‘Magical Girl Yue’ is the episode title of this latest entry in the Negima ‘Another World’ OVA series, which has been faithfully animating the manga story from the beginning of the magical world arc. It’s a special episode, not just because it’s awesome, but because it covers the content that the last OVA skipped – Yue’s amnesia school-life side-story! I suppose the theory was that there was enough good stuff in Yue’s story to take it out and make a whole new OVA. It was a good theory! Unlike the others, it’s solely dedicated to Yue and the new friends she makes at the magical academy she winds up in. Her memory loss (secretly caused by her friend-to-be, Collette) means she stays at the school while she tries to work out who she is and what to do. When she hears discussions about the second coming of Nagi Springfield entering the international fighting tournament something stirs within her and she becomes determined to get to that tournament, even if it means winning a challenging free-for-all broom-race with a strip-tease twist! Although I’m currently behind in the manga (working on that!), I am a big Negima fan. of course, I disliked the earlier TV-anime renditions, but these new OVAs are hitting much closer to the mark by staying true to the original work. This OVA was particularly appealing because I have a soft-spot for Yue (she’s possibly my favorite girl after Setsuna), and the magical-girl-esque school plot is naturally interesting. I definitely wasn’t disappointed! This OVA had a really fun and colourful blend of humour, fanservice, action and badassery.
In all honesty, it was the fanservice I was most looking forward too, and the OVA pitched a great number of resplendent erotic shots! Yue’s famous side-string panties were a big feature point in the many panty-shots, the broom race (in typical Negima fashion) gravitated towards a singularity of nakedness, with the girls’ spells shredding away their uniforms and underwear. By the end of the episode, all of the girls were either topless or in their underwear! Yue got a lengthy transformation scene which packed a heavy dosage of eye-candy with every piece of clothing meticulously formed on her radiant naked body (to the point where she may as well have just got changed regularly!). If you’re a Yue man like me, this episode will definitely hit you hard! This is the Negima I know and love, although I think Chisame’s tentacle rape scene would be the ero highlight of the OVAs! But fanservice aside, the thing that struck me was just how awesome Yue was here! I actually think the anime captured Yue’s strategic and mighty victory over the forest lurking Griffin-dragon better. It really felt like a pretty big achievement, and her final blow against the dragon was really well animated. Her knack for studying was taken to new levels, and in this side-story Yue got the chance to show the strength of her resolution and her level-headed thinking in a tough situation (without Negi there to help). She’s a diligent and strong-willed girl. I guess her only weakness is her bladder!
The OVA was directed and animated. This episode was directed by the relatively new Tatsufumi Ito, who I’m not at all familiar with. But her seemed to a good job keeping up a good level of animation quality throughout and bringing the scenes to life. At this point, it doesn’t feel like a typical SHAFT show (characterised by flat and cliche layouts/angles). This episode was probably the most cinematic in style. Animators include: Itou Mariko (animation director + key animation – I guess animated the final Yue dragon-slaying bit), Kurata Ayako, Nagazawa Yuichi (layout director + key animation). Seeing this, I think I finally can see the potential the upcoming movie version can offer.