Review by: Ai Kano
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: DVD: $59.98 US
Running Time: 315 minutes
Rating: TV MA
Release Date: Available Now
Why can’t all professors be this fun or cute?
I have to admit that I’m not a huge Ken Akamatsu fan like the majority of the people in this office but I have to say that I disagree greatly with Sophie Steven’s review of Part 1 of Negima!?: Magister Negi Magi. I actually thought the first part as a fun setup for the events of the second part that will surely be much better. As it turns out, the second chapter is indeed a bigger and better conclusion to a series that proves to be more than just another harem series.
When last we left Professor Negi Springfield and the 31 young ladies of the all-girls Mahora Academy, the young graduate of the Academy of Magic has been turned into a Chupacabra and some of the girls had been possessed by an evil entity called the Darkness in a dimension that’s strangely familiar to Negi. In Part 2, however, a solution to Negi’s Chupacabra problem is revealed. It seems that to break the spell, all the girls have to enter a magical contract with him. In one of the coolest moments of the first few episodes, Negi is kissed by all the girls after jumping out the window of the highest tower of a castle.
Getting his original form back is good news to Negi but he and the girls soon realize that they aren’t back home. Yes, the school standing in front of them looks like Mahora Academy but there’s something not right about it. For one thing, the school looks like it’s been abandoned for centuries and now monsters (like the giant monster Asuna calls the “boingy-boingy”) can be found throughout the area. This is definitely the right place but not the right dimension.
This is bad news, indeed, but Negi counts himself as lucky seeing as all his new partners are eager to lend a hand. The girls even break up into teams such as an exploration (headed by Asuna), research (lead by Ayaka the Class Rep) and the domestic team in charge of cooking and cleaning duties. Even Sayo, the ghost girl, pitches in seeing as in this dimension she could take more of a solid form.
What’s fun about the Part 2 is that despite the fact that they’re stuck in another dimension, the girls carry on the way they would when they were back in their world. Ayaka is still crazy over Negi to the point of creating Negi-related merchandize. Setsuna the samurai girl still serves her young ward with affection. Chisame is still a secret internet idol and Evangeline (the vampire girl) is still obsessed with Japanese culture. We find out a lot about the girls such as the relationship between Asuna and Ayaka as well as the fact that Yue falls in love with Negi and isn’t able to convey her feeling until she has to shout it out alone just to get it off her chest.
Part 2 also sees the return of the Black Rose Baron as well as the introduction of Negi’s sister, Nekane, who joins the group. Speaking of the Black Rose Baron, this mysterious figure is finally unmasked … although the identity isn’t very surprising. What is surprising, however, is the person behind the Darkness that keeps attacking Negi and his students. It becomes apparent that this evil entity has it in for Negi and that this all has something to do with the mystifying Star Crystal. In the end, it is Negi who takes on the secret enemy on his own … up until a person from Negi’s past lends a hand.
What makes Part 2 so fun to watch is that the humor goes well beyond fan service. Negima!? doesn’t offer panty flashes for the sake of a laugh. Instead, it resorts to humor that pokes fun at familiar American pop culture series such as South Park and E.R. as well as taking a stab at Pokemon. Sure, there are jokes that fall a bit flat but there are more hits than misses. Even the drama in the series is far more effective than Part 1 with feeling being displayed by various characters throughout this second chapter.
Negima!?, Part 2, is a more deeply enjoyable and compulsively watch worthy second part of a fun magical series that reaches a satisfying ending. I disagree that the first part was a bit of a letdown but I will admit that Part 2 certainly is a bigger and better experience that should please Negi fans new and old.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Professor Negi and his lovely students are stuck in an alternate dimension where Mahora Academy is intact but monsters and other magical creatures roam freely. Aside from this problem, the Darkness is more powerful in this world but all the girls are determined to help Negi. At last we get to find out who the Black Rose Baron is and who exactly is behind the Darkness.
VIDEO QUALITY: A+
While the animation in Part 1 is quite lovely, Part 2 is a vast improvement with some gorgeous visuals that really stands out in certain episodes. Check out the scene where all of the girls enter into a contract with Negi while flying into the air and you’ll see what I mean.
AUDIO QUALITY: A+
While the original Japanese voices aren’t bad, I really love the English dub voice cast that is quite impressive. The score is good too and the theme songs, especially the closing theme song “AY-LY-LA,” are super cute.
There’s one audio commentary (for Episode 19) but the two-disc set comes complete with trailers, textless opening and closing theme songs and a little feature called “Go Mahora Rangers!” that’s basically a list of the cast with pictures. The best addition is the Notes From The Classroom section that covers all the sneeze-and-you-miss-them writing scattered throughout the series.
A considerably more entertaining second chapter in the series, Part 2 of Negima!? is way too much fun to pass up. Not only are the episodes funnier, wackier and downright enchanting but they make up a more meaningful second part of this story. In other words, Part 2 will make you glad that this class is back in session.