When I reviewed first Negima Omnibus, I wrote that the series starts as a harem comedy that soon changes into an action series. Lo and behold, we see those changes as quickly as the second volume. We learn that Negi’s class is taking a field trip to the city of Kyoto for a week. Therefore, the headmaster asks Negi to deliver a diplomatic letter to a rival magic association in the area. Of course, as with any diplomatic situation, there are those who would rather not see peace develop. So Negi has to battle rival mages while controlling his rambunctious class. On top of all this, there is a possibility that one of his students is a spy for the rival organization, keeping tabs on the young mage. Will Negi be able to deliver the letter, or will a magical war break out in Japan?
The second omnibus continues on strongly where the first left off. We get to learn the back stories of several more of Negi’s students and more about those we already know. A lot of world building happens in this installment as well, giving us the sense that the plot actions affect the world at large, not just the characters we get to see. The villains are both diabolical and well characterized. Also, while this isn’t immediately apparent, there’s quite a lot of foreshadowing for plot and characterization later on. The series continues to show that the author has done his research; the author’s notes explain every spell, artifact, and technique and include information about the roots of the culture of that spell. For example, he devotes half a page to a spell in ancient Greek, explaining bits of Greek society and philosophy and why spells in ancient Greek are stronger than regular spells. Rather than just make something up, the author shows a rare and impressive dedication to his work.
The art is much improved from the first volume. While several of the supposed teenagers still look a little childish, they all look fully finished, rather than like a rough draft. The depictions of historical sites in Kyoto are true to life, showing more of the research done for the series. Also the fight scenes are fantastic, showing this work’s credentials as an action series.
This book is rated 16 and up, and rightly so. While the violence isn’t particularly graphic, there’s a gratuitous amount of nudity and fanservice. It’s roughly at the level expected from a series of this age rating, but it shows that the rating is there for a reason.
Having moved past its hit or miss first installment, this omnibus is where this series really begins to shine. It’s tons of fun and well worth reading.
Negima: Magister Negi Magi Omnibus, Volume 2
by Ken Akamatsu
Kodansha Comics, 2011
Publisher Age Rating: 16+