|Overall||Art||Animation||Character Design||Music||Series Story||Episode Story||Reviewer|
Hm... with the first episode fresh in my mind, I can't think of anything in particular to say about this series. Obviously, one can't make very many conclusions after just one episode. From what I've seen, though, things seem fairly solid. The art and animation is solid, however, it is hard to adjust after watching the orriginal Negima!, since they utilise two different visual styles. It's not very different, and you'll recognize all of the old characters and locations immediately, but it's kinda jarring to go from one to the other. The story is a big seller, though. While still only making minimal use of the source manga, it makes a point of jumping straight to the good part. While the first episode is just an introduction to the characters, also introduced is the Evangeline story arc. With any luck, future episodes will flesh out the story and make this a worth while watch.
Last updated Friday, October 13 2006. Created Friday, October 13 2006.
(15 episodes watched):|
I only watched the very first episode of the first Mahou Sensei Negima TV series, which was probably for the best, since I wasn't all that impressed by it, and I've read it was "considered a massive disappointment not only by fans but by the manga's original creator, Ken Akamatsu". But at least I have something to compare this to, and this version seems an exponential improvement. My first impression was that the animation in this new version is definitely much more stylized than the old one, which verged on SD mode. The first scene seemed to have a dark, grim connotation--I asked myself "this is going to be a comedy, at least in part, isn't it?" There was nothing to worry about as it turned out, it's only when things get serious that this style is employed (and not always then). The bulk of the episodes can be pretty damn funny at times. It's hard to put into words, but there's a sort of seemingly random craziness to this show, which is great fun. "Chamo-kun", Negi's Ermine assistant, is good, as are the "Baka Rangers", a sort of omake bit at the end. I think I detect another Kendo Girl in Secchan (see Kendo Girl Scrapbook)! The blackboard scrawlings, a girl in SD mode, the style of the OP sequence, video game tie-ins, and some of the music give me a sort of PaniPoni Dash! deja vu (that had a classroom motif, too, and was quite popular in Japan). Likewise, this seems a difficult show to watch; not because it has any major faults, but rather because it is so sophisticated that it gets confusing at times, and the subtitles have to be continually paused on in order to have enough time to read them (I set aside at least 30 minutes, sometimes more, to watch a 23 minute episode). So far, very good; the first episode of Negima didn't "wow" me, but succeeding ones have been reliably fun and I definitely look forward to watching more. I just need to store up a reserve of mental energy beforehand...
Since the series has been licensed by Funimation, no more fansubs are being produced. DVD release is due in 2008.
Last updated Friday, March 07 2008. Created Tuesday, October 10 2006.
After the extreme disappointment of the Negima! anime adaptation, I hoped that with the transfer of the franchise to SHAFT that maybe we'd see a reboot and a proper manga adaptation. Alas, that was not to be as it was announced that SHAFT would create Negima!?, which would be a reboot, but a completely new story not based on the manga story. While this wasn't what I wanted, I felt that at least I could give the new anime a fair shake since I would not be comparing its story or even characters to their manga counterparts. So how did it fare? Not so well in the end.|
The anime started out well enough with Eva being used from the start as an antagonist and the story arc having the closest link to the original manga with Eva's punishment and true nature. Asuna discovers magic, becomes Negi's partner, and then the battle between Eva and Chachamaru against Negi and Asuna is on. So for the first three episodes, I saw a lot of promise here. With episode 4, that promise started to vanish with Shichimi and Motsu's arrival and a new villain -- the Black Rose Baron and the mysterious Star Crystal. OK, I liked Motsu most of the time but this showed me that we weren't going to have an interesting anime from a story perspective, but some parody-comedy anime.
OK, I can live with that but then Asuna's character became Chupacabra-obsessed, the other girls were given time even if to say nothing, the Black Rose Baron was a joke, and the Star Crystal stuff was just a yawn. Further, the new pactio system was just dumb. Clearly, SHAFT wanted to cash in on the pactio card desires of otaku Negima! fans. In Negima!, the pactio cards serve a purpose. In Negima!?, they are used partly for comedy effect and sometimes seriously. That's because the pactio system, in which the girls have an orgasmic reaction to having their card pulled, has three cards -- the "armor" card (the real one), the "cosplay" card, and the "suka" form, which is the big joke as this card being pulled turns the partner into a chibi form, dressed in some sort of animal costume. I guess the mages in SHAFTS world prefer a bad joke over practical application.
In and of itself, having these worthless forms is just merely stupid, but could be used for comedy. However, that's where things go south for SHAFT. You see, on one hand they try telling some kind of serious story and Negi needs one of his partners to help him out. Then on the other hand, "OOPS! You scored a suka card. Try another partner." If that's what you were trying to do, then why try to do some sort of serious story at all? The two elements just did not blend together at all. The comedy elements worked only when there were comedy moments, but not always.
That's the other problem -- the comedy is hit-or-miss. Early on, I think there is a bit more hit to the comedy aspects. Motsu provides the most laughs, whether he's tweaking someone, pretending to be Makie's father (for reasons unexplained until the last episode, and then you wish that the explanation had just been skipped), or just making wry observations ending in his trademark "ii imide" line ("in a good way"). There are other light moments that work fairly well, but as the series progresses, the comedy becomes more and more tired and tedious. Episode 20 had a South Park parody but it fell flat to me. By the shows end, I was pretty worn out with it all and glad not to have to watch another episode for review purposes.
By the time episode 24 comes around, the series should by all rights be over. Sadly, SHAFT had two more episodes to fill, so after basically wasting tons of time throughout the 2nd-half of the series, SHAFT now has to kill two more episodes. Ugh. I couldn't believe it.
Bottom line: while this series does have some good and funny moments, the bad and tedious moments outweigh them. Hit or miss comedy, a story that tries to be serious in the middle of a non-serious environment, forced lines for all the seiyuu regardless of purpose, and just a general sense of "meh" makes for a sub-average anime at best. As such, I can only give this a "watch."
Last updated Monday, February 09 2009. Created Tuesday, October 10 2006.
Analysis : 4 Episodes Watched
But then I watched 4. Gone was the goth look. Back was the comedy. A new version of the Pactio system (Complete with Street Fighter VG Health bars). It was good. I hope 5 can keep this up.
My favorite line (from Episode 4). Chamo: 'Oooo Aniki! You pulled the Cosplay Card!'
Last updated Wednesday, November 22 2006. Created Wednesday, October 04 2006.
|Japanese TV-Tokyo (remake) Series Web Site||http://www.tv-tokyo.co.jp/anime/negima/|
|Official (Japanese) REMAKE Series Web Site||http://www.negima.ne.jp/|