Negima! 601: Magic and the Dark Arts
Death hovers quietly over the Mahora Academy’s Class 2-A as one prominent student meets a painless, yet tragic end. The last volume is filled with confessions, life lessons, and some astonishingly deep guilt and angst you wouldn’t expect to find in a light hearted offering such as Negima!, but the spirit is not entirely lost.
Adorable bookworm Nodoka graces the front cover of volume six, and finally content to do more than hide under her bangs. In fact, the 601 episodes are where a lot of the characters finally show the viewer what they’re made of. This volume is worth putting in and watching all the episodes in rapid-fire order instead of breaking the episodes up. The story flows just that well from one episode to the next. None of the episodes are particularly lengthy, so there’s no real good reason to break them up. With the “big death” hitting a rather unlikely but well-selected candidate, shock fills the classroom as each of the remaining girls who were closest to the victim suffers her own version of guilt and personal anguish. Negi, as the last one to see the victim alive is especially tormented by the death as his students try to bravely soldier onwards and put together a musical and run things in his increasingly visible absence. Even secondary characters are visibly affected by the tragic happenings of Class 2-A and the tone quickly takes a 180 turn from the light hearted birthday party that closes out the first episode.
Ready to make a deal with the devil himself, desperation features highly as the little professor searches for a way to bring his student back. Soon all the girls are inadvertently drawn into Negi’s plan and all the girls team up to help Negi face his toughest challenges yet. True to the series, a kiss may just make the difference in how the class faces the past, manages the present, and possibly changes the future as they know it.
Definitely stick around after the credits roll for the absolute finale sequence (the ‘ending’ is fine, but the last scene wraps things up). While it doesn’t bring the entire series to a conclusion, it does bring this particular story arc to an end and leaves the opportunity open for more. If the creators of Negima! are smart, they will let the series stop here. Too much Negima! is definitely a bad thing.
For the final volume of Negima! the “schoolgirl” commentary is done by the director (he also plays the ermine) and one of the actresses whose character plays a crucial role in the remaining episodes. It is less interesting than the other commentaries sprinkled through the series. However, Negima! wraps it up in style, staying true to the sweet and charming premise while simultaneously tackling the darker sides of guilt and desperation.
This is the disc that everything has been building up to, leaving the series in better condition than it was found in.
The art in this volume is actually better in a few places and looks a bit more stylized. However, it’s still pretty average looking and not a style everyone will warm up to.