Mahou Sensei Negima! ~Shiroki Tsubasa ALA ALBA~ – 01
「ネギま部（仮）増殖中」 (Negima-bu (Kari) Zoushokuchuu)
“Negima Club (Tentative) Expanding”
Episode at a Glance:
After defeating Chao, Negi is informed by Ku:Nel that his father is alive in the Magic World. With the door to that world back in Wales, Negi decides to go back home, so Asuna creates a new club to help him search for his father. She also manages to recruit Evangeline as an honorary advisor, after which the club trains in preparation for the trip. News of Asuna’s new club going overseas reaches the other girls though, who believe they’re being left out of a study trip. Hearing the ruckus between Asuna and Ayaka about this, Evangeline decides to have some fun by telling the others that they can join the club if they can snatch the white winged badges from the current members during the summer festival. Having received these badges from Evageline, the actual club members are unaware of her game and get pestered for them. Seeing as everyone’s failed to snatch one though, Ayaka takes things into her own hands, only to get inadvertently humiliated by Asuna. Realizing what Evangeline put them up to, Asuna manages to settle everything down when she explains that they’re going on a dangerous trip in search of Negi’s father. At Narita airport later on, Anya is wondering where Negi is after telling her to come along.
As much as I like Negima, its cast, and its music, I actually don’t follow the manga. With that said, OAD (Original Animation DVD) episodes such as this are oriented more towards fans of the manga, as there is no direct continuity between its preceeding series, Negima! and Negima!?, much like how there was none between School Rumble San Gakki and School Rumble Ni Gakki. Therefore, if you follow the manga, you’ll probably be pleased to see some of the later Negima chapters animated. If you don’t, you can still enjoy these episodes, but you’ll probably be somewhat confused as to exactly what’s going on.
In my case, I fall into the latter category, but I did have an idea of what was going on in the beginning when Negi was fighting Chao, as that part of the story was used in the live-action Negima drama, which I amazingly finished watching when it aired last fall. (I don’t recommend watching the drama though, as it isn’t particularly good in any way, but if you’re a die-hard fan, you may want to check it out for amusement sake. e.g. Seeing the Baka Rangers.) However, this episode showcases material beyond that arc of the manga, namely chapters 176 and 177, and features characters never before seen in the anime—Ku:Nel Sanders (i.e. Imma Albireo) and Inugami Kotarou, who are played by Ono Daisuke and Inoue Marina respectively. Given how this is an anime adaptation of the more recent parts of the manga, neither Ku:Nel nor Kotarou get any sort of proper introduction, so if you’re not familiar with the manga, you may find it beneficial to read about them instead.
As the three episodes of Shiroki Tsubasa are more of a treat to manga fans than anything else, I guess it’s pointless to analyze the plot in any sort of way, but I will say that the animation quality was pretty top-notch (for Negima standards). I also found Ayaka and Makie funny as usual, but it was a bit unusual seeing how powerful Asuna has become from her special training. This first episode actually featured most of the 31 students too, as the credits below indicate. As for the opening and ending sequences, they were overly simplistic, but it was nice hearing “Happy Material Return”, a remixed version of the original series’ opening song. Likewise with the ending song, “Kagayaku no Kimi he”, which was more or less a remixed version of “Kagayaku Kimi he ~ Peace”. I went through a phase awhile ago where I watched all the Negima live events and concerts featuring the seiyuus, so needless to say, I’m quite fond of both these songs.
Finally, I should mention that the next episode won’t be released until November 17th, but will feature material from chapters 178 to 180. The third and last episode will be released on February 17th of next year, and will feature material from chapters 182 and 183.
(Hidden due to the extensive length of Negima’s cast, which includes lots of well-known seiyuus)
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