The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Negima! Magister Negi Magi

Title: Negima! Magister Negi Magi aka Magical Teacher Negima!
Genre: Comedy
Company: TV Tokyo
Format: 26 episodes
Dates: 6 Jan 2005 – 29 Jun 2005

Synopsis: Negi Springfield is the protégée son of the Thousand Master, a name infamous throughout the wizarding world. Aspiring to become a great magister magi in his own right, part of Negi’s training leads him to be an instructor of an all girls school. Yet on his first day at Mahora Academy, Negi soon discovers that his class is anything other than ordinary. Faced with a class of thirty-one middle school girls, a talking ermine, and an inept ability for sneezing clothes off, what’s a ten year old to do?

The Highlights

Animation: Beautiful.
Story: Leads you in every direction but where you want to go.
Characters: Shallow.
Ending: Unresolved; too many loose ends.

Straight from the King of Harem himself, Negima! is one of the more recent anime produced by Ken Akamatsu, preceded by the infamous Love Hina. As a dedicated fan of his work in the manga and anime industry, I was as giddy as a Japanese school girl to finally view this series. Love Hina was very enjoyable and adhered to the manga fairly well, so I had high expectations for his latest work. Unfortunately, this was not the case with Negima! Magister Negi Magi.

The anime starts off with the introduction of the main characters and lays the precursors of what you think would be the plot. A young wizard in training, aiming to become a magister magi and to eventualy be able to find his father, the “Thousand Master.” Aside from a few uses of magic, the series leads to no developments of Negi as an instructor or as a wizard. As for his father, little information is ever revealed about his past and is never found.

Then comes all these intermediary episodes, filled with random adventures and silly mishaps. The first half of the series pertains to more of a harem genre where Negi finds himself in predicaments with all of his students. Then, half way through the story suddenly becomes an action/magical girl/drama series filled with kisses, heartache, and boss fights. As if that weren’t enough, the director decides to kill off a main character out of the blue, leaving the last two episodes for everyone to come together in an attempt to bring her back to life. These last two episodes contain alot of the elements that the manga develops through its twenty-four (and growing) volumes, including love, resolution, background, and the use of all the introduced characters in about forty-five minutes.

And what of this tremendous cast of characters you might ask? Having so many and only twenty-six episodes to work with is a lot to ask for. Some of the middle episodes have side plots in which you may learn some information on a student or two, but you get very little out of it. The only redeeming quality about the characters is the seiyuu talent behind them. Several of the students are very unique and done rather well in the manga, but are left as shallow shells in the series.

Needless to say, the anime did not adhere to the manga well. So much so in fact that another series, Negima?!, was produced with an alternate story, based on the manga and including the entire cast. Maybe the second making will do Negima! justice, but as is I was very disappointed. Negima! Magister Negi Magi will give you some laughs and an eechi moment or two, but it just doesn’t make up for the negative aspects. Only true Ken Akamatsu fans will be able to swallow this series down.

The Rating: 4

Reviewed by: Godai

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