Oh My Goddess 46

November 28, 2015

Kosuke Fujishima – Dark Horse – 2014 – 48 volumes

I got the last Dark Horse volume in hand last week! (note: I wrote this in October)  I need to catch up on these last two reviews.  Seriously, I’m so crushed this is over.

This is a strange volume, since not much happens.  The first few chapters tell the story of the Goddess in the Pond and the Bard, who Belldandy and Keiichi are sort-of inhabiting.  They live a full, happy life together, but of course the ending is sad since the Bard is mortal.  The Gate tries to impress the sadness on Belldandy and Keiichi, but it doesn’t really work.  Of course.  It really is a beautiful story, which is sort of Oh My Goddess’s thing.

There is one rather shocking panel in the story.  It was subtle, and fits in with the flow of the story wonderfully, but it blew my mind because Oh My Goddess doesn’t go there, especially without comment.

We get to meet Tyr, the CEO of Heaven, in a manner of speaking.  This excited me.  It’s a bit of a cop-out, but I can understand.  We got a pretty big gift last volume, I don’t know that it was time for another yet.

The last few chapters made me smile.  Tyr makes Keiichi perform a miracle.  Because it’s Keiichi, this miracle is heavily motorcycle-racing-based.  We’ve seen this so many times, I was surprised Keiichi was even nervous.  One of my favorite story arcs was the one where he and Belldandy rode in a pair race, and it talked about how he basically knew everything there was to know about racing, and Belldandy.  I was thrilled that this was the final challenge.

Oh My Goddess 45

October 24, 2015

Kosuke Fujishima – Dark Horse – 2013 – 48 volumes

The last volume comes out at the end of October!  I’m going to catch myself up on the reviews before then.  I’m so excited! (edit: the last volume is out now, I need to push the rest of these reviews through)

Aside from being the wrap-up to the long Hell storyline (apparently Hagal had her reasons), this volume will forever win a place in my heart for explaining why Keiichi and Belldandy don’t hold hands or kiss for 45 volumes.  I can’t decide if this is brilliant or a horrible cop-out.  I’m leaning towards the former, as Oh My Goddess predates most of the “uncool guy wins the affection of hot girl, hangs out with lots of other hot girls” genre.  I’d like to think it’s not as formulaic, as it invented those formulas.  On the other hand, part of me doubts very much this was intended from the beginning.  But I want to believe, because that would be amazing.

This gets us started on another story arc that should take us mostly to the end.  The kiss Bell and Keiichi did share last time opened the floodgates, and now the two need to be tested by Heaven to see if they can stay together.  Cute!  But there’s some serious doom and gloom at the beginning here.  Belldandy’s honesty and intentions are thrown into question (shock!), and Keiichi… is shocked, but unfazed?  I was a little surprise that someone (A great someone! Loved the fight with Hild!) showed up, explained, and both Bell and Keiichi immediately started the challenge.

I can’t go into too much more detail without spoiling things.  But it’s nice to see things escalating!  I wish Belldandy was feeling a bit better, though.

Oh My Goddess! 44

October 4, 2015

Kosuke Fujishima – Dark Horse – 2014 – 48 volumes

I’m going to miss this series terribly when it ends.

The Halgal arc continues here, although this is just about the end of it.  We get two very exciting, separate incidents that are a suitable ending to this really long story.  It’s hard to imagine the wrap-up next volume topping this.

So the group is separated, with Keiichi and Belldandy in one group, and Urd and Skuld in the other.  Hagal is about to convert Belldandy, and Keiichi has to perform a tremendous act of faith to help her.  Contracts are terminated.  New ones are forged.  Things that don’t happen in this series happen.  It’s wonderful.

Meanwhile, Urd and Skuld are out of power.  Goddess power.  Urd tells Skuld that she can tap her demon power to help them, but she might not be able to control it, and that they both have to put a lot of trust in each other for it to work.  It gets ugly, but sisterly love is also a beautiful thing.  It was quite touching.

I can’t really say more than that without spoiling it.  The volume was action-packed, and the character-driven moments were what made it awesome.  It’s why you’ve been reading the series this long.  My sitcom took a turn for the action-packed lately, but I can’t say I don’t like it.  I love it, in fact.  All those sitcom moments sort of added up to make this even better.  Because I really care about these characters now, and seeing them perform like this is awesome.

See?  This is why I’ll be sad to see this series end.

Oh My Goddess 43

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.


Oh My Goddess 42

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!

Oh My Goddess 41

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.

Oh My Goddess 40

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.