The Chachamaru Showdown
This is the seventh volume on the ongoing “Negima!” series, concluding the “Kyoto Field Trip” story arc and beginning the “Training/Wilhelm” story arc.
After his experiences in Kyoto fighting with and against the Kyoto Magic Association, 10-year old Magician/Jr. High School teacher realizes that he needs to up his game if he wants to compete on the level necessary to protect his students. Negi recruits his kung-fu superstar student, Ku Fei, to teach him some fighting skills and to help him improve his physical attacks. Next up, he asks the Vampire Magician Evangeline A.K. McDowell to train him in magic, but Evangeline is too amused by Negi’s efforts to learn kung fu alongside magic. She sets a challenge for him: If Negi can lay a single punch on Evangeline’s robot companion Chachamaru, using only his new kung fu skills but no magic, then she will take Negi on as a student.
Volume seven was a bridging issue, letting the cast take a break between the heavy action of the Kyoto Field Trip and things to come. It sets the stage for future conflicts, and allows Negi to develop his strengths as a character and as a magician. There is some individual attention given to some of the girls, most specifically the rhythmic gymnast Sasaki Makie. The Chachamaru showdown is pretty cool, as I always liked Chachamaru as a character and it is nice to see her in play.
Of course, this is an Akamatsu Ken comic, and he can’t spend too much time with the serious parts of the story. “Volume Seven” concludes with a trip to the beach, with all the girls in swimsuits or less in grand Akamatsu style. This is a bit of a plot here about Asuna and Negi having a fight, but you know they are going to make-up eventually and it gives us all a chance to enjoy some Akamatsu eye-candy.