Negima! Magister Negi Magi Volume 30

By Ken Akamatsu. Released in Japan as “Mahou Sensei Negima!” by Kodansha, serialization ongoing in the magazine Weekly Shonen Magazine. Released in North America by Kodansha Comics.

Everyone has heard of the phrase “it’s always darkest before the dawn”, and that proves to be true of Negima as well. Sadly, the dawn is not in this volume, which mostly brings our cast closer and closer to ‘the darkest’. Things fall apart, the center cannot hold…

When we left our heroes, we were in the middle of a big flashback telling the rest of the story of Negi’s mother and father. Having saved as many people as possible from a crushing death at the hands of the faceless bad guys, Arika is rewarded by being turned into a scapegoat and accused of the murder of her father and others in the name of ambition. It’s up to the others to rescue her… that is if she wants to be rescued. It has to be said that her rescue, and Nagi and Arika’s subsequent confessions, are one of the most heartwarming bits of the series, something which Akamatsu is clearly milking for all it’s worth, as he has several characters, including our current villain, tear up at it.

As a villain, Goedel’s not up to much. Sure, he can hold back Negi for a bit, but his crypticness just serves to annoy, and he reckons without the powers of Negi’s friends. Indeed, Chisame, Asakura and Nodoka all get great spotlights here, as we see that intelligent use of powers can get you far even if you aren’t a fighter. And, of course, we get the fighters as well, as Ku Fei shows up with her Monkey King Staff of Awesome.

And then the villains decide to attack… all of them. This means we have the palace guards coming to arrest Negi’s girls as conspirators (they don’t last long, especially once they start threatening Konoka in front of her protector…), as well as what appears to be Cthulhu. No, really, even Paru notes it. This proves much harder to battle as it starts ripping the palace into bits. So the new strategy is to get to the bottom of the palace and meet up there… but the goal is to avoid getting to the bottom the hard way.

Luckily, we have a few old friends showing up to help, who we knew were around but hadn’t actually seen for about 10 volumes. Takamichi manages to finish off the beatdown of Goedel, and notes that while he finds Negi’s desire to continue his father’s work dangerous, it also makes him quite happy. And then there’s Mana, who manages to be almost ludicrously good as she battles the random faceless Lovecraft monsters. Of course, that’s because fake!Asuna offers to pay her to do it… she had no interest in the innocents being killed otherwise (or so she says). Once again, Mana’s mercenary aspect is both amusing and disturbing. And Misora’s right, how DID she pull that bazooka from out of her cleavage? ^_-

Meanwhile, Negi Party are split further when a building cracks in half. Asakura almost falls to her death, but is saved by a surprisingly strong Nodoka… who’s then saved by her dungeon-crawling friends Craig and Aisha, who were worried about her and came back to help. (Asakura is quick to poke at Nodoka for attracting suitors, and also notes her new toughness.) So they’re safe! … for about 6 pages. Then The Lifemaker shows up. As with the rest of Fate’s team, he’s perfectly happy to fight any number of physically powerful types like Kaede or Setsuna, but wants Nodoka and her mind-reading removed from the board. So he attacks her, and Craig tries to defend… and gets vaporized into a spray of white feathers.

Now, given that he’s mysteriously vaporized into white feathers rather than, say, crushed into a pulpy mess, I suspect this is one of those many handy reversible deaths you seen in shonen all the time. Still, it’s plenty shocking given we haven’t really had ANY deaths in present-time Negima, and the last shot of the volume is Nodoka’s stunned face. After the relaxing kiss kiss carnival and political shenanigans of Volume 29, this one’s an action packed brawl, and it’s only going to get worse in Volume 31.

And there’s not even any fanservice this time! Well, not much…

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