Mania Grade: B
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: B
- Packaging Rating: A-
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: B-
- Age Rating: TV PG
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
- MSRP: 19.98
- Running time: 100
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Negima
Negima Vol. #5 (Viridian Collection)
By Chris Beveridge
March 26, 2008
Release Date: April 22, 2008
Negima Vol. #5 (Viridian Collection)
What They Say
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
Excitement runs high at Mahora Academy as the girls of Class 2-A prepare for their annual school trip. But poor Negi Springfield has more than Kyoto fun on his plate, for one of his students appears to be missing! Sniffing a newsworthy story, the class reporter proves how truly transparent some girls can be...
To make matters worse, their planned outing quickly develops into a bizarre hostage situation, and a mind-boggling homecoming sets Negi's world spinning. It seems some of the girls have been keeping secrets even bigger than his own! As the new-found academic allies mount another rescue mission, Negi fears that they might not quite add up. But all math aside, ancient Kyoto serves as a bittersweet backdrop for friendships, both old and new, as one suffers in silence and another proves unable to breach the rivalry.The Review!
Negima pulls out some of the bigger episodes of the series and actually has a battle among wizards that's worth its salt.Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. This track and the English track both sport a stereo mix and to my surprises that wasn't the usual 5.1 remix that's usually done for the English track. The stereo mix is pretty decent though as it uses the forward soundstage well since there are so many characters talking at different times across the screen. Dialogue is fairly well placed and discernable with no problems while the sound effects and music use the soundstage to good effect though not with anything really outstanding. Dialogue was clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.Video:
Originally airing in 2005, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. Overall the show looks decent on smaller sets but when you move to larger ones or use upconversion, you'll run into more problems. The main problem that comes across with this release is a combination of a general softness to the show, which may be intentional but it's hard to tell, and a fair amount of mosquito noise in the backgrounds and in the solid colors of the characters uniforms and clothes. Cross coloration is very minimal though and aliasing isn't much of a problem but the noise in general was fairly distracting at times.Packaging:
There's almost something of a book/graphic novel style to the layout of the cover art as it has a tan strip down the left side while using just character artwork for the rest of the cover, this time of Setsuna in her school uniform set against some of the magic symbols in a brownish-red hue. The logo is solid and looks good, the character artwork isn't hugely eye-catching but it looks good and I like the focus on the individual characters for covers. The back cover is a bit busier as it has a number of shots from the show strewn around it as well as some character artwork to tie it together. The layout actually provides for the episode listings by number and title and listing the title both in translated form and the original Latin that's used in the episodes. The summary material isn't too detailed which is nice and the discs extras are clearly listed. The technical information, always far too small on FUNimation releases, is difficult to read due to its size. No insert was included with this release.
In addition to the standard single disc release, a box + toy release is also available. The packaging for this is basically a thin cardboard box that pops at the top where you can take out the disc and the figures. The box is essentially a duplicate of the keepcase artwork for the front and back but just expanded a bit to hold everything inside. The figure for this release is that of Konoka in her blue kimono with ribbons in her hair. It's entirely too cute.Menu:
The main menu is a very simple but cute piece that has a foreground full color image of Setsuna from the cover while the background has a mixture of magical symbols and a shot of Negi in a brownish-red hue, all of which is set to a very mellow instrumental piece of music. The layout and design is simple but it works well in drawing the eye and having a very clean look between the navigation strip and the use of the logo as seen on the front cover. Access times are nice and fast and while the disc did read our players' language presets, it only picked up the language properly as the subtitle tracks are unlabeled.Extras:
The extras are about on par for what we've seen in the previous volumes. No commentary track makes it onto this volume but a series of character profiles are included. There is also a text section and this one provides some information about the city of Kyoto and its history. And last but always welcome is the opening and closing sequences in their song formats.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As Negima gets closer to finishing out its run with only another four episodes left after this, things start to get a little more serious. Of course, you have to have another character based episode to flesh out yet another of the girls, but overall this volume manages to step up to the plate a bit in delivering some good episodes that deal with the magic side of the series in general.
The opening episode finally delves, in a light and mostly superficial way, into the character of Sayo. The mysterious ghost girl who has her nature exposed in the opening sequence of the first episode I believe has an episode dedicated to her where we learn that she's been an earthbound spirit for about sixty odd years now. Asakura's going about her normal business as reporter type and she slowly starts discovering something of the truth about the empty seat in their class. The Library comes in handy and we get a bit more about how the school has evolved over the years as she researches all of this. With the way the show has been designed, having a bit of the magic eke out into the real world for the rest of the class isn't all that out of the ordinary for it, so having Sayo become more involved through some crafty means isn't a surprise. The surprise of course is that everyone else is just fine and dandy with it, which again points to class 2-A being just unique.
Over the last few episodes there's been a slow build up of information about Kyoto and a class trip that's going to happen there and this finally comes into play here. The class in general has plenty to look forward to with the trip but there's an element of danger in it as well on the magic side. The Hongaji group is intent on causing trouble with those that Negi belongs to and those at Mahora Academy so they have to be on guard there. As prepared as Negi tries to seem, even that's never enough but even more so when some very skilled wizards come into play to kidnap Konoka. Though she's been fairly minimal for a good deal of the series after it started, her place in it becomes much clearer during here as she and Setsuna have much more explained about them.
Though plenty of comedy and quasi-romantic moments are brought into the episodes with the class in general, it has a more serious undertone to the rest of it as they have to deal with a rescue attempt as well as some outright battles. Negi's skills as well as his limits are clearly displayed which is a real plus. As strong as he can seem sometimes he's not the type, at least yet, who has an unlimited well of power and ability that can dominate. He's still very much early in his career and this realization through this encounter pushes him in an interesting direction for his learning. Having others with much stronger skills displayed so openly in front of him puts him in the right mindset, as does continually seeing how hard others are working at everything in their lives without complaint.
If anything on this particular arc disappointed me it was how Asuna didn't get to really synch up with Negi properly and that Nodoka wasn't involved with any of the battles. Both of them bring an interesting element to how Negi as a wizard operates and is part of the appeal to me for how the magic works in this setup. Asuna does get to have a bit of fun though and got more involved than she usually does in something as big as this, but she was outclassed by what Setsuna brought to the table both in action and in retroactive history. In a lot of ways she clearly stole the show during the Kyoto arc and gave the new introduced villains someone with sparring with.In Summary:
While the Negima anime series still hasn't inspired me to try out the manga once again, it is keeping me pretty well entertained. There are moments where I absolutely hate the all too large cast that it has, since it becomes a pain to try to remember who is who and what they know and do, but when it gets rolling and keeps to just a few characters it's just a lot of fun. This set of episodes did a good job in upping the ante a bit and dealing with some of the "mythos" episodes if you want to call them that, something that the show really needed more of much earlier than this. I fully expected to abhor this show since the manga turned me off so much but it continues to be surprisingly fun if simple.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Character Profiles,Liner Notes,Textless Songs
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic DMP-BD10 Blu-ray player via HDMI -> DVI with upconversion set to 1080i, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.