Negima! Manga Vol 38 Ch 355 Review (Finale)

魔法先生 ネギま!Volume 38 Chapter 355 (manga)
Mahou Sensei Negima! Manga Chapter 355 (final chapter)
Negima! Manga Vol 38 Ch 355 Review

SPOILER Summary/Synopsis:

Negima! Manga Vol 38 Ch 355 ReviewNegi rescues Yue, giving her his cloak for cover. He then places Paio under arrest, though she’s doing these crimes for fun rather than as a job for someone. Negi’s arrival causes a stir as Yue asks why he’s at Mahora. He tells her its for the Ala Alba reunion, which Yue hadn’t noticed since she hadn’t checked her mail. Chiame, Setsuna, Nodoka, Yuuna, Makie, Nodoka, Haruna, Ku Fei, and Chachamaru arrive, with Nodoka and Yue hugging, and Paru teasing Yue about her chest.

Yue gets dressed and the group heads to a newly built building, where on an upper balcony, Ala Rubra members Eishun, Al, Nagi, Rakan, as well as Eva are seated. Konoka is concerned about Nagi’s health, and he hams it up, resulting in some physical abuse from Eva and Jack. Negi introduces Ala Alba to Nagi, who teases Negi over his team being all girls.

Jack and Eishun reveal to Yue that they saw her fight and praise her for it, though her finish was poor. Eva remarks on how her battle style was like Negi’s. Nagi agrees, teasing Yue for having something for Negi. As the Ala Alba members begin chatting, Yuuna produces a photo, showing Fuuka and Fumika’s kids that they had with their twin prince husbands from the Magic World.

Nagi praises Negi for having good comrades, leading Al to agree, citing how the defeat of the Life Maker and the freeing of Nagi was due to all of his comrades. Negi wants Nagi to meet his entire class, including the other members of Ala Alba that weren’t able to come to the reunion. Nagi agrees, wanting to meet them too.

After the manga looks at what happens to everyone in Negi’s class (in the future), Yuuna decides they should have a class reunion. Someone calls Asuna, who’s in the middle of some important ceremony, telling her to get her butt to Mahora in two days since they are going to get everyone there for a class reunion. Negi gets to talk to Asuna, and it appears Asuna is going to come despite the issues involved in making it happen. With that, someone else wants to talk to Asuna.

Thoughts/Review:

Well, this is the final chapter, baring some sequel (which I’m hoping for).  Hard to believe the manga only went for nine years.  In many ways, it felt longer, and in some ways, shorter.  It felt longer because of my being involved in the weekly releases, discussions, and the like.

As expected, it was Negi that rescued Yue, though I had hoped to go with something unexpected, like Nodoka.

So, Nagi is back. *lol* Well, that officially kills my theory, eh? ^_~  In all honesty, I’d long ago accepted that my theory would not be correct, but until it is spelled out in the manga, there was still a chance, no matter how small. ^_^

I still don’t accept the theory that states the Lifemaker possessed Nagi, though it might be the right one.  I say this because if anything, I can see Nagi using himself to trap the Lifemaker.  There is still a disconnect between the Lifemaker supposedly being sealed under the World Tree and where ever Nagi was trapped at. Al stated to Takahata that he didn’t know where Nagi was, only that he was alive. However, he did know that the being, presumed to be the Lifemaker, that turned Eva into a shinso vampire was sealed under the World Tree.  It is a shame that we didn’t get more information.

To that end, there’s nothing mentioned of Arika, which is interesting. Negi never even thought about a mother, nor was a mother ever discussed with him, for his whole life, and for a large number of volumes in the manga until well into the Magic World arc.  Then she shows up out of the blue, is given a nice tale with Nagi, to include eloping with him, then is forgotten again.  I just wonder why, unless Akamatsu-sensei made some story changes to bring in Negi’s mom, then realized that he had story problems fitting her in the story as already crafted.

I’ve read a lot of frustration that Akamatsu-sensei didn’t give Negi’s choice in this chapter.  Come on gang, if you are in that camp, you don’t know the harem genre very well.  In a situation like Negima!, where a bunch of girls like the hero, but the hero has no stated preference amongst his harem babes, the standard practice is to NOT have the hero make a choice. There are exceptions, like the canon Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki anime, where the hero stays with the entire harem (as revealed by the creator in various places since the anime doesn’t have Tenchi make a choice), which is a valid choice.  However, even in that case, fan reaction is always going to be negative from those who don’t like the choice.  Thus, by leaving it ambiguous, Akamatsu-sensei doesn’t alienate people even more when they reject the choice he has Negi make.

The only thing I noticed here was that Makie called Nagi “father” (not sure what the Japanese term she used was), and was in a panic. However, that doesn’t mean she’s the choice.

So, let’s look at the class.

  1. Sayo — It seems that time travel was involved in setting her free. When Asakura dies, one wonders what happens to Sayo then. There’s a good side-story to be told there.(As an aside, if Negi and company used time travel via Cassiopeia to help Sayo, then it is possible that Negi saved himself in the past as well, since a sealed Nagi couldn’t save Negi.)
  2. Asakura — It makes sense that she’d become an author, traveling on the Paru-sama II.
  3. Yuuna — So, she follows her mother’s footsteps. It would be an interesting side-story to learn what happened to her mother. I guess that since Mei and Takane are shown in the same panel with her, we might infer that they too work as agents of Megalomesembria.  However, that’s not specified, so it isn’t canon.
  4. Nodoka — I laughed when I see how busy she stays. When she takes a vacation, it is to go treasure hunting with her Magic World comrades (Craig and company).  She gets involved in Yue’s side-job as a detective. *lol*  Lots of side-stories to tell there.
  5. Yue — Nice to see she did get her ISSDA job alongside Nodoka. Yue and Nodoka doing detective work would be something I’d like to see as side-stories.
  6. Paru — Not surprising that she’s an author. I laughed seeing Chamo with her.
  7. Setsuna — I liked how she became a pilot, and a famous space pilot at that.  Akamatsu-sensei doesn’t say whom she married, just that she did.  So, it is NOT canon that she and Konoka married, because that’s not stated.  Akamatsu-sensei leaves that blank on purpose for fans to make up their own mind.
  8. Konoka — I find it interesting that Konoka had to keep Tsukuyomi at bay.  While Konoka is known for healing magic, one wonders if she didn’t learn combat magic just to help protect Setsuna.  She too married, though despite the rage I saw from some Setsuna-X-Konoka shippers, you cannot say that it is canon that they married each other. If you want to believe that’s what happened, great.  However, there is a theory that’s been running for a while that the two of them may end up with Negi. The theory started when children of the two were seen being watched over by Ayaka in the future. Frankly, it doesn’t matter to me, but I do find it interesting that for some, it is a rage issue if anyone DARE deny the “truth” of things.
  9. Ku Fei — I loved seeing that she continues to train with Kaede and that she challenges Negi every year.
  10. Kaede — Wow. Kaede can apparently travel space without the need of a spaceship, or a space suit for that matter. She is the ultimate ninja for sure.
  11. Makie — It fits that she became a PE teacher at Mahora. She certainly seems to have matured, which is nice.  I like that she’s able to meet up with Negi and her other friends, though it is somewhat sad that she’s still hung up on Negi.
  12. Akira — Whoa! She cut her hair, apparently. It makes sense that she’d have training similar to a space pilot since the space elevator goes into space.
  13. Ako — Heh! So, Akamatsu-sensei gave her long hair. After that incident where Paio caused Ako’s hair to grow wild, Akamatsu-sensei mentioned something about her hair and having it long.  Her back-injury story is a back-story waiting to be told.
  14. Fuuka and Fumika — WOWZA!  They became quite alluring young women and mothers. Again, the side-story of how they met their princes is in need of telling.
  15. Satsuki — Nothing surprising here about her being a successful restauranteur.
  16. Misora — Looks like she’s still partnered with Cocone. I hadn’t realized that Misora was an orphan.  There’s some side-stories to be told there, including how Cocone came over, and how they were partnered up.
  17. Chisame — *lol* To be honest, I thought she might move beyond being an Internet recluse, but as others reminded me, when Poyo put the others to sleep, only she and Makie didn’t fall because they were happy with their lives.
  18. Hakase — It makes sense that the merger of science and magic, which is how Chachamaru was created, would make the space elevator a reality. Considering the note made in Negi’s class chart about scouting her for Kurt, I guess this is the governor she married.  That’s some kind of age difference though. ^_^;;;
  19. Chachamaru — Nothing surprising there, though it does seem that she didn’t always remain as Negi’s secretary.
  20. Mana — So, even in this new timeline, the terrible things Chao tried to prevent did happen, presuming that she was referring to the Martian War of Independence. At least we know why Asuna overslept now.
  21. Eva — So, her curse was finally lifted. I like how she continued to watch over Negi and Asuna. Eva demands a few side-stories, starting with her past, the entire incident of how she was turned into a shinso vampire, how she found out about the Magic World, how she became partners with Chachazero, her time with Ala Rubra, and more.  Of course, Akamatsu-sensei hints at another side-story about Eva and the one she loved, which is probably Nagi.
  22. Zazie — She’s a guardian and an ambassador, eh? Again, side-stories are demanded here.
  23. Madoka — So, she’s a government stooge, eh? ^_~
  24. Misa — So, she’s a concierge at the station hotel. Doesn’t sound that impressive, does it. ^_^;
  25. Sakurako — Heh. Her luck impacts the world economy as well as the success of Negi’s plan. *lol*
  26. Chizuru — It makes sense that she’d be a nursery school teacher. I like how she takes time for Fuuku’s and Fumika’s daughters.
  27. Natsumi — *lol*  You go, girl.  Kotaro acted in character by running away, and Natsumi chasing him and becoming stronger in the process works for me.  Well worth some side-story chapters IMO. Despite what was previously reported, Akamatsu-sensei DOES confirm that Natsumi and Kotaro got married.  That was an easy choice since I know of no fan who didn’t like the pairing.
  28. Ayaka — It is interesting that Ayaka was content to stay to the side and behind Negi and Asuna to support them both.  That attitude would appear to have been in the other timeline as well, with Ayaka simply content to provide support to Negi, including watching over the children of Setsuna and Konoka (however that ties in).
  29. Asuna — It makes sense that she would work to restore the Kingdom of Ostia.  Fortunately, she has Ayaka to keep her in line. ^_~
  30. Chao — Hmmmm.  Not sure what to say about her being the Last Boss of Justice. No explanation on how she came from Negi.

Anyway, its all over.  I’ll save my final thoughts for a future post.

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92 Responses to “Negima! Manga Vol 38 Ch 355 Review (Finale)”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I don’t even know HOW to react. There’s so much more I want to know…Mainly with Negi’s mom, but other things as well.

  2. Anonymous says:

    It’s possible that Negi DIDN’T hook up with anybody in the end. Chao could have referred to Negi as her “ancestor” in a very general way (I can’t remember if Chao ever confirmed that she was a blood descendant of Negi). In the future, Negi may probably be generically referred to as the ancestor to all Magister Magi. Perhaps Eva was hinting at this in ch353.

    • Farray says:

      Read chapters 82/83 and chapter 162 again. Chao clearly stated that she is blood related to Negi. And as she said, Martians never lie. :>

  3. Derek Bown says:

    I thought that the conversation between Negi and Asuna, on the last panel, over the phone was interesting. She specifically asked to talk to him, and from the one sided dialogue we got sounded a bit like an awkward couple talking to each other. So who knows, maybe that’s a hint for the shippers.

    While I felt too much was left unresolved, especially Negi finding Nagi, since that was kind of the point of the series in the first place, doesn’t feel right to have it be resolved so easily. But I suppose it could have ended worse.

    Now the movie on the other hand…

  4. Farray says:

    Small error in the summary. Negi saved Yue, not Nodoka. 😉

    Besides that, you pretty much said everything I wanted to say. I really hope for a sequel or LOTS of side-stories. Regarding the ship teases… I completely agree with you. Leaving everything ambiguous is pretty much normal(Yes, I include Kono x Setsu, I’m not against that pairing, but c’mon, Ken left it to your imagination. The opinions will differ and I won’t participate in this shipping war.).

    However, I think these last chapters weren’t done very well. The last arc before the epilogue was in the end pointless, as many already predicted that Akamatsu won’t reveal the person responsible for Negi’s little crush. Besides that, he was ten(or eleven?) at that time. But why teasing everyone and then not reveal it? That’s why I think these last few chapters were… well, wasted(?).

    Also, I think the epilogue wasn’t done perfectly well. I honestly thought Akamatsu would pull out something like a cliffhanger(not really a cliffhanger, but I hope you know what I mean) to leave negima open to continue the story immediately. This epilogue, including seeing Nagi was something I expected after the final fight against the Lifemaker. Now that Akamatsu wasn’t able to show this last fight, it kinda feels off and not satisfying.

    That’s it for now. I’ll be waiting for your final thoughts. :p

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      >Small error in the summary. Negi saved Yue, not Nodoka. 😉

      Ugh. I hate when I do that. I’m thinking “Yue” the whole time, yet I type out “Nodoka.” *_*

      Thanks for the notification.

  5. Brett says:

    I can understand that the main arc of the story was wrapped up, and all that was really left was for Negi to do his Grand Space Plan for terra-forming (as a fan of both terra-forming Mars and space colonization, I loved that Akamatsu included that).

    That said, the ending still felt rushed. It was like he had some loose ends, but didn’t really want to do what would probably be a difficult task in setting up an entirely new final arc to conclude the story more definitively. Instead, we got this, plus a ton of exposition on each character.

    As for the harem, my personal opinion is that Negi never married. ;D

  6. Anonymous says:

    Akamatsu saying he was 3/4th, demon world being revealed, lifemaker etc were clearly pointing towards another arc. This manga seemed to get better and better(at least for me) for a long time and now it has ended like this. Nagi/lifemaker clearly should not have been left out and I don’t think any author will want to leave such a story. I didn’t like this chapter much too and also the last page. I hope we find out what went wrong.

    Also, I prefer Akamatsu not revealing Negi’s partner. Falling for a girl looks a bit out of character for him. A harem end or forced wedding would have seemed fine though.

  7. Hey, um…one thing. You keep saying “Nodoka” in your post when it’s “Yue” that Negi rescued and “Yue” who hadn’t checked her mail, and had to get dressed after being stripped by Paio.

    I apologize for sending this correction as a comment, I didn’t know how to send a private message about it (only on ff.net is it that easy. heh) Anyway, you just mixed up Yue and Nodoka, that’s all. You can delete this comment if you would like. Just figured I’d let you know about the error. Could happen to anybody. XD

  8. OverMaster says:

    I disagree with your take on Negi never picking a partner being a good thing, ANB. Just because it happens so often in harem manga it doesn’t mean it’s a good thing. If anything, it’s one of the worst vices the genre has, and one of the reasons why fans of other manga genres deride harem so much: because it never has a proper payoff and always developed into fluff and teasing with no substance.

    In the end, this finale didn’t deliver anything in the fronts of mystery solving, romance or action, making it a complete fail. Chisame’s ending undoes her whole character development, and the fact she was finding Internet life shallow and finding more happiness on hanging out in wacky adventures with Negi and the idiots, in a single paragraph, pretty much for nothing.

    Similarly, the mention of a Mars Independence War “despite the attempts of Negi and Chao” renders the struggles of two of the manga’s most important characters basically useless for the sake of a single panel of a character’s future story.

    All in all, if this finale is something that really took Akamatsu a whole year to plan, he’s lost his capacity as a writer. I came up with a better plan to end the manga tying more loose ends in the same amount of chapters in a single afternoon, for God’s sake, and I’m a crap writer.

  9. DeltaResilience says:

    I was actually surprised with Chisame just being a hikikomori as her ending until you mentioned her and makie ‘real juu’ moment, I had to rethink this. The thing is, in the other timeline, we clearly see Chisame next to Negi in business attire, and efven present during the recording.

    Look at Makie, I don’t think she planned to be a PE teacher just like that, especially since she was busy just having a good time with everyone, and in the end, this is the profession she sought out, though we can bring up the personalities between Chisame and Makie, this is the main concern why I find it strange, its because we should compare her character from her introduction, all the way till the magic arcs, and then the end.

    She’s definitely growth as a character, and even bothered to go to university but then decided to just go hikikomori? I did like that fact that Negi still seeks her advice, which is the only one thing that leads me to believe that she really did get a ‘job’ as an adviser, though she’s prefer to hide it as she’s always tried to hide herself (eg. Net Idol Chiu). Then again Akamatsu-sensei could have mentioned something like this but didn’t, though we have the Kono/Setsu ending as an example of ‘leave it to interpretation’.

    There is also the fact that Chisame has always been a “working behind the shadows” type. Again Net Chiu as an example, but its also her abilities as a hacker, her pactio abilities during the festival, and especially her electronic artifact hacking. I just feel that Chisame’s ending is much more then it lets out to be, and at the same time a mild dissapointment in that, if it really is what Akamatsu wrote, and nothing more, then it’s sad cause her character really grew in the story (my favourite was her crying for Rakan, as you can see how in the beginning she wouldn’t have had a real friend to for).

  10. Anonymous says:

    I find it odd that Asuna appeared one time in the last chapter. Also the 3-A girls didn’t even bring up who the girl Negi loves is.

  11. This ending felt so unsatisfying. I’m glad that it was a happy ending, but there’s just so much untapped potential, so many untold stories in the Negi-verse. We’re given a “Where Are They Now?” epilogue, and while it’s nice to see what everyone is up to, it’s like instead of getting Return of the Jedi, The Empire Strikes Back ending with a brief epilogue summarizing the rescue of Han from Jabba, Luke’s confrontation with Vader and the Emperor, and the Rebellion’s defeat of the Empire by destroying the Death Star II. It’s not enough to be told that Nagi was rescued by Negi, that Eva’s curse was lifted, that Negi’s fellow villagers were freed from their petrification, that Ako’s scar was healed, etc., etc. I want to be shown these events. There was enough story material for at least another whole arc, perhaps more now that we have all this new info about what the girls did after high school, not to mention all the untold stories you mentioned. Also, there were a ton of characters who were put on a bus and haven’t been seen in many chapters.

    Of course, the romantic subplots were never resolved. Only Natsumi/Kotaro is confirmed as canon (though TBH way back in volume 8 I thought it was going to go Chizuru/Kotaro), with Konoka/Setsuna heavily implied but not confirmed (though it’s pretty dang obvious). We know Negi has to get with someone because of Chao, but who? Yes, never resolving these things is common in harem manga & anime, but considering that Love Hina resolved things by eventually pairing Keitaro with Naru (it causes me physical pain to say that; I’m a Kei/Motoko fanboy), it’s not like Akamatsu-sensei has never created an official pairing between the male lead and one of the girls in the harem. Sure, Kei finding and getting paired up with his “Promise Girl” was one of the main plot points of Love Hina, whereas the romantic subplot of Negima was never as prominent, but still.

    Here’s hoping that Akamatsu-sensei comes out with a sequel series in the near future.

    Well, thanks for all the the spoiler pics and years of Negima discussions, ANB. Things won’t be quite the same without our favorite boy wizard around.

    P.S.: Are you still planning to make a post about absurdly priced imports like the ones of Kara no Kyokai and Fate/Zero released by Aniplex USA? I remember you talking a few weeks ago about possibly doing so.

    P.P.S.: About Negi=Nagi, well, I told you so. :p

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      >P.S.: Are you still planning to make a post about absurdly priced imports like the ones of Kara no Kyokai and Fate/Zero released by Aniplex USA? I remember you talking a few weeks ago about possibly doing so.

      There will be one, but it may be a bit before I write them. It will be part of a “Piracy War” series I’ll write.

      >P.P.S.: About Negi=Nagi, well, I told you so. :p

      Heh!heh! It was a good theory while it lasted. ^_~

  12. Knives says:

    Can not say I liked the author’s final but enjoyed all this time reading Negima. Indeed the saga of the school trip was what got me started in this world of Negima. It’s a shame is a manga which will miss because I believe that had the potential for another saga or two.

    But respect the opinion of the author and he must have had his reasons. I live in Brazil and buy the manga and even disagreeing with what the author did intend to have the complete collection as well as I did with Love Hina.

    The author chose a final where the future is blank where much depends on the imagination of readers. This has its merits but also its flaws is ultimately frustrating after all do not know what was the choice of Negi or after so many hints that Konoka and Setsuna were together or not. Natsumi and Kotaro at least if hit.

    I also regret the fact that no word has been said about Arika. The same say Nagi becoming the LifeMaker, what happened to Takahata?

    I do not know if we have a continuation after Nagi was released. But we’ll probably have a fan book like Love Hina Infinity that may release more information or a story told in the future type Rurouni Kenshin Gaiden.

    Anyway I do not regret having followed the manga. But rather see Negi marrying someone in the future like Love Hina but we can not have everything we want.

  13. Ultimaniac says:

    I understand the necessity of having an open romantic ending in a harem manga, but if that’s what we were going to get, why did Sensei go out of his way to point out that Negi had someone in mind??? That’s the worst part about it. Also, why leave it to the imagination of the reader then point out it wasn’t Yue or Nodoka?? It’s like he said: “He ended up with whoever you wanted him with, except these two. Sucks for fans of them.”

    *biiiiiig siiiiigh^

    Oh well, I’ll always love Negima, even if the ending sucks so hard. I threw this together the other day http://i.imgur.com/INjOW.jpg

  14. Anonymous says:

    So no more school hijinks. Everyone became old 🙁

  15. Anonymous says:

    Wow, that ending sucked so much a**, I cant even comprehend the anger that I feel right now. I dont care about Negis true love (its probably Anya), I read it because of the girls (mainly Yue, yay she is still awesome!!), but the fact that he left out how Negi fought with his father and the mystery about his mother (where the heck is she anyway?) now that is, what really grinds my gears. I am so disappointed, that I hope, that Akamatsu doesnt go back to this manga cause it just doesnt feel right on my opinion. Good bye and good riddance, Negima.

  16. ghostbeetle says:

    Wait and see. I can’t believe an author as good as Akamatsu-sensei (and who has invested as much as he did in Negima) would let things lie like this. Yes, this is a cop-out of an ending, curiously un-organic for an author who is a master at organic story-telling, but I’m putting my chips down on there being some kind of continuation/filling-in-the-gaps somewhere down the road. For now, all we can surmise is that he somehow ran out of time to do everything he was planning to.

    And if it turns out there wont be any more Negima than at least we had 9 years of awesome entertainment – bittersweet though the final analysis may be.

    Thanks, ANB, for your excellent and passionate work blogging this series! (And, while Negima might have been my main reason for coming here initially you wont get rid of me easily even though its done (for) now.)
    Cheers!

  17. AstroNerdBoy says:

    Thanks everyone for dropping by. I’m starting on the final comments. I’m guessing they’ll go up on Wednesday.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Asuna as BIG SISTER? Arrrrg. If she and Negi ultimately don’t partner up as in the ending of NegimaNeo, half the hearts of the literate world will be broken, including mine. Moreover, very disappointed in the last chapters up to 355. They are very scattered, almost psychotic. Loving everything about Negima before about the 250th chapter as I do, I’m very sad that AK didn’t do bettr. He could have, even with little time left. Just fulfull the love between Asuna and Negi as so strongly indicated several places. Sequels can follow naturally with all the other characters in some other universe. (retired high shcool teacher, William Carhart)

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Well, I never saw it the same way you did. The only time I saw Asuna attracted to Negi was when she was being influenced by a love potion. Otherwise, her concern was like a big sister. She always held a torch for Takahata-sensei. Then for the Magic World, she was mostly a non-player, so no romance possibilities there.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I loved your review for the final Negima! chapter, though I have a last theory for the chapter’s set-up. Only a select girls are shown in the final chapter who go to the reunion: Yue, Nodoka, Paru, Chachamaru, Makie, Yuuna, Konoka, Setsuna, Ku Fei and Chisame. In that specific panel, I believe is Akamatsu’s way of narrowing down Negi’s choices. Otherwise, Asuna and Ayaka would have been present regardless of how little time they had. Another note is married couples do not appear at the reunion.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      >I loved your review for the final Negima! chapter

      Thanks. ^_^

      As to your theory, that is an interesting one. You may have something there (although in the end, Yue and Nodoka lost). ^_^

  20. Anonymous says:

    May I continue with Asuna? Why the cloud of cherry blossoms in Negima!? Symbol of transience? Of loss? Having read the first thirty-three volumes (304 periods or chapters)of Negima! tens of times and made hundreds of annotations, I almost get it now. From the net, and thank you so much for that, I printed out and read the last four chapters through 355 very quickly. My dismay mirrored many bloggers.’ How could Akamatsu-sama have left Asuna cursed with being a political leader without her beloved Negi? On waking and rereading these chapters carefully and slowly I must recant my prior blurt. I think the author did very well at the end, with one exception.
    I’ve always felt sorry for Asuna, even from the first chapter in volume 1. Subsequently, many times AK drew a sad expression on her face in the background when Negi was slipping away from her. Her constant attempts to “catch up” with him and failing always made me sad, but her valiant perseverance also made me happy. What a great character! Why does she spend so much time helping Negi? And just being around him all the time? Not because it’s her destiny; that’s too banal and I refuse to believe that Akamatsu intended Asuna to be in the least banal. It’s because she loves him. And not just as a brother. This in spite of her apparent resignation to the role of big sister as it appears after the early morning tryst with him in period sixty-two at Ayaka’s south seas resort. Her later, tearful reunions with him clinch the argument. My take on her role of “big sister” is as a defense against her love for him, and after much rereading and mulling I finally believe that the author-illustrator meant it to be that way. Even if it arose spontaneously from the story line. I think Akamatsu meant Asuna to be tragic from the beginning. For instance, on their first meeting Negi says, “I see heartbreak in your future.” Akamatsu is almost always consistent in character, plot and detail. Hence Asuna. Until recently I always pretended to myself that her heartbreak wasn’t to be true at the last, but I can’t ignore the fact that she is rejected by Takahata-sensei and by Negi-kun. Ultimately to be sidetracked into the role of big sister after all her efforts and attention is tragic. I’m sad about it — maybe the sadness of the philosopher as he contemplates cherry blossoms and transience. My sadness is more viceral. I used to love cherry blossoms.
    However, a main theme of Negima! is that destiny is in your own hands. Just be a little couageous. I choose to think that at the impending reunion Negi, now much older and certainly wiser, will finally love Asuna as she has always so desperately and sadly tried to be.
    But it would have been better if Ken Akamatsu had made this explicit. Forget the “protocol” for harem manga and give Asuna a realy great Christmas present from Santa — a declaration of love from the 20-something Negi. How could you alienate people by this choice, even the Nodoka legion? (William Carhart)

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Even if Akamatsu-sensei picks Negima! back up, I don’t expect him to have Negi make a choice. At best, it will be something that could be inferred by fans if they wanted, much like the supposed Setsuna/Konoka marriage is.

  21. Anonymous says:

    one final thought
    i keep reading this kotaro/chizuru ship from people but i never saw anything in their relationship other than he was scared of her. and with good reason, lEEK! kotaro really bonded with natsumi in the magic world. thumbs up for the hook up.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for your patience. Today I wrote a two page novella in which Negi goes to the royal court, is seen by Asuna by appointment in her private office and shouts that he can’t stop loving her. Asuna responds that she has alway loved him since … [challenge to the reader to pinpoint the panel in which this happens, I think I know]. I could easily visualize everything down to the reproduction bunkbed that she sleeps in at the palace. This ouvre arrived without any effort, very unusual for me. Seems that Asuna is part of me. Of all of us? (William Carhart)

  23. ARQ says:

    There’s one thing I’d like to point out. If Negi’s mother was of royal lineage and so was Asuna, then technically they would be related in some way. The brother-sister setup might be believable if there was some way to trace it all back. Although having a super close relationship, I just don’t see them ever getting together romantically. (looking back, the both of them kissing numerously and high levels of inferred romance is kinda off-putting if they’re related) Anyway, Negi tells Asuna who he likes in 353, and with her reaction it isn’t her, so there’s some more evidence for you. (she says it’s someone who is like Negi, so it should narrow it down some more, hopefully)

    From 346, Negi indicates that the girl he likes has already talked to him. Yes I know many if not all of them has said something to him; however, from the last chapter, we can rule out quite a number of them. I for one am too lazy to do so, thus I leave that in other capable hands. lol

    In 349, Asuna brings Hakase who holds the journal from Chao’s dimension, which basically shows a blank as to who he will be with. Now I’d like to point out that Chao Lingshen, descendent of Negi is from a parallel world. Even though it was a fake, as the original was burned by Asuna when Chao first gave it to them, somehow I just think Akamatsu wanted to somehow link this into Negi’s future. Negi could have married someone in Chao’s dimension, but doesn’t in the current dimension. As things are wrapped up, a blank slate and an unpredictable future is ahead for them, Negi especially, so the probability that he stays alone is pretty high. Just another possibility.

  24. SetsunaAngel99 says:

    The ending was disrespect towards the entire franchise. Akamatsu also ruined the purpose of Chao and time travel all together. I’m boycotting volume 38

  25. Anonymous says:

    My last: I’ve never considered Chamo’s black market chocolates in chapter 54 to be evidence of Asuna’s love for Negi. There’s enough without that. Incidently, why didn’t/couldn’t she just nullify their magic? Can’t be too early in the story because Fate’s petrification magic only affects her clothes.

    And yeah, it’s pretty clear from Asuna’s reaction in chapter 353, after he tells her who it is, that she isn’t Negi’s love-choice. At least in that time/reality sequence. Ugh.

    A great attraction of Akamatsu’s work is his implied side stories for his characters. His dialogue (IF it’s translated by the Nibley twins) and especially his masterly graphics of their postures and expressions tell more than one tale. His scene-switching always inspires me to fill in the gaps. And his time-dilation, radically slowing it during battles, and ultimately stopping it when those bullets from the robot on the roof halt in midair near Negi’s forehead, always elicit a “WOW” from me. Great stuff!

    But for this adult Cassiopeia overcomes my ability to suspend disbelief. It’s fun but means that ultimately anything goes. The over-use of magic in the last half of “Negima!” makes the recipe such a mish-mash as to be undigestible. Is that editorial influence? Magic Realism has a much more magical effect if it contains a little magic and a lot of realism. As in “Love Hina” and “Yotsuba.”

    Ive always liked the ambiguity in the characters in Japanese manga, the occasional open endings, and especially the magic. But my instinct for consistency screams ENOUGH. Sorry, but I will hesitate before I pick up another Akamatsu. (William Carhart, retired math teacher)

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      >Incidently, why didn’t/couldn’t she just nullify their magic? Can’t be too early in the story because Fate’s petrification magic only affects her clothes.

      Early on, Asuna only subconsciously had any control over her ability. As a child, Tahakata put the memory erasure spell on her. It didn’t actually work (at least, in my opinion), but it did create a new persona and cause Asuna to forget.

      Count (Graf) Herrman saw her abilities as cancelling force-impact spells. However, her ability also caused Negi’s staff to malfunction.

      In the end, fans reasoned that spells (potions) consumed by Asuna would not be nullified by her. That’s why the pill she took after being reunited with Negi on the Magic World worked. That’s why the age-altering pill worked. (Wait, she did take those, right?)

      >Sorry, but I will hesitate before I pick up another Akamatsu.

      Understood.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Okay, more last remarks: I understand that Asuna’s magic-nullification was unconscious early on. But that makes it even curiouser that she didn’t nullify the chocolates, unconsciously, if she was repelled by their effect. A permissable anomaly in a story with magic. But it is one more piece of evidence that she is MUCH more complex than it appears. In chapter 170 the “9 Great Secrets of Asuna Kagurazaka!” include several things that make her peculiar. One of which is “able to learn and retain information very quickly.” So why the bad grades in school? And it was also obvious, at least to me, that she wasn’t as “baka” as selectively portrayed — some more of Akamatsu-sama’s implied side stories. For example, Asuna’s comforting remarks to Eva after Setsuna defeats Eva and Asuna learns of Eva’s vicitmized past definitely don’t come from a ditz.

    Both Naru in “Love HIna” and Asuna in “Negima!” vehemently and continuously protest against any love for their partners. Leads me to conjecture that Asuna’s fate still isn’t frozen.

    Yue as a noir detective with a drinking problem. I love it! How about Motoko, Setsuna and Yue working out of Yue’s agency? I agree with Ken Akamatsu, Motoko’s much more attractive than Naru.

    More Motoko! More Asuna! Please, Mr. Akamatsu.
    ((William Carhart)

  27. Anonymous says:

    Just went over every panel up through chapter 234(in which Shiori capture-kisses Asuna) with the bias that I had misread Asuna and Negi as love-partners. Nope. I don’t think so. I was right. Too many of their scenes are romantic. Even in chapter 352 when she is forced to revisit Mahora Academy after 130 years, her first words about this world are, “Negi. Where’s Negi . . ?” Could be big sister asking after little brother, but . . . I leave it to your interpretation. Mine is a love that has lasted for 130 years.

    Much earlier, of course Akamatsu provides ambiguity by including many big sister-ish scenes with Asuna and Negi, but he balances those with obviously romantic encounters. In fact, I think he included the ambiguity for the benefit of the censors — and probably necessary in manga, to elongate the story.

    Chamo sees it. I see it. Setsuna sees it in chapter 100 during her and Asuna’s costume-prep before their match in the Budokai. One other example is sufficient. Their early morning tryst at Ayaka’s resort in chapter 62. Asuna’s tears as she hugs him tell the story. Akamatsu’s graphics are with the clear intent of innoculating us with Asuna’s love for Negi. If we hadn’t been before. Dialogue too. She expresses her affection under the pretense that she just worries that he’ll get killed if he keeps on following his father, and then, “I want you to see me as a real partner.” Of course, Asuna “acts out” the big sister role sometimes, as in the next panel, when she exclaims, “I don’t meant it that way” after Negi rejects her offer of partnership. Akamatsu lets Asuna protect her pride and repectability by protesting too much.

    But that’s the tell. She doth protect too much. Every time it comes up. Just like Naru in “Love Hina.” And surely the enormous effort she expends helping and protecting Negi is more than just as a big sister. There are other telltales. Several graphics of Asuna in the backgroung appearing sad. Asuna jealous. Asuna blushing. Indeed, Akamatsu tells us explicitly in cynical Chamo’s voice, “I guess Ane-san really does have a thing for Aniki.” I think so too.

    Did Akamatsu change his mind after chapter 234? Or did he have it changed for him? (William Carhart)

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      There’s no way of telling if Akamatsu-sensei changed his mine or not. I do think there are plot elements that changed from the inception of the story. Whether Asuna was one of them, I couldn’t say. I’ve never thought that Asuna was head-over-heels for Negi though. I’ve always felt she cared for him, much as Nagi cared for her when she was a child.

  28. Anonymous says:

    About Asuna one last time (and thanks so much for your incredible forbearance): Yes, after they get separated in chapter 189 by Fate’s nefarious dispersal spell, Asuna and Negi are never the same, alas. She is so strong that all her attempts to stay close enough to Negi to protect him had been clumsy. Very endearing. Keitaro in “Love Hina” was not a dork, but Negi is. Even at age ten how could he not romantically love such a beautiful, strong girl who has such a good heart? He decides she is just a violent big sister because she has a hard time being gentle when she hugs him. Plus the noogis. Poor Asuna! I know. He has an obsession. His father. Absolutely necessary for the plot, but he’s still a dork. Magical girl and hybrid magical boy would have made a great match. Common ancestor? Nah.

    And yes, no doubt about it, her response after he tells her who he “likes” in chapter 353 indicates that she has more than “half given up on you anyway.” Asuna is now his oneechan. Sounds like Eva is his heart throb? Eew. It was always fun to watch Asuna intercede for and protect him at every turn. Then his training under Eva had gone far enough for him to be . . . what?

    Note that Asuna’s love in not erotic. Maybe Misa can help her with that. Or better yet, Motoko.

    Much earlier, her crush on Takahata was not the same as her growing love for Negi, just as Naru’s crush on Seta was not the same as her developing love for Keitaro in “Love Hina.” In “Negima!” in the 98th period Asuna begins in a quandry about who to cheer for in the Budokai match between Negi and Takahata. Her graphics during the match are very interesting. Look at her tears. She can hear everything they say with her supernatural hearing, and her concern for Negi overtakes everything until she finally yells at him to “Stand up!” And because of that he does! She comes down hard on the side of Negi-kun, not Takahata-sensei.

    “You dumb reader, anyone would help a little kid like that. When he was so beat up. I was only doing it to . . . to . . .”

    I love this stuff. Way to go Mr. Akamatsu! I’m listening to the Allegreto from Beethoven’s 8th as I write — a perfect accompaniment for Negi and Asuna early in the saga.

    By the way, what do you have against Motoko and Asuna, your two best characters? My American naive optimism is showing, but I think they deserve happier endings, especially the magnificent Asuna.

    I look forward to your next work, my prior grump notwithstanding. Happy trails, William Carhart

  29. Anonymous says:

    Vol. 34 finally out. It has GREAT graphics of most of the characters in action. Yuna and Makie are especialoly good. I found out (don’t ask from where)how to pronounce Makie’s name: MAH-kee-yuh.

    How about a paperback of just graphics from the manga? No speech balloons, no dialogue, no onomatopoeia, just some of Akamatsu’s great illustrations of his characters. No story, just pictures with captions to find them in the text. I can think of at least 50 of Asuna and Negi that would qualify. 50 of each. There are probably 100. All line drawings with shading, no color. Maybe separate volumes for different characters. I’m sure there is enough material, and marketing woulf be dirt simjple. Maybe a one-time original drawing as a treat for the buyer. you might try only one image per page. I’d sure jump on it. A must have: the full page illustration of Negi and Asuna in their yukatas on a slanted roof watching fireworks in the background with Asuna turned to look directly at the reader and winking! (William Carhart)_

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      The NegiPa publication in Japan did have some unique Negima! art from Akamatsu-sensei. I don’t think there’s been a manga art book though. Were one to be published, I’d be on it like I was with the Ah! My Goddess: Colors book.

  30. Anonymous says:

    In response to your response, and thanks, I don’t perceive Asuna as head-over-heels for Negi either. That’s for Takahata, who she got over in four days, incidently. Her love for Negi is the deepest kind that derives from a long, often troubled, often mutually enthralling, friendship. I don’t read psychology, but I know the practitioners say friendship is the best basis for profound love.(WC)

  31. Anonymous says:

    Keitaro and Naru are a prime example. (WC)

  32. Anonymous says:

    The reference for my May 2 text, in which Asuna turns to the reader and winks, is the full page illustration starting the 183rd period.

    Also the prototype for the love I described is Mr. Knightly and Emma from Jane Austen’s “Emma.” There are many others in literature. (WC)

  33. Anonymous says:

    Back from the future [July 15, 2013], I can now see why Mr. Akamatsu decided to abdicate. Fiction using unrestricted time travel always degenerates into complete character identity dispersal. Unrestricted magic is the same. Even swinging an ala alba sword to restore reality couldn’t restore “Mahou Sensei Negima.” Furthermore, as we have discovered, any attempt at restoration with commentary is hopeless.

    Being human, without access to quantum effects, I would love to know who Negi and Asuna are. But I’ll never know because of the unholy mess the author had let his saga become. A real Frankenmanga. So he drove a stake through its corpus.

    Am I redundant here? I certainly had NO idea of this kind of possible perfidy as I panted along, eagerly following an artist-tribe striding along to somewhere. And I don’t believe Akamatsu-sensei would enter this time-space dispersal portal without a tribe of demons pushing and pulling. (WMCarhart)

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      >Fiction using unrestricted time travel always degenerates into complete character identity dispersal.

      Doctor Who manages to pull it off pretty well. ^_~

      At some point down the road, I’ll write a lengthy piece on the final volume of Negima.

  34. Anonymous says:

    OKAY already. I’ll do my best, but I still think one shouldn’t try too hard to explain the logical lacunae in magic realism. My apologies to Mr. Akanatsu for the following.

    Creation of Asuna I. The easiest way is to reverse. Just remove the spell someone had cast on the child Asuna to create that little magic-canceling weapon that Nagi rescues diuring the war. Did her curse release when Nagi released her chains? I call this little girl the “avatar,” a different form of the princess Asuna. As a child Asuna would have been vulnerable to such a dastardly, exploitive trick — n00 years ago in Mundus Magicus time, but only a few weeks or so in Mahora Academy time, which I assume is our own. Nagi or Alberio could do it. Then adopt her and the story proceeds. And for heaven’s sake give her cuter hair ties, like small golden bells. I don’t believe “Asuna” was pasted onto the avatar as Fate apparently thinks. Even if she was, Nagi would be powerful enough to do it. Behold, our Asuna.

    My favorite time-travel fiction is the movie, “The Girl, The Gold Watch, And Everything,” from which Cassiopeia was probably derived. But fiction writers routinely ignore the problems of time travel, like conservation of mass-energy (Hey, somebody just poofed those guinea pig molecules! Where’d that loud pop come from?) and quantum effects, including indeterminate plotting of atoms (Oh man, look what happened to our DNA. What a mess!) So time switching can probably never be exact, and after only one or two jumps, we’re not even able to recognizable as ourselves, much less able to find our way back. Single atom engineering is very difficult because don’t atoms vibrate in terrahertz? Also, infinte causality loops, displacement of existing particles, galaxy-sized power necessary, etc, etc. However, scientists have been doing incomprehensible things for a long time. “Just get the math and engineering right and we’re launching!”

    Until then, humans will have to rely on magic to achieve immortality. Or maybe write “Negima!”
    (WMC)

    a

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      >Just remove the spell someone had cast on the child Asuna to create that little magic-canceling weapon that Nagi rescues diuring the war.

      Ah, but in this case, her magic cancel was not a spell, but a natural born ability.

      Still, interesting stuff there. ^_^

  35. Anonymous says:

    Due to my ambiguity above I implied that
    Asuna lost her magic-canceling ability when she was rescued. I didn’t mean that. Of course she retains her innate magic-canceling, but when she is freed from that little avatar-in-chains curse as weapon, her personality reverts to “our” Asuna.

    Creation of Asuna II. Right after Takahata erases her memory, which didn’t take completely (see Asuna’s dreams), she has the personlity of our Asuna. Even when she is gradually awakening to her status as a magical princess during the trip to Mundus Magicus, she retains the personality of “our” Asuna — even when she is coerced away from and then kicked back down to the central roof of the Magic Academy during 130 years in MM and almost immediately at the MA, she’s still our Asuna. Pretty cool. Incidentally, 130 divided by 22, the World Tree cycle, does not come out evenly — some more inconsistency.

    In the last chapters, she is still mostly our Asuna, even though she has, quote: “almost given up on you.” [on Negi] Given up what? In an alternate world she probably wouldn’t know about her love for Negi, so why would she say that? I insist on it > our Asuna had loved Negi, and you don’t just stop loving someone. Unless you’re a magical girl? Unless you’ve been transported to another space-time? In which case you’d probably have different memories — another problem with s-t travel. In ficional s-t switching you can go anywhere and do anything, removing the necessity for creativity in you work. If you do enough full reality-switching (not retaining original personalities), your characters will become so diffuse they will be uninteresting. Like Negi in Mundus Magicus.

    But I don’t believe it. Asuna’s behaviour as big sister with memories of loving Negi is a major anomaly. (WMC)

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Well, the World Tree broke the cycle by activating a year early on Chao. Technically, it did it again when Fate and company destroyed all the gates but one. So who knows how that affects the World Tree now.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Ah geez. I better be more specific. I have NEVER thought Asuna was not a born magic stopper. Of course she is. If the Ostian military could have nullified magic, they wouldn’t have kidnapped her, put her in chains, put a curse on her to make her think she was a weapon, and aimed her in the right direction. They turned her into what I call the “avatar.” It never occurred to me that anybody familiar with the story would think she was not a hereditary magic-canceller. But my sentence beginning: “Just remove the spell someone had cast . . .” from July 21 above is certainly ambiguous. It does imply tht Auna was not a magic canceller before the “Avatar” spell was cast on her. Not my intent at all. Sorry.

    I visualize the Ostian supreme commander, who is a snake and a bully, after being told: “There’s a little girl in the royal nursery that can stop magic.” He looks up at his intelligence officer who has just said this, removes the cigar from his mouth and says with a delighted sneer, “Get ‘er in here.” (WMC)

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      One part of the story that has never been quite clear to me is exactly when Asuna was held captive and used as a weapon. That it was during the war is clear, but things are kind of murky to me as to the specific time that she was held, then “rescued” by Nagi and company.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Yeah. I’ve looked pretty closely and I can’t find any plot sequence to fill in Asuna’s life then either. In fact, all of that war time is murky to me. so I just fill it in myself, which is dangerous because you can start to believe your interp is the right one.

    Creation of Asuna III. Asuna is a hereditary princess of Ostia, and her magic-cancelling ability is fortuitously accidental. Sounds like magical DNA at work here. Or maybe designed strings of 0’s and 1’s with a lucky mistake in the code. Very rare. Either way she isn’t as arificial as the Fates. She’s just born magical. I’ve always wondered how they do that. By waving a magic fan like Konoka’s? [In my own space-time Akamatsu transforms her into human.] So Negi, or mayube Gateau, removes the avatar-weapon curse, rescues her from an evil empire in the Magical World, switches space-time to ours, which includes the Magic Academy, by using the gate in Istanbul, and leaves her with Takahata. Now, during her time with Takahata she grows older, and much taller, until she becomes fifteen, then doesn’t grow anymore throughout the rest of the story. Pretty discontinous. “Oh but the time scale in the Magical World in different,” you say. “It extends out as ar as we want, so that one summer week inn Wales extends at least 130 years in MM. Its a reverse take on a Japanese fairy tail and we get to use time travel. And besides, Asuna is magical.” All right, but out construction is getting pretty shaky.

    Asuna now knows she can save the magical world herself by swinging the white wing sword — this time,again, with the personalithy of our Asuna, the one who clumsily loves, but always and skillfully rescues Negi. (See periods 334+, vol. 36) She has become what she always was, a magic-creator as well as a magic-canceller. Now she is so strong she is an automatic beep, game over, against anybody, including humans. In cluding the Life Maker. Good time to end the story.

    But nooo.
    (WMC)

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      The other, massive life sequence missing is for Eva. I think that may have been one of the most frustrating things about Negima’s end. I would love to have seen Eva find her way to the Magic World, then the complete story of her encounter with Nagi before spending time with him and Ala Alba.

  38. Anonymous says:

    I do proof-read my text but you’d never know so by the results. In my July 23 entry above the sentence in the middle of the second paragragh that starts “So Negi,. . . ” should read “So NAGI . . ..” This is a very important difference. It’s Nagi, not Negi that rescues Asuna. Gaah. (WMC)

  39. Anonymous says:

    I assume you mean Eva, Nagi and ALA RUBRA. That’d be good. The authors would maybe set straight some time sequences! And space-time jumps. (WMC)

  40. Anonymous says:

    YAH. The author of web site “Kaskus” ACCURATELY recounts the plot of Mikoto Shinkai’s “5 Centimeters per Second.”

    He goes to the original novel and retells the entire opus directly from there! And includes lots of Mr. Shinkai’s fabulous, transcendental graphics. 10^many thanks to him.

    Web site “Kaskus” is apparently Indonesian, but the version I received is done in good English. An excellent translation for once. All the subsequent outside commentary was not in English. A nice long text tells the whole plot and really opens double doors to this story’s shining light. All the characters’ exact chronology is designated and a great deal of the narrator Takaki’s inner dialogue runs through the entire entry. That’s really the story of “5 Centimeters.” Takaki’s memories and musings. Included of course are lots of Akari’s, Risa’a and Kanae’s thoughts.

    I can’t think of another trio of novel, movie and manga that all sing the same tune in harmony.

    My search logic went: Japan-Index and Search >Cities, Towns and Villages >Iwafune Town > Google Images >All About Mikoto Shinkai’s Work.

    I strongly recommend it. (WMC)

  41. Anonymous says:

    Now I know why the central facade of Mahora Academy in “Negima!” has always seemed familiar to me. It’s directly derived (copied) from the old restored train station in Tokyo! Very neat. I love the Japanese reverence for old, valued things. (WMC)

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      I don’t know if I knew this or not. Years ago, I knew of a Japanese site that went out and found actual locations for Love Hina and Negima, so that may have been there. However, that was YEARS ago and I no longer have it bookmarked for whatever reason. 🙁

  42. Anonymous says:

    I stumbled onto the site, “Tokyo Railway Labyrinth/ restored train station in Tokyo” on the net. It has an excellent 3 minute video of the station. (WMC)

  43. Anonymous says:

    We prolly saw the same vid. My stumble above fell into YouTube. I liked the two cops. (WMC)

  44. Anonymous says:

    I just read your UQ Holder Chap. 002. Think I’ll wait to engage. How can Mr Akamatsu beat the first half of “Negima!”? So far I’m very skeptical.

    Meanwhile. I recently picked up the movie “From Up On Poppy Hill,” and I want to congratulate Studio Ghibli on their packaging. NO previews. NO annoying blurb by a self-important producer. NO really annoying popups during pause mode. Excellent audio, which is not a given in anime. Just the usual great romantic story and terrific visuals from the Miyazakis. The included pamphlet, that has NO ads, contains two long quotes from Hayao and Goro — father and son. These quotes are not the usual stuff. Definitely meat for aficionados. In the middle of Hayao’s text is a full two-page spread of a painting of a scene from “Poppy Hill” that is not attributed, so I assume it’s his. It’s a classic prototype of his magical backgrounds. It contains lots of big trees, a bridge with street car tracks crossing far underneath, a vintage wooden Japanese house, an old three-wheeled truck and the heroine fast-walking across the bridge. That one graphic can give a newcomer everything they need to know about these fantastic works, including the magic. I would love to stand on that bridge and watch Umi run to school. Or is she running home? Doesn’t matter.

    How Mr. Hayao Miyazaki and his crew endow his backgrounds with that faintly magical aura remains a mystery to me. And Makoto Shinkai respectfully emulates them equally well. My votes for the best background go to Miyazaki’s “Arriety” (with “Totoro” a too-close-to-call second) and Shinkai’s “5 Centimeters.” Photo-realistic with bright, carefully digitized colors, but somehow magical. Exquisitely magical. With a “Techblue” disk and a 1080p plasma screen these scenes explode in the eyes!

    Finally, I thought a quote from Goro Miyazaki to be appropriate for Takaki from “5 Centimeters.” “Giving up or being overly prudent won’t get you anywhere.” (WMC)

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      >I just read your UQ Holder Chap. 002. Think I’ll wait to engage. How can Mr Akamatsu beat the first half of “Negima!”? So far I’m very skeptical.

      Well, you could give the unofficial releases a look-see and get a personal perspective. ^_~

      As to Miyazaki-sensei, sad that he’s retiring. Man, we’re all getting older.

  45. Anonymous says:

    I’ve suspected his departure for about a year because he quit appearing as the director of recent works from Studio Ghibli. So now I’m celebrating Hayao Miyazaki’s retirement at the top of his game. His “Totoro” and “Spirited Away” will live forever. His son Goro directed “Arrietty,” that utilizes Hayao’s fabulous backgrounds to the best effect. And recently, “From Up On Poppy Hill,” also directed by Goro, continues the magic. Great news for the future.

    I like the goddess that loves machinery, which is drawn so well in “Oh My Goddess.” Would she be a dea ex machina?

    I love being old enough, 72, to have retired. I get to do all the stuff I always wanted to but couldn’t because of intense, highly stressful, but gratifying work. This is my fifth life and by far the best. (WMCarhart)

  46. AstroNerdBoy says:

    For me, Castle of Cagliostro is what I’ll always remember Miyazaki-sensei for since it was the first work of his I ever saw.

  47. Anonymous says:

    I’ve never been skeptical about your content, but I am now about Mr. Akamatsu’s. Looks like he embraced the vampire-do, which does not interest me at all. Listen, boys and girls, vampires do not exist. They have never existed. They’re just another desperate fantasy by humans to stave off mortality. Their evil antics are boring. (WMC)

  48. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, but for me, Magical heroes and heroines usually fit right in the fantasy with very little struggle of the imagination. (I just noticed the root of the word “iMAGInation” for the first time, magic thinking!) However, I prefer my fantasy villains to be more believable than vampires. They’re way too artificial for my taste — all their features violate my ability to suspend disbelief. Really good villains don’t need much fantasy, maybe a single ability to transport with a psychopathic bent. Or the ability to change one physical law, like surface tension of water, but nothing else, also with a nasty attitude. The authors of “A Certain Scientific Railgun” have done an outstanding job of creating very believable villains, only some of which possess an exploitable “ability.” Have you noticed the lack of vampires? And the action always follows the scientific consequences very well. In fact, I haven’t found a glitch in their continuity at all. And I always, obsessively look. Sorry, but Eva has never been my cup of tea. Cup of blood? Nah! (WMC)

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      I am not a vampire fan per se, and I don’t seek out/watch/read stuff with them in it, but Negima! was fine, as is UQ Holder. I liked Eva, but not because she was a vampire.

  49. Anonymous says:

    I’ve always loved those very funny faces that form the middle facade of Hinata House in “Love Hina.” Any back story for those? (WMC)

  50. Anonymous says:

    Again, in an attempt to follow my senior high English teacher’s stricture to keep one’s compositions efficient and elegant, I’ve probably left out too many words. My Sept. 14th entry above might imply, on a fast reading, that I was skeptical about your content on Akamatsu’s recent work. Not my intention. I’m definitely skeptical about Akamatsu’s new effort, but not at all about your own content. This blog is great stuff — intelligent, current and uncluttered. I read it all the time.

    I like this new font here. Is this a new, more complete word processor? (WMC)

  51. Anonymous says:

    About your October 16 above: The central front structure of Hinata Inn itself contains two faces with windows as eyes and mouths! The top face, with an apparent look of triumph, squashes the one underneath. Together, they make a very funny picture. I assume they’re incidental, but maybe not? (WMC)

  52. Anonymous says:

    On what I think is page 6 of the first chapter, first volume of “Love Hina” Keitaro stands in front of Hinata Inn with his back to us. The building looms in front of him in this full page illustration. The structure is run down, but it gradually changes as he cleans and repairs it. This front view of the building occurs often in the story. (WMC)

  53. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, incidental, but not accidental. (WMC)

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