Mahō Sensei Negima! July 21, 2010Posted by coolmikeol in Anime, Manga.
Tags: action, comedy, harem, Ken Akamatsu, magic, magical girl, Magister Negi Magi, Maho Sensei, Negima, Springfield, teacher
Mahō Sensei Negima! or Magic Teacher Negima! (Also called Negima! Magister Negi Magi) has been a series I’ve been following since my days discovering the world of Japanese subculture. (I will make a separate post about how I first discovered non-mainstream anime and Japanese sub/culture and how my passion for it grew over the years.) Created by Ken Akamatsu, the same creator as Love Hina, it brings the harem genre that he was building over the years to a new level in the form of Negima!
Negi Springfield is a ten-year-old wizard from Wales, who dreams of becoming a Magister Magi (Approximate Latin translation: “Master of Magic” or “Master Mage”), a special wizard who uses his powers to help normal people, using covers such as working for NGOs. Negi’s reason for becoming a Magister Magi is to find his father, Nagi Springfield, the legendary mage also known as the “Thousand Master”, who is believed to be dead. After graduating from the Merdiana Magic Academy in Wales, Negi is given a duty as a cover in the real world, and training, before he actually becomes a Magister Magi. That duty is to become an English teacher at Mahora Academy in Japan. The task will not be easy, however, as Negi will become a teacher to a Middle School class of 31 older girls, each very special in her own way. The series details his time and adventures in Japan as he gains acceptance and respect from his students, helps them in their problems, and faces magical threats from inside and outside Mahora Academy. (Taken from Wikipedia.)
Though the series seems very much like Ken Akamatsu’s previous work, Love Hina, the story builds a lot more in the later chapters of Negima. After the first 70 of so chapters of introducing the main characters, including the 31 students of Negi-sensei’s class 2/3-A, it goes on to the Mahora Festival Arc where the story starts to build to the current Magic World Arc, both arcs are the base for the whole series story and connect with each other to slowly bring the bigger picture of the whole series to light. As of today, the manga is still growing and will exceed 300 chapters though unknown if it will surpass 400 chapters.
A big aspect of this series is the pactio system. It’s a way for a mage (Magister Magi) to give his/her partner (Minister Magi) an artifact that is helpful to his/her mage counterpart. In order to create a pactio, a pactio broker like Kamo-kun (Negi’s fairy ermine pet and friend) is needed to create the magic circle needed for the ceremony. Once preparations are complete, both people enter the magic circle and create the pactio using a mouth to mouth kiss. A card is created that summons the Minister’s artifact using the word “Adeat”; the artifact usually reflects the Minister’s abilities and personality. The Magister can make a copy of the card for the Minister and keeps the original and can use the card to either summon the Minister from a short distance away or to talk telepathically.
As for all the different Negima anime series, I will talk about each one:
Negima! Magister Negi Magi
The original 26 episode anime known as Maho Sensei Negima was created by Xebec in 2005. The first 22 episodes follow the beginning of the manga up to the Kyoto Arc which is about the first 50 chapters or so. From episode 23 to episode 26, the story is independent of the Negima series due to the fact that at the time, there was not enough chapters to end the anime. The added story in this first anime series for Negima involves Asuna making a contract with the devil to give her a magic canceling ability to counter her original ability to summon demons; in exchange for this power she would only have ten years to live. (She was six at the time, so she would die on her 16th birthday.) In the final episode, Negi and his students travel back in time using Chao Lingshen’s Casseopeia, a time travel watch device that uses magic for power, to try to save Asuna from her dark fate. It turns into an all out war between class 3-A and the demon army, with the help of Negi making pactios with the rest of his students. In the end Asuna’s life is saved and everything is all bright and happy. Many people don’t like this version because of the fact that it didn’t follow the manga. I only liked it up to the part where they started to make things up.
Negima!? Spring and Summer OVA
In 2006, two (Spring and Summer) OVAs and a new Negima!? series came out from a different studio, Shaft. In having a different studio producing the series, the animation became very different from the first anime series, making it look much more vibrant, colorful, and improved than the previous series. The Spring OVA is based on the trip to the Southern Islands in volume 7 (chapter 60) of the manga. The story is about how Negi makes up to Asuna after saying to Asuna that she shouldn’t mind his business. The Summer OVA is about Nodoka and Yue practicing casting a spell. While training, Yue convinces Nodoka that they cast a spell of the red string of fate on Nodoka. A spell which shows them who her future partner will be. One end connects to Nodoka and the other end connects to Negi. Unfortunately, this spell isn’t a fate connection, but just a tie-up. The rest of the OVA are about how Nodoka and Negi spend the rest of the day trying to take their bath while their hands are tied together.
Later that year, a new anime series for the Negima series called Negima!? (with an added question mark) aired, and it has an alternate story with different character designs and an all new storyline, albeit with the same characters. The show also focuses more towards action and comedy, and less on the original series’ fan service. I haven’t really watched this Negima anime series due to the story being a bit confusing and also it being so different from the manga (though it’s suppose to be that way).
Mahō Sensei Negima! ~Shiroki Tsubasa Ala Alba
The first two Negima anime series, though them being OK versions, just really didn’t do a great job in adapting Akamatsu’s work into the anime world. That all ended in 2008 with the release of the Shiroki Tsubasa Ala Alba OADs, also known as The White Wing OADs. These were also produced by Shaft but the animation was altered slightly to resemble the manga much better. The main reason why this is the turning point in the Negima anime series is because unlike the first two Negima anime series, these OADs remain fathful to the manga’s story. I remember back in 2008 when the preview for the first of the three OADs for Ala Alba came out I was so excited, it was what me and probably many others following the series truly wanted. The three episodes for the Ala Alba OADs cover chapters 176 to 183 accurately. I really did enjoy watching this OAD series because besides it following the manga, the action scenes are animated and mirror the manga perfectly.
Mahō Sensei Negima: Mō Hitotsu no Sekai
Starting in 2009 and currently running is the Mō Hitotsu no Sekai or Another World OADs that covers the Magic World Arc of the Negima manga. There are four episodes in this OAD series and does not fully cover the Magic World Arc, as there are many chapters in this Arc. Four episodes can’t show the entire Arc in the way it should be shown. Akamatsu has announced that a Negima anime feature has been green-lit for 2011 that focuses on the Magic World Arc, and that combined with the three previous Shiroki Tsubasa Ala Alba OAD volumes and the four Mō Hitotsu no Sekai OAD volumes, there will be a grand total of about five hours devoted to the Magic World Arc.
I first got into Negima a few years ago, and it was the first anime/manga that got me into Japanese culture. (I will go more into detail about how I got interested in Japanese culture in a different post.) I discovered the anime from an online banner ad that was mentioning a ten-year old boy with magic being a teacher for middle school girls in Japan, and I was just curious and looked it up. After watching a few episodes of the first Negima anime series, I slowly grew more and more addicted to anime and Japanese culture in general.
I enjoy Negima because of the story and some of the philosophy that Akamatsu incorporates into the manga. For example, in the two major conflicts between Negi and the “enemy”, Negi believes in the general theory that if someone is doing bad that they must be bad. In terms of the conflict between Negi and Chao Lingshen, it was found out that Chao was in Negi’s era with the purpose of changing her past (the present time) to change her future for the better, and Negi seeing that maybe what she was doing was actually right, had to decide to either be the good or bad guy in the situation. In the end he decided to be the “bad” guy and go against her, because he believed that there were other ways to help her situation instead of affecting the world of revealing magic to the world. It’s the same with the current Magic World Arc between Negi and Fate, though a lot of background information of the whole situation is not known to know who is truly “good” or “bad” in this fight to save the Magic World. I have incorporated this philosophy in my own morals because I believe that there is no true good or bad, that it is based on how a person perceives good and bad acts in their own way.
Of course, when you think about one magical ten-year old boy with a whole bunch of Japanese middle school girls, you would probably think of fan service and comedy, and that is definitely a fact with Neigma. Akamatsu uses the harem theme from his previous work, Love Hina, and adapts it to Negi’s age. Instead of having romantic comedy, it’s more about Negi’s naive young mind and magic vs. playful, cute, yet unique middle school girls of class 3-A that brings comedy to just comedy without the romantic drama. The battles in Negima are cool and complex because they are not too overpowered, yet not as simple like in Harry Potter. (I guess you could say that Negima is the combination of anime magic battles to Harry Potter due to Negi being from Europe and having some sort of celebrity status from his father (like Harry’s famous survival and scar from Voldemort).) I like how they explain the tactics and techniques used and about the execution of magic and martial arts in battles in Negima. It also goes for the same about the simple yet complex explanations about how magic in Negima works, from creating Activation Keys to using techniques such as Magia Erebea to synthesizing new spells.
Here are a couple Negima! piano videos I made, playing some of the music from the series.
My first piano video. Sorry for bad quality. Video taken from my 1.3 MP webcam.
Updated version in PMS format.
Overall I like all the action, comedy, fan service, magic, love, school life, mystery, and overall theme of Negima. In my opinion I think it’s the perfect example of a good manga being excellent without it being mainstream like Naruto and Bleach which live on fierce overpowered battles and long plots (which aren’t necessarily a bad thing). I definitely recommend this series to anyone who is already mature enough to handle light fan service (which is probably most if not all anime fans) and wants a good plot with not too overpowered fights. It also has a great cast of seiyuus (voice actors) like Rina Satō, Yui Horie, and Noto Mamiko to name a few.
Wow this post took forever to write. About a week worth of forcing myself to finish this. I should want to do this and I do, but I have a bad habit of being more lazy than usual, probably due to it being summer vacation and I’m doing nothing at all. At the very least I want to do a couple posts every month if not every week. Since most of my posts are about animes, it depends on me finishing a series before I decide to write a post on it. I always want to finish the whole anime series before doing the post or else I would feel that I wouldn’t have a full opinion if I don’t finish it. Negima is an exception to this as it has been going on for a while and I think I have a pretty good opinion on it to write a decent post on it. When Negima does finally end I will write a post about it to address the conclusion of this great series. OK I’m done, so I think I should go a watch more anime.
Here is a link to a shooting game staring Ayase Yue-san as a mage. It has some other enemy characters from the manga as well like Mei Sakura and Nutmeg. After loading use Z to shoot and X to use shield. Collect S to increase your magic shield barrier, M to increase magic attack power, and L for maximum life. High combo increase attack power significantly though will drop if hit once. Don’t know where I found this game but it’s fun and short.
P.S. – Anyone watching High School of the Dead and K-On!! ?