Sorry, bracing myself to reread this chapter when the scanlations came out took some time.
So… pretty much everyone knows by now Akamatsu’s ending Negima! in three more chapters. Not only was the announcement pretty sudden, he also threw in a 130 year jump in the series timeline to accompany it as well. God damn, he’s such a horrible troll at times.
Frankly, opinions are pretty mixed about the skip, but personally to me, it just shows how ballsy Akamatsu can be when it comes to pulling sudden plot twists like this. We’ve seen this in pretty much the entire run of Negima! where he’d build up some pre-established convention, then suddenly goes against it, so I’m not surprised when 352 came in and the spoilers started flowing. Really, Akamatsu, he has the balls to pull shit off and that’s one thing I’m not going to begrudge him with.
Still, he’s also showing that he’s got the skills to pull it off and 352 is probably going to be one of the hardest-hitting emotional chapters of the series. Within one week, the series time just skipped more than a century and of course, most of the characters have understandably died of old age. Even Negi. But what truly hit me the hardest was Ayaka’s final recorded message..
Holy shit, when I finally got my hands on the raws and reached that part, I… I… broke down a little as well. Ayaka pretty much outlasted everyone else just for the slight hope of meeting Asuna again after a century just because of a promise and a childhood friendship. That’s… dedication ;_;. And it was so damn sad she actually stayed alive but unfortunately Asuna overslept!
I still have this vision of a 115 year old Ayaka, frail.. decrepit, lying on a bed, awaiting through the final year… maybe a little past it, yet Asuna never appears again. And in a pleasant spring/fall day, she just.. passes on. Fuck, I’m getting tears in my eyes again just typing this.
Still, with Chao and Eva appearing at the end of the chapter, there might still be hope to see the rest of the gang back again… but my feelings are still ambivalent as to what I really do want from the next three chapters? Do I want a cheesy deus ex machina where Asuna gets to go back in time and live her life again? Or do I want to have a bittersweet ending as Asuna slowly accepts the fact her previous life is pretty much gone (‘cept for Eva and Chao of course) and she bravely decides to live on and protect the world that Negi and co has built up in their stead?
Only time will tell I guess. I can only hope Akamatsu will manage to surprise me in the final three chapters. In a good way, of course.