Mania Grade: NA
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- Audio Rating: N/A
- Video Rating: N/A
- Packaging Rating: N/A
- Menus Rating: N/A
- Extras Rating: N/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 Roman Martel
February 16, 2002
Release Date: August 14, 2001
Overall Rating: 4.7
(on a scale of 1-5)
This series is something I just had to have in my anime collection. It's the perfect blend of romantic storytelling and comedy. It is also the first anime that I showed to Ladycat. Suffice to say it enchanted her and was the series that made her into a fan. So yes, this series will hold a special place in my collection and that also means... another gushy/hard to be objective review!
Well this disc gets a pretty high technical grade. The sound and picture were both very good. This series has not looked better than this. The menu is clever and has some great motion and sound. Of course it works very quickly. The keepcase has almost all the info on it except for a parental rating of some kind. This series is pretty tame. There is only a bit a (very) brief nudity, and Urd gets a bit sexy. The cover itself has a nice picture of the goddesses descending toward you (hey I got this poster from the folks at Animeigo at AX2000!). The goodies are a blast. You get a commentary track which is done in a real conversational way. It's like you're sitting down and watching the series with voice actors while they joke around as well as tell you a bit about the voice acting process. They also reveal some of the deleted lines that were almost used, or how some of the insults (like fungus-head) came about. There is a track with only the sound effects and music.You can have a great time with some friends and create your own version (naughty or nice or spazzy or whatever) of Oh My Goddess. Or turn on the subs and give voice acting a shot. There is also a slide-show style gallery of promotional art as well as some stills. Those of you craving clean opening and endings can simply turn off the subs completely and just watch the artwork. The credits are part of the subtitle track and can easily be removed. This is the best way to see this anime classic. But what makes it a classic? Well keep reading to find out.
When I got my hands on this series the first time around, it was a nice refreshing change to all the hyper-violent anime that I had been used to seeing. It was like a breath of fresh air. It's got a light romantic story that just carries you along with it and makes it fun to watch. An then the last two episodes (in the next disc) just tie everything together by slowly turning the comedy into a drama and completing this whole story perfectly. But I'm getting ahead of myself, lets take a look at the basic story.
Keiichi Morisato is a poor college freshman (that never happens). He lives in an all men's dorm and since he's the low man on the totem pole, he gets to stay at home and take messages. Well the poor guy gets hungry and in his unsuccessful attempt to get some food delivered he calls the "Goddess Helpline". In a matter of seconds the lovely Belldandy steps out of a mirror and tells Kei that she can grant any single wish he might have. Keiichi thinks it's all a joke set up by the rest of the clowns in his dorm, so he says (half jokingly) that he wants a girl just like Belldandy to be with him forever. Well quicker than you can say "anything is possible in anime" Keiichi's wish is granted. Belldandy is his new girlfriend. Great, right? Well since she is a goddess, strange and wonderful things are bound to happen. Mostly trouble finds Keiichi in the form of Belldandy's sisters, the sexy (and over-helpful) Urd, and the younger (and mostly bratty) Skuld. Add a smarmy classmate named Aoshima who's after Bell, and the queen of the campus Sayoko (who wants Keiichi for herself) and you've got a romantic comedy that puts most Hollywood films of a similar genre to shame.
The animation and sound in this series is handled with just the right amount of skill. The goddesses are lovely and their outfits are fanciful and fit their personalities. The magic spells that each goddess uses are also well animated and have some excellent sound work with them. But one of the things I really enjoyed in this series was the way light and shadow was used in many key scenes. The second episode is filled with great moments when the light plays over the water or comes in through the window and gives things a dreamlike quality. Aside from that the animation is smooth looking and well done. The sound design in the real world (like during the drag race in the third episode) is also done well. Together these elements work to make the story entertaining and fun to watch.
The story is typical guy meets magical girl, guy falls for magical girl, and everything in the universe tries to keep them apart. What makes Oh My Goddess so charming is that Keiichi comes across as a dweeby everyman. Most of us have done stupid things just like Kei, especially around people as "perfect" as Belldandy. But the other characters and they way they interact in the basic love plot also helps in the comedy department. Urd wants Bell and Kei together. Skuld wants them far apart. Kei is a shy guy, who's a bit desperate. Bell is painfully nice and sweet, but also seems to love Kei. All these conflicting character motivations and traits keep the comedy and romance brewing. I mentioned above that this disc is really a bit of set up. The next disc brings the love story to its conclusion and balances with these light fun episodes.
This dub is one of the best, especially considering it's age. All the actors match the Japanese counterparts in voice sound. But beyond that this crew is having a blast doing it. Each of the mains does a top notch job bringing the animated characters to life. The dub takes a few liberties (using some very American slang here and there), but that didn't bother me in the least bit. They are true to the characters and keep the energy going in all three episodes. I have to say that all four mains (the three goddesses and Kei) do a great job.
The music gets a bit much at times. It's mostly during the meaningful moments where it is just a bit over the top. It sticks out just a bit, but not too much. The opening and ending songs are pure J-pop fun. I love them. These songs also set the mood of the series with the fun element that works with the animation for the opening and stills for the end credits. For the most part the music works with the animation and sound to make this a great series.
I loved watching this set of episodes again. Ladycat and myself watch this once a year without fail. These episodes are just a ton of fun. Yes this is a romantic comedy but it works great on almost all levels. And when you see it with the two completing episodes in the next disc the series really goes to a new level. This is solid addition to any anime fan's collection. And it's also a good series to use to introduce people into anime, especially if they don't seem to be too into mecha or sci-fi. It also goes to show you that any kind of story can be animated and make a truly entertaining piece of work.
Roman J. Martel
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Phillips Flatscreen (27 Inch), Sony Playstation 2