Sayo Aisaka (相坂 さよ, Aisaka Sayo) is a fictional character from the manga series Negima!: Magister Negi Magi, created by Ken Akamatsu. The 1st student in Japanese alphabetical order of class 2/3-A, she is the hapless and meek ghost of a former student, occasionally accompanied by a pair of hitodama. More often frightened than frightening, she is invisible to virtually everyone, and her presence goes mostly unnoticed (though Professor Takahata had her included in Negi's class registry, with a note not to change her seat). Eventually, she does get noticed by her teacher Negi Springfield and most of her classmates and becomes a friend and ally in his quest.
It is interesting to note that Sayo is introduced early in all television depictions of the manga compared to the manga itself.
Character design and appearance
Among the many strange and weird characters Akamatsu had planned for Negima, he knew from the beginning that one of Negi's students was going to be a ghost. However, integrating this ghost girl into the story was a matter more difficult than he realized. Akamatsu's original intention was to use Sayo Aisaka (which she was called from the beginning) in an old-fashion ghost story, filled with the creepy and bizarre. However, every time he tried to write the story, he got nervous and backed away. When he finally did get around to introducing Sayo, he instead used her more natural personality in a story that parodied the ghost stories, depicting her as trying (and failing) to haunt her homeroom before finding acceptance with several of the students. After her introduction, he intended (and succeeded) to keep Sayo as Kazumi's constant companion. He has also hinted that he would reveal Sayo prior to her death, but at this time Akamatsu has yet to depict this as part of his plot.
Her appearance, with white hair and red eyes, gives her the impression of an albino, which looks appropriately creepy for a ghost. Similarly, Sayo was designed in wearing an old-fashion "sailor-fuku" style school uniform as contrast to the other students in the school who all wear preppier uniform clothing and to show that she lived and died in another era. She is also depicted to have no feet (being a ghost). In both anime series, however, she is depicted to have feet (although an eyecatch of her in the Spring OVA shows her without feet). As a further comparison, however, Sayo is depicted as a walking ghost in the first anime, while she is sometimes seen in Negima!? floating in midair. In fact, in the first series, she falls to the ground while trying to catch a butterfly flying high.
It should also be noted that Sayo, being a ghost, has been wearing the same uniform regardless of the change of seasons. In case of the manga, she is constantly seen in her black winter uniform with white collar and red ribbon. In the first anime series, as to be noted below, she is wearing a white summer uniform with blue-collared white blouse, blue skirt, and green ribbon. In the live-action adaptation Negima!!, she wears a dark blue uniform with white ribbon. Interestingly in the second anime series Negima!?, she wears either an all-blue winter uniform with red ribbon or a blue-and-white summer uniform with red ribbon depending on what type of seasonal uniform the other students wear. Furthermore, since Sayo is depicted in pale colors in Negima!?, the shade of blue might even be darker.
According to Akamatsu, Sayo pretty much resembles Konoka, except with white hair and slightly different body measurments.
Background and personality
According to the character notes at the end of Volume 9, Sayo's past was supposed to take a darker turn as it is stated that Sayo was one of the victims of a series of murders taking place around the founding of the school. However, having been dead for so long she has lost her recollection of the events surrounding her murder. As Sayo has no interest in recalling the events regarding her death, it is presently unknown whether this device is still in use, or if she died by another means.
In the anime, her backstory was given that in the past while she's still alive, she lived with her little sister.It is implied that her mother died during World War II. Her little sister heard that if the clock tower's garden in Mahora was filled with tsuwabuki flowers their mother will come back. During one night when the flowers grew into sapling, a storm come and Sayo, wanted to protect her sister's flowers, went out in rain to shield them from wind and storm. It's speculated that she succumbed to pneumonia and died. It is unknown what happened to her sister.
She has low self-esteem and is not skilled at being a ghost, tripping despite the fact that she doesn't have feet and being completely unable to (intentionally) scare people. Sayo has been friendless and lonely for around 60 years since her death, which made her very desperate for a friend. Her attempts of making friends has led to misunderstandings, which are discussed at the following section. After her discovery, she does gain friendship and understanding from her teacher and her classmates. Her originally morose personality has become happier and more outgoing.
Sayo is kind and tries to see the world on the bright side. She really loves her family, especially her sister. She is very sensitive to Tsuwabuki which connects to her former human life.
Sayo is the hapless and meek yūrei (ghost) of the class. Although she is included on the class roster for 2-A when Negi arrives, she is unable to participate or connect with anyone in the class initially. The seat which she sat in sixty years ago remains unoccupied, even if other people (such as Kazumi) have the ability to sit next to her. Prior to the Mahora festival, Sayo remained unnoticed and unconnected with her classmates. She is first noticed when Negi absentmindedly counts her during a class vote. She still wears the school uniform of Mahora from over half a century ago, (standard fuku, Sailor Moon type). Apparently, Evangeline is the first one able to see her, due to being a powerful mage, but she did not bother to reveal herself to Sayo. At times, she looks down upon her own worth as a ghost (such as tripping when she doesn't have feet, and her feeble attempts at scaring using "Boo!"). Sayo has been friendless and lonely for the 60 years since her death, which made her very desperate for a friend.
Her attempts to talk to the rest of the class led to a series of hilarious events during the preparations for the School Festival as everyone mistook her for an evil spirit. She nearly ended up being exorcised by Mana and Setsuna, but Negi and Kazumi, having caught a photo of her crying and realized what was really happening, came to the rescue and offered to be her friends. She thanked them, then faded away, leading the others to think she had crossed over, until she showed up later to ask Negi to spend some time at the festival with her. It is only afterward that Evangeline speaks to her for the first time, telling her that "I'm glad for you," revealing that she was aware of her the entire time. After the festival, she befriended Zazie Rainyday for a while, but is rather frightened by the spirits that often accompany the enigmatic girl.
She currently hangs around (or haunts) Kazumi, who sits beside her in class, and is currently able to see her. Like several other girls she seems to have developed a slight crush on Negi. She has also been seen with Zazie and her phantoms, but finds the other girl scary. She is currently traveling with the group to England by the use of a special magic doll.
She has accompanied the group to the magical world and, like the others, was scattered across it when Fate destroyed the teleportation gateway. She and Kazumi (who was initially disguised as a bard) were eventually reunited with Negi and company while Negi was contemplating on how to gain the freedoms of Ako, Akira, and Natsumi. She helped Chachamaru and Kazumi locate the other girls, riding with the latter's miniature satellites whenever performing an active search; one of her search flights eventually led her to Kū Fei's location. Later on, Sayo (along with Kazumi) discovered that Nodoka was being attacked by the "Black Hounds." Using one of Kazumi's search cameras, she managed to warn Negi and the others of the impending attack. Thanks to her quick warning, Negi and the others managed to save Nodoka in the nick of time. After the tournament she discusses the subject of Pactios with Chachamaru as she has no body but only soul as opposed to Chachamaru wondering if she has a soul.
After chapter 263, in which Chachamaru gets her pactio Pupa Somnians, Sayo is waiting to get her own.
She, like the rest of the class, assists Negi in saving Nagi and defeating the Mage of the Beginning. After many twists and turns through,the besieged Mahore with Negi and friends via Cassiopeia, she was released as
a residual ghost of Mahora Academy. Afterwards, she mysteriously did not pass on, but continued as the guardian spirit of Asakura Kazumi, working as her partner.
- Ghost Powers: Sayo has all the standard powers of a ghost, though she is not very experienced in using them, despite having them for over 60 years. These abilities include floating/flying, intangibility, invisibility, (though this was due to no one noticing her in the first place), possession of other people, levitation of objects, and other skills commonly associated with poltergeists. However, Sayo also shares the same weaknesses of ghosts and is vulnerable to spirit wards, magical spells, and weapons (such as Mana's spell-breaker bullets and perhaps any 'ghostbusting' equipment created by Satomi and Chao).
- Ghostly Stealth: Sayo typically isn't noticed when not physically manifesting or controlling a fetter, even by spiritually aware persons such as Mana or Setsuna. Only Zazie and Eva initially seem to be able to see her. This stealth later allows her to work around the limitations of Kazumi's artifact.
- Sayo Doll: Since she is bound to the grounds of Mahora Academy, Sayo can only leave the area by means of a mystical doll given to her by Kazumi. By possessing the doll, she is able to interact more physically with the living world and can even use her ghost abilities outside of the doll. She uses the doll as an anchor point, and so long as she doesn't stray too far from it, she can exist in places outside of the academy. This has the additional benefit of being small enough to ride on one of Kazumi's camera golems (it has a seat and writing on it indicating it is for her use).
- Pencil/Pen Twirling: Though not an especially useful skill, Sayo is a master of spinning pencils and pens about her fingers and hands. It is presumed she learned the skill to offset the boredom during the summer vacations, when there are no classes. This skill is demonstrated in volume 19, chapter 175, A Single Frame of a Youthful Summer, on one page titled: “Spinning for 60 Years.” The same chapter also shows Sayo's "friendship" with Zazie Rainyday.
- Sayo Robot: In volume 28, in order to possibly make a pactio with Negi, Sayo is given a robot made by Haruna, that looks identical to her full sized body, with feet. She controls it not by possession, but by a cockpit in the torso where her Sayo doll sits. Upon seeing the amazing combat capabilities of said robot, she promptly forgets anything about forming a pactio.
- Gatling Gunner Skill: While there was no indication of this beforehand, she shows a great deal of proficiency when controlling the gatling gun of the Great Paru-sama.
Sayo died protecting her little sister's flowers from a storm, but it is not any more specific then that. (Although it is speculated that she succumbed to either Pneumonia or Tuberculosis.) Her flashback self bears a small resemblance to Konoka. She is invisible to all except Kazumi who became able to see her while researching her history. Evangeline cast a spell to allow her to be seen by and interact with the rest of the class. The school dean seems to have known her as well, as he recited a poem she wrote when she was alive: "Her tiny hands are planting silver leaves so tender, patiently waiting for the bloom, next November...", due to her being able to know why she died, she can now exit the school limit at her will, shown when she goes to Kyoto with the rest of the class. Her pactio in the anime allows her to attack with her pactio hitodama, which she throws rather lazily at opponents (mostly due to the fact that she's been out of shape for 60 years, 65 in the English Version script). It is also speculated that Mahora Academy's dean Konoemon had known Sayo when he was younger. Not actually saying her name, but referring her as to a girl whom he liked long ago through her poem, possibly signifying he had a crush on her back then. It's also an interesting point to notice that in the anime she has feet, unlike in the manga where she doesn't.
In this anime, Negi decides to cast a spell so he can see her. Yet, she went a bit too far after enjoying herself in the girls' apartment, and nearly scared most of the girls. Fortunately, Negi manages to save her from being shot by Mana. She also shows an ability to appear in monitors and other screens, and thanks to Evageline's spell (who secretly cast a spell onto Kazumi's camcorder) everyone manages to see Sayo's face in Kazumi's camcorder after she gets caught. Later, Sayo becomes permanently visible after joining in on the mass pactio with Negi, while even using one of these abilities to assist him later. As an added note, she tells Negi something that implies that she has been dead for 40—rather than 60—years.
In this manga, the class seems to know about Sayo before Negi's arrival. They know she's friendly, but she seems to creep out the other girls all the same. She also shows an ability to appear in monitors and other screens, and Kazumi usually carries a camcorder around so others can see her. Later, she became Kazumi's helper as she can't be detected, doing things like exposing Asuna wearing a Chupacabra suit.
Sayo makes an appearance in chapter 112 along with Ayaka, Chachamaru and Zazie.
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- The land-locked spirit of the Mahora Junior High 3A classroom's first row window-side seat, but actually she can go to places that are near to the school
- Died at the tender age of 15, she had been in Mahora for over 60 years
- One heck of a scaredy-cat, she can't stand staying at the classroom alone at night so she would go to the convenient stores or family restaurants
- Her seat was known as the "Non-sit-able Seat" because everyone said you'll feel a sudden chill when you sit there
- Since her sense of existence was rather weak, even most exterminator (e.g. Setsuna) and people with spiritual power (e.g. Mana) could not notice her
- Currently in 3A, those who can see her included: Negi, Asakura (whose seat was next to hers) and the vampire Evangeline. This has changed during her time in the magical world when all of Ala Alba could see her.
- She can cause poltergeist phenomenon and create words of blood on the walls if she really tries.
- Her first love is the Headmaster of Mahora Academy.
- The most that has been shown has been the top of her socks; from there up to her dress's hemline and above is only occasionally distinct. See vol. 9, page 46