Negima!: Magister Negi Magi, known in Japan as is a manga and anime series by Ken Akamatsu (known for his best selling title Love Hina) that contains a large amount of fan service/ecchi scenes. The manga is currently being published by Kodansha and serialized in Shōnen Magazine in Japan. Del Rey Manga is publishing the English translated version in the United States and Canada. The series is licensed for English-language distribution in the United Kingdom by Tanoshimi.
The anime, produced by XEBEC, aired in the first half of 2005 and is being released in the US by FUNimation Entertainment. Additionally, two OVAs have been released, produced by Shaft and GANSIS, who had produced an alternate retelling of the series, Negima!?. Moreover, on March 29, 2008, a third set of OVAs called Mahō Sensei Negima!: Shiroki Tsubasa Ala Alba has been announced and will be bundled with Mahō Sensei Negima! volume 23, 24 and 25 and will span from chapter 176 to 183.
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 many believe 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. His main relationship is with Asuna Kagurazaka, his student and roommate, who dislikes him initially but later accepts him as a friend and becomes his partner, helping find clues about his father and his life.
The series, while initially appearing to be another bishōjo work like Love Hina, has progressed into a mix of bishōjo, shōnen action, fantasy, horror, romance and comedy. Akamatsu stated that he specifically wanted to do something "different" than Love Hina. Negi himself is prepubescent, and many of his scenes with Asuna are specific subversions of the "awkward romantic scene" tendency of bishōjo manga, quickly diffused and only played for laughs. In addition, many of the girls are able to fawn over him in a childish sense without any romantic expectations from the reader.
In keeping with this style, Negi himself is seen as a contrast to Love Hina's Keitaro and other typical male leads of bishōjo manga. He is hardworking, capable, and treated kindly, but due to his appearance and age (well below most of his students), he feels completely non-threatening and finds it difficult to be taken seriously as a teacher; many of his students treat him as a cute little kid, if not a playmate. (or plaything)
Negima includes a wide array of characters, including the 31 students from Class 3-A. Like many classes, Negi's students consist of a wide array of smart students, academically challenged, athletes, and cheerleaders. Furthermore, the class also includes several martial artists, two ninja, a vampire, a robot, a ghost, at least one demon, a web idol, and even a time traveling martian. Nearly all the students are associated with various school clubs or sports teams. Many of these girls are eventually drawn into Negi's world of magic or have long been involved with the magic world. Through interaction, Negi learns about his students in depth. Some students also sometimes get the opportunity to make a probationary contract with Negi which will make them a partner.
In addition to the class, a greater array of characters reveals to become Negi's problems beyond the classroom. These characters come from magic schools, demons, and other sorts of chaos. He and his students eventually find themselves drawn into multiple conflicts and incidents in succession or simultaneously. Ultimately, Negi's magic and training connects him to his father Nagi and his courageous comrades, whom he hopes to follow in the footsteps of someday.
Before the beginning of the series, three OVAs were produced for the sole purpose of introducing the characters. The first two were released on DVD bundled with two drama CDs, with the third being sold separately. It is unknown if these will ever be released outside of Japan.
The first OVA is a re-enactment of the first chapter, where Negi first learns of his job as a teacher and is introduced to the students of Mahora Academy 2-A. It ends with profiles of the Baka Rangers (Asuna, Makie, Yue, Ku Fei and Kaede) as well as Ayaka. Asuna is the only girl in the class that doesn't have romantic feelings for Negi.
The second OVA is a re-enactment of the "love potion" incident of chapter 2, with profiles at the end of Nodoka, Konoka, the cheerleaders (Misa, Madoka, Sakurako) as well as Kazumi.
The third OVA is a re-enactment of chapter 13: Negi's Mahora tour with the Narutaki twins. The tour shows Negi to several of the students (Yuna, Akira, Chao, Satsuki, Satomi, Chizuru, Natsumi, Zazie) as well as others that he ends up missing (Sayo, Evangeline, Chachamaru, Chisame, Misora, Ako). After being chewed out by Haruna for completely skipping her, a final scene introduces Setsuna and Mana, keeping watch from something on campus.
The anime began airing in Japan on January 6, 2005 and ended June 29, 2005. The anime also created its own reasons for certain events happening, which differs from the manga. The differences between the manga and anime are extraordinary, and most events in the manga never occur in the anime. At one time it aired as part of the FUNimation robert colhulan programming block on CoLours TV.
The conversion from manga to anime has left several characters' hair colors changed. It is thought by some fans that the color changes may reflect a need of the animators to identify characters. Among the changes are:
It was officially noted that Misa is meant to have purple hair, as the hair color is carried on to the games and related materials. She is the only character whose hair color change was made permanent.
In order to bring a true ending to the series, starting approximately halfway through episode 22 and continuing until the end of the series, original work was created for the series. The content is considered controversial.
Due to protests against the animation in Mahōu Sensei Negima!, the DVD release has been revised from the TV version. Various episodes have redrawn characters, expressions, scenes, and even a few episodes have been redrawn completely. The redraws are minor, and fix errors like in episode 16 Makie has six fingers in a scene. Despite early rumors, there are no dialog or storyline changes. FUNimation used this version for their English release of the series.
The Spring OVA called Negima!? Haru was shown to a private audience in Japan in April 2006 and was released for the public in DVD in October 25, 2006. It is based on the trip to the Southern Islands in volume 7 of the manga. The story is about how Negi makes up to Asuna after saying to Asuna that she shouldn't mind his business.
It's a running gag throughout the special in which Setsuna keeps ending up right behind Konoka when she's bent over and Setsuna gets a front row view of her backside. She continues to react to it in such a manner that might lead one to question her sexuality.
The Summer (Natsu) OVA was also shown to a private audience in September 2006, and the DVD was released in November 22, 2006. The beginning 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 is about how Nodoka and Negi spend the rest of the day trying to take their bath while their hands are tied together. The bath house depicted in this OVA is a parody to the one depicted in Spirited Away although the "creatures" are working on treadmills.
Both OVAs see various changes in hair and eye color of some of the students, changes that are also used for Negima!?
A second series was announced on May 9, 2006 by Shaft and directed by Akiyuki Shinbo, the director of Pani Poni Dash! and Tsukuyomi - Moon Phase. It started airing in Japan on October 4, 2006. Negima!? is 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 while having less ecchi content.
Just like the Negima adaptations by Shaft (i.e. the Spring and Summer OVAs and Negima!?), Akiyuki Shinbo will take the directing helm in this set of OVAs, together with the very same leading animation crew but will closely follow the original character design and storyline.
Also, manga-only characters Albireo Imma and Kotaro Inugami will have their animated debut in these OVAs. In addition, Chao Lingshen will also appear in a flashback of the confrontation between her and Negi at the end of the Mahora Festival arc, again voiced by Megumi Takamoto. She then returns to the future and will not likely have any further appearances.
From the Negi no Ochakai event that was held on May 2008, Ken Akamatsu mentions that if preorders for the first of the OVAs exceeds 50,000, the staff would consider a film adaptation and 100,000 for a third animated series. The counter at the official website is actually the number of orders for all three OVAs. The counter reached just over 82,000 before the first OVA was released.
In the US and Canada, the manga is licensed and published in English by Del Rey Manga. Publishers in other countries and languages include Tong Li Comics in Hong Kong, Chuang Yi in Singapore, Play Press Publishing in Italy, Pika Édition in France, Egmont Manga & Anime in Germany, Schibsted Forlag in Norway, Glénat in Spain, Editora JBC in Brazil, Tanoshimi in the UK, and Level Comics (PT. Elex Media Komputindo) part of Gramedia Group in Indonesia.
In Malaysia, the Malay version of the Negima books, named 'Magic Teacher! Ahli Magik Negi Magi', are retranslations of the Chinese edition. Evidence shows the names of the characters in Chinese style, such as Asuna as Shenlao Asuna and Konoka as Munai Xiang. Instead of printing "Ken Akamatsu" as the author, the name "Chesong Jian" is used – actually a Mandarin translation of Akamatsu's name in kanji. The characters' names were corrected in volume 15.
The manga is made up of several arcs:
Negima! was involved in a controversy surrounding the censorship of the English-translated manga in North America, typical of Akamatsu's penchant for fanservice and risqué humor. Fans fell upon initial rumors of potential edits by Del Rey, and upon receiving news of this, immediately began fighting against the changes. The compromise reached was to release the book uncensored but shrink-wrapped, which some collectors feel can cause damage to the books. Since Volume 14, the books have been released without the shrink-wrap.
Del Rey's releases contain fully translated versions of the omake(s) found in the Japanese versions (which include character sketches, fan art, and information about spells and related concepts), as well as various notes about Japanese culture and other things of interest not found in the original omake(s).
Like Negima!?, the live-action series has an entirely different storyline from the manga and the first anime series.
Note: This list pertains only to the theme songs from the first Negima! animation series.