OVA episodes that are bundled with the limited edition of the manga volumes 23-25. First episode to cover chapters 176 and 177 of the manga. Second episode to cover chapters 178-180. And third episode to cover chapters 182 and 183.
As a long time reader of the manga series, I've looked forward to the various animated versions of Mahou Sensei Negima. The first anime adaptation was good, but it deviated too much from the manga, and attempted to play on the viewers sympathies too much. The second adaptation began well, but became a joke very quickly, and bore no relation whatsoever to the story proper aside from maintaining the character base. Of the two seasons, the first was by far the better, especially as Negima!? ended up as a very poor, supernatural style PaniPoni Dash.
I won't even talk about the two OVAs, Haru and Natsu....
hearing of the third iteration of the series, Mahou Sensei Negima: Shiroki Tsubasa Ala Alba, it seemed that hope was not lost for a decent animated version, especially as the story was supposed to follow events from certain chapters of the manga.
Unfortunately that hope was in vain.
The main problem with this OVA is that even though the story is pretty much the chapters from the manga in animated form, it's not really designed to appeal to anyone but fans of the manga. This is, unfortunately, a poor move as the OVA doesn't actually enhance the story or develop the characters in any meaningful way, and is little more than eye candy for the existing fans of the manga.
That said, the Ala Alba iis a very good adaptation of the chapters it covers. It's so good in fact, that the viewer would be able to watch the OVA and skip the relevant chapters, and they wouldn't miss a bit of the story. As adaptations go, this is up there with the most complete. The biggest problem with it is that it won't appeal to newcomers to the series, or to those who have only watched the anime versions, as the story is taken from the middle of the manga so there's no real explanation about events or characters.
As far as animation and design goes, this is actually very well made. The characters, backgrounds and settings are taken directly from the manga, with only a minor alteration here and there. The animation is fluid and the visual effects are well used. However, like the notorious Negima!? and the OVAs, this is a SHAFT production, and whilst they may be a great animation studio, they do have a tendency to do some rather odd things with animation at times. Their penchant for this rears it's super deformed head in this OVA on several occasions and, more often that not, it serves as a distraction rather than an enhancement.
In terms of sound, the OVA will definitely appeal to fans of both anime series. The OP is a new rendition of the notoriously boppy "Happy Material", whilst the ED is a slightly more martial take on "Kagayaku Kimi e". The music used throughout the series has a decidedly upbeat tone which, given the lack of any truly serious events in this section of the story, isn't a bad choice on the whole. The sound effects are atmospheric and well choregraphed, with the most impressive being the distorted vocals when a spell is being chanted, which is then overlayed by the characters voice. The effect is rather surreal at times.
The biggest plus for the OVA is that the gang is all here. The various (and numerous), seiyuu from both anime series, and the Haru and Natsu OVAs, are all gathered together once more.
One interesting thing that arises because of this though, is how a different look and feel can affect how one hears things. This is especially true for those who have watched either, or both, of the other two series. The characters, as a whole, have become more, or less, likeable in the OVA, although I should point out that this is in terms of individual characters and not as a group. Given that each character is played by the same seiyuu, and is essentially doing the same things and behaving in the same manner as before, I found this changed perception gave the OVA a slightly odd feel compared to the other efforts.
Negima is notorious for having oodles of characters however this OVA, being simply an animated form of certain chapters, doesn't really have the scope to develop them in any meaningful way. One thing that does get highlighted is the disparity in terms of "power" between the girls that have contracts with Negi, and those that don't. Aside from that though, there isn't really anything else.
I did actually enjoy Ala Alba, as it made a nice change to see what the anime adaptations could have been like if they'd followed the manga. However, this is an OVA that will only really appeal to fans of the manga, although fans of either anime series who have yet to read the manga may want to check it out as it will give a taste of that version.
On the whole, it's not a bad OVA, and it does have some plusses going for it, especially how closely it follows the manga. That said, I would have preferred to see something that added to the overall story rather than a glorified version of chapters I've already read.
After the disappointing first animated series (which forgot that it was shonen, minimizing or directly ignoring important fights and characters to the plot, only leaving the harem part of the original work), after a weird (to say at least) second anime, and after two OVAS that were loosely based in some manga chapters, in 2008 we finally got a high quality and faithful Negima adaptation (to some chapters, at least).
Shiroki Tsubasa Ala Alba is a three part OVA series that adapts from the end of the Mahora tournament until the preparations for the trip to Wales. With that last sentence,
most of you probably understand that this wasn't thought for the big audience: the plot of this OVAS starts in chapter 176 of the manga, while the first anime adapts (again, loosely) only as far as chapter 53. This was made specifically for Negima fans that read the manga, so, if you, person reading this review, aren't one of those, you can stop reading now. Or don't, do as you please.
Story: When the Mahora Festival ends, Negi Springfield thinks is time to get serious about that searching dad thing, so, after a talk with Albireo Ima, he decides to go to Wales, where the door to Mundus Magicus is supposed to be. But first thing first: under Eva's guardianship, Ala Alba (the White Wings, a subtle tribute to Negi's father team, the Crimson Wings), was born: a special school club with one objective: find Nagi Springfield.
Besides Negi, the new team consists of his seven partners (Asuna, Nodoka, Setsuna, Konoka, Haruna, Yue and Chisame), Ku Fei, Kaede, Asukura (with Sayo), Chachamaru and Kotaro (yes people: after four animated adaptations, the other man in the good guys side make his debut). This elite group is ready to train their asses to become stronger, and accomplish their objective. Unfortunately, Ayaka and the rest of the 3-A girls will discover their plans, and will want to join the journey...
Animation: The quality of these OVA is outstanding. Or maybe is just very good, and it looks amazing only when comparing with the first anime. The landscapes are very pretty, clear and bright (is very noticeable, because most of the action takes place in a beach and in Eva resort), and most important, the character design is faithful to the manga (closest to Negima!? than Mahou Sensei Negima), which means Chisame won't screw the rules cause she have green hair (somebody understand the reference? xD), no more chocolate for Chamo, and other stuff.
As for magic, there aren't many fights (these chapters are rather preparation for what is coming), but all the powers used are well made and flashy, especially in the first match of the first episode, and Eva ice powers.
And since this is a close adaptation of the manga, there's fan service every now and then (but not as much as the first manga chapters).
Sound: The opening of the first anime, Happy Material, is back, less upbeat but more calm (not only is the opening, is the ending of the third chapter). The ending is also the one of Mahou Sensei Negima, Kagayaku Kimi e, and again, this version is a little more serene than the original. All the seiyuus of the first and second series are here, plus Marina Inoue as Kotaro (you may know her as Yoko in Gurren Lagan, or Rei in Highschool of the Dead). They all do a great job (they're all good seiyuus, after all, they sing their own opening and ending), although the intonation of some is a bit weird, especially Mana (which, frankly, scares) and Asakura.
Verdict: this OVAs are, simply put, the best thing animated with the Negima name (until now at least... I think we all have hopes in the movie), only because is loyal to the original source. That means good drawing (it crush the first anime in this apartment) and good characterization (no weird poems by Zazie nor Yuna playing with tanks, or whatever). This is so faithful, that, unfortunately, only the manga followers (and I really mean followers... the ending has random images of chapters as advanced as 287!) will understand it, cause it start in a very arbitrary point.
That’s a shame, cause, even is this isn't the more action oriented part of the story, it has lots of humor, and is really funny.
But, like I say: this is very recommendable for persons who read the manga and are dying for something animated. And the continuations are very good too: Mahou Sensei Negima! Mou Hitotsu no Sekai y Mahou Sensei Negima! Mou Hitotsu no Sekai Extra: Mahou Shoujo Yue.
... And if for some reason you read this review without having read the manga, I strongly recommend you to read it. It's one of the best mangas going around right now.
Después de una decepcionante primer serie animada (que se olvido por completo que era un shonen, minimizando o directamente ignorando las peleas que eran relevantes a la trama), de una segunda serie... bastante extraña, y de dos OVAs ligeramente basados en algunos hechos del manga, en el 2008, finalmente, se realizaron trabajos de calidad que adaptaban fielmente la historia de Mahou Sensei Negima... o al menos, una parte. Shiroki Tsubasa Ala Alba es una tanda de 3 OVAs que abarca desde el final del torneo de Mahora, hasta los preparativos del viaje a Gales. Con esta ultima oración ya abran notado que esto no está apuntado a un público masivo: la trama de estos OVAs arranca desde el capítulo 176 del manga, mientras que el primer anime adapta (de forma bastante libre y salteándose varias cosas importantes) hasta el capitulo 53. Esto está hecho específicamente para los fans de Negima que leyeron el manga, así que si usted, lector, no lo hizo, puede dejar de leer ahora mismo. O no, haga lo que quiera.
Historia: Finalizado el torneo de Mahora, Negi Springfield piensa que es momento de tomarse en serio esto de buscar a su padre, por lo que después de hablar con Albireo Ima, decide ir a Gales, donde se encuentra la puerta al mundo mágico. Pero primero lo primero: bajo la tutela de Eva, se forma Ala Alba (las Alas Blancas, en honor al grupo del padre de Negi, las Alas Carmesi), un club escolar especialmente dedicado a asistir a Negi en su búsqueda. Además de sus siete parejas (o Partners, o como sea que ustedes lo hayan leído), están Ku Fei, Kaede, Asakura (con Sayo), Chachamaru y Kotaro (si señores: después de cuatro adaptaciones animadas, finalmente hace su debut el otro hombre importante del grupo de los buenos), todo un equipo de elite dispuesto a entrenar hasta el cansancio para hacerse más fuertes y lograr su objetivo. Por desgracia, Ayaka y el resto de las chicas del 3-A van a descubrir sus planes, y van a querer sumarse al viaje...
Animación: la calidad de estos OVAs es espectacular. O tal vez sea solo muy buena, y solo resalta mucho por comparársela con el primer anime. Los paisajes son muy bonitos y brillantes (lo que se nota mucho, porque la acción transcurre en una playa y en la casa de Eva), y lo más importante de todo, el diseño de personajes es ahora como el del manga (mucho más cercano al de Negima!? que al de Mahou Sensei Negima), lo que significa, no mas pelo verde para Chisame, no mas chocolate para Chamo, y otras cosas. En cuanto a la magia, si bien no hay muchas peleas (estos capítulos son más bien preparatorios para lo que se viene), todos los poderes usados están bien hechos y son muy vistosos, especialmente en el duelo del principio del primer capítulo, y los poderes de hielo de Eva.
Y como esto es una adaptación híper fiel al manga, hay fan service aquí y allá (aunque no tanto como en los primeros capítulos del manga).
Sonido: Happy Material, el opening del primer anime, vuelve a estar presente (como opening y como ending del tercer capítulo), ligeramente más tranquilo. El ending también es el de Mahou Sensei Negima, Kagayaku Kimi e, y de nuevo, esta ligeramente modificado para sonar más despacio. Todas las seiyuus de las primeras series están presentes, y se incorpora Marina Inoue como Kotaro (Yoko en Gurren Lagan, Rei en Highschool of the Dead). Todas hacen un muy buen trabajo (son buenas seiyuus, después de todo, cantan sus propios openings y endings), aunque la entonación de alguna suena medio rara, como la de Mana y Asakura.
Veredicto: Lisa y llanamente, estas OVAs (y sus continuaciones) son lo mejor que hay animado de Negima, (al menos hasta ahora... creo que todos tenemos muchas esperanzas respecto a la película), solo por ser fiel al trabajo original. Lo que significa buen dibujo (aplasta al primer anime en este aspecto) y personajes bien caracterizados (nada de los poemas raros de Zazie, o Yuna jugando con tanques). Es tan fiel que, desafortunadamente, solo podrán entenderlo los seguidores del manga (muy seguidores del manga... el ending tiene imágenes de capítulos tan avanzados como el 287!), debido al momento arbitrario en el que arranca (además de que los hechos, a veces, saltan muy rápido de uno a otro, pudiendo dejar confuso incluso al publico que leyó el manga). Esto es una lástima, porque, a pesar de una vez más animar una parte en la que no hay mucha acción, si hay mucho humor, y realmente es muy divertido.
Lo dicho: MUY recomendable para las personas que leyeron el manga de Negima, y se mueren por ver algo animado. También son recomendables sus continuaciones: Mahou Sensei Negima! Mou Hitotsu no Sekai y Mahou Sensei Negima! Mou Hitotsu no Sekai Extra: Mahou Shoujo Yue.
... y si por alguna razón leyeron esta review sin haber leído el manga, recomiendo vehementemente que lo lean. Es de lo mejor que hay dando vueltas en estos momentos.
Are you a bit perverted at times? Or are you just an old-fashioned romantic? Perhaps you're a bit of both! Then come inside and enjoy some of the finest ecchi romance anime. There's enough fan service here to cause nosebleeds...but also enough love and tenderness to warm our hearts.