- Animated by studio Xebec, notorious for being unable to produce a single above average show besides Love Hina.
- Directed by Habara Nobuyoshi, who also did DNAngel, Fafner, and Broken Blade. This guy is really good at taking interesting premises and making very little out of them.
- Based on the manga of Akamatsu Ken, who prior to this had done a sci-fi romcom called A.I. Love You, which was not bad but surely felt standard, as well as the smash hit Love Hina. This was his next project which was hardly as good.
Negima is yet another fan catering harem show with a far fetched premise that does very little other than offering poor excuses for one ecchi scene after another. It is rather saddening to see the maker of Love Hina producing such an inferior series, since that one was a legend in the genre and one would expect far more from the guy who set the bar for modern harems. I mean, ok, it still has far more context than most other harems but it’s all one big mess of ideas thrown randomly at your face. Love Hina was kind of like that too but it surely didn’t have more than a handful of girls living inside a house, so it was very easy to focus on them. Negima on the other hand is about 50, I repeat, 50 girls and the setting is one huge school, plus its various secondary buildings, plus hidden ruins, plus traveling all over the world and battling all sorts of monsters. Sure, it sounds far more interesting but it barely manages to focus much on anything before it shifts to a different girl and a different story. There was absolutely nothing to care much about here.
I keep on hearing how the manga version is ten times better and how the ratings of the anime were so low they cancelled the continuation but frankly this doesn’t excuse anything (other than how adaptations suck). The story is simply not cut out to fit in a harem, and the anime as a whole is plain mediocre and forgettable for various reasons.
The premise of the show is indeed a catchy one, as it leaves room for practically any stereotypical romcom and ecchi situation possible to happen. There is this teacher in an all-female school and he is in secrecy a wizard. He has no experience and needs to learn along the way how to cope with a class full of hormone-crazy chicks, who find him cute and try their best to get all intimate with him. And since this is a harem show, every step of the way is oozing with misfire of spells that always magically rip clothes, enlarge boobs, create love-struck fangirls, before everything is magically restored with brainwashing.
Things are too crazy to take seriously, as the teacher is only 10 years old and every girl in the class is practically a harem stereotype, filling any possible erotic fetish you can imagine. From witches, to androids, to gymnastic athletes, to samurai girls, to tsunderes, to… Oh hell, you see what I mean. He is even allowed to live in a small apartment with two hot chicks like nothing matters. I know harems are notorious for their far-fetched excuses for a story, but this was simply too much to even pretend it doesn’t matter in such an anime. Especially when the show keeps insisting it has a serious backdrop plot.
Although it is episodic randomness half the time, the other half is a loose arcing of various events slowly building up towards some really spooky stuff. Many girls are a lot more than they seem and keep on putting cute shota teacher Negi to some really dangerous situations… before some magic panacea undoes everything and he finds himself naked and with his face on some girl’s privates that is. And it is interesting in a way to see how he keeps trying to find excuses for all the things that are happening in his life, like WHY DON’T YOU JUST GO HOME or WHERE IS THE POLICE TO ARREST THE PAEDOPHILIC BITCHES AND THE OTHER TEACHERS FOR ALLOWING A KID TO TEACH? And it is also silly how he aspires to become this super cool wizard like his late father, and keeps making contracts with the girls in order to use them as his bodyguards while casting the spells. And of course we can’t have a contract without some ecchi scene like kisses and nude or this would be a show with actual context.
Anyways, there are lots of missions that vary from plain ridiculous to life-threatening, brimming with fan service and stereotypical ero jokes without ever going for something concrete and meaningful. So ok, this is a harem and you are watching it for the erotic humour, but they keep trying to make it feel like it’s a lot more than that and it becomes kinda insulting to the audience’s intelligence.
The production values are rather run down so despite a setting that would demand heavy work on visual effects in the magic battles, the whole thing remains way to crude and unexciting to watch just for its looks. Soundtrack and voice acting are ok, although there are no memorable songs or voices. Plus I really dislike silly jpops and tired erotic punch lines.
The characters show a lot of potential at first, for having a lot more in hide than a vague erotic fetish to define them, but their sheer number alone is enough to deem them impossible to remember as anything more than random ecchi archetypes. Do you believe there are initially 31 girls and they all interact with Negi all the time? How can there possibly be enough room to advance them properly? Well ok, there are a handful of girls that are fleshed out nicely, like the tsundere-with-bells-on-head Asuna that along the way gets more and more intimate with Negi and even ends up being the core issue in the finale. There is also the Shinobu-wannabe Nodoka for being the super shy girl living with Asuna and yet another girl who tries to grab Negi for herself. And in a similar simplistic manner there are a few more whose names and role in the series I have forgotten because there are 31 of them in a chaotic plot of superficial conflicts and tired ero humour. Man, this is Naruto all over again. So many characters, so little to remember them for.
There is practically very little value and enjoyment in this show. It hardly makes use of its premise, the production values are bad, the humour is tired, Love Hina by the same guy was better, and when it comes to comedy and teachers, Great Teacher Onizuka and Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei kick the crap out of Negima with their hands tied behind their backs. Now those are shows that actually leave a lot more behind other that shallow fan catering.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 6/10
General Artwork 1/2 (generic)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic)
Backgrounds 2/2 (basic but crazy, thus fitting with the feeling of the series)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 1/2 (basic)
SOUND SECTION: 6/10
Voice Acting 2/3 (corny but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 2/4 (average)
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess)
STORY SECTION: 5/10
Premise 2/2 (interesting)
Pacing 1/2 (erratic)
Complexity 1/2 (not much)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 1/2 (cheesy)
CHARACTER SECTION: 6/10
Presence 1/2 (too many of them)
Personality 2/2 (rather cheesy but well founded)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there)
Development 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
Catharsis 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
VALUE SECTION: 2/10
Historical Value 0/3 (none)
Rewatchability 0/3 (no reason to rewatch it)
Memorability 2/4 (it has some good ideas but in all not much to remember it about)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 1/10
Art 0/1 (looks lazy)
Sound 0/2 (sounds meh)
Story 1/3 (good ideas, shallow presentation)
Characters 0/4 (too many of them)