Negima! Vol 19 (Ch 171) *SPOILERS*

Thanks to AQS for the scans.

Chapter 171: Konoka sees several of the girls from her class who are heading off to Shibuya to do some shopping, including swimsuit shopping. Konoka is a little jealous, since she has to prepare for the Wales trip. Yuuna asks if Asuna is preparing for summer and not just shut up in her room in front of a cooler. Konoka thinks of where Asuna is and states that its not just a cooler for Asuna.

Asuna is in one of Eva’s training globes, this time the frozen lands in a blizzard. Negi and Kotaro are there as well and Kotaro suggests she use the kanka to keep warm. She does and immediately no longer feels the cold. Unfortunately, Kotaro figures she can only keep it up for thirty minutes. Still, he’s impressed by Asuna’s ability since he and Negi had to come up with their own techniques to stay warm. She’s upset about the thought of dying in thirty minutes which leads the guys to tell her to try to focus on the “ki” part of the kanka. She complains, but is told to stop complaining and just do it.

A flashback shows how Asuna got here. Eva has challenged Asuna, telling her she’s all talk and has nothing to back up her words in typical middle school girl fashion. Since Asuna couldn’t be Negi, she shouldn’t be president of the new club. Asuna is angry about this, telling Eva that Negi had an unfair advantage in training and that with the same training Negi had, she could catch up. Eva finds this amusing, giving Asuna another opportunity to back down. She doesn’t take Eva’s out.

Back in the snowy mountains, Asuna has to survive for seven days. Negi and Kotaro tell her that efficient use of magic and ki is the key to survive. Negi and Kotaro plan to stay and support her all the way, which makes her feel a bit better. She sees Negi making a snow cave with his abilities and she asks Kotaro about their training since they went through the same thing. She marvels at their abilities, but Kotaro reminds her that she’s pretty good. After all, Negi was trying to knock her out quickly and Asuna survived the whole fifteen minutes, even though she couldn’t land a blow on Negi. Thinking on these things, Asuna becomes more determined to catch up to Negi power-wise. As such, her kanka power levels rise, even though it has been thirty minutes and Kotaro is very impressed and which Eva, observing in the distance, sees.

Unfortunately, her “gas runs out” and the kanka fades, leaving Asuna very cold. Negi and Kotaro seem unfased by the cold but Negi has the snow cave ready. Negi has a fire waiting for her and explains how he created it, telling her she’ll need to learn how to do this as well. Negi has fish and water ready for her and Kotaro has used his abilities to melt some snow for a hot bath.

They leave her to bath and as she’s enjoying her bath, an angry Eva emerges from the water and blasts her out of the cave. She’s angry with Negi and Kotaro for helping her and despite their protests, she fails them as instructors. As such, Chachamaru and her sister android remove Negi and Kotaro. Asuna is naked (again using the kanka) and protests this to Eva. Eva doesn’t really care about that, but decides to have “warriors compassion” on Asuna and gives her some clothing. As Eva has no obligations to Asuna, she’s not going to go easy on her. Further, she gives Asuna another chance to bail out, but tells her she’ll arrange Asuna’s funeral if she dies since Asuna has no other kin.

Asuna puts on the costume Eva gives her, when Eva casts a spell that creates a giant snowball which Asuna must flee from. Asuna avoids the giant ball which kinda impresses Eva a bit. Asuna is angry by this, but again, Eva tells her to quit. After all, as a middle school student, she should be doing what middle school students do on summer break. Eva gives Asuna a bell, telling her to ring it and Eva will rescue her, but the training ends then. Eva tells her to ring it now, which again angers Asuna. However, Eva isn’t interested in Asuna’s anger, telling her she doesn’t like Asuna’s personallity — being carefree, being cheerful, saying and doing things without thinking.

So, Eva hates Asuna, telling her she prefers people like Setsuna or Chao. Asuna is annoyed, but becomes worried when Eva takes her pactio card, meaning she’ll be without an artifact and will have no way of drawing upon Negi’s magic. Asuna protests, saying she can’t use the kanka without the card, so Eva tells her to try remembering it. Eva floats off, figuring Asuna will soon be ringing the bell. Asuna screams in anger after Eva, but it is no use.

Eva and Chachazero fly off with Eva stating that Asuna has always repulsed her. Chachazero questions this since thoughtless and carefree people were “Master’s” favorite type of people. Eva tells her to shut up, remembering a conversation she had with Al about Asuna. Chachazero ignores Eva, telling Eva that she’s jealous, which annoys Eva somewhat.

Eva reflects on the irony of the situation in how Asuna is now trying to throw away something that took her ages to get — peace from leaving her past behind her. A childhood comparison of Eva as a child and Asuna as a child shows them to be more alike than Eva would like to admit.

Meanwhile, an angry Asuna is still on the mountain screaming at Eva.

Thoughts: I really liked this chapter. Yeah, some fans weren’t too impressed because this was the “get Asuna stronger” chapter, but I liked it because of the juxtaposition of Eva and Asuna’s characters. Both had their childhood taken from them and both are very powerful (though Asuna is on a journey to discover this). Eva remembers everything about her past — all the pain, sorrow, and suffering she had to go through as a hunted vampire. Asuna, on the other hand, from what limited amount we know, had a past where she was used as a weapon, which apparently caused her to bleed from the mouth (and she was chained to the floor). She traveled with the Crimson Wing for a while, but she was witness to the death of at least one of their members before Takahata was tasked with getting Asuna out of there. Then, Asuna’s terrible memories (and good ones) were suppressed and she was allowed to continue life as an apparent normal middle school girl (though even in the first chapter, Konoka remarks on Asuna’s unnatural speed in keeping up with her on skates, something Peter David’s adaptation completely removed from the Del Rey publication).

So yeah, I liked this chapter because it was personal for Eva and Chachazero knows it! (Chachazero is the best…Akamatsu-sensei knocked one so far out of the park when he came up with her character!)

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