Published by: Madman Entertainment (Australia / New Zealand)
Based on: Manga Series under the same name by Ken Akamatsu
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy
Audio: English and Japanese Dubs
Aspect Ratio: Full Frame / Original Ratio (4:3)
Runtime: 650 minutes
Classification: This title is rated PG for Moderate Sexual References, Mild Themes, Mild Animated Violence and Mild Coarse Language
Blurb: The first anime season based off the Negima Manga franchise. Following the ten year old teacher/wizard and his class of 31 eccentric girls, Negi must work to keep his students safe and unknowing of his magical powers. Overall, the storyline is written more for fans of the series then to put forth an actual story so nothing much comes out of it. The design is also nothing special but has some strong musical tracks. Overall, a series that doesn’t strive past average but is fun to watch in the process.
Special Thanks: Special thanks goes to the Madman Entertainment PR Team for providing me with a review sample of this title.
I doubt many here would have read this website when it was first opened, however the first episode in this series was the first one I ever reviewed, so it is something of a special series to me. The manga series has proven very popular for the three hundred and something chapters it is up to now, however be forewarned that the plotline deviates very early from the manga plotline, which may or may not be the best thing. However, for those who are interested in seeing one of the two ways the storyline has been adapted into a manga, then check out this review of Magister Negi Magi: Negima.
Magic Has Mishaps… Add Girls and It’s Mayhem
Vampires, Robots, Sorcery… And that’s all before gym class! Wizard-in-training Negi Springfield is only 10 years old, but he also happens to be the newest English teacher at the all-girl Mahora Academy. Too bad a bachelor’s degree and an enchanted staff can’t prepare a lad for the chaos of being surrounded by dozens of Junior High girls!
I owe the Negima series quite a lot. Whilst I was into anime and gaming at the time the series was released, I wasn’t into manga at the time I first picked up Negima Vol. 1. Sure I had read a few other series such as Love Hina and .hack//Legend of the Twilight Bracelet, but none of them stood out like Negima did. As you may have heard many times previously, this series is a sort of Harry Potter-like series, where it takes place in a school, involves lots of magic but with one twist…. the magic user is a ten year old boy who essentially forms a harem with 31 girls who he teaches, and who all seem to fall in love with him.
The series overall can be seen as one that tries to cram a whole set of mini-stories into the 26-episodes in order to give every girl the chance to shine. This is not necessarily a bad thing as some of the characters are interesting enough to watch, but if you are after a solid storyline over anything you will most probably only find interest in only the handfull of episodes that hold some storyline plot – such as the Evangeline Arc, the Kyoto Arc and the Ending Arc.
Thankfully however, not all 32 characters are not mains, with the cast being reduced to two frequenting characters – Negi himself, the pint-sized wizard who has a tendency of getting himself into the fanservicey situations that would no doubt have any other teacher fired and most probably arrested and Asuna who pretends to loathe Negi however immediately starts to warm up to him and plays the ‘Big Sister’ and ‘Bed Partner’ role for him.
There are two types of episodes in this series, the ones that deal in magic and the ones that deal in more slice-of-life school day plots. To most I would feel that the magic plots are of greater interest. With a number of interesting classmates from vampires to ninjas, some are supporters of Negi whilst others are against him. The concept of the magic system is that mages are able to channel magical spells through the use of latin incantations, however to protect them, they are able to become ‘Partner’s’ with others through a kiss on the lips which grants them a special piece of equipment and increased strength, which is only used on occasion but is a good concept. The purpose for the battles are generally justified, such as a vampire terrorizing students on campus to a group of magi hunting down a student.
A majority of the episodes are inevitably the normal (??) school life episodes, where Negi and his students get up to all forms of natural and supernatural mischief. Quite a few of them are derrived from chapters in the manga series such as the class forming a website to the Baka Rangers (A group of the classes five worst students) going to look for a magic book to make themselves smarter. These are mostly means of putting forth comedy alongside showing off the non-magical inclined characters in the class but they are worth watching. Thankfully however, as the episodes progress, they dwindle down in number until they reach the final plotline. The final ending is perhaps too convenient and expectable then what you may have been wanting.
There storyline is overall a mixed bag of concepts with character development mixed into it. Whilst most of the plotlines are simply fillers, I won’t say they are terrible but a means of cramming 31 students, 1 child teacher, a group of 3 faculty staff and an ermine into a series. The episodes which involve conflict are the redeeming parts of the storyline.
It might just be me, but you should find around the half-way point in the series, that the design quality suddenly improves. Thankfullly this improvement was added since the quality was below average in my books. Overall, the character designs, especially in the department of hair designs were well off, and even changed the colours of some of the characters hairs from the source material. The characters at the very least, all look unique and have appearances and clothing designs (Besides the school uniform) that suit their characters personalities. I do not have any problems with the environmental designs, which were diverse and added upon as the episodes progressed.
The positive aspect of the character designs were that they lended themselves to changes in mood such as the event pictured to the left, which still looks natural(-ish) given the original character designs. Battle sequences were suitably animated however perhaps didn’t use as much motion as I would have liked. Special effects were most probably some of the more detailed elements of the design, with magic spells having the “overpowerful” look to them all.
Happy Material by Class 2-A
There are a total of eight versions of this song throughout the series, each being sung by a different group of girls and in different themes, which I think is a nice touch as it makes the song less repetitive. However, the actual animation is for those who want to see all the female characters in their swimwear hitting around a beach ball, or want to see Negi having 31 near-kisses.
Kagayaku Kimi e by Akemi Kanda, Ai Nonaka, Mamiko Noto, and Yu Kobayashi AND
Shisho to Nayameru Otomegumi by Ayana Sasagawa, Natsuko Kuwatani, Akeno Watanabe, Hazuki Tanaka, and Yuki Matsuoka
Now, who was interested in the girls wearing swimsuits? How about if they were to be wearing pajamas? Well, the animation is basically the ermine Chamo doing a looped walking animation with images of the girls in their pajamas showing. Both ending songs are actually enjoyable, with the first being a nice upbeat theme and the second being a slower tone.
In terms of the music used, there was actually a nice compilation of different tracks to suit all the different elements of the series. The battle themes were the best out of the lot. In terms of voice acting, some may be apprehensive considering they have such a high number of roles to fill, and you will find some voice actresses covering more then one character. Greg Ayres voices Negi Springfield and considering a number of his recent roles I have heard, it is nice to see him using a significantly different tone of voice, pulling off the British accent perfectly. Luci Christian voices Asuna Kagurazaka and as with most of her works, does a splendid job in this role as well. Overall, not all the girls voices are perfectly suited, but given the number of characters, I would say they did a solid job at fulfilling the roles. One special mention, Monica Rial as Kazumi Asakura was a real surprise, hearing her outside of a child-based role really does suit her.
In terms of the overall packaging for this series, as there are a total of six discs, it comes in a fatpack styled box similar to the ones Elfen Lied comes in. The cover design is nice (Pictured at the top of this review) and features some of the “main” characters on it and has a normal blurb + screenshots back cover. Inside the case, each of the six discs are themed after a particular female character and features (in order): Asuna, Evangeline, Yue, Konoka, Setsuna and Nodoka on the covers which are appropriate given the contents of each disc. The inside cover is more or less the same as that of the normal cover.
You should be very pleased with the extra content included in the collection, especially as they are the original discs from the volume releases. What is included is:
- The normal trailers on each disc.
- Schoolgirl Commentary on select episodes, which is always interesting to listen to.
- Character Profiles
- Image Galleries
- Textless Opening/Ending Sequences
- Bloopers – More animes need bloopers.
- Short Doc: Communal Bathing in Japan
- Short Doc: Education in Japan
- Short Doc: Japanese Values
- Short Doc: The City of Kyoto
- Short Doc: Tree of the World
I feel that the Negima series should be a staple in most anime/manga collections as it shows how after so many years, how a series based on school life and wizardry can continue on without being too repetitive. This anime I dont think is the best representation of what the series has to offer, however I must admit I actually did enjoy the simple plotlines and seeing the manga filler chapters come to life. At the very least, it didn’t decend to the level that other similar series have gone, where every episode is a spree of fanservice filled with nose bleeds, pointless panty shots and a principal who wants nothing more then to make out with the school nurse (They saved that for the live action series). For those after some simple fun, try this series out….
Storyline/Character Development: C
OP/ED Sequences: B
Music/Voice Acting: B+
Personal Opinion: C+
Overall Score: C+