tek's rating: ½

Negima!, TV Tokyo
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This is, of course, based on a manga that I've never read. And as often happens, there are differences between the manga and the anime, but I couldn't really comment on that. The anime first aired in Japan in 2005, but I first watched it on DVD in 2014. Prior to the TV series, there were a few OVAs, which I haven't seen and likely never will. The series itself is 26 episodes long, after which there were more OVAs that I've never seen and likely never will. In 2006-07, there was a second TV series, called "Negima!?" which you can distinguish from the first series by the added question mark in the title. It's not a sequel, but an alternate story using mostly the same characters. I haven't seen that yet, but I'd like to see it eventually. So, I can't really say anything about that series, at this point. In 2007-08, there was a live-action series, in which I have no interest. But about this series, I can certainly say a few things. First of all, I cannot stress enough how utterly redonkulous it is. In fact, I would go so far as to call it ludonkulous, which is a word I've never used or even heard or thought of before. (Maybe someone else has used it at some point, I don't know. But I felt compelled to make the word up, just for this show.) It's basically a harem comedy, with some truly absurd situations. It's also rather disturbing how much fanservice there is, considering the girls are all in middle school (though I think in Japan this means they're a bit older than middle school girls would be in the U.S.) They're never naked or anything, but um... it's definitely a very fetishistic show.

Anyway, there's this 10-year-old boy named Negi Springfield, who comes from Wales. (I can't help thinking that in the English dub, his accent doesn't really sound Welsh to me. But it's hard to worry too much about that, because his voice is just so squeaky, it takes awhile to get used to it.) Negi is a wizard in training, and wants to become a Magister Magorum, or something (master of magic). His father, Nagi, was also a wizard, but he's missing and presumed dead, though Negi would like to find him, I guess. But first, as part of his training, Negi has been sent to Japan, to work as a teacher at Mahora Academy. This is a huge school, with lots of different classes and grade levels, I guess. It even has a library covering an entire island, which is so big that parts of it have apparently never been visited by anyone. (The school has lots of clubs for students, including a Library Explorers Club.) Anyway, Negi is the homeroom teacher for class 2-A, which consists of 31 girls, who are all like 14 or 15 years old (at least that's what the internet tells me). So a lot of the show's humor comes from the age difference between Negi and his students. Of course, a lot of the girls seem to have a crush on him, or some mixture of a crush and just thinking of him as an adorable little kid. Negi has a book with all the girls' names and pictures and notes about them to keep them straight, but there's no way I'd ever remember all their names or anything about them, beyond a few major characters.

The most important girl in the show is Asuna Kagurazaka, a very tsundere type who mostly acts like she can't stand Negi, though she obviously does come to care about him. And since Negi doesn't have anywhere to stay, he ends up moving into Asuna's dorm room. Eventually she and Negi enter into a "pactio," and she becomes his Minister Magi, or something. This means she gets part of his power sometimes, to help him out in certain situations, like battles. And while most of the episodes seem to be just random comedy, there are a few where Negi has to do some magical battling. It turns out one of his students, Evangeline A.K. McDowell, is a vampire who is much older than she looks, and she has a grudge against Negi's father. And another student, Chachamaru Karakuri, is actually a robot who serves Evangeline. So Negi will need Asuna to deal with Chacha whenever he's battling Evangeline. However, he doesn't want to actually hurt either girl, because they are still his students.

Another important character is Ayaka Yukihiro, the class representative; she and Asuna seriously hate each other (though we eventually learn they were once good friends). And there's a girl named Nodoka Miyazaki, whom the other students call "bookworm." She has the deepest crush on Negi of any of the girls, though she's too shy to do anything about it. There's a girl named Yue Ayase, who has a dry, sarcastic wit. And there's Konoka Konoe, the granddaughter of the school's dean (she's also roommates with Asuna and Negi). There's a girl named Kaede Nagase, who is a ninja. There are a couple of short, pink-haired twins named Fuka and Fumika Narutaki. There's an antisocial girl named Chisame Hasegawa, who has a secret life as net idol Chiu. And... there are tons of other girls. For most of the series, Asuna is the only one- aside from Evangeline and Chacha- who knows Negi is a wizard. Anyway, I can't keep track of all the different clubs the different girls belong to, but one of them is the Dummy Force, the girls with the lowest grades in class 2-A. They include Asuna, Yue, Kaede, and a couple others. Oh, and there's a ghost girl named Sayo Aisaka, who died decades earlier. We see her sitting in class all along, but it's more than half way through the series before any of the characters become aware of her, and befriend her. The first girl to learn about her is Kazumi Asakura, the class reporter. There's a girl named Setsuna Sakurazaki, who is an expert with a sword, and has sworn to protect Konoka (which becomes an important plot point, eventually).

We also sometimes see some of the school's staff. The dean, Konoemon Konoe. There's a teacher named Takamichi T. Takahata, who was class 2-A's teacher before Negi, and all the girls like him, especially Asuna, who has a major crush on him. There's a woman named Shizuna Minamoto, who's an advisor or something. And... I guess they're the only adults I've seen. (They all seem to know that Negi's a wizard.) Also, Negi has a talking ermine named Chamo, who is a pervert and a troublemaker. He's an advisor to Negi in magical matters, I guess, but I don't think he often seems as helpful as he thinks he is. Especially when he's meddling in Negi's personal life.

Anyway, lots of stuff happens throughout the 26 episodes. As I said, it's mostly random comedy, but there's more serious stuff mixed in, too. I don't even want to try to go into all of it, but near the end of the series the class takes a trip to Kyoto, where there's a faction of wizards who are enemies. And... they make some trouble, the nature of which I don't want to specify. Later, after everyone returns to Mahora, the last few episodes deal with Asuna's past, in ways I don't want to spoil. And... I guess that storyline is sort of reasonably wrapped up in the end, but there are still a great many things that are unresolved about the show's overall plot. So it's kind of frustrating that it ends, and we don't get to learn any more about Negi's father, or... any number of things. I don't know. Mainly I just think it would be nice to learn more about some of the girls who weren't used much in the story, but actually there were some that were used relatively often without my managing to remember who they were, so... I dunno. I guess none of this matters. Apparently the manga is really long, so probably if I read that I'd learn a lot more about all the characters and everything, but... meh. I guess I don't care that much. The show was fun while it lasted (even if it took awhile to grow on me), and now it's done. Maybe I'll learn more if I ever see the other anime series. Maybe not. Whatever.


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