Negima! Magister Negi Magi, Vol. 5
written by Ken Akamatsu
A student has found out Negi again, and this time, it’s the worst-case scenario: Kazumi Asakura, the Mahora Paparazzi, has discovered his secret! But to Negi’s surprise, as well as my own, she decides to help him instead of exposing him, and in the spirit of getting Negi as much help as he can get, Kazumi and Chamo set up an overnight game with the goal of getting Negi to set up a pactio (probationary contract) with one of the girls in his class. How? By having the goal of the game be to land a kiss on Negi’s lips, of course!
A pactio is a magical contract made between a mage and a partner/protector that allows the partner, or ministra, to receive a power-up from the master, or magister. It also grants the partner a special weapon or artifact that only they can use. There are many other properties to a pactio, but those will come later.
As Negi leaves to patrol the perimeter, he leaves a paper-doll double of himself to take his place in bed so that nobody gets suspicious, but due to his own error, five identical Negis appear in his hotel room. Meanwhile, the game, titled “Lip Scramble,” is underway, featuring five teams of two girls searching the hotel for Negi while dodging the hawk-like eye of guidance counselor Nitta. The first to steal a kiss from Negi wins, but when the five Negi copies get in on the action, chaos ensues. Who’s gonna win this?
During the next day’s free time, Negi decides to sneak away to deliver the important letter to the head of the Kansai MA, but he and Asuna are soon trapped inside a barrier with another of the three mercenary children to fight off. This one is named Kotaro Inugami, a master of dog gods who has a distinct hatred for Western wizards. Negi will need more than his father’s staff and a convenient sneeze to escape with his life this time!
Elsewhere, there is more trouble happening across town. Tsukuyomi, the Shinmei swordswoman who fought Setsuna in the previous volume, returns for a rematch, and she’s not alone. With Chigusa Amagasaki once again on the scene and without Negi there to help, will Konoka escape with her life?
Ken Akamatsu knows how to weave not only a thrilling story on more than one front, but to make it interesting, understandable, and fun to see on paper, with some great references to aspects of Kyoto’s past, including a little samurai cosplay on Setsuna’s part. Drama begins to take an active role in the story, adding color to the relationship between Konoka and Setsuna, in addition to the usual comedy and the ever-escalating action.