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Feb 7, 2011

Manga Introduction: 魔法先生ネギま!

Today I'm going to introduce a rather common and well-known manga: 魔法先生ネギま!/ Magister Negi Magi.

Title: 魔法先生ネギま!(Magister Negi Magi)
Author: 赤松 健(Ken Akamatsu
Difficulty: 2/5 (1 easy, 5 hard)
Furigana: Yes
Format: 漫画(Manga

It seems like every other person I have talked to about reading manga in Japanese has cited Yotsubato! as their one and only capable series. Well, unlike all you clever young whippersnappers, I didn't have the convenience of reading Yotsuba as my first manga. I began my Japanese reading career with Negima, so let's take a look.

Negima (at least early in the series) has several primary qualities: school life, (light) romance and comedy situations, and some touches of magic.

Because so many series are set in schools and because the language used in such settings is great for general use, slice of life/school life manga are much easier to read and understand. The rather simple plot of the story is easily grasped from the drawings alone, so you can infer and understand a lot without having to reach for your dictionary so much. Additionally, the element of magic in the story makes things a bit more interesting and can introduce some more “fantastic” vocabulary.

Plot: The plot is rather simple. Negi is a ten year old magi who is trying to complete the tasks assigned to him in order to become a Magister Magi. What is his task? Teach English to a class of Japanese girls that are all older than himself. It's hardly a groundbreaking plot, but it's interesting enough to read. The plot takes a rather strange turn after the first few volumes, so you may find it becoming more interesting as you go.

In summary, Negima is a good series to try if you're just starting out. It was the first manga I ever read in Japanese, so that says quite a bit about how tough it is. If you're struggling to find a series to attempt or if the plot interests you, please get out there and read it.

View Mahou Sensei Negima! on


  1. Thanks a lot for this summary! I too have constantly heard that Yotsuba is an ideal entry-level series because of its simple language; but it's good that you're recommending some alternatives. I'll definitely give these a try when I'm at the adequate level..

  2. I've followed Negima for a while, I even collect the English volumes, even though I read ahead of the official translations anyway. I have the Negima character guide (Called "Ultime Guide Book THE BIBLE"). But there's no furigana in that, and I have to stop a lot.

    The previews at the end of the English volumes lately have just been kept in Japanese, and they don't seem hard for me to read. I always look at Japanese copies while in my local Japanese bookstore, but always opt to buy other series instead. Maybe I'll pick it up later. I like getting them in paper form to practice on a bus ride or something, which isn't so easy to do in downloaded form.

    So I may pick up a volume of Negima in Japanese next.

    And yes, I agree that slice of life is really nice for learning Japanese, since it uses everyday language that will be useful to drill into your head. One of the reasons I find Yotsuba to be a really nice beginner manga. I was also planning on getting some volumes of Tetsunagi Kooni to read, that seems like it'd be a nice manga to get into as well. I only read the first 3 chapters or so translated, so I'm thinking I'll stop myself from spoiling the rest and start from chapter 4 without translation.

  3. I used to keep up with Negima religiously, I even bought some of the English volumes. I don't know what it's like now, but I gave up on Negima when it started to shift towards the shounen genre.

  4. I too owned, and actually do still own some English volumes of Negima. T_T

    Feels nostalgic, guys.

  5. Konosetsu FTW!!!!!!!!! Yotsubato! is also a very funny series made me laugh my socks off! >.< d