Mahou Sensei Negima and Negima?!

Genre: Harem, Mystery, Magic, Comedy
Score: OK
Rating: PG for regular fanservice

Negi Springfield is a little Welsh boy. He’s also a magician, and on graduation from the magical academy he’s given an unusual assignment: to teach at the all-girl’s Mahora Academy in Japan. He soon finds out why: the school has a ghost, a vampire, a robot, a gun nut, a number of martial artists and all sorts of strange and supernatural threats. As if teaching a class of girls five years older than him wasn’t enough.

An explanation is necessary here: there are two different series of Negima, made by different companies. The first, the one that’s for sale over here, is the very lighthearted version with plenty of fanservice. The second is by the same director as Pani Poni Dash and Moon Phase, and digs right into the plot. There’s also a couple of OAVs, which are sequels to the first series but made by the second company. How can you tell the difference? In the first, Asuna’s eyes are different colours, in the second they’re the same.

Personally I preferred the second – it’s not only more plotful, it’s also funnier, and the characters felt more real. This series is quite fun and engaging, but some may find the little-boy thing too fucked up for their taste.

Update: the new OVAs, Ala Alba, stick much more closely to the manga – but appear to have chosen a random chapter from late on in the manga, ignoring that fact that they haven’t animated any of the stuff in between. They even have flashbacks to all the stuff that never got made, as if to taunt us.