Ah! My Goddess TV Vol. #1 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: MVM Entertainment
  • MSRP: £19.99
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Ah! My Goddess

Ah! My Goddess TV Vol. #1

By Bryan Morton     February 28, 2007
Release Date: February 05, 2007


Ah! My Goddess TV Vol. #1
© MVM Entertainment


What They Say
Keiichi Morisato is an engineering student, top driver of his campus motor club, and not very lucky with the ladies. But while calling for take-out food one evening, a wrong number puts him in contact with the "Goddess Hotline." One misplaced wish later, Keiichi finds himself blessed with Belldandy, the perfect girlfriend and a goddess in every sense of the word.

Unfortunately, she doesn't have any idea of how to act in the human world, and her presence quickly gets Keiichi kicked out of the dorms. Fortunately for Keiichi, his troubles have just begun!

Episodes Comprise
1 - Ah! You're A Goddess?
2 - Ah! Those Who Believe Shall Find Salvation!
3 - Ah! Apprenticeship, Home and the Goddess!
4 - Ah! The Queen and the Goddess!
5 - Ah! Living Under One Roof Together!

The Review!
If you've been an anime fan for more than about five years, I pretty much guarantee you won't need to read much this review - Ah! My Goddess is one of the best-known manga series of all time, with the original OVA anime series & subsequent movie both carrying the tag of 'classic'. It's now finally made the trip to the small screen - and there are a lot of expectations on the new series. Can it live up to the reputation of its predecessors?

Audio:
Audio for this release is provided in Japanese and English 2.0 stereo " I listened to the Japanese track for this review. The soundtrack is clear, with dialogue being easy to pick out over the background effects, and good use is made of the soundstage to give direction to speech. There were no obvious encoding problems.

Video:
Video is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, and after the disappointing quality of the OVA's release is a joy to watch. The quality of the animation is high, with good use of colour and detail to give a very vibrant feel to the series. The encoding does justice to the source material, too, with no noticeable problems to spoil one very good-looking release.

Packaging:
No packaging was provided with our review copy.

Menu:
A flurry of feathers brings the main menu into view, with an image of the three goddesses taking centre stage and a series of clips from the show drifting past in bubbles. Submenus are provided for Setup and Extras - these are each static screens, with Belldandy featuring on the Setup menu. Options are also provided for Play All and for direct access to each episode.

Extras:
Along with a clean version of the opening credits, there are two Japanese extras on this volume: an "outtakes" clip which is really more of a comedy skit by the VAs using recycled scenes from the show (complete with disclaimer that it's not to be taken seriously), and a recording of a promotional event that was done before the show aired, featuring Kikuko Inoue (Belldandy). All told, not a bad selection.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
Keiichi Morisato is a fairly typical college student, who's sadly stuck in a low-rent dorm (males only) with a bunch of very abnormal fellow students. He has to deal with the usual ups and downs of everyday life, but mostly it's the downs - today, his bike has broken down, he's been turned down (in public) by the girl of his dreams, and his friends from the Auto Club are determined to 'help' him skip class to join their fundraising campaign. But his luck's about to change, when a phone call he makes is re-routed to the Goddess Help Line - and to Belldandy, Goddess First Class.

"I came down from Heaven to grant your wish", or so Belldandy tells him, but Keiichi's having an understandably hard time believing her - it's not every day that a Goddess First Class appears in your flat. With introductions out of the way, and Keiichi finally convinced that Belldandy's telling the truth, it's time for him to make his wish. Talking with Belldandy has put an idea in his head: wouldn't she make a great girlfriend? So even though he has the chance to ask for untold riches or world destruction, Keiichi keeps it simple: "I'd like a goddess like you to stay by my side forever". To his amazement (and to Belldandy's initial confusion), his wish is accepted. One small problem: about that 'no women' rule in his dorm...

And so begins Keiichi's new life with Belldandy, and the resulting chaos that goes along with it. The two find themselves living on the streets until a kindly monk puts them up in his temple, while Belldandy's arrival at college soon persuades Keiichi's former object of affection Mishima that perhaps she's interested after all (nothing to do with Belldandy stealing all the attention she used to get, of course). As time passes, Keiichi also has to deal with his own feelings for Belldandy, as well as trying to work out if she's staying with him out of a sense of duty for honouring his wish, or if she genuinely has feelings for him in return.

If you've seen the OVA series this will all look a bit familiar. Rather than carrying on from where the OVA left off, the TV series opts to start over again, and this time around is able to linger over the details of Keiichi's story. Old-timers will also note that the character designs have changed slightly - less detailed and cuter than the original designs (and showing the development the manga designs have gone through over time), they're very easy on the eye. The original OVA cast has also been retained, which is quite an achievement after so long. It all adds up to a release that long-time fans of the series will love.

For newer anime fans, at first glance it's maybe not such an easy choice. Ah! My Goddess at heart is a harem series (most of the other girls Keiichi has to deal with haven't arrived yet, but they'll be here soon) " back in 1993 when the OVA was released, they weren't hugely common, but nowadays they're ten a penny, so if you didn't know the history of the series you could maybe be forgiven for complaining about a lack of originality " even though many of the more recent shows of the genre take at least some of their inspiration from A!MG.

The series does enough to stand out from the harem crowd, though, through its high production values and a cast that you really can't help but love, even though they play to all the stereotypes you'd expect. There's a genuine warmth and interplay between the characters that's a joy to watch and gives the series a feel that very few shows manage to achieve. The comic scenes are genuinely funny and don't feel forced, while the more touching moments between Belldandy and Keiichi are very well written and usually manage to tug gently on the heartstring without making you feel that you're being shamelessly manipulated by the writers.

The end result is hugely enjoyable. A!MG has had such a following and high profile over the years that there were plenty of high expectations that surrounded this new project, and I'm happy to say that, so far at least, the TV series looks set to live up to them. Older fans won't be disappointed by how the story is being handled, and those new to the story should find plenty here to make the series worthwhile viewing.

In summary:
To be honest, A!MG TV would have needed to have been a complete disaster for me to write it off at this stage. My interest in the storyline is great enough that I want to see more of it in animated form, and this series finally gives me the chance to do that. Add in the high production values and the way the story is being handled, and I'm very happy with this release. I just hope the high quality is maintained. In the meantime, though, this volume comes very highly recommended.

Features
Japanese Language 2.0,English Language 2.0,English Subtitles,Japanese Voice Actor Introduction,Japanese Voice Actor Outtakes,Clean Opening Sequence

Review Equipment
Panasonic TX-W28R30P 28" widescreen TV; Pioneer DV-626D player; Acoustic Solutions DS-222 5.1 speaker system.

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