Oh My Goddess Vol. #1 - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: N/A
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: AnimEigo
  • MSRP: 24.95
  • Running time: 87
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Ah! My Goddess

Oh My Goddess Vol. #1

By Chris Beveridge     August 14, 2001
Release Date: August 14, 2001

Oh My Goddess Vol. #1
© AnimEigo

What They Say
Episode 1: Moonlight and Cherry Blossoms
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. Then Keiichi remembers that his dorm has a strict rule: No Women Allowed!

Episode 2: Midsummer Night's Dream
Five months have passed since Morisato Keiichi dialed out for dinner and got a goddess instead, but he still hasn't managed to put the moves on the divine Belldandy. Belldandy's big sister Urd is not amused, and decides to give him some serious make-out advice. The result is a trip to the seashore, where every attempt by Keiichi to advance a base or two with Belldandy goes hilariously askew. Then Urd unleashes her ultimate weapon - the Love Potion!

Episode 3: Burning Hearts on the Road
It's really lonely up in the heavens without your big sisters to keep you company, especially when that means you are stuck with the job of tracking down all the bugs that keep cropping up in the Ultimate Force System. So little Skuld decides to pay her big sister Belldandy a visit. When she hears about the contract that binds Belldandy and Keiichi together, she decides that something must be done!

Meanwhile, Keiichi gets stuck with representing the Auto Club in the University Drag Race, only to find out that his sempai, Tamiya, has a secret bet laid down on the outcome. But that's not his only problem. He's got an angry little goddess gunning for him!

The Review!
One of the bigger fan favorites from the early 90's, Oh! My Goddess has finally made it to the shiny little DVD format. And with this release, it's joined the small list of shows whose laserdiscs I wish I had never sold off.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. After all these years, Belldandy's voice actress continues to be one of my favorites, so listening to it in its original language is a must. This is a pretty decent stereo soundtrack, with the majority of the dialogue coming through the center channel and the left/right making fairly decent use of the music and sound effects. Throughout this track we didn't notice any distortions or dropouts.

Right from the opening sequence my heart dropped. The large amount of cross coloration throughout it was very disappointing. But knowing that often the quality of an opening and ending sequence isn't indicative of the main content itself, I figured things would turn around once we got to the show. But unfortunately, the cross coloration there was quite strong as well, and there were a few sections of strong macroblocking (check out Tamiya's pants after he kicks Keiichi out). Throughout all three episodes, the main offense is really the cross coloration. And I haven't been this bothered by it since the early Trigun releases. After the first five minutes, I wanted my laserdiscs back. And to make things even worse, giving the disc a spin while writing the review, the cross coloration is much more subdued when playing through the Apex to the point where it's not visible in some sequences where it was noticeable on the HDTV and Skyworth deck. This is definitely a situation where your mileage will definitely vary.

This show just seems to have such a hard time with cover art. The original AnimEigo LD covers were all right, but too manga-ish. The Japanese DVD's are a bit better, but not by much. This release has some nice artwork, but something about the background just doesn't pop out at me. I'd almost think something brighter like the VHS releases with the pink would work better in being more eye-catching than this. The back cover is chock full of good info, with summaries of all three episodes and a listing of features. Creative and technical listings are all on the mark and AnimEigo has done good in adopting the Japanese style subtitling listing. They're close to building a code block going by this.

The menus done up for this release came out pretty nice, with animation and music playing while you can make the selections. It also appears that it's based on which language you have selected, as when I changed it to the make your own dub track, there was no music playing in the background. Access times are nice and fast between menus and everything is laid out in a pretty straightforward manner.

There's a good chunk of extras here but it'll depend on your tastes as to how much you get out of them. The first, while some may not consider it an extra but rather a standard from AnimEigo, is the liner note recipe cards. The cards provide a good deal of background information and other interesting tidbits about the show and song lyrics as well. On the disc itself, there's a nice two minute video gallery with 23 cel images (as opposed to shots taken from the show itself). They also went a step further and assigned each image its own chapter, so you can move around to ones that you want to see without having to fast forward or just wait.

The gist of the rest of the extras is in the form of audio. AnimEigo has provided another track beyond the English and Japanese that consists of the just the music and sound effects (with selection of subtitles or no subtitles), which essentially lets you go karaoke with it. This is probably something a lot more fun with a crowd rather than one guy by himself late at night.

The other track is a commentary track by some folks from Coastal Carolina, the group that dubbed it and gained quite a bit of fame from this particular dub. The track features voice actors Juliet Cesario, Scott Simpson, Pamela Widener and voice director, Scott Houle. Of course, in the first episode, it would have been extremely useful for them to introduce themselves and their roles. The commentary track is pretty good overall, with some interesting things coming out of how it was dubbed, what they thought worked well and their own enjoyment of the show. There weren't too many dead spots, but at a number of points it felt more like a couple of people sitting with you talking about the show itself rather than people commenting on the work they did. But, every commentary track is different in its approach since the participants are so varied, and this one does a good job overall.

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.

Oh! My Goddess has a lot to offer if you're able to look past the video problems. While it looks pretty good on my Apex and 19" TV, it looked horrible on my HDTV and Skyworth. So much so that I went and ordered the region 2 discs minutes after finishing this disc. Hopefully other people will have better luck than I did with this release, as it certainly deserves a wide audience.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Commentary track featuring voice actors Juliet Cesario Scott Simpson Pamela Widener and Voice Directo Scott Houle,Music and sound effects track,Slideshow featuring production cels and slides

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.


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