Monday, February 27, 2006

Mahou Sensei Negima (Negima! Magister Negi Magi)

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Parental Guidance Recommended
2005 Ken Akamatsu, Nobuyoshi Habara, Nagisa Miyazaki, Kanto Magic Society, Xebec

Negima DVDs
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Everything Negima

Lensman's Description:
Negi Springfield has just graduated from the magic academy. His first task as a magician is to become a teacher in the Japanese Mahora Academy. He is assigned to class 2-A which has 31 girl pupils. Most of the girls in the class are thrilled that their sensei is a cute ten-year-old kid, but Asuna Kagurazaka is not, because Negi replaced her homeroom teacher that she had a crush on. Pretty soon, she finds out that he is a wizard, a fact that he is supposed to keep under wraps. How will Negi deal with her? And, even if he does manage to get her by his side, will he be strong enough to face the troubles ahead?

(26 Episodes)

A good show, but with lots of wasted potential. >>> by lensman
This actually wasn't half bad. After watching the entire series and its climactic finale, I was pleased with the overall result, and I was looking forward to more.

The protagonist, a ten-year-old genius wizard, is definitely a great change from the norm. The focus of the series is mainly on him and the changes he goes through as he tries to teach, not always successfully, 31 girls that are all older than him.

The girls that accompany him are also a pleasant change of pace, with nice, peppy and refreshing personalities. All of them have their own unique talents and weaknesses and, which makes them very endearing to the viewer. Granted, at a 26-episode series, some of them are more developed and share more spotlight than the others, but they are far from being the usual stereotypes.

For the most part, Negima is a nice, fun and happy series, with plenty of good gags and action. Ironically, what will stand out in the series is not the funny stuff, but the serious drama that plays on in the final few episodes. Seriously, I wasn't expecting to see that kind of maturity and drama in the series. The voice actresses gave some really exceptional performances, and really impressed me.

The final episode was excellently done, with plenty of action and suspense, as well as a touching ending. It was, in overall, a great way to end the series.

If there is a serious problem with the series, it's the quality of animation, which is terribly inconsistent to say the least.

To point, for the first 10 episodes, the animation and the character designs are laughingly bad. The girls look like aliens with weird hair colors, and their movements are spastic at best. The whole show looks like an extended four-frame gag, and it's a shame, because the story and the voice actor performances are really good. Episode 10 in particular stands out as the worst animation I've seen the past five years.

Thankfully, the animation team changes after that. From episodes 11 and onwards they start improving the quality of animation. After episode 19, the animation in Negima is nearly flawless.

The sound quality is much better. The opening tune is good and catchy, and it is remixed several times. As I have already said, the voice actors did well, giving some great stand-out performances. The series' score is nothing to shout about, but there are some episodes where the music goes into highly dramatic overtones.

Overall, I would say that Mahou Sensei Negima is a nice series and a wonderful introduction to the world of Negi Springfield.

SIDE NOTE: Reviewing "Mahou Sensei Negima" got me a bit conflicted. On one hand, I thought that it wasn't that bad as a stand-alone series. On the other hand, as a long-time fan of the manga and the franchise, I was severely dissapointed at how it turned out. They didn't pay the proper respect to the original work and mangled the story so badly that I seriously thought about saving up 1200 bucks, getting on a plane to Japan and showing up at Studio Xebec's door with a shotgun. To be fair, some parts are better handled in the anime than in the manga, but in overall, Negima the anime is no substitute for the real Negima Experience.

The Negima Manga hasn't completed its run, so I can't review it yet, but you may buy it at good Comic Book stores everywhere thanks to the nice folks at Del Ray.

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 7; Story 8; Characters 8; Sounds 8

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