This review is for the second printing of Oh My Goddess! Volume One.
Oh My Goddess! Volume One
Written by: Kosuke Fujishima
English Publisher: Dark Horse Manga
Release Date: December 20, 2005
The main character of Oh My Goddess! is Keiichi Morisato, a first-year student at the Nekomi Institute of Technology. At the beginning of the volume, he is left alone by his dormmates, and is expected to take phone messages for them while they’re out. A call comes in, and Keiichi takes a message. When he tries to call his dormmate to pass on a message, he accidentally dials the Goddess Relief Office.
A goddess named Belldandy suddenly appears before him, saying that she can grant one wish to Keiichi. He thinks it’s a prank set up by his dormmates, so he wishes for Belldandy to stay with him forever. When Belldandy tells Keiichi his wish has been granted, he becomes flustered, because omen are not allowed to be in his dorm. Suddenly, Keiichi’s dormmates return and see Belldandy, and she and Keiichi are both thrown out of the dorm.
Belldandy explains that the force of the wish works on him as well as on her. Basically, when something threatens to separate the two of them, a force will intervene to remove the threat. This force shows itself again and again in this volume as various obstacles get in their way. Belldandy also has some limited powers she can use as well to help out with situations that arise.
My first exposure to Oh My Goddess! actually came from watching the OVA anime series a few years back. Reading the manga, it’s been interesting for me to see how much was either changed or removed completely between the telling of the story in the two mediums. In some respects, I can see why some of the stories that appear in this volume were cut from the OVA, because they really don’t add much to Keiichi and Belldandy’s relationship.
While Dark Horse originally published this volume in 2000 and then published a new printing in 2005, the chapters in this manga were originally drawn and published in Japan in the late 1980’s. Art-wise, Oh My Goddess! has much more in common with the Ranma 1/2 manga series than it does with more current titles. In that respect, Oh My Goddess! does look a little dated. However, like with Ranma 1/2, that doesn’t mean that the art is bad.
At the end of this volume, there is commentary provided by Carl Gustav Horn. This commentary provides a lot of useful information to help readers better understand some of the Japanese elements that appear in the volume. The way the commentary is written, it’s entertaining as well as informative. If you read Oh My Goddess! Volume One, then I would also recommend reading the editor commentary.
Oh My Goddess! is one of the earlier manga titles to use the “harem” concept, which will be shown as the series progresses. While this series may now be a little on the “dated” side, I think a modern fan of “harem” anime and manga may find enjoyment in reading the Oh My Goddess! manga series.
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