Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Magister Negi Magi!

10-year old Negi Springfield is a wizard-in-training, and needs only to pass one more test in order to become a Master Wizard. Unfortunately, his final task is a bizarre one - to become an English teacher at an all-female boarding school. As soon as he arrives, he completely embarrasses one of his students, Asuna Kagurazaka, and replaces the teacher she loves, which garners her hatred. To make matters worse, Asuna learns that Negi is a wizard, and promises to tell unless he helps her out. But, unfortunately, circumstances force them to work together to do many things together, from fighting evil wizards to helping the class pass their final exam, with a lot of humor, magic and romances thrown in. Source:

Magister Negi Magi is a nice and light anime to watch. Felt like the studio took it’s time and laid out a nice steady pace for the story to develop and really grow. The roles each character play are clear and might get a little predictable though. I’m pretty much able to assume lots of stuff after a few episodes, but was still hoping for the unpredictable to happen. Just some random twist in the story to really crank things up a notch. After watching the seventh episode or so, you‘d come to realize that most of the students are not as simple as they appear to be, as you come across robots, vampires, and kung-fu fighting students. There are some slight inconsistencies which seemed too obvious yet intended. Example, at one episode, Asuna claims that no one knows that Chachamaru is a robot. Yet in another episode, the Robotics Club was practically “upgrading” Chachamaru.
The comedy was really good, a little slapstick feel but not anything too silly. Just simple and sweet fun, nothing deep or hidden. From the start, it is crystal clear what the anime aims to achieve, which is to give you a good time and entertain. And what it is meant to do, it does so well. This is one title you can watch years later and still have a good time.

Animation is pleasing to the eyes. Just don’t expect anything fancy and a little obvious it’s from the yesteryears, but still acceptable by all means. Good old fashion solid colors and clear solid lines. Animation in the last episode seems to be a step up compared to the other episodes though. Character designs are good too, with normal proportioned body figure and decently drawn looks. Although sometimes Negi’s size looks a little off scale when standing beside his students. At times he looks way too small.

The main opening, Happy Material, and ending theme, Kagayaku Kimi He, are pretty good. They are all sung by the voice casts of the students. Not only does it go with the mood of the anime but it has a really nice beat to it.

Asuna nails her role perfectly, being very lively but showing compassion and heart as required by the variety of scenes. The transition from hating Negi to being a good friend felt a little too rushed. But although becoming good friends very early in the series, the hatred Asuna felt before that was well expressed and at least they didn’t overplay that. I kept wondering what story falls behind the different colored eyes of Asuna, and when it would be revealed. Unfortunately, it never will. Lol!

Negi could very well be my new definition of Male Moe! Lol! Soft spoken and with a cute appearance, he always save the day with his fast reaction and magic skills. In terms of anime characters, I have always hated indecisive personalities, those who portray being too weak to speak up for themselves, or those who always says they are forced to doing things they don’t want to but didn’t even try to fight back. But surprisingly, not only did I NOT hate Negi’s “obedience” to Asuna. But their relationship grew on me as they got more and more attached. It is good that they focused on some of Negi’s background, his intentions of why he pursued magic and his actions are also well scripted. Instead of just going around showing romance between the students and him, which could have made this “just another harem”.

I absolutely adore Nodoka. Although lacking in depth compared to Negi or Asuna throughout the series, her appearance always feels welcomed. Not because I like her character, but in the sense that the anime always does a nice setting to prepare for Nodoka’s appearance. Hmm... This might be a little hard to elaborate on. An example would be showing Nodoka at the library borrowing books. And Negi near the garden stairs. As the books obstruct Nodoka’s view, she trips and falls down the stairs only to be saved by Negi. As compared to other characters which just suddenly pop out of nowhere to be hugging Negi etc. etc. Get my drift? :p

Kumo, I’m not a big fan of. I was just playing it out. Seeing if I would get attached or take a liking to him as the series progressed. But at the end of it, I’m just glad he didn’t hog up the airtime. One thing I just want to mention, doesn’t the principle looks like a perfect candidate for the next Macross movie? Putting him alongside the Zentradi’s. Lol! As for the other student characters, read on below.

Initially I was going to write about each episode and its story and characters. But by episode 10, I was pretty stunned at the sheer amount of characters in play. So I just dropped the idea. Instead, I thought of Googling for an online source and linking it here. However, the only source I found was this and I felt it wasn’t focused enough on this original series. So I’ve decided to do an article on the full character study of all the students and probably some of the main teachers. But it is going to be a long term project for me. In a way, you can say it’s just another excuse to watch this anime again. Lol!
Talk about perfect timing! Just at the beginning of episode 20, during the story of the Kyodo trip, I was just thinking out loud “They better not end the whole series in a comedy, it would be a waste” and indeed, the pace changed. Ask and ye shall receive! Lol! The anime threw in some action. Konoka was explored and the Honranji was introduced. Don’t need to take note of Honranji though, it’s just that a name for the villains; a one episode deal.
From there to the end of this series, things really take a turn as it explores Asuna and her emotional problems among other minor things. I didn’t see the Asuna story coming at all! A “WTF! How the hell could you kill off Asuna!” escape my mouth and sure as hell frightened my family. Lol!

Finished the whole series and still there is no episode that felt redundant, no episode to complain on. It's just that you never expect any particular episode to bring deep meaning in the first place. The huge amount of characters really is this animes’ strong point. Cycling through different groups of characters with a variety of story plots keeping things fresh, yet still focusing on its main characters Negi and Asuna to explore and develop them thoroughly. This anime really excels in terms of this. Magister Negi Magi really is a main dish served with lots of laughter, a pink of affection and just a dash of action. Tasty!

Negima! / Magister Negi Magi (Season 1)/ Mahou Sensei Negima
Rating: 5-Stars
Torrents: Mahou_Sensei_Negima_Mega-Pack The only torrent I found, but don’t expect much quality wise. Please check details before downloading.

Ok, Major confusion finally cleared. The original series is Negima! (a.k.a Magister Negi Magi or Mahou Sensei Negima) which is this anime I'm posting about now.

Not to be confused with the remake called Negima!? with the addition of the question mark in it's title. Which tells a slightly different storyline. The part to watch out for is that some places (like here in Malaysia) sells Negima! and Negima!? under the same title but calls it as "Season 1" (for Negima!) and "Season 2" (for Negima!?) instead. And all the while I kept looking around anime shops for Negima!? when I've already bought it under the title of Magister Negi Magi Season 2. Lol! The confusion!!

1 comment:

  1. Sorry for editing this review like a gazillion times, this anime is rather simple and should be easy to write and review, yet no matter how many times I read it, the writeup still feels unsatisfying.