When college student Keiichi Morisato dials the wrong number while ordering for some food at his dormitory, he accidentally gets connected to the Goddess Hotline and a beautiful goddess named Belldandy appears out of a mirror in front of him. After getting kicked out of the dorm, Keiichi and Belldandy move to an old shrine and soon afterwards, Belldandy's sisters Urd and Skuld move in.
Ah! My Goddess OVA is the first screen adaptation of the long running manga of the same name. Considering its over 15 years old it actually holds its age pretty well. It manages to be a sweet and charming romance and is probably a fairly influential title in regards to the whole "Sudden Girlfriend Appearance" genre of storylines.
If you’ve seen even a few romance titles you have most likely already seen a similar plot before. Though in its time this may have been pretty original. A college student Keiichi dials a wrong number trying to order food from his dorm and
is accidently connected to a Goddess helpline in which a mysterious girl Belldandy appears in his room promising to grant him any wish he wants. The girlfriendless guy asks for someone like her to be by his side forever and thus the story begins.
Usually in these kinds of stories there is a lot of echiiness but there is none of that here. So if that sort of thing bothers you and just want to see a haremesque romance without the boobs and panty face plants then you will likely find this series appealing. The relationship between Belldandy and Keiichi is the focal point of the series. It’s for the most part sweet and satisfying despite the lack of any real intimacy. This is always a peeve of mine in anime and I think it has something to do with the Japanese mindset. The story does a great job of building chemistry and romance between the pair but they don’t act like a couple that is in love as much as we are lead to believe. Not that I ever seem to expect it anymore but how can you be in love this much and get embarrassed still about holding hands and cuddling together, let alone kissing, after living in the same house for nine months? It detracts overall from my score despite me liking this series a lot more than my score may reflect.
The story's pacing also fluctuates and skips around quite a bit. Many months will pass with really no way of even knowing this is happening without the dialogue telling us or from just visually seeing the seasons pass by. But you would never know it from how little progress the leads make in terms of their romance. The shortness of the series doesn't make having a really intricate plot feasible but it doesn’t really feel like its going anywhere until the last episode. I don’t know how closely it follows the manga since I haven’t read it but overall the story and the ending are satisfyingly concluded.
Keiichi is your standard male anime lead. By standard I mean he’s not all that special. Like almost all romance series the male love interest is usually uninteresting, weak, and not very manly. Despite Keiichi being in college he looks like he should be starting the 8th grade. Now this is played up in the story as to why he doesn’t have a girlfriend but still if you’re going to make a show around college aged people then make them look that age at least. However despite not finding him very satisfactory as a leading man he does tend to man up at the key times and grow during the course of the story.
Belldandy is basically your perfect Japanese girlfriend/wife. She’s moe for starters though not to the degree that we see in today’s anime. She’s beautiful, a perfect cook and homemaker, and great at school. Though the revelation of her attending school with Keiichi was a bit confusing since they just suddenly dropped that on the audience without any real explanation. That’s another issue I have with Belldandy. Of course I loved her, who wouldn’t? But she lives for Keiichi and everything she thinks of and does is only for him. There seems to be no will or drive of her own. I know this anime is intended for guys, but well I think guys need to see things that are more realistic as well. We don’t live to serve you; a relationship should be a partnership.
The rest of the cast is pretty small and of the supporting cast there are some memorable characters. Frankly Urd and Skuld steal the show and are much more interesting characters than either of the leads. I thought they complimented each other nicely, with each being very different personalities. Additionally I was pleasantly surprised that as they grew into the harem of pretty girls surrounding Keiichi they didn’t try to become love interests. Keiichi's sister Megumi had some early promise but she faded from the story pretty quickly. Most of the rest of the characters are forgettable and don’t get much screen time.
The artwork and animation quality is very good. You would honestly never know that it was made in the early 90s without being told so. The characters are very detailed and realistic looking. My only issue with the characters would be the much to youthful look for Keiichi. This is a minor annoyance though. The magic and special effects are well done as well whenever one of the Goddesses uses her powers.
The voice performances are the weakest link of the OVA. Keiichi's weakness is brought home by his un-masculine voice. Also Belldandy's voice is a bit irritating on the nerves too. While I have enjoyed Kikuko Inoue's roles before there is just something I don’t like about the way she voiced this character. Again Urd and Skuld steal the spotlight in the category as well. The OP/EN music were good however and fitting.
I was pleasantly surprised by my enjoyment of Ah! My Goddess. If you’re looking for a little light romance that is high on sweetness with a dash of comedy and very little perversion then I would recommend this series to you.
How can there not be a review for this yet? Must be because this is the forgotten child of the franchise. With the manga and tv series all being far more popular and fleshed out, its easy to overlook the OVA here. But to ignore it completely is a mistake. The OVA episodes here are without a doubt a re-telling of the same AMG story we've come to know and enjoy over the years....but there are a few mildly interesting discrepancies.
So lets get down to it. You got Keiichi, Belldandy, and the rest of the gang. In fact, all the main characters show up with
the exception of Marller. You got the 'sittin-at-home-waitin-for-a-phone-call-and-oh-shi-its-a-babe-in-the-window' inciting incident. After a little fast forwarding they get their temple house set up and then everyone begins to make their entrances.
This is where the aforementioned discrepancies begin. Sayoko and Belldandy meet on a beach five months later instead of at the university. In the same episode they pull the love potion Keiichi, Sayoko, and Belldandy story while switching out Marller for Urd as the antagonist of that situation. If that weren't strange enough, the third episode has them drag racing against Toshimas club for a bet that apparently be one-sided here.
But its in the fourth episode where the story really breaks down. There is some kinda crazy that keeps Belldandy and Keeichi from being near one another. Whats worse is that Belldandy has to go back to the Heavens in three days time and probably won't be coming back any time soon. The source of all their problems? Some goofing looking tree that has a connection to both Keiichi and Belldandys childhoods. Hmmmm, I'm sure I don't remember any of this in the rest of the franchise.
But thats not all. They even took a couple chances on changing characters. Take Keiichi for example. He is usually very shy, gentle, and understanding. Here he is more courageous and confrontational. Belldandy is pretty much the same, though I would say her "strong" moments fell short, and Tamiya and Ootaki seemed to be dialed way down.
As you can see, the OVA starts out as a missable re-tell, goes into a chopped up fast forward presentation, and finally evolves into a brand new story all its own. The names and setting remained the same, but the events and even the characters changed at least a bit.
So if you've skipped this in the past, re-think it. If you're looking for a different twist to the AMG series, check it out. The only thing you have to lose is about 2 and a half hours.
Ah My Goddess is simply put one of the most endearing and heart-warming romantic anime that I've ever watched.
Ah My Goddesses focuses on the tale of Keichi who lives a relatively mundane college life and everything in his life is turned upside down when a desire to order food at his dormitory makes him dial a wrong number which connects him to the Goddess Hotline which brings a Goddess into his life by the name of Belldandy. This beautiful goddess tells him that he can have one wish that she will do everything in her power to make it come true. Despite Keichi
being skeptical towards the events that have just happened he wishes for the goddess to be with him forever and much to his surprise she grants him that wish. Ever since that day his life has never been the same.
This anime would be mostly categorized as a romantic anime with some magical girl elements but the biggest thing I can praise this anime for is that despite its short length it really goes above and beyond to make you care for the two main characters in this series which is Keichi and Belldandy.
I can understand why a lot of old school anime fans have a lot of fondness for Belldandy because for as much as she is a beautifully drawn character, she has such a warm and endearing personality without being labelled as naive or airheaded. She is very loving and innocent person that always believes in doing things for the right reason and thankfully she is not sexualized in this anime as far as I'm concerned minus a few slight scenes of fan-service that isn't a detriment to overall character development of this character. Her development is also strengthened by a respectful male lead that could of easily taken advantage of her and the situation he is in, but his morals won't allow him to because he does ultimately care about her and throughout the series we will easily see how much he is willing to endure to care about the woman he is learning and willing to love.
Despite this anime being made in the early 1990's, the artwork for this anime is incredibly beautiful and the designs for the goddesses are incredibly detailed.The music fits the series incredibly well because when the anime wants to be heartfelt and cheerful the music accommodates for that and when the anime wants to be sad and depressing it has music that accommodates that as well. I want to highlight the ending song of this anime because it is incredibly adorable and really encompasses the entire aura of what makes this show so endearing.
Despite this OVA only being 5 episodes, it really does a lot in those 5 episodes. The first 3 episodes have a more happier and carefree vibe while the last two episodes are very sad and somber but all 5 episodes are used to strengthen the relationship between Keichi and Belldandy without becoming overbearing and painful.
Besides the two main characters other characters are brought into this anime, most notably Belldandy's goddess sisters (Older Sister Urd and Younger Sister Skuld) who definitely add some comedy to this romantic anime. Urd constantly pressures Keichi to grow some courage to tell Belldandy how he truly feels because Keichi is constantly at conflict with himself because even though he has a beautiful girl in his life, he struggles to know if its genuine or not because there are times he thinks she is only there because of the wish she granted him or if she really does have feelings for him. Skuld on the other hand is a very clingy younger sister that misses Belldandy in the Goddess world and thinks Keichi is at fault of why she doesn't return to the goddess world so that she can have Belldandy for herself. There are other characters in the anime but they have very minor roles and unfortunately are easily forgettable.
Ultimately the overall plot fixates on the concept of forbidden love because we have two characters (a human and a goddess) that under normal circumstances would never work and it becomes apparent that close to the end of the anime Keichi may lose Belldandy forever. When this anime builds towards it conclusion he is going to do everything in his power to enjoy his time left with Belldandy because he learns that his relationship with her is causing problems in the real world.
While people may get offended at the beginning that this relationship only exists because of making a wish come true, it ends up being a lot more complicated than that. No meaningful relationship should ever be formed by a forced contract, but we ultimately learn throughout this short ova is that if two people are meant to be together, they will find a way to be together regardless if its through a contract or not. Promises can go a long way after all especially if two people have feelings for each other even if they don't know it yet.
Overall, this is a very heartfelt comical anime that hits your feelings in all the right ways and by the end of it you'll be happy that you watched it because it deserves its praise as a well respected timeless romantic anime.
This makes me excited to watch the other iterations of Ah My Goddess.
Favorite Character: Belldandy
Least Favorite Character: Skuld
I watched this cos it was short. Can't say I was expecting much from it, and was pleasantly surprised as a result. This was in more ways than one the feel of this is similar to "Onegai Teacher" (the female leads are even voiced by the same actress). However, I thought "Onegai teacher" was a horrible anime... so how did this succeed where Onegai Teacher didn't, especially given the title of this was enough to make me cringe?
Is it the animation? The animation for AMG ("Ah! My Goddess") is only so-so, not as good as Onegai Teacher. The colours are a bit stale and though
I wouldn't go as far as to say it looks dated, it's obvious that it isn't a recent anime. Also, Belldandy didn't look as stunning all the characters makes her out to be. :P
The sound? I REALLY liked the music in this one... the end theme is just so catchy and charming. In hindsight, it probably did a lot to tame my attitude towards AMG. The only bit that was slightly off was the music being played during the climax in the last episode. It was a tad over dramatic, and would have been more suitable in a mecha battle or something. Other than that, I loved the music. Did I mention that I especially liked the end theme? Oh well, it's so good it deserves another mention :P Even though I thought the voice acting was a little on the weak side, the sound department certainly went a long way towards making this a decent anime.
The story... as you might expect from someone who thought the Onegai Teacher's story was ludicrous, I thought the story for AMG was ludicrous too, and it was definitely the weakest part of this anime. But for some reason AMG seemed a lot less so than Onegai teacher. It felt like it was flowed much better. Maybe it is because of the characters - I felt the characters in AMG were much better portrayed. Initially, I thought it was a little weird how Belldandy just took to the guy so easily, but as it went on, I actually found the relationship between the two main characters to be a lot more natural than in "Onegai Teacher". And what's more, I actually cared a bit about what happened to the main character in this. So this is another one of the major factors that lifts this far above "Onegai Teacher".
AMG is far from being great, but I would describe it as a NICE anime, one of those that make you go "awww". It turned out to be pretty decent, and considering how I tend to hate anime from this genre, this is pretty high praise.
Been watching too much Berserk? Need something to brighten your day? Give one of these shows a whirl! Every anime on this list is guaranteed to put a smile on your face, even if you've just watched Grave of the Fireflies.