***This is a spoiler free review***
After a run of over five years, Negima! Magister Negi Magi has finally come to a close. With thirty eight volumes and 355 chapters, the series is a very long and drawn out story that at first strikes as a normal high school harem but it suddenly transforms into a magical epic.
As I stated in my intro, the manga is very, very long and is split up into many different arcs. Within the first 250 chapters I never felt bored with the story. Unlike many other manga and anime, the plot actually gets better as the story progresses. It does not pull a Bleach and start to slow down after an amazing first arc. There is always a bigger picture in the future that makes the main cast get into deeper and deeper conflicts. Each arc was unique and interesting from start to finish. The final chapters suggest that the creator was semi-rushed to make an ending, causing a huge build up to be ended so abruptly. Despite this, the creator still pulls of a somewhat decent ending that will satisfy most people. The plot starts out as a normal school type harem but soon develops into a tourney style plot structure. From there it goes into a more adventure type story while still keeping the comedy and character development. Oh yeah the characters; there are more than thirty plus characters that are in the story at a given time and not a single one seems unnecessarily put into the story. The overall aesthetics of the plot are very appealing and from start to finish I felt very immersed into the manga. The only issue I had with the manga was the amount of ecchi related content. There are many scenes of almost completely nude characters but most of the scenes lead into a very humorous moment which in the end made it worth dealing with.
The artwork starts out a little on the plain side but it is very obvious that the artist improved over the years the manga was being sterilized. By the end of its running, Negima! and it’s characters are stunning to look at and every battle scene is very well drawn.
Now characters are very important to any type of story; whether there are two or twenty. Negima! has over thirty characters at a given time and to be honest I remember each and every one of them. Each character is unique and has their own personality that I can say is not a total cliché (although there is your typical bookworm and bi-curious teen). Each character gets massive amounts of character development time with and without the main character. I was pretty much attached to each one by the end of the series.
What can I say about this manga? It evolves from a typical school harem into an epic magical adventure that keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire way through. The only flaw with the plot is the anti-climatic ending that was still excuted well. Also, there was an unnecessarily high amount of ecchi scenes in the manga but the way they pan out and are used were very clever. Never have I been so attached to an ongoing manga as much as Negima!. This series will go down in my book as one of the best manga of this generation.
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