Negi Springfield is a ten-year-old wizard from Wales, who dreams of becoming a Magister Magi (Approximate Latin translation: "Master of Magic" or "Master Mage"), a special wizard who uses his powers to help normal people, using covers such as working for NGOs.
Negi's reason for becoming a Magister Magi is to find his father, Nagi Springfield, the legendary mage also known as the "Thousand Master", who is believed to be dead.
After graduating from the Merdiana Magic Academy in Wales, Negi is given a duty as a cover in the real world, and training, before he actually becomes a Magister Magi. That duty is to become an English teacher at Mahora Academy in Japan. The task will not be easy, however, as Negi will become a teacher to a Middle School class of 31 older girls, each very special in her own way. The series details his time and adventures in Japan as he gains acceptance and respect from his students, helps them in their problems, and faces magical threats from inside and outside Mahora Academy. Although each of the girls has her own back story and personality, Negi's main relationship is with Asuna Kagurazaka, his student and roommate, who dislikes him initially but later accepts him as a friend and becomes his partner, helping find clues about his father and his life.
The series, while initially appearing to be another romantic comedy work featuring numerous bishōjo characters like Love Hina, has progressed into a mix of shōnen action, fantasy, horror, romance and comedy. Akamatsu stated that he specifically wanted to do something "different" from Love Hina. Negi himself is prepubescent, and many of his scenes with Asuna are specific subversions of the "awkward romantic scene" tendency of harem manga, quickly defused and only played for laughs. In addition, many of the girls are able to fawn over him in a childish sense without any romantic expectations from the reader.
In keeping with this style, Negi himself is seen as a contrast to Love Hina's Keitaro and other typical male leads of manga. He is hardworking, capable, and treated kindly, but due to his appearance and age (well below most of his students), he feels completely non-threatening and finds it difficult to be taken seriously as a teacher; many of his students treat him as a cute little kid, if not a playmate (or plaything).
The pactio (Latin for "Contract") system in the series enables the magician casting the spell, the Magister Magi, to transfer some of his/her magic power to the other person involved in the pactio, the Minister Magi, improving the Ministra's natural capabilities, and providing a magical barrier against physical attacks. The Minister also receives a special magical item called "Artifact", which reflects the Minister's abilities and personality. The Minister, in turn, has to protect the Magister from any dangers and assist him/her in any way possible. Since most Western Mages are vulnerable while chanting spells, a Minister primary duty is to protect the mage in combat situations. Although it is not necessary that the Magister and Minister are of different sexes, its by far the most common setup, and usually pactio partners end up marrying each other.
When a pactio is established, a card (Charta Ministralis) is created as proof of the contract, depicting the Minister with his Artifact, surrounded by several magic signs and a "title" related to his/her personality. The Magister keeps the original card with him/herself, though copies can be made for the Minister. The card allows the Magister to communicate telepathically with his/her Minister (By touching the card to one's forehead and chanting Telephatia) and summon him/her across great distances, within a limit of 10 km. Additionally, the card may be used by the Minister to summon his Artifact, with the word "Adeat" (Latin for "Let it come forth"), and to store different costumes "within" it, for later use.
While there are many ways to form a pactio, the most common is having both participants enter a magic circle and share a mouth-to-mouth kiss. Any mishaps result in a "Mistake Pactio", which only grants a badly drawn card. If one of the participant's does not want to commit to a lifelong partnership, or is too young to make a "Permanent Pactio", a "Probationary Pactio" is created. Probationary pactio work like a permanent ones, except that there's a time limit to the activation of the contract and the contract can be broken at will. Permanent Pactio, on the other hand are lifelong, always active, and the number of contracts is limited by the Magisters power.
As of now, the main character Negi Springfield has formed nineteen pactios. In order, they are Asuna Kagurazaka, Nodoka Miyazaki, Setsuna Sakurazaki, Konoka Konoe, Yue Ayase, Haruna Saotome, Chisame Hasegawa, Kazumi Asakura, Kaede Nagase, Theodora, Ku Fei, Chachamaru Karakuri, Shiori (real name Luna), Ako Izumi, Yūna Akashi, Makie Sasaki, Ayaka Yukihiro, Chizuru Naba, and Akira Okochi.
While looking for clues about his missing father Nagi, Negi Springfield becomes the English and homeroom teacher for Mahora Academy Class 2A (later 3A). It does not take much time for him to become acquainted with most of his new students including his room mates Asuna Kagurazaka and Konoka Konoe. Negi faces his first real challenge in his student Evangeline A.K. McDowell who is actually an immortal vampiress and one of his father's enemies. To help Negi confront Eva, Asuna agrees to become his temporary partner by performing a "Pactio", a kind of magical contract sealed with a kiss.
After dealing with Evangeline, Negi takes the class on a trip to Kyoto while searching for more information on his father's whereabouts but is forced to fight against Eastern mages aiming to kidnap Konoka with the help of other students who also become his partners including Nodoka Miyazaki, Konoka's childhood friend Setsuna Sakurazaki, and lastly with Konoka herself. The arc also introduces Fate Averruncus, another mage who looks to be around Negi's age but proves himself to be far stronger than him. Seeing his own weakness after the events in Kyoto, Negi begins to train with several students in order to become stronger while Kotaro Inugami, one of the foes he confronted there unexpectedly reappears and finds himself a family with Negi's students Natsumi and Chizuru. Kotaro also joins Negi against Wilheim, an old evil from the past who just like Fate Averruncus, seems to be a pawn of an even stronger enemy.
During Mahora's cultural festival, Negi manages to partake in many simultaneous events thanks to his student Chao Lingshen's latest invention, the time machine Casseopeia. One of the events he participate in is the "Mahora Martial Arts Tournament" where he confronts a series of increasingly stronger enemies including a former member of "Ala Rubra" (Crimson Wing), a legendary brigade led by his father. After the tournament, Negi takes part in more activities at the festival until Chao makes her move as she reveals herself as a time-traveler who claims she must change the present to avert a great catastrophe in the future. Despite that, Negi and his allies confront her and manage to stop her ambitions. After giving up on changing the present by herself, Chao bids farewell to her classmates before returning to her own time.
With the festival finally over, Negi decides to set for the Mundus Magicus (Magic World) to look for his father. His partners decide to accompany him and together they form their own brigade, the Ala Alba (White Wing). They are joined by Negi's childhood friend Anya and accidentally by other students who are oblivious to his secret. As they arrive, the team is ambushed by a group of mysterious enemies led by Fate Averruncus, leaving Negi and his group defeated and scattered across Mundus Magicus. After meeting Jack Rakan, another member of Ala Rubra, Negi decides to train in order to become stronger and specializes in Dark Magic, just like Evangeline. Meanwhile, Negi's lost companions start to learn the ropes of their new environment and eventually reunited with him.
During another clash with Fate and his companions, Asuna is captured by the enemy and held captive along with Anya, with a body double posing as the real Asuna. Later Negi has an encounter with Kurt Gödel, a former member of Ala Rubra who reveals to him the story of his parents including how his mother was unjustly tried and sentenced to death before being saved by Nagi at the brink of her execution. He also learns that the Magic World is actually a magically created, inhabitable version of Mars, and just like the world itself, the majority of its inhabitants are created by magic. During another clash with Fate, Negi also learns that the main objective of his group "Cosmo Entelecheia" is to make use of Asuna's secret powers to erase the magically created inhabitants of Mundus Magicus and transfer the rest of its population to Earth before it eventually collapses.
By joining forces with the various armies of the Magic World, the members of Ala Alba storm Cosmo Entelecheia's stronghold where Asuna and Anya are being held captive, to stop their plans. During the confrontation a magic gate is opened to Earth just above Mahora, having Negi's remaining students who stayed behind along with the Academy's faculty members joining the fight. Having succeeded in rescuing Asuna and convincing Fate to accept a plan he devised to save the people of the Magic World without the need of any sacrifices, Negi discovers that the true leader of Cosmo Entelecheia is none other than his father Nagi, possessed by the Mage of the Beginning, who vanishes not before asking his son to look for him and release him once and for all.
After being celebrated as heroes for stopping Cosmo Entelecheia, Negi and his friends return to the Academy, but instead of resuming his duties as a teacher, Negi leaves Fate as his substitute and with the help of some of his students he starts working on his ambitious plan to terraform Mars for the people of the decaying Magic World to relocate there. However, the plan involves sealing Asuna's body for one hundred years, and she bids farewell to Negi and the other students after she graduates from middle school. Waking up 30 years after the estimated time, Asuna finds that Negi's plan was a success and that Negi and all her classmates had happy and bountiful lives but had long passed away except for Evangeline and Chao who appear before her to take her back to the present and live happily with Negi and the others.
Negima! was involved in a controversy surrounding the censorship of the English-translated manga in North America, typical of Akamatsu's penchant for fanservice and risqué humor. Fans fell upon initial rumors of potential edits by Del Rey, and upon receiving news of this, immediately began fighting against the changes. The compromise reached was to release the book uncensored but shrink-wrapped, which some collectors feel can cause damage to the books. Since Volume 14, the books have been released without the shrink-wrap.
Del Rey's releases contained fully translated versions of the omake(s) found in the Japanese versions (which include character sketches, fan art, and information about spells and related concepts), as well as various notes about Japanese culture and other things of interest not found in the original omake(s).
The anime began airing in Japan on January 6, 2005 and ended June 29, 2005. The anime follows the story of the manga to a certain degree but also creates its own reasons for certain events happening - most of which take place towards the end of the series - which differ from the original story, as the situations addressed had yet to occur in the source material. The differences between the manga and anime are significant, and most events in the manga never occur in the anime, again due in part to the manga being incomplete during the series' production. At one time it aired as part of the Funimation programming block on CoLours TV. In Canada, it aired on G4techTV Canada's Anime Current block in February 2007.
In order to bring a true ending to the animated series, starting approximately halfway through episode 22 and continuing until the end of the series, original work was created for the series.
|1||"The Blockhead in the Professor's Chair"|
"Asinus in cathedra"
|5 January 2005|
|Class 2-A meets its new homeroom teacher, who turns out the be a 10-year-old boy from Wales.|
|2||"Every Beginning is Difficult"|
"Omne initium est difficile"
|12 January 2005|
|While the rest of 2-A welcome Negi to their class, Asuna and Negi try to put up with one another now that she knows that Negi is a mage in training.|
|19 January 2005|
|Realizing how little Asuna gets in respect, Negi creates a love potion that goes horribly wrong, while Nodoka begins to start feeling for her new teacher. When Nodoka was about to kiss Negi, Asuna barges in by kicking the locked door with her brute force. In the preview for the next episode Negi ironically comments that Asuna is "not too polished at geography" before telling her Wales is in England.|
|4||"No Place is Like Home"|
"Nullus est instar dimus"
|26 January 2005|
|Negi's continues to attempt (and fail) to help Asuna get higher grades, first by tutoring her as part of a study group, then attempting to "improve her physique" during a stand-off in the bath.|
|2 February 2005|
|Chamo arrives at Mahora Academy to personally bring a letter to Negi. But this ermine's visit is for more than an errand. Chamo's real intention was to find Negi a Pactio partner.|
|6||"Between a Rock and a Hard Place"|
"A fronte praecipitium a tergo lupi"
|9 February 2005|
|Evangeline starts her rampage against Negi as she victimizes several of her classmates.|
|7||"The Appearances of Things are Deceptive"|
"Fallaces sunt rerum species"
|16 February 2005|
|Negi learns ninja skills from Kaede. Upon his return, he forms a Probationary Contract with Asuna and the two set off to stalk and face Chachamaru.|
|8||"One Night Befalls All of Us"|
"Omnes una manet nox"
|23 February 2005|
|Negi finally faces Evangeline using his newfound skills. Chachamaru prevents Negi from winning. Chamo knew that Negi couldn't win on his own, so he went and got Asuna. Asuna's Probationary Contract had run out though, so they kiss and make a permanent partner contract. With Asuna on his side, Negi defeats Evangeline.|
|9||"I'll Get You, Wascally Wabbit!"|
"Te capiam, cunicule sceleste!"
|2 March 2005|
|On an errand towards the Tatsumiya Shrine, Negi is guided by the Narutaki twins (Walking Club).|
|10||"Where There is Harmony, There is Victory"|
"Ubi concordia, ibi victoria"
|9 March 2005|
|Class 2-A battles in a dodgeball match against some high school girls who are also smitten by Negi's looks.|
|11||"When They Are Silent, They Are Shouting"|
"Cum tacent clamant"
|16 March 2005|
|Negi receives a laptop computer from the Academy, but neither he nor most of the class know what to do with it. Upon Chamo's suggestion, he urges the class to help him build a homepage. The class's new site then competes against that of a net idol who turns out to be one of their own.|
|12||"Either Learn or Leave"|
"Aut disce aut discede"
|23 March 2005|
|With his stint in Mahora on the line, Negi and the Baka Rangers (Asuna, Yue, Kaede, Kū Fei, and Makie) explore Library Island's basements for a magical book that will make his five class dunces smarter for the exams.|
|13||"We Live and Learn"|
"Tamdiu discendum est, quamdiu vivas"
|30 March 2005|
|Stuck for three days in one of Library Island's basements, Negi and the Baka Rangers manage to escape. When Negi was about to leave the school, it turns out that 2-A got the second-highest score in the exams.|
|14||"I Hope the Memory of Our Friendship Will Be Eternal"|
"Amicitiae nostrae memoriam spero sempiternam fore"
|6 April 2005|
|Konoka causes a ruckus with Negi, in the process making a mess and breaking Asuna's alarm clock. Negi and Konoka venture to Harajuku to buy a new clock for Asuna, not knowing they are being stalked by the Cheerleaders (Misa, Sakurako, and Madoka).|
|15||"a Reliable Friend Is Perceived in an Uncertain Situation"|
"Amicus certus in re incerta cernitur"
|13 April 2005|
|Home in the family estate for the summer break, Ayaka gets a visit, to her delight, from Negi and, to her horror, the rest of the class. Ayaka's childhood memories with Asuna are also brought up, mentioning how Asuna made Ayaka smile and laugh again after she was saddened by her little brother's death.|
|16||"Love and a Cough, Are Not Kept Secret"|
"Amor tussisque non celantur"
|20 April 2005|
|To celebrate the end of the summer break, several of Negi's students hold a pillow fight in Mahora's old elementary school building, with Negi in the middle of everything.|
|17||"Nothing is Difficult for a Lover"|
"Nihil difficile amanti"
|27 April 2005|
|To help Nodoka confess her feelings to Negi, Yue gives amusement park tickets to the pair so they can have a date. Yue and Asuna follow to support the two of them.|
|18||"Love Does Not Recognize Rank"|
"Amor ordinem nescit"
|4 May 2005|
|Stunned by Nodoka's confession at the amusement park, Negi ponders on how to answer it. Meanwhile, inspired by Nodoka, Asuna bakes a cake for Takamichi's birthday.|
|19||"Words Fly Away, Those Written Remain"|
"Verba volant, scripta manent"
|11 May 2005|
|Kazumi starts investigating about a classmate named Sayo Aisaka, whom everybody seems to not notice she is present, not even Kazumi herself. It turns out Sayo was a student of Mahora Academy during the 1940s — and is now a ghost.|
|20||"Unless You Have Believed, You Will Not Understand"|
"Nisi credidentis, non intelligentis"
|18 May 2005|
|Class 2-A finally make their trip to Kyoto, but a sinister group of mages sets its sights on Konoka.|
|21||"It Must Not at All be Despaired!"|
|25 May 2005|
|With Konoka's safety already in danger, Negi, Asuna, and Setsuna, along with several other students, do all they can to save her.|
|22||"It is Difficult to Make a Joke with a Sad Mind"|
"Difficile est tristi fingere mente jocum"
|1 June 2005|
|Negi asks Evangeline to teach him magic. Asuna is saddened when she sees Takahata together with Mahora's counselor.|
|23||"Remember to Die"|
|1 June 2005|
|Asuna starts to recall her past, seeing flames in her dream, and remembering the 10 year contract with the devil. Tragedy befalls Class 2-A.|
|24||"Both Weapons and Words Wound"|
"Et arma et verba vulnerant"
|9 June 2005|
|Negi and the rest of Class 2-A are devastated by Asuna's death. Setsuna feels she has failed in her duty as bodyguard so she decides to leave Konoka and protect her from afar. Meanwhile, Negi is taking Asuna's death hard and tries to get Evangeline to bring Asuna back from the dead. Evangeline tells Negi there's no such magic in existence, and Negi breaks down and runs away. Yue finds him and can't keep her feelings back anymore, and tells Negi she loves him. Nodoka overhears and to teach her a lesson about love Yue kisses Negi right in front of her.|
|25||"Death is Certain, the Time is Uncertain"|
"Mors certa, hora incerta"
|15 June 2005|
|With the help of Chao and Satomi's time machine, Negi transports himself and Chamo to 1993 Germany to know more about Asuna's magic cancelling power and discover ways to bring her back in the present. In the process, he unknowingly takes along the rest of 2-A.|
|26||"Not for Me, Not for You, But For Us"|
"Non mihi, non tibi, sed nobis"
|22 June 2005|
|Negi forms a Probationary Contract with the rest of Class 2-A so they will help him fight the demons and break the contract between Asuna and the Demon King.|
Note: This list pertains only to the theme songs from the first Negima! animation series.
- "Happy Material -Original-" by Yuri Shiratori, Madoka Kimura, Ayana Sasagawa, Natsuko Kuwatani, Kotomi Yamakawa, and Azumi Yamamoto ("Sayo Aisaka", "Yūna Akashi", "Kazumi Asakura", "Yūe Ayase", "Ako Izumi", and "Akira Ōkōchi"; ep. 1-4)
- "Happy Material -More Rock Ver.-" by Shizuka Itō, Akemi Kanda, Ai Bandō, Akeno Watanabe, and Mami Deguchi ("Misa Kakizaki", "Asuna Kagurazaka", "Misora Kasuga", "Chachamaru Karakuri", and "Madoka Kugimiya"; ep. 5-8)
- "Happy Material -More Happy Ver.-" by Hazuki Tanaka, Ai Nonaka, Sawa Ishige, Yū Kobayashi, and Yui Horie ("Kū Fei", "Konoka Konoe", "Haruna Saotome", "Setsuna Sakurazaki", and "Makie Sasaki"; ep. 9-13)
- "Happy Material -More Beloved-" by Akane Ōmae, Miho Sakuma, Chiaki Ōsawa, Ryōko Shiraishi, and Misa Kobayashi ("Sakurako Shiina", "Mana Tatsumiya", "Chao Lingshen", "Kaede Nagase", and "Chizuru Naba"; ep. 14-17)
- "Happy Material -Electric" by Kimiko Koyama, Mari Kanō, Mai Kadowaki, Yumi Shimura, and Yuki Matsuoka ("Fūka Narutaki", "Fumika Narutaki", "Satomi Hakase", "Chisame Hasegawa", and "Evangeline McDowell"; ep. 18-21)
- "Happy Material -Early Summer" by Mamiko Noto, Mai Aizawa, Junko Minagawa, Naomi Inoue, Yuka Inokuchi ("Nodoka Miyazaki", "Natsumi Murakami", "Ayaka Yukihiro", "Satsuki Yotsuba", and "Zazie Rainyday")
- "Happy Material -Now and Oldies" by Rina Satō, Masami Suzuki, and Ryō Hirohashi("Negi Springfield", "Nekane Springfield", and "Anna Cocolova"/"Anya")
- "Kagayaku Kimi e" by Akemi Kanda, Ai Nonaka, Mamiko Nōto, and Yū Kobayashi ("Asuna Kagurazaka", "Konoka Konoe", "Nodoka Miyazaki", "Setsuna Sakurazaki"; ep. 1-13)
- "Oshiete hoshii zō, Shishou" by Ayana Sasagawa, Natsuko Kuwatani, Akeno Watanabe, Hazuki Tanaka, and Yuki Matsuoka ("Kazumi Asakura", "Yūe Ayase", "Chachamaru Karakuri", "Kū Fei", and "Evangeline McDowell"; ep. 14-22, 24-25)
- "Happy Material" - acoustic version by Instrumental (ep. 23)
- "Kagayaku Kimi e ~ Peace" by the Class of 2-A (ep. 26)