Negima!? – 26 (END)
After he and the others release Asuna’s Chupacabra back into the wild, Negi senses that his father is nearby. He insists to his class that this is his own problem, but they refuse to let him search for his father alone. After Nekane tells him that it’s important to believe in his partners, Negi agrees to let everyone help and transforms them all. He manages to get three suka cards (Asuna, Konoka, and Nodoka), five armor cards (Misa, Sakurako, Madoka, Chizuru, and Natsumi), and the rest are cosplay cards. The girls end up splitting into smaller groups, and Negi leads Nekane, Asuna, and Anya around the school. They manage to find a black rose on the ground and realize that it could be a clue to his father, so Negi uses his magic to determine that Fumika could help. She and her sister have a magnifying glass that can see the future, but it is unable to help in this instance. Instead, Negi asks Ayaka to use her smelling ability to help him locate his father. She manages to trace the scent to the lake shore, so Negi rushes off in that direction. It is there that he seems to see his father, but when he gets closer, the Thousand Master disappears. Motsu and Shichimi take his place, and they tell Negi that Nagi has left already. The two of them used to serve Nagi, but he asked them to serve Negi from now on. Nagi’s final message for his son had been for Negi to grow up with vigor. Hearing this, Negi starts running across the lake shore before he finally collapses on his knees and cries. He eventually gets back up with a renewed determination to work harder to become a mage like his father. In the end, Negi returns to Wales with everyone, ready to move forward with his 31 partners.
This wasn’t the most satisfying ending, but given the bulk of this show, I wasn’t really expecting it to be. As I’ve said before, I really had hoped that we’d get to see and hear more of Nagi, but at least the end of the episode had a little bit of him. The animation quality also stayed pretty good, and they finally explained why Makie refers to Motsu as otou-san (because he resembles her family’s dog that had that name). Oh yea, all those character screens near the beginning of the episode appear to be referencing the new ATLUS game Etrian Odyssey.
Final Thoughts: Looking back at it now, it feels like there was a lot of wasted potential in this show. I remember how so incredibly impressed I was by the first few episodes of Negima!? – it really made me quite excited for what this alternate series could have brought (especially when compared to the original Negima anime). In retrospect, those first episodes might have set my expectations the wrong way. I still think that if they had somehow managed to keep that level of action, quality, and story, I probably would have loved this. But as it stands, this concentrated more on humor with tons of parodies and recurring themes, and there were only a few episodes aside from the first ones that I would consider to be good story-wise. Overall, I still enjoyed watching this, but it left parts of me feeling a bit unsatisfied at the end.