Anime on DVD: AMG/OMG! -

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Anime on DVD: AMG/OMG!


and Kosuke Fujishima's romantic fantasy of a college boy who calls for take out and gets a live-in Goddess instead has been one of the most popular manga stories in both Japan and the US for 10 years. His sublime art and sympathetic, gentle characters make for a wonderful read. Their transformation to anime has been nearly as successful.First, a note on the various names for this title. "Ah! Megamisama" is the Japanese name for both the manga and the anime. It's literally translated as "Ah! My Goddess", and this name has appeared on several pages of the manga and other promotional material in Japan. When AnimEigo and Dark Horse/Studio Proteus licensed the OVA's and manga respectively, the obvious pun of "Oh My Goddess!" was chosen with Fujishima's blessing. Pioneer has chosen the "Ah! My Goddess" title for the movie release. One day I'll ask them why.The OVA's are nearly a decade old, but look good despite their age. There are five episodes released by AnimEigo on two DVDs. The three episodes on the first OAV DVD volume introduces us to the main characters. "Moonlight and Cherry Blossoms" explains how you get a Goddess to move in with you when you're a homeless college student. "Midsummer Night's Dream" shows you how not to deal with the sexy older sister of the Goddess who lives with you. "Burning Hearts on the Road" explains why twin-engined drag race motorcycles aren't necessarily better than single-engined bikes, as well as how to deal with the bratty younger sister of the Goddess who lives with you.The first story clings quite closely to the manga, setting the romantic tone for the show, while the next two episodes are entirely new, bearing no relationship with anything in the manga. However, those two episodes do an excellent job of introducing first Urd and then Skuld. Keiichi and Skuld Belldandy Urd and SkuldThe second volume of the OAV DVDs is really one episode in two parts, "Evergreen Holy Night" and "For the Love of Goddess". It concerns a promise Keiichi made to Belldandy, and a problem with Heaven that is forcing them apart. Again, this story does not appear in the manga, but it is a wonderful, heart-rending story. "Oh My Goddess!" is at it's heart a story about the power of love. It manages to convey that power without once resorting to maudlin sappiness or easy clichés.The voice acting is top notch. Ikuko Inoue's Belldandy is the very embodiment of beauty, while Yumi Touma's smoldering Urd and Aya Hisakawa's energetic Skuld are perfectly acted. The English dub is an older one that actually holds up surprisingly well. One of the more unique features of the two DVDs is a commentary track by the voice actors that is quite a bit of fun and informative as well.
When rumors of an AMS movie began circulating, fans became very excited. The idea of a feature-length movie budget to anime Keiichi, Belldandy and the rest was a compelling one. When the movie was finally released, it lived up to the expectations. To put it bluntly, this is one of the most beautiful anime movies in recent memory.The movie concerns Celestin, Belldandy's mentor from Heaven, and his efforts to wrest control of Heaven. He causes Belldandy to lose her memories of Keiichi, and Keiichi must somehow find a way to get her memories back. The movie Keiichi is a strong, confident young man, something of a surprise in the one-guy-surrounded-by-a-bunch-of-babes genre. He never once backs down from Celestin or Heaven. Even in the midst of a celestial fight, he runs into danger to protect Belldandy. With Belldandy's character either unconscious or out of it for most of the movie, Keiichi must shoulder more of the story, and the writers do an excellent job of making him believable and sympathetic without once castrating him. He's no Leon from Bubblegum Crisis, but I don't see Leon committing himself wholeheartedly to Priss' happiness, either. Belldandy Urd Skuld Keiichi Celestin MorganCelestin is an excellent villain in that he's very three dimensional. The goals he's working for are quite noble, even if his methods are extreme. The flashbacks to Belldandy as a child show us a younger, more idealistic Celestin, as well as the crimes he committed for what he believed in. Another character introduced in the movie is Morgan, the fairy princess who lost the man she loves to a cruel law, and who will fight with Celestin to help him overthrow Heaven.The movie manages the tightrope act of giving existing fans what they expect such as motorcycles, humor, romance and the usual cast of secondary characters, while at the same time telling a story that will have to stand on it's own. The various elements of animation, character design, writing, acting, directing and music all combine to make this an indispensable part of any anime fan's collection. And if that's not enough to sell you, then keep in mind that the Pioneer release includes the first episode of the Adventures of the Mini-Goddess. That's worth it just for the ending theme song. 


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