cover image Negima!? Neo, Book 1

Negima!? Neo, Book 1

Ken Akamatsu, Author, Takuya Fujiyama, Illustrator . Del Rey $

The Japanese have it all over Americans when it comes to recycling. Negima Magister Negi Magi started as a schoolboy harem manga series Negima! by Akamatsu (Love Hina ), in which Negi’s a master wizard, even though he’s only 10, assigned to teach English at a girls’ school, so he’s surrounded by more than 30 cute schoolgirls in very short skirts. (Akamatsu’s manga are popular because they serve a variety of fantasies but stay lighthearted instead of creepy.) Negima! became an anime, and then the cartoon was readapted back to manga in this series. Unlike the original comic, this version ran in a magazine aimed at boys under 12, so the characters are cute in a more innocent way, although there are surprisingly explicit panty-revealing scenes or other excuses for nudity once a chapter. The stories also concentrate more on adventure. The first story is original to this version and tells of Negi’s graduation test, a monster-slaying quest that’s a standard “young man finds his inner strength” tale. It also introduces his search for his missing father, to add more depth. The rest of the book features Negi protecting his students from a girl vampire, who’s another student. (Feb.)