Tragedy strikes Negi’s class at Mahora Academy, as one of their own is killed in their prime. With emotions raging, some look to accept it as a part of life, others hope to change it with a deal with the devil. Some look to science, and, thanks to a time machine, this superpowered class can just go back in time and stop things from happening. It’s a crisis of infinite (well, thirty-one) classmates as they take a field trip to the past to prevent a tragedy in the future.
The series breaks format on this last disc: all the episodes compose one overreaching arc. A character dies in “Remember to Die” (which sounds like a Bond flick), everyone grieves, and the last two episodes involve time travel to fix things.
The true tragedy here, though, is that Negima doesn’t pull it together until the end, and even then it’s too little, too late. While a death manages to arouse some emotion, however temporary, in the class, you soon remember that, hell, half these characters had never interacted with the dead person until this point, so they were never featured in any plotlines (something that two of these characters, in a nice moment, actually mention during the “next episode” previews).
The final episode? Forget the title (“Not For Me, Not For You, But For Us”). Maybe it’s not “for you,” but it’s definitely “for me,” as I love these big “Everyone team together” epic battles. Even the “Time to gear up, people! Move out!” had echoes of GoGo Sentai Boukengers’ “Boukengers, start up! Attack!” The classmates, around ten years ago, team-up to fight off monsters and demons, which is part of the reason their classmate died. Everyone enters in pactios—Remember those things? It’s what Asuna formed with Negi near the beginning of the series to gain powers—in a scene ripped right from the intro. Everyone, in their “pactio form”, gains powers based off their talents or interests: the twins become multiplying ninjas, the mech reminds us of Robotech, the cheer squad becomes, well… a cheer squad that would make the Elite Beat Agents and Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan proud. The nun stays nunny, the web idol starts making yaoi warriors, and the only big girl in the show opens up a deadly food stop. Yes, that means that if I entered a pactio, I’d become a sentai warrior, William C. Maune would become Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, and Maxie Zeus would start flinging lightning bolts.
… of course, that would mean we’d have to kiss Negi.
… I dunno, I do want super sentai powers…
… but he’s a boy. And British. And horribly annoying.
Besides the scenes where everyone teams up to take down evil, we get some great parody humor in here. There’s a sly Cutie Honey reference, some standard Magical Girl references, and the episode even pokes fun of the inverse of Ken Akamatsu work: hot yaoi action. The animation is knocked up a degree on this level, and we get some long-lost Akamatsu fanservice with their new outfits.
If the whole series came off like the final episode, I’d have a different opinion on Negima: instead of a failed successor to Love Hina, it could have been a great Monster-Of-The-Week/Parody-Of-The-Week series. Different monsters require different classmates to enter with different pactios, resulting in different parodies. As it stands, not even all of the love plots here are tied up, various characters never had any lines, and even Akamatsu’s strength at Three’s Company humor never excelled.
The DVD extras have improved, though. A commentary (no matter how not related to the actual episode), bloopers (no matter how much they sound like they’re staged), and info on the Tree Of The World and Character Profiles are always substantial, and they are better than some releases that just have “Interactive Menus” and “Trailers”.
Negima definitely picks up for the final episode, and easily gives us a glimpse of what the show could have been. I don’t know much about the new series, but here’s to hoping they learned from the mistakes of this one.
Episodes included on Negima Volume 6: “Magic and the Dark Arts”
Episode 23: “Remember to Die (Memento mori)”
Episode 24: “Both Weapons and Words Wound (Et arma et verba vulnerant)”
Episode 25: “Death is Certain, the Time is Uncertain (Mors certa, mora incerta)”
Episode 26: “Not For Me, Not For You, But For Us (Non mihi, non tibi, sed nobis)”