Category Archives: Negima!?

Sweet Aftertaste: A Brief Rundown of Sorts

When the episode ends with putting a smile on your face, I think that’s a good thing.

11/11 always makes me smile

Of course, sometimes it’s just a cheating cheap trick that’s doing the smirking for you. (Hello wawawa wait I forgot what show I’m mocking?) Gurren Lagann’s rather-epic end to the first 13 episodes is a good example of how to do it so honestly, on the other hand. But still, you aren’t sure if you are smiling because you know we’re going into a recap episode and jump forward in time (yay non-loli NonoNia), or because you’re still on the well-animated euphoria of good old battle robot…goodness.

On the flip side there’s this さよなら絶望先生 sort of smile. Shinbo’s show generally does that for me, although lately he’s doing it with a twist. Hidamari Sketch had those sublime and Azumanga Daioh-like moments; Negima mixes adolescent romance with some pretty cool otaku tropes, plus a bit of that Nanoha battle feel to it. But with Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei he goes back to super-overloading the basics of a simple manga adaptation to create a lot of joy for, at least, some of us. I know it’s not the sort of show everyone will enjoy, but like Soul Taker, Shinbo manages to transform a rather mundane thing into something very unique and it doesn’t terribly suck!

Sort of like Sky Girls TV, actually. Although I think, like Yin, I might have to use my fingers for that one.

On a completely unrelated subject, this is pretty cool–and you won’t see it in a street racing anime:


List no Houkou

1. The manga is still going on for Asatte no Houkou. Volume 3 is the latest volume, AFAIK.

2. There are more characters, more spoilering fun! SPOILERS!


4. No, thankfully I wasn’t spoiled, but if I were you I’d AVOID IT. Said the person who was, to me.

5. Nayuki is still the best.

6. In as much as copyright is a hot topic on the internet today, the anime slice of the copyright-topical pie is something that I am trying to delineate into discrete topics that are forward-looking. We have a lot of dialogs about now-looking and some paper written from a past-looking perspective, and that’ll be useful to talk about what is to come. I think this is particularly exciting when you look at it from the cross-licensing perspective. Bishoujo gaming, the rise of shoujo manga, gunpla, and professional costuming are just a few examples.

7. I’m still pleasantly surprised that I can bring myself to watch Akiyuki Shinbo’s Negima?! without prejudice. I hated the manga, I hated the anime, but most of all I hated all the fandom. The surprise is pleasant because the remake is actually enjoyable! It’s hard to find shows that are so enjoyable when you’re trying to hand-pick from all the offerings. Going by hype, cover, OP/ED, and what have you only gets you so far. Shows like Tokimeki Memorial is going to get left behind, despite the quality production. Maybe I’m just lazy and even if I can download the raws and have the ability to enjoy raws, I just don’t have the time and drive to watch them half the time.

8. Black Lagoon is still love.

9. I dropped Code Geass like a brick, sort of along the line of Innocence Venus. Neither are bad shows, but I am not in the mood. I think I’ve had enough angst from my weekly dose of Red Garden to last for a while. Yet, I’m watching staple stuff like Death Note (I think I owe it to some people to watch it) and Pumpkin Scissors. I’m probably watching the latter just for Kana Ueda, on that note.

10. Is that why I stopped on Nana too? What does it say about women? Besides that they’re sympathetic yet probably slam-worthy targets for femnazis? I dare not to ponder further.

From Pettanko Running-Board to Gothloli Mode, a Plea for Familiarity–Analyzing Appeal

What’s valuable in today’s TV anime is invariably the means to an end. The end is to sell eyeballs–get a large audience–so you can move those home video releases, sell model licenses, CDs, DVDs, radio shows, and adds value to the franchise when you get it licensed out to foreign distros and other derivative producers. But that’s just the cynical view; we watch anime because we get something out of it. It has some value to us.

I watched all of Zero no Tsukaima just a while ago. It is an utmost well-executed package of … something. I call it appeal. It has appeal. It’s not like the music is wonderful. It’s not the designs are wonderful. It isn’t really either that the artistic direction is wonderful. The characters are admittedly flat, expected, and just as exciting as its predictable, third-rate plot. Its humor is just as third-rated. People may call it “fun” or “guilty pleasure” or whatever. Fair enough, I have a hard time finding the right word to describe the whole thing, as I often do.

In retrospect I don’t regret watching something so lame. Not only because it was a bit of a guilty pleasure, but it gave me a chance to look at something with the focus of what exactly made the show tick. And it really ticked–lots of people watched this little thing. And as much as I may be trashing the show, I think Zero no Tsukaima did something really well. What is it? What is its appeal?

[Pettanko jokes? Tsundere? A really tsun-tsunderekko? The Harry Potter suspension of belief? Boobs and nudity? A very good girl? Camaraderie? A combination of several things? The arrangement of several non-offensive elements? Its mood? Good-alignment characters? The romance? Humor? Compromising situations? Uprising of the lowly common folk against an arrogant aristocracy? Gothloli outfits? Repeat villains? Predictability? Magical talking weapons? I know why I liked Nanoha, I don’t know about you…]

Maybe somewhere on that list I skirt what it really is what makes Zero no Tsukaima, objectively, a fun watch. Maybe there’s more to it. But looking back to the show I feel while I liked some parts and pieces of the overall construction, the whole of it was a totally unimaginative familiarity. It is repackage in a very inoffensive presentation which made it easy to pop down episodes after another, with very little in terms of fillers past the first handful of episodes. We love Kirche’s charm without being overbearing. We love Siesta’s boobs and primness. We love Henrietta for the tragic figure that she is and that regal physical appeal. And knowingly or not Louise is the magical active ingredient to the entire sloshy mix of appealing positive goodness wet dreams are made of, so we actually have a story.

Perhaps that is all there is to Zero no Tsukaima?

But is that all there is to, say, Negima!? Maybe. I hated the original Akamatsu incarnation, and rightly so. I applaud what he created, and I think it is a very divisive piece. But perhaps equally controversial is Akiyuki Shinbo‘s animated remake.

And I think this is much worthwhile of a subject matter to dwell on than Fat Taiyaki Girl or something to do with mornings. An alternative anime. I love alternative anime. And I mean it both ways–a derivative work as well as something that evokes the un-mainstream.

But is the Negima remake all that unconventional? Actually, aside from the fact that I see more of the darker parts of Tsukuyomi and SoulTaker than Pani Poni Dash (an observation that probably betrays my interest to the franchise, expectedly), I think it evokes more, in me, the familiarity of Akiyuki Shinbo’s signature works. It’s like stumbling on something you thought you lost ages ago. It’s comforting, perhaps, even satisfying a deeper longing caused by his earlier works that I didn’t know I had. In fact I think the only radical thing about the Negima remake is that it is an off-beat remake at all.

All this merely illustrates the point about appeal and familiarity. Akiyuki Shinbo speaks a language that I understand, in his direction. And Zero no Tsukaima speaks yet another that more of us understand. It’s a bit like finding a familiar face who speaks your tongue in a foreign land, and no matter if this familiar face is a toddling 2yo or a professional comedian, it’s good stuff.