John "The Gneech" Robey (the_gneech) wrote,
John "The Gneech" Robey

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Well, after being so rocked-to-the-foundations by Love Hina, I naturally turned my attention to Ken Akamatsu's latest project, Negima. Described in a sentence as "Love Hina meets Harry Potter," it's about a 10-year-old (British?) wizard (in a world where wizardry is a secret) named Negi, who is for some unknown reason whisked off to Japan to finish his sorcerous training by teaching English to Japanese middle school girls. The rest of the cast is the some 31 girls he teaches, plus miscellaneous ancillary characters. The promo copy boasts that each of the students has her own story and that they'll all be explored as the series goes forward, but in the first volume at least, there's little to distinguish them between "the angry one," "the library girl," "the teacher's pet," and so on.

Of course, to maximize the comedic potential, Negi is a not-so-hot wizard, whose main ability turns out to be accidentally blasting all the girls' clothes off.

Um, where to start. You remember how disappointed everybody was in The Phantom Menace?

Negima has the same core problem: it feels like the whole thing was done to formula, entirely with the purpose of cashing in on previous success. It's like Mr. Akamatsu approached the project with the mindset of "What's hot right now? I know, Harry Potter! And what was Love Hina's big schtick? Keitaro's bumbling into the harem taking their baths and getting punched into the sky by Naru! So ... we've got a 10-year old wizard (with little round glasses) ... who blasts the clothes off of not just seven or eight women, but 31 underage girls! Oh, yeah!"

Did I mention that Negi is 10 years old? Merf.

There is even a Naru stand-in, whose name eludes me for the moment, so I just call her "the angry one." Of course, she hates Negi at the beginning because he replaces the older teacher that she had a secret crush on, but she discovers early on that he's a wizard, and that secret creates a bond between them yadda yadda yadda. Oh, and of course there's sexual tension between them -- but remember folks, he's 10 years old. I don't remember how old she is, but at the Japanese equivalent of junior high, I'm guessing 12 or 13 at most. So there's supposed to be tension anyway. It's not exactly a spark, so much as going through the motions.

So, Negima. Give it a miss, is my recommendation. But Love Hina is still terrific!

-The Gneech
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