“I want you to be my girlfriend FOREVER! But since this is a joke, I know that’s not going to happen right?”
– Keiichi Morisato
While most people would think that getting a cute, devoted girlfriend simply by making a phone call sounds sketchy [and illegal in some states…], it is, in fact, the basis for one of the most popular “boy-meets-girl” romantic anime series around. “Oh My Goddess!” is one of those shows that stands the test of time because the story, at its core, is timeless, much like the goddesses in the series. This five-episode OVA is the launchpad for one of the most popular romantic series ever created. Just what makes this story so hot? Well, you know the routine; keep reading!
Warnings and Notable Objectionable Content – Unless you are very sensitive about religion, [After all, this show does deal with the subject of Goddesses…] then I feel safe in saying this series is safe for those twelve and up. There is a bit of sexuality in episode two when Belldandy‘s sister, Urd, makes an appearance, but it’s mostly played for laughs, and does not go beyond that one episode.
Series Availability – Because this series is going on twenty years old, you might be hard pressed to find copies of it. No brick and mortar store I’ve seen actually carried it new, though some sellers of used DVD’s like FYE might have a copy or two for purchase. Your best option would be to hit online sources like eBay and Amazon. Please keep in mind that there is a difference between “Oh My Goddess!” and “Ah! My Goddess” as the former is the five episode Original Video Animation or OVA that came out in 1993. The latter, “Ah! My Goddess” is a two-season series released in 2005.
Story Breakdown – “Oh My Goddess” is a five-episode OVA based on a running manga by Kōsuke Fujishima. While playing answering machine for his absent seniors, college sophomore and girlfriendless sap Keiichi Morisato decides to call out for take-out grub. However, he accidentally dials the wrong number and inadvertently connects to the Goddess Help Line. The Goddess Help Line is a direct link to Heaven where pre-approved persons who are in distress [That is, persons who possess kind and gentle spirits] are able to get one wish granted which can be anything, so long as it doesn’t destroy all of humanity. Behaving much like the Holy version of the Geek Squad, the goddess Belldandy is soon dispatched to Keiichi’s dorm room. Keiichi, both enraptured by the beautiful girl in front of him and possessing understandable doubt at the girls intentions, makes his wish known: that the goddess Belldandy become his girlfriend forever. In a flash of light and fluttering of clothing, the wish is granted…however, before our hapless hero has the chance to let the info sink in, his seniors come home and “politely” remind him that it is against the rules to have girls in the dorm, punishable by prompt eviction. [And when I say “prompt” I mean it–they don’t even give Keiichi time enough to put on his socks or shoes.] And so, now, finding themselves suddenly homeless, Belldandy and Keiichi set out into the night together. For a five episode series, “Oh My Goddess!” tells a lot of story and does so really well. While five episodes might not seem like it’s suitable enough to tell a story of this magnitude, I can honestly say, I left “OMG” feeling quite satisfied. The ending is a little over the top, and it sounds tragically familiar, but it does the job well enough. [24.5/25]
Favorite Episode/Scene – I enjoyed the scene in episode 2 when Belldandy and Keiichi go to the beach. Urd, Belldandy’s older sister, feeling the need speed up the progress between Keiichi and Belldandy’s relationship, berates Keiichi on his lack of progress. The dialogue goes something like this:
“You getting anywhere?” – Urd
“First I thought we would maybe hold hands…” – Keiichi
“I knew it! You’re such a wimp! That plan is never going to work!” – Urd
“You don’t think so?” – Keiichi
“NOT EVEN!” – Urd
“Oh…” – Keiichi
Characters – The cast of “Oh My Goddess!” is a very interesting group. The first character we’re introduced to is Keiichi Morisato; a student at Nekomi Institute of Technology and a member of the Auto Club with his seniors. Honestly, he’s the perfect male lead for a series like this: he’s nice enough to where you can see a girl…or goddess for that matter…fall in love with him, yet at the beginning of the series, he is without a main squeeze. That is, until, he makes a one-in-a-million phone call and gets the goddess Belldandy on his side. Belldandy is a girl who any guy would like to have on his arm. Shes sweet, kind, thoughtful, helpful, and every other “Ful” you can think of. She is genuinely a great person…if not slightly…SLIGHTLY air-headed. But, she IS a goddess after all who doesn’t get to earth too often, so she’s more than forgiven for momentary lapses in normalcy. Other goddess characters, such as the vulptuious Urd and the whiz kid goddess-in-training Skuld [Belldandy’s older and possessive younger sister respectively…] are perfect foils for Keiichi, and make an otherwise bland story extremely interesting. Overall, there was not one character who didn’t rub me the wrong way. Everyone was a joy to watch. [25/25]
Animation – For as series made almost twenty years ago, it still looks really bright and vibrant. Granted, it does show its age with a few little jumps and specks here and there; heck, this series was made in 1993, but as a whole, everything still looks awesome. The character designs are very well done, even though Belldandy does look different from her manga counterpart. [12.5/12.5]
Music – The opening theme, “My Heart, Your Heart” by Goddess Family Club is a very upbeat and happy song and its very infectious. However, one thing that didn’t sit quite right with me was it’s use in the last episode, which started out on a notably darker note. It just seemed wrong to have this happy, peppy song come in immediately after the dramatic ending of the previous episode, and the heavier atmosphere of the current episode. The ending song, “Congratulations!”, is very nice and sweet…a little TOO sweet maybe, but still sweet, especially its use in the last episode. I think the incidental music used in this series is a little distracting and hokey, and it dates the series; you know when it’s there, and you know when it’s not…and you don’t particularly mind when it’s not. [10.5/12.5]
Performances and Production – This series was licensed by a company known as AnimEigo, an old-school company founded way back in 1989, and has done only a handful of series including “Kimagure Orange Road”, “Vampire Princess Miyu”, “Super Dimension Fortress Macross” among others. At the helm of this project is Scott Houle, who has only been involved in several anime projects. Scott Simpson as Keiichi is the perfect match for the kind-hearted auto-geek, and plays the role excellently. Juliet Cesario as Belldandy is absolutely perfect. Her voice is sweet without being sappy, and her performance of “The Egg Song” in episode three is awesomely cute. Other characters such as Amanda Spivey as Megumi Morisato, Lanelle Markgraf as Urd and Panela Weidner as Skuld are all amazing across the board. Overall, this is a solid vocal cast who are just as good as their Japanese counterparts. [25/25]
Story Breakdown – 24.5/25
Characters – 25/25
Animation – 12.5/12.5
Music – 10.5/12.5
Performance and Production – 25/25
Final Score – 97.5/100 – A
Lagniappe “A Little Something Extra” –
- The series was originally released in English on VHS tapes, with one episode per cassette.
- The performance of the opening and closing themes was done by a group known as Goddess Family Club which consisted of the voice actresses for Belldandy, Urd and Sculd, the three goddesses.
So where does that leave us? Well, “Oh My Goddess!” is a great romantic show, and the perfect launchpad for the entire franchise that we currently know and love. With it’s excellent story line, loveable characters, reliable animation, sweet [at times] music, and an awesome vocal cast in English, “Oh My Goddess” gives you a love story that you won’t soon forget and will leave you wanting more. Good thing there’s a whole ‘nother series to sink your teeth into.
And with that, we set out into the “Love-Love” month of February with one review under our belts! I decided that, since this is a short month, I would focus on shorter, romantic series for couples ABOUT couples! And trust me, the word “short” is more than appropriate for this next series. The heroine in this one is, quite literally, so cute you could put her in your pocket. Yep, we’re going into that one. So please stay tuned, my dear readers, as we explore the adorable insanity that is…
“Midori Days” (Midori no Hibi)