Before I start, I just want to link this. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2012-02-08/strike-witches-film-trailer-streamed But I doubt anyone’s interested, right? So…
If I had the energy, I’d write an article on manga, which I haven’t done a roundup of what I’m reading in a long time. I think I’d do the article on Negima only, though, as it climaxed several issues ago, and is about to end in just three more issues. I’ll be brief, as I’m just too tired to post a full discussions of my reasons why, but I think Akamatsu-sensei has gotten tired of this series and is ready to move on. The rest is below the fold, so if you want to avoid spoilers, stop here.
I suspected Akamatsu was tired of the series at the end of the final fight between Negi and his students vs. Fate and his girls. It came down to AN EXCITING MULTI-ISSUE SLUGFEST PITTING TWO GREAT MAGES AGAINST EACH OTHER, IN A ROCK’EM, SOCK’EM BATTLE! BUT THERE’S MORE! OVERTIME! A NEW CHALLENGER! THE BIG DAMN HEROES OF OLD SHOW UP! AWESOME DRAMATICS!!! andohbythewayasunasavestheworld,kthnxbye. In what should have been the capstone of the entire arc, Asuna, revealed as the Twilight Imperial Princess, with little or no buildup, just waved the great-grandmaster key and restored everything in the Magical World that had ever been destroyed throughout the last thirty issues or so. Wenh. But still, she can’t do anything to fix the Magical World’s doom.
Oh, and did I mention that the Mage of the Beginning, the big uber-bad of 20 years ago, the guy who apparently created this world, and has been the driving force behind Cosmo Entelechia, has possessed Nagi Springfield, who shows up just long enough to say “Hi, son. Come hunt me down and kill me so I’ll be free of this guy. L8r!!”
Then we blow a couple of issues of “life getting back to normal at school and the girls dealing with the fallout, while Negi begins work on his master plan to save the Magical World, which involves making more pactios, etc. etc.” followed by a five month timeline jump, followed by three issues, yes three issues of absolute silliness at the Summer Festival, involving all the girls trying to chase him down to get him to confess which one of them he likes. There were more deus ex machinas and impossible power-level violations thrown into this arc than you could shake a stick at. The only one who should be able to match Negi is Asuna or Evangeline, but the rest pretty much kept him on the run.
Oh and by the way, now that we’re through with that, Asuna has to go to sleep for 100 years because that’s critical to the plan, never mind how. And what happens? The next issue is Asuna waking up… 130 years later! Yep, not only a massive time jump, but she overslept to the point that not even Ayaka, who lived to 115, was alive to greet her. Oh, and Negi’s disappeared too now, although he has a grave, presumed died in 2063. So we spend an issue of Asuna going around and picking up the threads of her now-deceased friends’ lives, at the end of which time, Evangeline and Chao (the time-traveling descendant of Negi) show up…. and the end of the series is announced.
This is not making a damn bit of sense, dramatically speaking. The big Nagi reveal screams “NEW ARC!” at least. One of the reader theories is that the manga is ending, but not the story — it doesn’t make sense to call it Mahou Sensei Negima, since he won’t be a sensei anymore.. it will be a sequel series. Another is that Chao showing up means that they’re going to send Asuna back into the past to join her friends (despite the fact that it’s firmly established that she was not part of their lives).
I don’t know what Akamatsu is doing, and I’m not sure he does either. It really feels like he is just mailing it in right now, and trying to close the series without resolving anything, not even “which girl does Negi choose?” I do know that I’m aggravated enough that even as tired as I am, I still had to rant for almost 700 words about it.