Anime’s From The Past Review Series – Negima!? Spring & Summer Specials
Title: Negima!? Spring & Summer Specials
Encompasses: Negima!? Spring Special and Negima Summer Special OVA’s
Published by: Madman Entertainment (Australia/New Zealand), Funimation Entertainment (North America)
Based on: The Manga Series by Ken Akamatsu
Audio: Hybrid Dub
Runtime: 50 Minutes
Classification: M for Sexual References
Cost: $24.95 on DVD
Special Thanks: A copy of this title was purchased out of my own pocket.
The girls of Class 2-A are up to their usual antics, and they’ve got poor Negi all kinds of hot and bothered! First, Ayaka arranges a romantic getaway, determined to lift the little prof’s spirits (and possibly something more!). But when the rest of the group finds out, their private tête-à-tête turns into a no-holds-barred spring break! Later, a magic spell goes awry, and Negi finds himself on a short leash – harnessed to Nodoka! And while it may be a dream come true for the soft-spoken bookworm, an impromptu trip to the spa ensures a hard-core nightmare for her sidekick! Suck it up, little man! Let’s get you soapy…
Introduction / Storyline
I had intended on writing up a review for a different title this evening, but given that will not be possible until at the very least tomorrow night I have decided to restore the “Anime’s From The Past Review Series”, which I haven’t done an installment of for a while now. This is essentially a means of dealing with impromptu review delays by picking up a random anime title off my shelf and reviewing it – with this evenings random selection being the Negima Summer and Spring OVA’s. The OVA episodes were distributed by Funimation Entertainment in North America and Madman Entertainment in Australia and New Zealand.
The Otaku’s Study has previously featured reviews of two Negima anime series – the original Mahou Sensei Negima anime installment by the studio Xebec which remained sort of faithful to the manga series at the beginning and focused on magical action / the lives of the students (REVIEW HERE) and Negima!? a Pani Poni Dash-esque retelling from the studio SHAFT with a completely unique story and a focus on random and spontaneous comedy (REVIEW HERE). The two OVA episodes were released in-between the two seasons and in terms of the Spring OVA is loosely based on volume 7 of the manga while the Summer OVA is yet another unique storyline.
Unlike both of the main anime series however, there is minimal action and minimal comedy… instead what remains is fanservice (What did you expect from episodes focusing on beach resorts, bath houses and the preview image above?). And if you take a character cast of 31 girls, a child teacher and a perverted ermine… it doesn’t leave much room for each character.
The storyline of the Spring OVA is relatively simple, in the aftermath of one of Asuna and Negi’s arguments which result in her being magically stripped of all clothing, she has decided to take the route of ignoring him. Conveniently, the following day Ayaka invites Negi to her families private island resort with the rest of the class unintentionally travelling along with them. Aside from giving the characters a chance to have minor scenes and a chance to show them off in their swimsuits and/or other fanservice related activities, there is a loosely running storyline surrounding some of the characters trying to restore the relationship between the two of them.
The Summer OVA while still holding a focus on fanservice (Only this time with the girls at a bathhouse instead of a beach resort) has something more respective of a solid storyline. Taking place at a later date in the manga series, Yue (Who obtains the ability to cast simple spells) casts a spell on Nodoka which joins her hand with the hand of Negi via a red thread. Once again, Ayaka has conveniently invited them and the other students of class 3-A to her family-owned bath house.
While still randomly going off an tangents including Asuna being taken out of the picture by a giant robot known as the “Scrubberbot mk 5′ – it makes some attempt at investigating the feelings Yue and Nodoka share for Negi. While seemingly added into the mix for comical effect, there is one particular sauna scene with Negi and Nodoka which starts off really creepily and might be really awkward if anyone walked in on you watching it – English or Japanese dubbed.
Considering the prices you can get this title for at times, it isn’t terribly bad when it comes to plot, but realistically its main value is for the fanservice and a jump in visual quality from the original anime series more than an actual storyline.
Out of the three Negima series currently released in the English market (Counting the OVA episodes as a series), I would say that these OVA episodes (while filled with swimsuits and other fanservicey content) have had the better visuals of the three. Or at the very least, at the time of original release served as an improvement from THIS by getting character hair colours right. Aside from a few visual quirks, there is nothing else to really comment on other than the design itself was solid and kept all 31 girls + others designs more or less respective to their manga counterparts.
Both Spring and Summer OVA’s feature unique opening and ending sequences, and unlike Funimation Entertainment’s future Negima!? release only contained the original Japanese performance. The Spring OVA’s opening sequence Yume Minnade! by Akemi Kanda (Asuna) and Rina Satou (Negi) was perhaps the highlight of the mix with a fun animation and an enjoyable song overall. The ending sequence Ohayou! once again by Akemi Kanda was an enjoyable song although let down by animation simply consisting of manga covers appearing with simple visual effects.
The Summer OVA’s opening Love☆Sensation by Rina Satou, Akemi Kanda and Ai Nonaka (Koknona) was also used in the Negima!? anime series and as a song is once again enjoyable although let down by the some animation as the Spring OVA’s ending. The ending sequence Magical Happiness☆ by Mamiko Noto (Nodoka) was a softer song than all the others and nothing special.
The music throughout both episodes were okay but nothing special.
The English voice cast of both anime series of Negima were retained, and taking into account that most characters only got a few lines each episode, I would say they once again did a solid job… or at least a better job than they could have done considering the number of roles Funimation initially had to fill. Personal highlights include Greg Ayres as Negi, Brina Palencia as Yue and while given only a few lines, Jamie Marchi as Haruna.
With 50 minutes of content in this release, I think they included a sufficient amount of extra content in this release including:
- Schoolgirl Commentary – Summer -: This title is a little bit misleading as 50% of the commentators are male, however voice actor for Negi Springfield Greg Ayres and ADR Director and voice actress for Haruna Saotome Jamie Marchi commentate the Summer OVA. Quite an enjoyable listen through – including some laughable commentary on the “Sauna Scene”.
- Textless Songs: For both opening and ending sequences.
- Trailers: For your regions respective releases.
As much as I enjoy watching and reading the Negima series, if it comes with fanservice I like some plot to go with it – and unfortunately there was very little plot in either episodes. If you are a fan of the series that doesn’t necessarily just feel compelled to complete the set but can pick up this title for cheap then it might be worth a watch, otherwise there are other series that might be more worthwhile putting your money towards. If you are after episodes filled with fanservicey scenes with characters from the manga/anime franchise…. this is your title!
Storyline / Character Development: D
Music/Voice Acting: B
Extra Content: B
Personal Preference: D
Overall Score: D