Alone in his dorm room one Saturday night (a frequent occurrence, to be honest), young Keiichi Morisato accidentally dials a wrong number that will literally change his life. You see, he inadvertently reaches the Goddess Technical Help Line, and a goddess is dispatched to grant him one wish.
The lovely young Belldandy informs him that he may have one wish - a wish for virtually anything in the world. In disbelief, Keiichi opts for a wish he believes will confound the system (and will prove that Belldandy has no particular wish-granting power): he wishes that Belldandy would stay with him always.
The power of this wish almost rips the fabric of time and space but it is ultimately granted. But of course such a wish has unforseen consequences, including the fact that Keiichi lives in a guys-only dorm. When his roommates return to find him with a woman on the premises, he is immediately tossed out on to the street. But the wish also has other unexpected side effects - such as when Keiichi and Belldandy are in peril of being separated, a motorcycle is suddenly repaired so that they can travel together.
Aa! Megami-sama! was published in English as Oh My Goddess! by Dark Horse Comics from December 20, 2005 to October 20, 2015. Dark Horse has been republishing the series in 3-in-1 omnibuses since August 11, 2015. It was also published in Italian as Oh, Mia Dea! by Star Comics from February 13, 2007 to May 23, 2015.
Publishing on a monthly basis from the late 1980s up until last year with a little over 300 chapters to its name, you'd think that this is a manga that goes well beyond the scope of countless other romances, right? Well... you'd be sorely mistaken. In reality, Ah! My Goddess is the ultimate game of will they/won't they. Its concept leads to a foregone conclusion that takes much too long to get to and by the time that the foregone conclusion rears its head, one question still remains unanswered: why did it take so long to get from point A to point B? With that
said, it's not like I hate Ah! My Goddess. No, quite the opposite in fact. I love the entire series and Belldandy will always be best girl. However, I'm not so quick to recommend the manga over something like say... the 2005 TV series done by AIC.
My biggest problem with Ah! My Goddess is the fact that it takes WAY too long for any substantial developments to occur when it comes down to Keiichi and Belldandy's relationship. From the very beginning, we already know that Keiichi and Belldandy will end up with one another. I mean, the guy wishes for an all-powerful goddess to stay by his side forever. What other possibilities could happen other than the two of them ending up as lovers? Living in a dysfunctional relationship? Yeah, if Belldandy was the abusive one and that'll never happen... unless she was secretly Shion from Higurashi in disguise.
From Chapter 1 up to Chapter ~280, Keiichi and Belldandy's entire relationship was a constant dance of will they/won't they. Now, Ah! My Goddess is primarily a comedy manga and this is where the bulk of the comedy is supposed to come from (key word: supposed to). Basically, Belldandy is a literal goddess, a friend to all creatures and things, and so on and so forth. Keiichi on the other hand is your standard nice guy that gets screwed over by everyone else and one day, he finds himself living with a literal goddess that he has the hots for and he can't bring himself to confess his feelings. Whenever he tries, Belldandy inevitably makes things worse because she doesn't know the first thing about love or romance. For example: he tries to confess, he stutters a lot, and Belldandy thinks he's sick so what does she do? She rushes him into bed and starts forcing cold remedies down his throat until he gets "better." Belldandy is a lot of things, and she's most definitely an unintentional sociopath. Pretty funny stuff, right? Not really...
As much as I love my sociopathic romantic comedies, there's a limit to how much I can find funny before it just gets tedious. The funny thing is that Ah! My Goddess was always a seinen manga, so one would think that it would be a logical course of action for the author to actually try and go beyond the realm of a will they/won't they relationship. Unfortunately, that's not the case whatsoever. If you really want a romance that goes beyond the conventional will they/won't they dynamic, you might as well read KareKano or *gulp* Itazura na Kiss (it may be shit, but it DOES go beyond the norm). Then again, who's to say that the constant will they/won't they is an inherently bad thing?
One of the main reasons why I love Ah! My Goddess so much in the first place is because of the fact that it's this really sweet and endearing read in the first place. In recent years where all sorts of grimdark stuff that try too hard at being edgy ends up getting popular, I feel like Ah! My Goddess serves an important niche as one of the few lighthearted mangas that you can turn to when you're sick of all the dark and edgy content being shoved in your face. Even if the romance isn't that great, I can count on Ah! My Goddess to at least make me smile whenever something sweet goes down between Keiichi and Belldandy.
On that note, the characters ain't half bad either. Aside from Belldandy and Keiichi, we have plenty of other characters that show up and make things more interesting like Urd, Mara, and Keiichi's sister (I'm too lazy to look up her name, please forgive me). I would include Skuld in the list too, but she's an irritating and possessive cockblocker and so I don't really care much about her. Over the course of 308 chapters, I can safely say that the characters were handled much better than the actual romance. Everyone has their own motivations, quirks, and so on and so forth. At the same time, the constant repetition that went on in the manga prevents any substantial character development to come forward when it actually matters. I mean, it DOES happen but at a much slower pace than I'd like for it to.
On another note though, the artwork is actually quite lovely. This manga was publishing for well over 20 years, and it's quite obvious that the artwork changes significantly over time, but another reason why I like reading Ah! My Goddess in the first place was just to see these changes make themselves more evident over time. I mean, mangas like Berserk that have also been publishing for well over 20 years also go through some form of art evolution but most of the time, the changes are actually pretty limited and just involves the mangaka finding their own style and then sticking with it for years. Ah! My Goddess is one of the few mangas where the author actually experimented with his style multiple times throughout the entire work.
Would I say that I enjoyed reading Ah! My Goddess? Well, yeah. Even when it was getting tedious, I really did like reading it but at the same time, it lost momentum way too quickly for my liking and whilst the ending DOES make up for it, to some degree, that doesn't really change the fact that the conclusion it DOES reach by the end of it all could've easily been achieved in around half the time it took to actually get there. Even though I really do like Ah! My Goddess, I don't think I'd be recommending it to anyone anytime soon. If you really want Ah! My Goddess, watch the 2005 TV series instead. It cuts out a lot of the crap that was in the manga so that Keiichi and Belldandy's relationship could develop much quicker and it was always meant to be a self-contained story, so it could go much further than the manga ever did. Plus, it has two seasons! Can't go wrong with that, now can you? Anyway, that's all for now. Feedback's always welcome and with that, I'm out. Peace :)
Before I start to describe my thoughts, I want to point out that this manga is 25 years of one author work. So regardless of what I write, give this comic a try if you have some interest in genre.
This is one of those Harem-Comedy style comic books. There is one boring protagonist and lot of beauties that want to get his attention. Someone may say that, there are thousand mangas with same plot and some of them might have better story or more interesting art style. This all true, this manga have nothing unique or special but i still think this one
is the best one in genre. Author have really big attention to small details in everything including art, story, character design. Characters are the most strongest part of this manga, they all have very vibrant visual style, and also deep personalities. Later on, from comedy-romance story with a little bit fantasy, manga will evolve into fantasy-adventure story with a little bit of romance. Art style also will be improved. But Belldandy still be the most gorgeous and kindest goddess.(Also i think her name sounds very stupid)
(just for the record, this is a slight alteration of my anime review)
This is the title that initiated the Magical Girlfriend subgenre of harems and ecchies and it’s also amongst the oldest harems yet still published manga series (it’s been around since 1988).
STORY SECTION: 5/10 [Feels almost like a hentai]
Analysis: General Scenario 1/2, Pacing 1/2, Side Stories/Extra Spices 2/2, Plausibility 1/2, Conclusion 0/2
The story is about a teenage dork dialing the wrong number and ends up living with a beautiful goddess, ready to fulfill his wishes, of which his is to stay with him forever (wish fulfillment). Soon afterwards her also godly sisters pop up
(harem creation) and his life becomes complicating as he is constantly surrounded by supernatural hot chicks and had to keep using his talents to save the world from cosmic horrors (action) without messing his tiny personal life (comedy). The story is one big pile of comedy, romance, drama, that also blends mythology with science fiction. The core premise is always about Keichi and Belldandy being in love and staying true to each other, even when the cosmic forces conspire against them.
The whole “Sudden Girlfriend Appearance” never made much sense and a “Magical Girlfriend” one makes even less. The whole deal is quite unrealistic. Beautiful goddesses, living in your apartment and helping you solve your problems with epic-level magic? That is something that happens only in anime as cheap means of escapism. Plus, only living with them but never go beyond peeking and hugging is something that all men should loathe worldwide.
But let’s not forget it was amongst the first to set the stage as such and it was everybody else that copied this now tired formula. I hold nothing against its premise as it was quite original and interesting back then. Also, judging it as a fictional story it is far-far better than most similar series as it leaves room for infinite possibilities. Unlike most harems that are hardly trying to flesh out their characters or provide internal logic to all the madness in the story, AMG is actually trying its best to make everything seem logical and excused. The girls are all there for a reason, react somewhat logical with the restrictions of the premise, have powers that are somewhat excused through science and every event has technology and mythology to back it up.
Also, the story never forgets to still be easy-going and funny, where nothing major or deadly ever happens; so all “fake-looking” or “nerdy” situations in it are easily ignored. Realism aside, it is good and cheery, without being great. Some parts are definitely more exciting or funny than others and most of the duration may feel as dead time but it is still overall quite enjoyable.
A big flaw for some is that there is no actual scenario development, other than introducing more secondary characters and ephemeral threats every now and then. But if stand-alone episodes and stale stories don’t bother you, this is not a problem anymore. Other than that, there is no actual objective or even a conclusion, no matter how many mangas come out. It just goes on and on indefinitely.
CHARACTER SECTION: 6/10 [Sultan’s favorite place]
Analysis: Presence 2/2, Personality 2/2, Backdrop 2/2, Development 0/2, Catharsis 0/2
I admit that Belldandy is amongst my favorite anime girls. Too gentle and good to be true, but then again she is a goddess and that is enough of an excuse. Her sisters Urd and Skuld are also very interesting. Few series manage to present so many diverse and yet likable characters. I can say it is the combination of great visuals, ethereal music and unearthly nature that makes them feel far better than the average harem bimbo out there.
But Keichi is was and still is a typical male dork that is swarmed by beautiful girls without being anything special. Oh, sure, he is gentle, kind, good-hearted and the like; but let’s face it, girls don’t really notice such things. We can always justify it with the fact that Belldandy is a goddess that can see people for what they really are. But since I am not a god, I say he is a sissy for feeling embarrassed every time he has the chance to make some lovey-dovey. He and all other males like him in most harem anime are despicable! They give the male gender a bad name, he is the driest and worst character amongst the cast. But if I am to give him a few redeeming qualities, I can say he is actually using his brain from time to time to solve some problems and even finds the courage to fight for his harem. Too bad he isn’t bold enough to do anything other than that.
Other than that, all characters have quirks, backdrop stories and goals that go beyond their stereotypes as sex-bombs, edgy lolitas and shy male virgins. The secondary characters are all very likable and give enough coloring to main ones. None of them were bad or unneeded in the story. I can’t say the same about Keichi (and to think he is supposed to be the protagonist!).
None develops or finds any sort of catharsis because of the short-arced type of series, which may become tiresome after awhile. Meaning, the characters are colored but are not developing at all. Keichi and Belldandy come a bit closer in the end but it’s nothing much.
ART SECTION: 9/10 [Magical technology]
Analysis: General Artwork 2/2, Character Figures 2/2, Backgrounds 2/2, Readability 1/2, Visual Effects 2/2
The art starts of very weak but slowly improves to the point it looks great if you compare it with other similar series.
-All Slice-Of-Life series don’t use flashy visual effects (they don’t fit there). So, the graphics here are catchier, by default.
-Most romances hardly have so heart-warming atmosphere and adorable character figures.
-Most Magical Girl series don’t have so well made (or serious looking, if you prefer) visual effects.
-Almost all comedies don’t have so detailed character figures. They are usually simplistic and go chibi all the time.
-Most Harem/Ecchi series turn their female characters into obnoxious, panties-revealing sluts. The girls here retain an air of purity and gentleness. The naughty scenes are few but worthwhile, as the focus in the series is not waiting to see boobs every 10 seconds (like it happens in most).
VALUE SECTION: 8/10 [A light that shines your heart]
Analysis: Historical Value 3/3, Rereadability 2/3, Memorability 3/4
Ah! My Goddess helped to mainstream Harem and Magical Girlfriend stereotypes and thus deserves a good mark just for that. Rewatchability is high. It is comical and heart-warming enough to deserve a second watch. But you will most likely skip some not-so great part. Although not original or unique anymore, it is still amongst the best of its genre.
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 5/10 [Like a sunny day, it is enjoyable but also rather passable]
Some problems ruined a portion of the enjoyment.
-The relationship between Keichi and Beldandy never goes beyond hugging, making the whole deal stale and without further development. The story itself has no development, other than introducing more secondary characters every now and then.
-There is a lot of character coloring as the series progress but very little character development. You get to know more about them but don’t see them change at all.
-There are lots of uninteresting chapters, where the goddesses and/or demons rival each other, just for laughs.
-There is no conclusion.
The rest of it was quite decent and a worthy read.
A great piece of work in its kind that is bogged down by its stale and aimless storytelling.
I've come to love this manga! One true reason I enjoy this series are the characters. The character designs are just fantastic! Fujishima's art is definitely one of my favorites. This manga also a unique use of racing and motorcycles as a plot device. That's a plus for me since I am a big racing and motorcycle fan. The comedy is also one of the strong points of this anime. Since it is a seinen manga aimed for an older audience, it dishes out plenty of dirty jokes.
One drawback is the fact that the manga has a slow start. The story and Fujishima's art
isn't as well evolved as it is now. So you might have to read a couple of volumes until you get addicted. But trust me, it is well worth it.
This manga has evolved from a simple magical girlfriend story to one that involves more action, racing, and plenty or comedy and fan-service to go around. If you're looking for a manga to enjoy, you can't go wrong with Ah! My Goddess.