I started this blog in the fall of 2013, and it’s been an amazing ride since then. My hit count, which was at rock bottom during my debut month, has grown rapidly since then, and I have you, those few who’ve deemed my work worthy of your time, to thank for that. I don’t know exactly when my 100th post will be… The date has been muddied by a handful of posts that weren’t meant to be counted… So I’ve decided to dedicate this entire month to the release of some very special content. I’ll be releasing two posts based on my favorite anime of all time, but before that, I have three posts to share with you about my favorite manga of all time, Negima! And to kick this celebration off, let’s take a look at my top ten favorite characters from the over-all franchise.
15: Negi Springfield
14: Yuna Akashi
13: Fei Ku
12: Yue Akase
11: Konoka Konoe
10: Nodoka Miyazakli
Kicking things off, we have one of the fan favorite characters, and the one most popularly pegged as Negi’s future romantic partner… Only to be one of the few who’ve been officially eliminated from contention in the epilogue of the final manga volume. Nodoka is a very quiet, shy girl who’s terrified of men. All men. All men, that is, except for Negi. After he saved her life from a nasty fall in the nick of time, she’s been dedicated to him, overcoming her shy demeanor in some surprisingly bold moments, only to drift back out of his sight right afterwards. All the same, she was still rooted for the most.
And I’ll be perfectly honest, I was also on that boat, but for different reasons than most. To me, she was the only girl in Negi’s class who could reasonably enter into a romantic relationship with him without coming off as a cradle robber, mostly due to her social awkwardness and general lack of maturity. She’s not one of my favorite characters, but along with the reason I just mentioned, I’m including her as a representative of the Library Exploration Club. I enjoyed their stories a lot, so it made sense for me to include at least one of them on the list.
Favorite moment: My favorite moment from Nodoka would have to be the first time she used her pactio card to help Negi escape from Kotaru’s trap in the Kyoto Arc. Her usage of it to read Kotaro’s mind and decipher the way out was really clever, and the illustrations in her artifact were pretty funny too. Her second confession of love to Negi during the first day of Mahorafest would be a close second.
9: Kotaro Inugami
Next up is the ten year old dog demon who entered the story as a villain’s henchman, only to become Negi’s goofball best friend!
I was never a huge fan of Negi. I never hated him, and I had an easy enough time following the story through his eyes, but for the longest time, I didn’t find him interesting. He just seemed like a walking excuse for accidental pedo-tastic fan service, at least most of the time. But when Kotaro entered the story, I was finally able to see Negi having a normal interaction with someone. He brought a fresh dynamic to Negi, who up until that point couldn’t get close to another character without walking in on them naked.
But his far more enjoyable friendship with Negi isn’t the only reason he’s on the list… He is, on his own, a really cool character. Loud mouthed, loyal, a punk with principles… That line about Negi not being stupid enoguh was one of the most important ones in the series, and it wouldn’t have felt right coming from anyone else.
Favorite moment: My favorite Kotaro moment would have to be, as I alluded earlier, his fight with Negi where he told him the key to becoming a more powerful fighter was to be more stupid… To rely more on instincts, get out of your own head and lose yourself in the flow of battle.
8: Makie Sasake
So, how is it that a background character… As well as the one with the least potential for development out of Class 3A’s handful of athletic students… Was able to take first place in the manga’s first two student popularity polls? The answer is simple… Because she’s cute, she’s charming, and she got a huge boost by being in the Baka Rangers faction. She was probably given the push that the floundering Sakurako Shiina was supposed to have, and deservedly so, as the girl known affectionately as “The idiot” wound up stealing our hearts, as well as most of the scenes she was in.
And yeah, I’ll admit, I normally don’t care for the foolish comic relief character in any show, but Makie does it so well that I find myself chuckling every time she appears on the page… And in the second anime series, she winds up being the perfect comic foil to Ayaka Yukihiro. She battles against her‘ idiot’ reputation in the live action series, and I do feel for her, but if something works, why change it?
And of course, her animated form also steals the show with her sing-song catchphrase; “I like stuff!”
Favorite moment: I have a lot to pick from with this character, but I’m going to have to go with the second anime series, where she would become depressed and despondent whenever she screwed something up, and the Class Rep would instantly scold her by telling her that she’s no good, and that she fails at being Makie. For a manga example… I don’t know, they’re all pretty good.
7: Sayo Aisaka
Next on the list we have Sayo, a ghost girl who’s been dead since 1940, and has possessed(pun intended) a very positive attitude about the whole thing, despite having gone decades without any actual human interaction and having forgotten just about everything about her life and untimely demise. She forms a bond with her tablemate Kazumi Asakura, and with the help of Evangeline, she even gains the ability to be seen by others, at which point she becomes the most chipper damn student in class… Even finding a way to follow Negi to the Magical Woild.
I’ve always liked this character, and the misunderstanding that lead to her being hunted down by ghost-busting classmates was always funny to me, but the reason she’s on my list is because of her episode in the first anime… You know, the one that sucked? Well, her episode was not only the best episode in that series, it’s one of the best moments in the entire Negima franchise, and it gives me serious feels every time I watch it.
Favorite moment: Well, I already kind of spoiled it, but her episode from the first anime. The fact that she got her memories of her death back, as well as memories of her parents and sibling that she hadn’t thought about in decades, and the fact that Asakura-san was there to help her through all of it.
6: Setsuna Sakurazaki
Makie may have dominated the first two popularity polls, but she was quickly replaced by Setsuna, who wound up taking the number one spot in four of those eight polls… And for good reason. When she was given her push into the main cast during the Kyoto arc, it was an immediate success, introducing her as more than just the quiet swordswoman… She’s a principled warrior, fighting a never-ending fight to protect a love that she’s still too young to understand. Her backstory, and the conflict she faces over the truth of her humanity was the perfect metaphor for her feelings for Konoka Konoe and a surprisingly on-point parallel for the stigma faced by a lot of lesbians in Japan.
As for me, Setsuna is one of the few characters whom I always get pumped up to see involved in a fight, as well as a pretty decent comedic character, as her prim and proper pretense is often foiled by the weird goings-on around her. She’s passionate, disciplined, sympathetic, and an all around likeable character who you’d have to be a pretty dull blade to not enjoy.
Favorite moment: There are many great moments with this character, but her fight with Evangeline in the martial arts competition takes the cake by a mile. After getting trapped by Eva’s puppet wire, they’re both transported via vampire vexing to another plane, where Eva battles her ruthlessly while forcing her to confront how the happiness she’s been experiencing has dulled her blade. She finds a great resolution to this, and winds up beating Eva because of it.
5: Misora Kagura
I tend to separate the students in 3A into three categories: There’s Category A, the ones who are crucial to the plot, and carry main character status; There’s Category B, characters who aren’t as important, but get enough screen time to be considered supporting roles; And then there’s Category C, characters who just float around unappreciated in the background while contributing little to nothing to the story or plot. Some C characters never rise any higher, like… I’m sorry to say… Satsuki and Zazie, but the most surprising push to Category B had to be Misora Kasuga, who did nothing for the longest time other than wear a nun’s habit occasionally.
Because Akamatsu took his sweet time getting to her big reveal, both anime adaptations had to come up with their own interpretations of her… But they paled in comparison to her real persona. Misora was introduced as “Mysterious Sister-San,” a The Flash type character who’d received super speed from a third party pactio. And she’s on this list because whether she’s making a futile attempt to conceal her identity or just goofing off at work, she’s freaking hilarious.
Favorite moment: After the Mahorafest arc was wrapped up, Misora winds up being mistaken for a priest in her church’s confessional booth. She takes advantage of this, and finds herself at the center of a very necessary little story deviation where she has to hear nearly half the cast air their problems to her, seeking advice. And advice she gives, both practical and comical, including some very inspirational words for Negi himself.
4: Chau Lingshen
And yet, Misora’s jump to Category B had NOTHING on Chau Lingshen’s jump to Category A. Out of all the characters you’d expect to be revealed as a major antagonist, the weird bun-pushing girl would not have been one of them… And yet she was, and she’s one of the biggest reasons why I love the Mahorafest story arc so much.
I call her an antagonist, but that’s not really fair… Her heart’s in the right place, and she really does believe her motives to justify her radical actions, but she’s not afraid to go underhanded and pull out all of the stops as ruthlessly as possible in order to meet those ends. A few of Negi’s students join her cause, because… Well, because they genuinely believe in it. Her time traveling ability and major clues as to the future Magical World story arc were a huge shake-up to the series, and somewhere along the line, this is the story arc that made Negima my favorite manga of all time. Hell, when she was revealed to be a villain in one of the adaptations(find out which one in my next post), I squealed with glee.
I would probably love this character a lot more… And maybe even put her in the number one slot… If it wasn’t for the fact that she’s in less than half of the manga, and she’s awesome for less than a quarter of it. But for what she gave me, and for the giant boost she gave to this manga as a whole, She’s well deserving of my number four spot.
Favorite moment: You know, Chau kind of reminds me of Ozymandias from Watchmen… In order to keep her enemies from learning of her plan and interfering, she slyly sabotages them so they CAN’T interfere. Like Ozy, she’s not screwing around about her plans, and refuses to be tied down by the old James Bond cliches. The moment I’m referring to is when she sets a trap on Eva’s summer home to teleport Negi and his students a week into the future, where her plan has already succeeded. It doesn’t work in the long run, but it’s still smarter than most villains.
3: Chisame Hasegawa
Coming in at number three is Chisame, or as her online fans know her, Chiu-san She’s one of the quietest girls in class, and this is wholly because she’s the only one there who has a direct link to reality… Or so she believes. For as much as she looks down on her classmates for being weird and surreal, she’s the one hiding behind a false persona as an internet idol… And I’ve always loved that nuance about her.
But how can I possibly love a character who bears so many similarities to the unbearable Naru Narusegawa? Well, there are similarities, but aside from her appearance deliberately changing when she’s at school, they stop there. Chisame is by far one of the most interesting characters, and not just because she’s a head-case who thinks she’s saner than the rest of the head-cases.
After she discovered the reality of magic, she acknowledged it… But she decided to keep her distance from it in order to lead a normal life. But as she was dragged in, she not only started to accept it, she started to adapt to it. I think she’s the only character who actually exploited magic for her own personal gain. She also eventually took on the role of Negi’s Guardian whenever Asuna wasn’t around, almost as if she were subconsciously looking for some purpose and responsibility in her life. She’s pretty fascinating.
Favorite moment: The part she plays in the Mages vs. Mars arc is kind of hard to beat. It was right after she got her pactio, and without testing it out or getting used to it, she was already using it to hack into Chau Lingshen’s systems while the oblivious pair of Ayaka and Makie were drawn in with her to act as her back-up. While the battle going outside was nothing short of epic, Chisame’s online battle against Chachamaru was just as intense and pulse-pounding.
2: Asuna Kagurazaka
Okay, cards on the table… I didn’t like Asuna very much at first. I guess it’s a long term effect that Love Hina had on me… Whenever I’m watching/reading a harem, I never connect with the main female protagonist, primarily because she always feels like she’s going to be the obvious ‘winner’. That’s not to say I hated Asuna, but I kind of took her for granted.
Then, about four years ago, I got involved with an online Negima roleplay. I initially played Chachamaru, as she seemed the easiest, but the guild needed an Asuna RPer in order to evolve into it’s Kyoto story arc. Since nobody else was stepping up, I decided to take the bullet, incorporating her reliable, caring personality from the manga with her goofball personality from the second anime, and out of nowhere, I found myself really falling in love with the character. It’s a shame I can’t show off my old material, as it was deleted less than a month after I wrote it… Hence my quitting said guild… But nothing made this character stand out to me like walking in her shoes.
I’m a little ashamed that it took me so long to notice, but she’s probably the most likeable character in the entire franchise. It’s hard not to relate to a character who faces adversity in so many aspects of her life while still pushing through it all without complaint or regret. She’s not the brightest student, nor the most fortunate, but she still happily puts the needs of others above her own, and it just comes so naturally to her, which is great foreshadowing for the sacrifice she… Well, spoilers. Sorry.
All in all, she’d be the best character in the series if it wasn’t for one of my favorite anime/manga characters of all time…
Favorite moment: I guess I can’t pick my roleplay work, can I? Well, for Asuna, it’s a tie between two very sad scenes. The first is her fate at the end of the first anime, which I won’t spoil, but it’s a tragic twist that’s executed very well. The second is in the final volume of the manga, where she’s sent forward in time by 100 years, but accidentily over-shoots it, meaning even the surprisingly long-lived Ayaka was unable to survive long enough to see her again. It’s a very emotional moment, even after multiple readings, and no amount of chasing chupacabras could ever top it.
1: Evangeline AK McDowell
Chau Lingshen and the Mahorafest Arc may have made Negima my favorite manga of all time, but if it wasn’t for Evangeline, I might not have even gotten that far in. Let’s face it, fan or hater, Negima was not the kind of story you could take seriously right away… It starts off as a corny Harry Potter harem whose very premise revolves around unsettlingly sexual situations between teenage girls and a child. I didn’t hate it, mainly because it knew how to walk the edge of the sleaze-knife, but I probably would have put it down if it hadn’t offered me something more substantial.
Volume 3… Enter Evangeline with something more substantial.
The story arc where Evangeline fought Negi was proof that there was more to this manga than convenient censoring and a bunch of bare bottoms. With this arc, Evangeline proved to me that Nwgima was capable of pulling off epic magic battles, high stakes, and complex backstories that lead to one fascinatingly interconnected lore. This moment… Driven by this character… Is what hooked me to this series.
And even after that arc, regardless of her defeat, Evangeline just kept on being a bad-ass mothersucker. I don’t just get excited when she enters a story, I mark out. She’s over powered, which could get on my nerves, if it wasn’t for the blatant arrogance and demand for respect that brings her right back down to earth. She is my favorite deus ex machina ever.
She’s also one of the most dynamic characters in the story, evolving from a villain(with very understandable motives) to a hard-ass instructor that genuinely came to care about Negi (and no, not in the obvious way). She becomes so loyal to the Springfield family that she watches over Negi’s child, and eventually takes in his grandchild Touta after he’d been orphaned. By that point… Seventy years after the end of Negima… She’s evolved socially in a very believable way, becoming much moire of a maternal figure(figuratively and literally), as well as more of a joiner.
And to this day, I still insist that she would have no problem defeating Alucard in a fight to the death. Disagree? Come at me, bruh!
Favorite moment: There are tons, and I’m not going to lie, but picking one was difficult. ultimately, I went with the one that makes me fan-gasm every time I read it… Her sudden appearance at the end of the Kyoto Arc has me marking out every time I read it. Just when you think the baddies have won and the demon they summoned is going to crap all over Negi and his friends, Eva pops in out of the shadows at full power and one-shots that demon with an ice spell. She then captures the summoner, and decides to stay and sight-see for a few days… Because why the hell wouldn’t she, after fifteen years of being stuck at school… All at the expense of the poor Dean Konoe, who’s stuck writing a new permission slip every five seconds just to trick her restraint spell.
And on her first official day of sight-seeing, one of the coolest references in the series was made to a room full of formerly sleeping people: “Okay everybody, let’s transform and roll out!”
If you didn’t agree with this list, or I left off your favorite character, please, tell me about it in the comments!