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Negima!: Magister Negi Magi

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.

Overview

Negi Springfield is a ten-year-old wizard from Wales, who dreams of becoming a Magister Magi (Approximate Latin translation: "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 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)

Characters

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.

Anime

Introduction OVAs

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.

First television series

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.

Color changes

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:

  • Chisame (dark green instead of orange)
  • Shizuna-sensei (blue-green instead of blonde)
  • Misa (purple instead of light brown)
  • Yuna (bright brown instead of black)
  • The Narutaki twins (pink instead of orange; Fumika's hair covers are also yellow instead of white; instead of brown, Fuka and Fumika have purple and violet eyes respectively)
  • Misora and Natsumi (dark brown instead of red)
  • Kaede (greyish instead of dark blondish)
  • Evangeline (green eyes instead of blue)
  • Sakurako (dark red instead of orange)
  • Mana (navy blue instead of black)
  • Haruna (dark green instead of black)

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.

Storyline changes

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.

First television series episodes

Anime revisions

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.

Spring and Summer OVAs

Two OVAs directed by Akiyuki Shinbo and produced by Shaft have been released, a Spring OVA and a Summer OVA.

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!?

Second television series

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.

Shiroki Tsubasa OVAs

A third set of OVAs called was announced by Ken Akamatsu himself on his website days after the end of the live-action adaptation's airing. Production will once again be handled by Shaft and the entire anime cast from Negima!? will reprise their roles in this new venture. This set of OVAs will cover chapters 176 to 183 (except 181) and will be shown in three parts:

  1. The first OVA covers chapters 176 and 177 and was released on August 12 2008, together with the release of Volume 23 of the manga.
  2. The second one will cover chapters 178 to 180 and will have a release date of November 17 2008, along with the release of Volume 24.
  3. The third one will show chapters 182 and 183 and will be out on February 17 2009 together with Volume 25.

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.

Manga

Early in the production of the manga, Akamatsu began using CG background elements, for things such as crowds, buildings, and some objects. Many buildings are drawn from real-life structures all over the world, such as the Brooklyn Bridge and the Belfast city hall. These are rendered in 3D, then characters are drawn in and around them for the panels. Many of these models are detailed in the appendix in the back of the books.

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:

  1. The Child Teacher Arc - After receiving his assignment, Negi becomes the English and homeroom teacher for Mahora Academy Class 2A. A general introduction section of the series, it mostly served as a basis for introducing the students and establishing the relationship between Negi and Asuna. Certain students gained particular development, including the Baka Rangers and the Sports girls, as well as individual focus on Konoka, Ayaka and Chisame. Chapters 1-15, Volumes 1&2.
  2. Evangeline Arc - (Partner Saga as Akamatsu calls it)- After officially becoming the full year teacher for now Class 3A, Negi gains his first real challenge: battling against his student (and immortal vampiress) Evangeline A.K. McDowell and robotic partner Chachamaru Karakuri. The Pactio system is introduced in this section as well as Negi's ermine familiar Chamo, with development regarding Eva's relation with Negi's father, Nagi Springfield. To fight Eva alongside Negi, Asuna becomes his first partner. Chapters 16-25, Volume 3.
  3. Kyoto Field Trip Arc - Following a lead, Negi takes the class on a trip to Kyoto to find more information on his father yet is forced to fight against Eastern mages with hired help. The arc focuses primarily on Konoka, both on her family's relationship to Negi's team as well as her own relationship with classmate Setsuna Sakurazaki. The arc also focuses on the blossoming feelings of Nodoka Miyazaki towards Negi and similar feelings beginning to emerge for her friend Yue. Nodoka, Setsuna, and Konoka become Negi's partners by the end of the arc. The end of the arc shows a drastic change in tone and atmosphere. The manga becomes more tense and action-filled. Suspense becomes a major issue, this arc symbolizing the turning point of the series (chapter 45 specifically). Mentions of a more sinister opponent are made through Fate Averruncus. Chapters 26-53.
  4. Training/Wilhelm Arc - Seeing his own weakness after Kyoto, Negi begins to train with several students in order to become stronger. Meanwhile, an old evil from the past re-emerges at Mahora while tenacious rival Kotaro Inugami unexpectedly reappears and gains a new family. This arc begins to show the development of Negi's main team while Makie, Chizuru, and Natsumi all become involved in the events. Wilheim, like Fate Averruncus, is a pawn of a 'bigger and badder' fish that is yet to be mentioned. Chapters 54-71.
  5. The School Festival (can be broken into sub-arcs) Chapters 72-168.
    • Pre-Festival: Mahora organizes a festival to celebrate the peaking power of the World Tree and 3A prepares in their own ways. Many characters are both introduced and put forward as the students prepare and one of them begins the first hints of a much bigger plan. Mentions are made of the World Tree's power. Chapters 72-80.
    • Festival Day 1: With the assistance of Chao's latest invention, the time machine Casseopeia, Negi partakes in many activities, including the class haunted house, patrolling with two students, dating three of them, and even helping one in a costume contest! He also takes parts in preliminaries for one of the big events of the festival: the Mahora Tournament. Chapters 81-87.
    • Mahora Tournament: After making his way to the top sixteen, Negi fights his way through rivals familiar and unknown to reach the finals, including another member of the Crimson Wing. Meanwhile, Asuna slowly discovers more secrets from her past, and Chao begins to make her move, with guards, from Takamichi and Setsuna to Misora, after her. Chapters 88-119.
    • Festival Day 2: After the tournament, Negi takes part in more activities at the festival. Focused students in this section include Ako, who reveals her crush on an older Negi, the Library Club girls, and the bizarre friendship growing between Chisame and Chachamaru. Yue and Haruna become the fifth and sixth partners, respectively, by the end of this arc. Chapters 120-131.
    • Chao's Mission & Eight Days Later: With her plan finally in full force, Chao confronts Negi in combat with a surprise ending. Yet, troubles continue as an unexpected move throws Negi's allies into a world they never expected. Chapters 132-144.
    • The Battle of Mahora: After returning from their side-trip, Negi's team have a decisive confrontation against Chao, and Chisame finally relents into becoming Negi's seventh partner. Chapters 145-162.
    • Post-Festival: With the festival finally over, Negi comes to a decision regarding his search for his father and his relationship with Asuna. Slight focus is further made regarding Misora and Sports girls Yuna and Akira. Chapters 163-168.
  6. Journey to the Magic World (can be broken into sub-arcs) Chapters 169-PRESENT.
    • Preparations: Negi and his partners form their own brigade, the Ala Alba (White Wing), and prepare to travel to the magic world to try to find information about Nagi. They are joined by Negi's childhood friend Anya and accidentally by Yuna, Ako, Akira, Makie, and Natsumi. Chapters 169-185.
    • Separation: As they arrive, they are ambushed by a group of mages led by Fate Averruncus. The gate is destroyed and Negi and his group are defeated and scattered across the Magic World. Negi enters tournaments under his father's name to alert the others of his whereabouts and get them to meet up at the lost city of Ostia. Chapters 186-200.
    • Reunion: Negi begins training under Rakan, a former ally of Nagi. In order to obtain the power to defeat Fate, Negi decides to abandon the path of his father and chooses to specialize in Dark Magic, just like Evangeline. Kazumi becomes Negi's eighth partner. Meanwhile, Negi's lost companions start to learn the ropes of their new environment and are gradually reuniting with him at Ostia. Chapters 201-220
    • Ostia Festival Day One: The festival celebrating the end of the war that devastated the Magic Realm 20 years prior begins. Fate Averruncus confronts Negi asking him not to interfere with his and his associates' plans in exchange for a safe passage home for Negi and his students. At Asunas behest Negi declines Fate's offer resulting in a vicious battle between the two parties until the arrival of Rakan forces Fate to retreat. Chapters 221-PRESENT

English version

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).

Live action series

A live-action series of Mahō Sensei Negima!, distinguished from the manga, first TV anime (Negima!, having an exclamation mark) and the second TV anime (Negima!?, having the equivalent of an interrobang) by having two exclamation marks joined at the dot (or, Negima!!). The cast of all of the 31 girls was released on July 2007, while it is announced later that actress Yukina Kashiwa would play Negi, Hiroshi would portray Takamichi T. Takahata, Nao Oikawa as Shizuna Minamoto, and Gajirō Satō as the school dean. It started in TV Tokyo's late-night timeslot on October 3, 2007 and ran for 25 episodes. The 26th announced episode will be a DVD exclusive.

Like Negima!?, the live-action series has an entirely different storyline from the manga and the first anime series.

Music

Note: This list pertains only to the theme songs from the first Negima! animation series.

Opening Theme

  1. "Happy Material -Original-" by Yuri Shiratori, Madoka Kimura, Ayana Sasagawa, Natsuko Kuwatani, Kotomi Yamakawa, and Azumi Yamamoto ("Sayo Aisaka", "Yūna Akashi", "Kazumi Asakura", "Yūe Ayase", "Ako Izumi", and "Akira Ōkōchi"; ep. 1-4)
  2. "Happy Material -More Rock Ver.-" by Shizuka Itō, Akemi Kanda, Ai Bandō, Akeno Watanabe, and Mami Deguchi ("Misa Kakizaki", "Asuna Kagurasaka", "Misora Kasuga", "Chachamaru Karakuri", and "Madoka Kugimiya"; ep. 5-8)
  3. "Happy Material -More Happy Ver.-" by Hazuki Tanaka, Ai Nonaka, Sawa Ishige, Yū Kobayashi, and Yui Horie ("Kū Fei", "Konoka Konoe", "Haruna Saotome", "Setsuna Sakurazaki", and "Makie Sasaki"; ep. 9-13)
  4. "Happy Material -More Beloved-" by Akane Ōmae, Miho Sakuma, Chiaki Ōsawa, Ryōko Shiraishi, and Misa Kobayashi ("Sakurako Shiina", "Mana Tatsumiya", "Chao Lingshen", "Kaede Nagase", and "Chizuru Naba"; ep. 14-17)
  5. "Happy Material -Electric" by Kimiko Koyama, Mari Kanō, Mai Kadowaki, Yumi Shimura, and Yuki Matsuoka ("Fūka Narutaki", "Fumika Narutaki", "Satomi Hakase", "Chizame Hasegawa", and "Evangeline McDowell"; ep. 18-21)
  6. "Happy Material -Early Summer" by Mamiko Noto, Mai Aizawa, Junko Minagawa, Naomi Inoue, Yuka Inokuchi ("Nodoka Miyazaki", "Natsumi Murakami", "Ayaka Yukihiro", "Satsuki Yotsuba", and "Zazie Rainyday")
  7. "Happy Material -Now and Oldies" by Rina Satou, Mamiko Nōto, and Ryou Hirohashi("Negi Springfield", "Nekane Springfield", and "Anya")

Ending Theme

  1. "Kagayaku Kimi e" by Akemi Kanda, Ai Nonaka, Mamiko Nōto, and Yū Kobayashi ("Asuna Kagurasaka", "Konoka Konoe", "Nodoka Miyazaki", "Setsuna Sakurazaki"; ep. 1-13)
  2. "Oshiete hoshii zō, Shishou" by Ayana Sasagawa, Natsuko Kuwatani, Akeno Watanabe, Hazuki Tanaka, and Yuki Matsuoka ("Kazumi Asakura", "Yūe Ayase", "Chachamaru Karakuri", "Kū Fei", and "Evangeline McDowell"; ep. 14-22, 24-25)
  3. "Happy Material" - acoustic version by Instrumental (ep. 23)
  4. "Kagayaku Kimi e ~ Peace" by the Class of 2-A (ep. 26)

References

External links

Official websites

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