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Ah! My Goddess: Flights of Fancy #1 PDF Print E-mail
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R2 DVD Reviews
Friday, 25 June 2010 00:00
Ah! My GoddessFunnily enough, on the day I was watching this set, there was an ongoing conversation on my Twitter stream about men with no backbone who get stuck in the Friend Zone, which you could easily say is what Keiichi has allowed to happen. Without going into the details of that little debate (it got rather heated), I can safely say that Keiichi, in Twitter terms, needs to #otakumanup. Something that’s not going to happen in these episodes...

It only seems five minutes since I last wrote a review about the second series of a long-running story that, sadly, wasn’t really going anywhere new or different. Wait, it was only five minutes ago – that was for Naruto Shippuden, and while Ah! My Goddess is very different in tone and style (thankfully), there’s a common problem between the two shows: they’re both stuck in a rut that I can’t see them getting out of.

Here, the problem’s quite simple: many of the stories on this set follow much the same pattern, of Keiichi trying to bat away the attentions of yet another girl who’d like to join his harem, of Belldandy showing jealousy to some degree, and of it all ending happily ever after once the misunderstanding is eventually resolved. Queen of Vengeance Sayoko returns from the first season, and is joined by new potential suitors Shiho – a wannabe exorcist who’s convinced that the shrine’s in need of cleansing – and Peorth, another Goddess First Class from the heavenly realms who’s going to grant Keiichi’s inner desires whether he wants her to or not. How well this works depends on your mood to a large extent – on the one hand, the show’s a romantic comedy, this sort of storyline is its chosen method for raising a chuckle, and for the most part it is enjoyable to watch (with Belldandy drunk on Coke being the possible comic highlight of this set). On the other hand, it can get very samey, very quickly – especially if you try to watch the full set in one or two sittings, as I did – and when that happens you can’t help but notice that if Keiichi had anything remotely like a backbone, he’d be able to diffuse all these problems simply by saying “I’m sorry, but my heart belongs to Belldandy”. Job done.

You also know that’s not going to happen, so we’ll move on to the other stories the set serves up. If you’ve ever seen the original Oh! My Goddess OVA series, then episode 3 will look ever so familiar, as it’s a redo of the Christmas episode, with Keiichi working every free hour to raise the money for Belldandy’s Christmas present. There’s a common thread in anime Christmas episodes that they have to plumb the depths of unhappiness before finally getting the lovebirds together at the end, and this one keeps to that tradition. I assume that’s the influence of Japanese culture, where the festive season is treated rather differently, but I can’t help but see it through western eyes and conclude that it’s just not cheery enough. We also get to see one of Keiichi’s sempais, Otaki, finally find true love, in the form of scooter-riding cosplay nut Satoko, in what may just be the best episode here. Satoko’s one of those characters that you can’t help but love, and even in a show that has plenty of those already she manages to stand out as someone who’s great fun to watch and who I hope we see more of.

Overall, then, Ah! My Goddess carries on from where it left off with more of the same. There’s plenty of humour here, and if it doesn’t get a least a dumb grin from you at several points then there’s little hope for you, but it does get repetitive after a while, simply as a result of sticking to a formula. It’s good, but not as good as it could – or should – be. For full episode summaries and screenshots, read on to the following pages.

Rating - ***