June 7, 2015
Kosuke Fujishima – Dark Horse – 2013 – 48 volumes
I’m going to catch up on reviewing these (*cough* and hopefully post them *cough*) so that I can read and review the final volume right away. 47 is scheduled for the end of March, but there should be oooooone moooooore after that. I’ve been reading this series for 14 years, and it will be devastating to give it up, but I am curious about the finale after all this time. Maybe Belldandy and Keiichi will finally do more than hold hands. Well, I guess Keiichi does plunge his hand into her cleavage in this volume, but somehow, when it’s Keiichi, that doesn’t really count.
Anyway, this volume is pure nightmare fuel, in a way that Oh My Goddess never is. The party is split up when a karaoke match puts Urd and Skuld on one team, and Keiichi and Belldandy on the other. It’s a bit horrifying at first, since the Demoness traps Keiichi and Bell in a room with a device that drains Belldandy, powered by the fact that Urd and Skuld are trying to “destroy” it in the next room. Bell and Keiichi can’t leave, since allegedly leaving will kill Eihwaz, which Bell wouldn’t do anyway, but Eihwaz also has a Goddess doublet that will die, of course.
There’s a great/weird scene, where Bell puts the key between her breasts so she will be the one that Kills Eihwaz instead of Keiichi (she claims she’ll do it, she’ll do anything to save Keiichi), then she tells Eihwaz that she’s going to decode her curse. Eihwaz goes on to explain that it took a couple months to make, and Bell shouldn’t lie. There’s a creepy scene that zooms in on Bell’s eye and her cheerful face, then Eihwaz realizes that Goddesses First Class can’t lie, and Bell isn’t fucking around.
An odd detail: Eihwaz uses a harisen fan on Mokkurkalfi. I may not have seen one of those in about 15 years. That is old-school.
Later, the gang meets Hagal, she easily incapacitates Belldandy and quite literally maims Keiichi. It’s… very dark. And this was a fun arc, despite the demon fights. It’s winding down now, though. It’s the longest in the series, and honestly, I’m a little sad to see it go.
November 16, 2014
Kosuke Fujishima – Dark Horse – 2012 – 48 volumes
Though I read relatively few volumes of manga this year, the end of Oh My Goddess did not escape me. I really, really like this series, and even during other periods where I read little manga over the years, I still read Oh My Goddess (this one included, I’m behind on reviews, but not reading it). There’s nothing spectacular, really, I’ve just grown to genuinely love the characters over the years, and Fujishima has been good at continually coming up with interesting situations. Dark Horse hasn’t scheduled the last volume yet, but it’s sad to think that the next time I take a break, Oh My Goddess won’t be there for me.
I was surprised to see yet another foe in this volume. Again, I wasn’t expecting the storyline to last this long, since Oh My Goddess stories generally do not. But it goes on for a little longer still. Another foe is mainly featured in this volume, Mokkurkalfi. Mokkurkalfi is a machinist, which of course means that this fight belongs to Skuld.
Again, I know it’s not exciting to people who haven’t been reading this series for, like, 15 years, but seeing Skuld fight in a situation that defeats both Belldandy and Urd, and getting an explanation about what makes Skuld great, is awesome. She is often played for laughs, and acts childishly, but here she fights like no other. Even Banpei gets to be super-cool. But then again, Banpei always is.
There’s also a great moment towards the end of the book where Mokkurkalfi proves that, while they all look like smoking hot older women, the demons and goddesses are just magical beings, and can look like whatever they want. Then she proves it by going super-dark-powerful-creepy on Keiichi. And yes, he realizes, he forgets what he’s lived with all these years. Again, a great moment because Oh My Goddess doesn’t often get dark like that, nor call attention to the fact that the Goddesses are… well, just that. This storyline in particular is great, because Keiichi can do almost literally nothing against these demons (except for last time <3).
And we get more of the good stuff in the next volume!
September 9, 2012
Kosuke Fujishima – Dark Horse – 2012 – 44+ volumes
I probably say this every time, but I value this series highly as my very own manga sitcom. It doesn’t really matter what it’s about, I can sit down and enjoy it every time a new volume comes out, as I have for the past… wow, 13-14 years or so. It makes me forget how old I am. But more than that, it’s an episodic series with characters that I’ve grown fond of over the years, so I’m always going to like it no matter what’s going on. And it’s always so happy and positive. It would be hard for me to give this one up.
But better yet, the past several volumes have indulged in a very serious ongoing story arc, something that Oh My Goddess never, ever does. The main characters have been running a gauntlet through various demon warriors at the command of Hagal. This volume, their opponent is Thrym, a very muscular and chipper demon who loves a good fight. She’s not even malicious about it. She’s genuinely excited that Belldandy and the others will be a good match for her. Her deal is that she can break anything, including the spells that the Goddesses use. Urd’s lightning, Belldandy’s barriers, nothing works. So Belldandy has to engage her in combat.
And that’s awesome. Nobody really cares but fans of the series at this point, but really. It’s great. Belldandy just doesn’t fight that much, and it’s a nice thing when it happens. Especially when the fight is so drama-free, as it is here. Thrym just really loves fighting.
I should say they finish up the fight with Hagal as well, with a very interesting solution indeed. Still, that was completely overshadowed by the Thrym fight. She was a really great character.
I’m wondering how many more opponents come after this. On one hand, I could go for another one or two like Thrym, but it’s unlike Oh My Goddess to run a story arc that’s as long as this one (it’s been… what, three volumes, I think?). I’m wondering if it will wrap up with Hagal next time. I’m up for that, too. Really, I’m up for anything this series wants to throw, because it’s all good. It’s just such a pleasure to read.
March 13, 2012
Kosuke Fujishima – Dark Horse – 2012 – 43+ volumes
My favorite sitcom manga! I read both this and the re-release of volume 20 together. The latter marks the end of the Oh My Goddess re-releases, so if you wanted to buy a whole set of the series in the same format, now’s the time to do it. I can’t believe it’s been almost seven years since those started. That makes me feel old and cranky. Usually Oh My Goddess is a good cure for such things, but this time around, we’re in the middle of an epic plot. Which, I have to say, is pleasing me to no end in the context of such a chill and episodic series.
Keiichi, Belldandy, Urd, and Skuld head to Hell to face off against Hagal. It tries to win me over very hard in the first chapter. Hild kisses Keiichi, and Skuld asks what a crotch is. And this is just the gateway to Hell!
There are challenges on the way to Hagal’s place, which I was not expecting in a series like this. The first demoness the gang faces off against is a Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure-like opponent. In theory, they are fighting the demoness, but the fight is really more of a puzzle than it is an exchange of blows. The demoness controls darkness perfectly, and no light that the goddesses can summon penetrates, which makes the group completely blind to her actions. Sound comes up as a possible counter-measure, but the opponent is a master of that, as well. Several elaborate workarounds are tried and tried again.
And… that’s about all I can say. This is an extremely short volume (115 pages of comic! boo!), and the fight is still going on at the end of the volume. But as I said, such a fight, and a tournament-style battle in Hell, is completely out of character for this series. While I would be bored with it elsewhere, the prospect of more of this is intriguing to me, and I tend to love these longer and more serious storylines in Oh My Goddess. It seems like this Hell storyline could go on quite a bit longer, too, which is extremely unusual even for the long plots. I can’t say I mind, though, as the demonesses are proving to be a diverse and fairly interesting lot. I do hope we get to see more of Mara, though.
One thing, since I read this and volume 20 back-to-back. In 20, Urd gives Keiichi a rather spectacular kiss, and here, it’s Hild doing the deed. It occurs to me… Has Keiichi kissed other women more than he’s kissed Belldandy over the last 40 volumes? I think I’m going to have to dust off Oh My Goddess colors and confirm the total count for both. I suspect that this may be the case. Granted, it’s a plot element that sets Belldandy off, but still. It’s Belldandy and Keiichi. They shouldn’t be shy anymore. They’ve been together for 23 years and 40 volumes at this point. Or, at the very least, 2-3 years in the story’s timeline.
September 22, 2011
Kosuke Fujishima – Dark Horse – 2011 – 42+ volumes
I’m a pretty big fan of the more involved story arcs in this series, especially when they’re about the inner workings of the Goddess’s world and their jobs. This volume is the middle of one such arc. There hasn’t be a story this involved for quite some time, and I’d forgotten just how good these can be.
We actually do learn more about the Goddess’s jobs in this book, which surprised me a little since it seems like there’s not too much else to reveal after 40 volumes. But we learn why it is that the Goddess and Demon wish systems have to be balanced, and why it’s bad that Hild’s subordinate overthrew Hell and is pushing everything out of whack. Also, why it’s a bad thing that Belldandy is constantly granting Keiichi’s wish instead of working for others.
We get to see Chrono again briefly, and also Ere and Ex, who I thought were only in the anime. We also get to see the gate to Heaven again, though she only has a couple lines. But more importantly, we get to see Peorth and Lind again, and both are in top form. Lind’s pretty funny, actually, something I didn’t remember about her. She actually fuels the fires of challenge when the characters misinterpret one of her flubbed spells as a prank on the Hell side. Plus, she gets to point out the obvious about Peorth, something nobody else has had the courage to do yet.
There’s plenty of cute stuff from Belldandy, between her and Keiichi and otherwise, we get to see Velsper again… actually, this volume is great just because it calls back just about every character who’s had an extended stay in the last 30+ volumes. Aoshima and Sora are here, Tamiya and Otaki, Mara… you know, I like them all. I can’t help it. Seeing them again makes me smile, and when it’s coupled with fairly serious action and the chance to see more of Heaven and Hell, I can’t help but get completely sucked in.
What’s worse, is that this volume doesn’t end the story arc, which is unusual for this series. We get at least one more volume of story, and it looks like it’s going to be fairly serious stuff. Even worse, the last page of this volume is agonizing. It’s a terrible cliffhanger, and it made me love Hild a little more because of it.
Yes. Oh My Goddess still has it.
July 26, 2011
Kosuke Fujishima – Dark Horse – 2011 – 42+ volumes
This is the end of Chrono’s story. While I still don’t like that she’s dressed as a maid (it made for an especially embarassing, forehead-slapping moment at the end of the story), her story wound up fairly cute. After all the parts of the spell are tracked down, the last piece is in the very last place Chrono wishes to retrieve it from. Of course Belldandy cheers her on, blah blah blah. This part was very adorable, even though I’m glossing over it here. We find out just why Peorth chose Chrono for this mission, and while it wasn’t for the nobelest reasons, Chrono did do a good job with her delivery. There was also a nice conversation between Lind and Peorth in heaven, and I loved seeing both of them again, even if it was only briefly.
The new story is about Hild, and I can pretty much guarantee that any story with her in it is going to be awesome. This time around, Hild is overthrown as the overseer of Hell by her direct subordinate. It looks like this story is going to be a long one, because a lot of work goes into showing just what the power struggles in Hell look like, and the beginnings of how this affects reality. We don’t get to see Hild meet up with Belldandy and Keiichi until the very end of the book, but even then, she does something completely awesome to make up for it.
Also, she has a pet dinosaur/alligator/bull named Momo-chan. Everything about Hild makes up for the last few lackluster volumes, and makes me want the next volume immediately. It’s nice to see that the series hasn’t lost its touch after all this time.
March 26, 2011
Kosuke Fujishima – Dark Horse – 2011 – 42+ volumes
So this volume had a couple surprises! There was a new goddess! That doesn’t happen very often. Other than the main three, we’ve only met Peorth and Lind. I always like finding out little bits and pieces about the goddess world, so a new face is always welcome.
The downside: She’s a maid goddess.
I always stick up for this series, because although it’s proto-harem seinen where the main couple have only kissed, like, twice in 40 volumes, I can always defend it by saying that’s not really the point of Oh My Goddess. It’s really good at pinpointing wonderful joie de vivre moments, and if you’re reading it for fanservice, you’ll be sorely disappointed. But occasionally… Chrono happens. A clumsy maid goddess. Well, at least all the characters agree that it’s hokey and that Peorth has a terrible sense of humor. Her bangs hide her forehead, and while her real and very awesome position was revealed at the end of the volume, I keep waiting for someone to push her bangs aside and remind her of who she really is. Or something. Because Oh My Goddess would do something like that.
Putting that aside, I do like it when a new goddess shows up, but unfortunately Chrono’s story isn’t very good. Possibly because Chrono herself isn’t that interesting (she’s really, really clumsy and apologetic… and not much else). Basically, Chrono was sent to deliver a program to Belldandy, but drops it enroute. The program shatters, and the rest of the volume is spent recovering the pieces.
The upside? Remember what I said about the joie de vivre? The program is a music program, used to periodically tune all the “music” in the world. Belldandy explains that if the world loses its tune, civilization will collapse since music is the basis of all culture. As they recover the program, it’s from people doing quirky things, like beating on empty cans, riding around obsessively on squeaky bikes, et cetera. While the technique is not all that subtle (and admittedly, not used all that well), I did like the emphasis on the rhythm of everyday life.
Hmm. This is one of the few series that I’ll read as soon as it comes out of the mailbox, no exceptions, but lately it’s been very hit-and-miss for me. But… I’ll keep reading, and looking forward to new volumes, because what else am I going to do? Quit 37 volumes in? Especially after a new goddess just showed up? No way.