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REVIEW: Mahou Sensei Negima! DVD 1




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Zalis116
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Joined: 31 Mar 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 5:05 am Reply with quote
And just today, I was thinking, "Gee, I imagine we'll be seeing Key's review of Negima Vol 1 sometime soon," given what was mentioned on an Anime forum thread awhile back.

I actually found the clichéd personalities fun to pick out, and it's not like you can have 30 characters without rehashing a few qualities. Also, I know this isn't AnimeonDVD, but I can't let the artbox go unmentioned in this context--it's a solid wood juggernaut with magnetic closure, truly one of the nicest boxes around. As a friend demonstrated to me, you can even stand on that box:!: How many anime boxes can share that distinction?

I was mostly impressed by the English dub--the general sound and differentiation of the voices were on target, and I was worried because the Japanese version featured so many cute/squeeky girl voices, which often don't play well in English. Nice to see Laura Bailey in one "evil" role (Evangeline, accent included) and one role that's relatively mean (Ayaka = my favorite girl of the bunch Anime smile) to balance out her roles in other anime, like Tohru, Sana, Henrietta, and so forth (though I guess she is Lust in FMA, isn't she...) The only non-scripting complaint I had about the dub (which I detailed on the other thread, IIRC) is name pronunciations, particularly "UhSOOna" and "Eyaka." And, since Asuna is pretty much a Kaname Chidori clone anyway, the same VA with the same delivery fits perfectly Smile
Ghost Stories really diminished the "purist" side of me, and since watching the DVD was a rewatch for me, I watched it all in English. The only change that rankled the purist side of me was the "toning down" of Asuna and Ayaka calling each other a pedophile and an old-man lover. After all, the series is "inappropriate" enough as it is, so why would a few insults make a difference? Perhaps they're avoiding child porn scrutiny? And, I don't see why Funi would need to be "sensitive," considering some of their other current stuff like Desert Punk.
I don't want to go too much into "Omniscient Fansub Viewer" mode, so I'll say that these 6 episodes are a great sampling of the action and comedy elements of the series, plus some of the drama. Imo, the sadness/tearjerking factor goes up later in the series, some of it centered around that ghost spoiler[ in Episode 19 ] Much like Love Hina, Negima is largely fanservice/fantasy/comedy, with some emotional moments to elevate it somewhat above average.
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biliano



Joined: 24 Jan 2005
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Location: Cleveland, OH
PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 7:29 am Reply with quote
Well, I'm willing to give Negima another chance. I didn't like the first episode (from the Newtype sampler DVD) and Bamboo's comments about Negima on her Shelf Life column weren't all too encouraging. I have Vol. #1 on my Netflix rental queue, but it's on a long waiting period so I might not be able to watch it anytime soon. I'm not in a position to purchase the DVD at this time, and the content of the review screams "rent it" to me.
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hikaru004



Joined: 15 Mar 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 11:12 am Reply with quote
Yeah, but the box could have been more varied in its coloration. It's just dark red and white. The box was a little too boring for me. If it had Akamatsu's manga designs on it in color then it would be great, similar to a FMA box.

No pactio cards yet either.

It's going to be a looong time before I get this via Netflix too. Wink

Also, stuff relating to that kid in Desert Punk was toned down too in the English version. They prob don't want a repeat of Manga: 60 Years of Japanese Comics.
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WesW



Joined: 07 Aug 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 11:31 am Reply with quote
Negima was one of the first non-Adult Swim series that I saw, obviously fansubbed, when I hadn't yet learned enough about anime to be fully aware of all the cliches and such that this series bathes in. The sexualization of junior-high girls, the panty shots, etc., I put down as trying to appeal to tween boys.
I am aware now that shows like this are largely aimed at college-age otaku, but I think that we in the US would be better off giving people the benefit of the doubt with series like Negima. What's wrong with some juvenile fun once in a while? Why not just assume that the Otaku are simply laughing at the embarrassed girl whose skirt has just flown up, rather than assuming they are watching it like soft child porn? I think that America's current obsession with pedophiles is responsible for much of the reaction of reviewers like Bamboo and Zac (see the lolicon Answerman threads).
There was a time here when a ten-year-old Melissa Gilbert could be shown nude from the waist up, bathing on Little House on the Prairie, and it was considered wholesome family entertainment. There is no way in hell a show could do that today. Fear of anything that could be construed as fodder for pedophiles has changed our way of life more than any terrorist act, imo. (Sorry, but this stuff has been on my mind since the lolicon debates, and this series just seems to epitomize so much of it.)
Also, given the Japanese prediliction for staying with what has worked in the past, I have often wondered if there is not an expectation in the industry for these types of shows to be set in junior high. (Love Hina actually seems to be an exception to the anime romantic-comedy rule.) As evidenced by the bathhouse scenes early in this series, the girls are drawn with figures most college-aged girls would like to have, so the fact that they are supposed to be in junior high seems like an artificial construct to me. It's like their ages morph depending upon what type of scene they are in; if it's innocent, they are junior high; if it's sexualized, they are suddenly adults. You can either laugh or roll your eyes, depending upon the scene, but I think the best thing to do overall is just relax and enjoy the show.
As with many animes, most of the fan service is served up in these initial episodes, which, along with the opening, may be what convinces some people that sexualized under-age girls are all the series is about. If you stick with it, I think you will find it sweet and sentimental, and even a little tragic towards the end.
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HitokiriShadow



Joined: 09 May 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 11:52 am Reply with quote
hikaru004 wrote:

Also, stuff relating to that kid in Desert Punk was toned down too in the English version. They prob don't want a repeat of Manga: 60 Years of Japanese Comics.


Could you (or someone) elaborate on this for those of us who don't know what that means?
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seryass



Joined: 08 Nov 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 12:00 pm Reply with quote
I quite like Negima. There's a lot of innocence to it really.

Personally I've always thought Love Hina was overrated. When you start to think about the characters there aren't that many that you like. Keitaro is actually one of the exceptions which is a very rare surprise in this type of show as usually the male lead is not very likeable. They usually fall into the can't-make-their-mind-up type of character (Girl's Bravo, Maburaho) or go totally in the opposite direction and be a complete pervert (Urusei Yatsura, Tonagura). Keitaro is neither of these as he has made up his mind who he wants. He just has to find her. The rarity for Love Hina is is most of the girls that are not very likeable. Usually for this genre most of the female characters are but in my opinion this is not the case for Love Hina.

Firstly Naru is by far the most annoying, nasty and irritating girl ever to appear in an Harem anime. She hits first and thinks later never waiting for an explanation and jumps to conclusions rather quickly. Su is way too hyper and in your face and Mitsune is just too creepy to actually get to like. If Love Hina was real those three characters are just not the type of people you would want to associate with. The best characters in Love Hina are Shinobu (even though she falls into the stereotypical bashful girl who has a crush on the male lead category) and Mutsumi who was the girl I desperately wanted Keitaro to end up with as she is a nice person and obviously cares for him a great deal.

I think the characters in Negima are more evenly matched and to be honest nicer. Most of the girls care for Negi very much and in turn he obviosuly cares about his students a lot and always tries to protect them. Probably the only character in Negima that can get on my nerves is Chamo but thankfully he is brushed to the side quite a bit in the series.
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Gaomajiro



Joined: 08 Jul 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 6:27 pm Reply with quote
I'm not really a massive fan of Negima though I do have a slight soft-spot for the series.

What interests me in the direction FUNimation have taken with this release is the adaptation of the subtitles. One of the more frustrating aspects of buying English translated manga, TokyoPop and Del Ray titles in particular, is the habit of 'localisation' rather than 'translation' ~ in fact Del Ray's Negima manga is one of the biggest examples of this for me (although they do deserve serious kudos for each volume's appendix section, which 'sort of' makes their translation acceptable).

I'm really interested in seeing what the hardcore Negima/Akamatsu fans reaction to this will be and whether certain fans, upon discovering this approach and having already downloaded fansubbed versions that may or may not be truer in translation, will end up walking away from this release with a sour taste and/or deciding not to support it.
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hagakure|returns



Joined: 11 Aug 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 6:41 pm Reply with quote
WesW wrote:
I think that America's current obsession with pedophiles is responsible for much of the reaction of reviewers like Bamboo and Zac (see the lolicon Answerman threads).


You mean breaking news of "John Mark Karr" incident or "Dateline" running tons of special on pedo has nothing to do with it public opinion?

Beside, I never seen Negima as much of a pedo lust anime, but more of a "fanservice" title that are meant to sell to those looking for cheap thrill. It doesn't help that the story/humor is pretty cliche and totally unrealistic.
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Wolverine Princess



Joined: 10 Jan 2006
Posts: 1100
PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 8:53 pm Reply with quote
HitokiriShadow wrote:
hikaru004 wrote:

Also, stuff relating to that kid in Desert Punk was toned down too in the English version. They prob don't want a repeat of Manga: 60 Years of Japanese Comics.


Could you (or someone) elaborate on this for those of us who don't know what that means?

From what I remember, there was a lot of hubbub about the book Manga: 60 Years of Japanese Comics a while ago. It was in a school library, and one of the kids saw some of the samples from hentai (Bondage Fairies and something with a girl covered in snakes having an orgasm) and threatened to take legal action. I haven’t seen Desert Punk, so I don’t know how it relates to it.
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Richard J.



Joined: 11 Aug 2006
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Location: Sic Semper Tyrannis.
PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2006 1:20 pm Reply with quote
Wolverine Princess wrote:
From what I remember, there was a lot of hubbub about the book Manga: 60 Years of Japanese Comics a while ago. It was in a school library, and one of the kids saw some of the samples from hentai (Bondage Fairies and something with a girl covered in snakes having an orgasm) and threatened to take legal action. I haven’t seen Desert Punk, so I don’t know how it relates to it.

Here's a link to add more detail:
http://www.paulgravett.com/articles/041_californiancontroversey/041_californiancontroversey.htm

Read and roll your eyes at both the library for where it placed the book and others for their over-reaction. (I think it was an over-reaction. Your opinion may differ.)

My personal views on the fanservice in Negima! is that it's not nearly as bad as some series. As to the whole thing with their ages, I can personally attest to fact that kids in school now adays in this country are way more sexualized than the characters in Negima! When I was in middleschool, there were girls who had to sit out gym because they were pregnant.

Heck, I was flashed by a girl when I was in third grade. Shocked

*Edited to add bold.
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fighterholic



Joined: 28 Sep 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 27, 2006 12:12 am Reply with quote
When I first saw the manga three years ago, I was turned off by the similarities I saw between it and Harry Putter. However when I saw one of the latest volumes this year, the guy has grown to twice the size than when I first saw him. Like HP they both grow, but the stories are different. Thanks to one of the regular articles here at ANN I've wanted to check out the anime series, and I might check out the manga again.
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Dorcas_Aurelia



Joined: 23 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2006 12:50 pm Reply with quote
fighterholic wrote:
When I first saw the manga three years ago, I was turned off by the similarities I saw between it and Harry Putter. However when I saw one of the latest volumes this year, the guy has grown to twice the size than when I first saw him. Like HP they both grow, but the stories are different. Thanks to one of the regular articles here at ANN I've wanted to check out the anime series, and I might check out the manga again.

As was mentioned in the review, the only similarities between Negima and Harry Potter are that the main characters of both series are young British wizards.
Also, the part about Negi growing is a special situation, the manga so far covers 4 months of time in story (although Negi has matured in attitude a little).

Ah, Negima!, the anime I love to hate. While my reasons for this due to plot and characters don't really show up in the earlier episodes, I now get to complain how half the English voices don't really match their character. Also, despite feeling that there is an incredibly excessive amount of nudity in the manga, the comparitive dearth in the anime feels wrong.
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NekoKanoSama



Joined: 29 Jul 2006
Posts: 2
PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 2006 5:13 am Reply with quote
As someone who has read the Manga to Date,I would like to ask: What excessive Fan service? You have to realise that for an Akamatsu Ken Adaptation this series( As of Ep 6) has comparitively little fan service as such. I have read in reviews on A.N.N. and other sites about the Amount of Fanservice and, other than the Obligitory Bath scene, there isn't that much. Implied nudity is just that. Very few " Panty shots" and none of the "Long, slow,Camera Pan" that you see in series such as " Daphne in the Brilliant Blue"," Steel Angel Kurumi","Popotan" and others. Also If there were any Lolicon to be had I would think with the last Year of Older FEMALE teachers and younger students that Negi would be the "Victim" not the girls in the class. I don't have the advantage of having seen a Fansub of this show, but I am seeing what I have seen in the Manga. A young, very determined ,boy who has a goal and is trying his best to reach it. Explore looking at the show itself and not dissecting it for Disagreeable points.
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Shiroi Hane
Encyclopedia Editor


Joined: 25 Oct 2003
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Location: Wales
PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 9:45 am Reply with quote
While Negi is younger than the girls, they are still all only 14/15 except for Eva (and there's a lot of Eva nudity in vols. 3 and 15 of the manga)
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