Negima!? – 23
Anya had been all alone in London when she had learned about how well Negi was doing, and refusing to lose to him, she had snuck her way to the Star Crystal. However, it had swallowed her up in the darkness. Now, she and the Star Crystal have taken over Eva’s body, and she strips Nekane and Takamichi of their powers before turning them to stone. After swatting aside Chachamaru, Anya/Eva attacks Negi himself. Luckily for him, Asuna acts quickly and saves him from the blast of darkness. Negi then decides to activate his contract with Asuna and manages to get her armor card, but the fight is cut short when Anya/Eva kisses Asuna and breaks Negi’s contract. The kiss transforms Asuna into someone under Anya/Eva’s control, and she attacks Negi with her sword. Negi gets the other girls who soon arrive to run away, though Anya/Eva manages to petrify Sayo and Kazumi first. With Negi still occupied with Asuna, Anya leaves to go after the rest of the class. Negi eventually knocks Asuna out with his magic and then contacts everyone in the class telepathically to warn them. Promising to defeat the darkness and return everyone to their own world, Negi asks them to hide themselves. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work out as well as he hopes, and several more of the girls get turned to stone. Things look bad for Negi when he finally comes face to face with Anya/Eva again outside the science room and she blasts away his staff. This time, the rest of the girls arrive to help him by reciting in unison a beginner’s magic spell which traps Anya/Eva. A repaired and upgraded Chachamaru also swoops in to keep Asuna at bay while Negi takes care of the Star Crystal. His solution is to kiss Eva to form a provisional contract with her, and it succeeds in changing her back to normal and causes the Star Crystal to fall off her forehead. Surprisingly, Chachamaru then comes in and kisses Negi as well so that she can also form a provisional contract. This gets Kamo quite excited because now Negi’s contracted with everyone in the class. That is short-lived, however, because Negi soon goes to pick up the Star Crystal and gets sucked into a black void. What’s more, the class notices that the school has now been surrounded by what Nekane identifies as the forest of Wales.
This episode had lots of action and was pretty fun to watch as the story continues to advance. All the kissing was fairly amusing, and I like how Asuna looks in this form – it’s so much more mature. I also couldn’t help but think of Chachamaru as a Gundam. Unfortunately, animation quality seemed much lower than usual to me, though that may be exacerbated by the fact that today’s episode of Bleach was so impressive in that department. The best animation here came at the beginning with the Anya prelude, but they just couldn’t keep up that level of quality.
In any case, I really don’t know where they’re going to take the story from here, but I do hope that they keep up with this pace all the way to the end of the series in a few episodes.