Oh My Goddess Collectors Edition - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: C
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: AnimEigo
  • MSRP: 39.98
  • Running time: 160
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Ah! My Goddess

Oh My Goddess Collectors Edition

By Chris Beveridge     June 27, 2006
Release Date: June 06, 2006


Oh My Goddess Collectors Edition
© AnimEigo


What They Say
College freshman Morisato Keiichi gets more than he bargained for when he goes dialing for dinner and gets an unexpected delivery - Belldandy, a real live, honest to goodness Goddess!

Belldandy grants him a wish, and Keiichi decides that what he really needs is a girlfriend just like Belldandy!

And that's exactly what he gets. The mysterious "Ultimate Force" that enforces all Wish Contracts comes into play, and Keiichi and Belldandy are now inseparable.

That's when Keiichi remembers that his dorm has a strict rule: NO WOMEN ALLOWED!

Can Keiichi and Belldandy find a new place to live? Will everyone buy the story that she's a foreign student? And does Keiichi have the guts to put the moves on a babe who is LITERALLY divine?

The Review!
Almost five years after its initial North American release, Oh My Goddess returns in a collectors edition that fixes most of the problems.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. As enjoyable as the English voice actors are in all of the incarnations of the show, my first love continues to be the Japanese cast and I can't not listen to it that way. The audio for the show is pretty much as expected based on numerous past viewings of the OVAs on different formats and we get a good stereo mix that has some minor directionality at times but a solid full feel when required, both for the music and some of the special effects like the magic. There were no real noticeable problems here such as dropouts or distortions during regular playback, leaving us with a solid sounding mix.

Video:
Originally released to video in 1993, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. When the 2001 DVD release came along, there was a large outcry from many who had serious problems with the transfer used as it led not only to some very obvious macroblocking on higher end setups, but the sheer amount of cross coloration made a lot of the show simply feel like it was constantly moving. This was in stark contrast to the Japanese DVD release which, other than the opening sequence, was clean and clear. This new release is essentially the Japanese release (which was also three discs) and with the English material added to it. The result is that, once again excluding the weak opening sequence, the core show itself is a huge improvement. Cross coloration is mostly gone though it does creep in very lightly in a few areas early on, but the color levels are now much more noticeably natural and not as punched up as we often see with AnimEigo releases. The opening sequence is still the weakest area and you can see the general lack of detail in it as well, but the Japanese release was the same from my memory of it. The show overall is a huge improvement over what came before; that release was unwatchable for a lot of people on a lot of setups.

Packaging:
If there's a weakness to the release, it's in the packaging. I'm not against digipaks but the main problem many of them seem to have in their design is an inability to stay closed. A simple latch mechanism of some kind must be able to work with these things. This release is in a trifold design where the front cover has the standard but appealing shot of all three of the girls with Belldandy in the center that has some really good colors to it and overall is very eye-catching, especially with the number of incarnations the show's been through in the last few years. The Collector's Edition label is well placed on the bottom so it doesn't dominate the front cover which is a plus. The back cover is pretty good as well with a top level listing of many of the discs extras and a summary of what to expect. There are a few shots from the show included and the technical information is fairly easy to find, except for the run time which doesn't seem to be listed at all and is just really bad to not include. Opening up, each of the girls gets their own disc with beautiful artwork on it while behind the clear plastic tray there is a minor bit of design artwork to "frame" the DVD. Overall it's good, but I really wish it either had a latch or some other method of storage.

Menu:
The menus for the releases are pretty good with a bit of imagery from the show taking up the full size of the canvas provided with a bit of music playing along to it. Keeping to the same kind of coloring for background as the front cover, each of them have quick and easy navigation and fast access times. The discs didn't read our players' language presets properly though for either audio or subtitles, and the credits page is a bit awkward since there's no indication of how to move to the second page or get out of it entirely in the middle (hint: cursor controls and the menu button do work!)

Extras:
Spread across all three discs, there's a copious amount of extras included in this release. The episodes all include the ability to "dub your own" with a music/effects track, and there's also a commentary track by the dub folks. One of the original Japanese producers, Toru Miura, gets interviewed here as well and there's a great look at Nekomi Tech with an "Inside" look at things like the school manual, paper and more. A good deal of the extras fall into the category of image related things such as character cards, art galleries and character designs and they provide some good views at both the conceptual and final form of the show. The best stuff though is the liner notes which go into a lot of detail on the translation side of things regarding the mythology and how they ended up at what they used. Agree or disagree, it's not often to have these things documented as nicely as this.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Oh! My Goddess was one of those shows that when released, was the right thing at the right time to help start moving fandom away from all the continual violent and mech shows that were populating the shelves at the time. While still very much a shounen show, OMG was light and airy and all about fun when it came out. It was pretty much like a breath of fresh air.

While I did enjoy it immensely, for some reason I really didn't give it much replay after the laserdiscs came out. So seeing it again now, years after its initial release, I still find it to be very much a charming show with very likeable characters. The show is set up quite simply. Nekomi Tech college student Keiichi is stuck watching his groups dorm room while they're all out one day. Feeling hungry, he decides to order out to some place that delivers. As luck would have it, each place is either closed or doesn't deliver that early. One of his dials though ends up reaching the Goddess Helpline, with a lovely voice indicating that he'll be taken care of right away.

Confused, Keiichi is then thrown off completely as out of one of the mirrors emerges this lavishly dressed... goddess. In every sense of the word. She's beautiful, she's dressed in very highly detailed clothes for an anime, and she's an actual goddess whose answering his need. His need has apparently been approved, so Keiichi jokingly wishes that someone like this goddess named Belldandy would stay with him forever. The lights go strong for a minute, and she informs him that his request has been granted. He's now got a goddess for a girlfriend.

It's at this point that it starts sinking into Keiichi what's going on, though he's still in something of a state of shock. He then realizes the clubs rules about no women in the room. Which of course is the cue for his fellow Auto Club members to arrive, react in horror and toss both of them in the street with nowhere to go. The two head head off to find a place to stay, and after some trouble, end up residing in a temple that's not been in use for many years. The use of it has even been approved by those upstairs.

This all works towards setting up the awkward and shy romance between the really nice-guy Keiichi and what a lot of guys consider their fantasy, Belldandy. The romance is quite slow, amusing and heartwarming at many times. Their romance is troubled by a few things though, but only in a way that it makes their attempts to get together more amusing for the viewer. Belldandy's older sister Urd makes her arrival in the second episode, where she urges Keiichi to take Belldandy to the beach. This means lots of Bell-chan in swimsuits and one of the best lines ever ("mellow-mellow!"). The third episode rounds out the main cast with the introduction of Belldandy's younger sister, Skuld, another goddess who handles bugs in the Ultimate Force system.

There's a lot of other things that try to come between Belldandy and Keiichi as well, which adds to the continually growing cast. Keiichi finds himself with not only three goddesses in his house, but a visiting younger sister whose now attending the same college, his wacky yet very friendly group of fellow club members, the club competition and other woman who in their own way find Keiichi to be what they want. It's definitely a shounen show, but it's one of the better ones that I've seen over the years.

With it being about thirteen years since its original release, I'm continually glad that I'm able to still sit down and watch this series and simply enjoy it. It's a show that has long had some special meaning because it showed some of the shift in the US market about what could be brought over and it was a title that helped to show that there was so much more out there, commercially viable no less, than what had come before. It also made a good push on the market with its dub at a time when what was being made was still heavily criticized. But the core show itself is what's appealing, even having seen it interpreted again more closely to the original manga with the TV series. Though the sense of wonder isn't the same as it was, I still find the animation to be fantastic and the design of the series highly enjoyable.

In Summary:
While this release is something of a mixed bag for some people because of the digipak packaging, the release overall is exactly what this series deserved back in 2001. Better late than never is an accurate way of looking at it and AnimEigo has certainly made it easy for those that bought into the less than stellar releases with their trade-in program. It's very rare to see something like that and it's something that continues to earn AnimEigo a bit of extra love among fans. Regardless, the real area that matters is how it looks and sounds and this is where the biggest improvements over the 2001 release is and it's all worthwhile making the upgrade or taking the plunge for the first time. This series has always been a jewel in my collection, be it the VHS tapes, the laserdiscs or the Japanese DVDs. I'm glad to finally have this version available to watch on my setup. Recommended.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Special Audio options (dub your own OMG & Commentary) ,Interview with producer Toru Miura ,Inside Nekomi tech (school manual; newspaper and ID), Character cards , Character designs ,Image gallery ,Karaoke ,Program Notes ,Textless opening/ending songs

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Samsung BD-P1000 Blu-ray player via HDMI -> DVI with upconversion set to 1080i, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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