s not a complaint, Negima is one of those series that doesn’t use naked girls for a simple joke, although those are in there, but instead the series seems to embrace it and  really tries to have fun with it, and it was.

Negima Omnibus volume 3 contains the single volumes of 7, 8, and 9. After the last Omnibus this one acts as a nice, not filler, but some nice character down time before the next big arc. It starts off addressing the biggest issue Negi had in the last Omnibus, and that’s he’s useless in hand to hand combat. So what does he do? He gets Evangeline to train him! This fills in for the lack of big magical battles in this volume, but to be fair I actually really like the characters and the setting so much that this series doesn’t need battles to make it interesting.

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What we also learn in this Omnibus is another adventure to library Island, damn I love that place, a soft psuedo-romance vacation before we learn the depressing back story of Negi. A villain from Negi’s past emerges, Asuna is starting to feel the butterflies toward Negi, and finally the end of this Omnibus sets up the huge Festival arc! Damn there’s a lot packed into this.

Let’s start off with the characters. Like the previous volumes, Ken Akamatsu shows his master talent at creating and showing characters. It still astounds me how well Akamatsu balances all the characters in this series. He knows what characters to focus on, and which ones to pop in so that we don’t forget them. But, each character he brings into the forefront always has meaning. For instance, there’s this silent character, Yotsuba, who is finally in the lime light and the reason for this is to introduce her character, and to help Negi stop feeling depressed. Near the end of this volume we meet another certain character again, which is just kind of fluff to Chachamaru’s romance subplot, but that was only to foreshadow, and set up, the ending chapter which possibly shows an unlikely antagonist for the Festival arc: Mwahaha.

At the beginning of the series we learned that Asuna has the hots for older men….something very rare to see in manga, but in this volume her relationship with Negi is focused on more, and she’s finally developing feelings for the little guy, or is she? The end of the Omnibus sets up the big danger for the festival arc, which has to do with the giant tree, so it might be possible Asuna’s feelings are being manipulated with magic, which will confuse her later on I bet. I sort of hope this isn’t how it goes, but knowing Akamatsu, I feel safe in his hands.

Negi, like Asuna, gets some good character development as he’s trying to be better than he is. He’s sacrificing his health, and trying to do so many things at once that all the girls in his class are worried about him. With some help from his students, Negi learns to slow down, and Asuna helps deal with his guilt about what happened to his village. Also, Kotaro the werewolf pup comes back and befriends Negi! Kotaro’s interactions with the girls are great and hysterical, and it adds a new dynamic to such a diverse cast.

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There was so much fun put into this massive volume, and the fact that every character is slowly becoming more significant in the story is fascinating and really makes me wonder just how far in advance this was planned.

Once again, the art is consistent and amazing as….well Negi. The magical monsters are drawn in such a great way that I’m always excited to see the battles and character designs to these unique demons/monsters/creatures.

Negima Omnibus volume 3 is the calm before the storm that is just has fun mini adventures while developing the immense cast of characters. Negi is dealing with some really intense blame, Nodoka is being so much more outgoing than at the start of the series (I really hope she ends up with Negi) and the fact that the girls who know Negi is a magician ask him to teach them magic opens up the world so much more. Just thing, what if all the girls could use magic and the end of the series is like a giant magic war?! Now that would be intense. This volume is more of a bridge to the next big epic arc, but boy do I love it just as much because I feel so attached to these characters already, and I cannot wait to pick up Omnibus 4.

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8/10

+     Really nice character development              +/ – Embrace the fanservice

+      Art is consistent and still fantastic               –  still a few too many harem cliches

+     The set up to the next arc feels natural and not like set up                                                                                                                                                                                                   – Translations were littered with misspellings or forgotten words

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