Manga Fans Unite! Goddess Worship July Edition, Oh My Goddess! TPB 1-3
Age - 8+
Author - Kosuke Fujishima
Dark Horse Staff
Translator - Dana Lewis, Alan Gleason & Toren Smith
Lettering & Touch-up
L. Lois Buhalis, Tom Orzechowski, Pat Duke & Radio Comix and Chris Chalenor (Wrong Number-TPB 1)
Jason Hvam, Digital Chameleon & L. Lois Bhualis (Leader of the Pack-TPB 2)
Jason Hvam & L. Lois Bhualis (Final Exam-TPB 3)
Series Editor - Peet Janes & Mike Hansen
Collection Editor - Chris Warner
Before we Begin...
In a few months I'm going to be holding my Best of 2004 Awards voting.
The Best of 2004, recognizing the best in Anime/Manga I reviewed for the year, will be featuring a great deal of titles for consideration... one of which is the aforementioned Oh My Goddess!, recently published it's 18th Trade Paperback with Dark Horse and still going strong.
Up for Best Manga Series & Lifetime Achievement (Individual), both the title and it's creator Kosuke Fujishima are one of the candidates for nomination I want to spend some time focusing on.
So, for the next six month up until voting begins we'll spend a little quality time with the creator's work starting from the very beginning and working our way up to the here and now present.
Thus, to start this off, this month's review focuses on the first three Trade Paperbacks which USED to be one book (before they were republished with never before seen material that was published in Dark Horse's recent anthology title Super Manga Blast!)
Wrong Number (TPB 1)
What a difference a wrong number can have on one person's life!
Meet Keiichi Morisato, our hapless hero of the series.
While trying to contact the rather large (but not too bright) roommate of his (who will prove to be nothing but trouble in the books to come) he accidentally gets a hook-up with the powers that be, and is sent a Goddess (first class, unlimited) named Belldandy who will grant him one wish.
Keiichi, being the skeptic that he is, wishes she stays with him forever... which panics Belldandy because, guess what, it's about to be GRANTED!
So, now that he got himself a full time Goddess? Oh, and don't even think of separating them because now that wish is in play there's something called the System Force that'll make sure they're never separated! And that could cause just about anything including violent weather changes just to keep the two together.
But just because they have to stay together doesn't mean they'll be doing it at the present place where Morisato is staying due to it's no female policy! So out on the street they go!
First stop is the lair of an Anime Otaku... no, no good.
Second is their permanent location at a temple, and the story of how they "obtain" it.
After that it looks like Keiichi can't even show Belldandy an Earth College without her being dragged into a class, and later by default into the school itself as a transfer student. Yes, those guys Keiichi hangs with? Lead by the one who, by default, sort of was the "cause" that got Keiichi in "touch" with Bell in the first place? It's their fault. That and a professor who is sorta like the Professor Snape of Japanese colleges.
Then we meet Sayoko, the present campus "goddess" who is not pleased that someone (Belldandy) has intruded on her domain. She's so miffed she tries to get between Bell and Keiichi, only to be continuously saved from her own stupidity by Bell herself who keeps the worse of the System Force from harming Sayoko. What a nice girl considering how much trouble Sayoko will be in the future.
Next Keiichi and Belldandy play cupid for one of Keiichi's pals from before mentioned guys Keiichi hangs with, who looks like his father might be the "Infamous Strike Man" from You're Under Arrest!
Finally Keiichi tries to get serious with Bell and woo her (starting his long courtship with Bell) and we meet Keiichi's sister Megumi for the first time!
All that in one Trade Paperback? Nice deal if you ask me!
"Knight of the Dork Republic, or Cosplay Padawan" - While trying to help Otaki (the guy who looks like Strike Man from You're Under Arrest!) dress for a date with this girl he wants to impress, Keiichi and Belldandy bear witness to his weird choice in "clothing". The first thing he draws out of his closet is a armor that looks strangely familiar -- but I can't place where I seen it. Then he pulls out costumes more suited for wearing by a certain fluffy eared cute member of the Galaxy Angel series. Maybe he's her Cos-playing Padawan learner.
Leader of the Pack (TPB 2)
Since last Trade Paperback Keiichi's sis Megumi has moved into the place where Keiichi/Bell live.
She needs to find her own place, though, and the search for that starts things off.
Next, after being "pick pocketed" of his monthly allowance in food/rent budget by his "pals", Keiichi has to work as a "model" for an art class to make said money back... but wouldn't you know it? It's a "trap" by Sayoko which is ultimately set to try and humiliate Belldandy. Not going to work, but she can try.
Keiichi/Belldandy's first date, a little Grease style bragging rights racing with a lucky slash unlucky star in the mix, and... Belldandy's System Force is down?
Looks like her sister Urd is going to have to visit to fix it... though she seems more interested in meddling in Belldandy's life with Keiichi than fixing anything so maybe there's more to it than that.
Final Exam (TPB 3)
After the events of last Trade Paperback it looks like Urd has come to stay... well, she has no choice now that she's banished to Earth after her antics last time out.
This time out she and Bell end up in a beauty contest for the bike club that Keiichi belongs to (with that same game of lovable goofs that done all those wacky things in the last two Trade Paperbacks)! Of course being beautiful is not enough for this club, especially when they want the contestants to fix a bike and find a mystery person... gee, given said club's track record I wonder who they chosen as their (cough) victim.
Next, it's the first anniversary of Belldandy's arrival on Earth (and into Keiichi's life) and he wants to buy her a special gift ... even if it kills him.
Then it's the holidays and Keiichi (with Belldandy's help) has won tickets to a fancy restaurant, but even if he scores the right clothes he'll have to deal with interference by both Urd and Sayoko.
So, how do you celebrate new year in a house containing TWO goddesses? How about a little game of... well, I can't say the name but for the LIFE of me I can't understand why they didn't just come out and say the name of this LIFE altering game! It's so LIFE altering that Urd cheats to make sure everything that the board says will happen DOES happen! Nothing much happens though, but that's LIFE.
And by now you got the hint what game I'm talking about since I said LIFE more times than I should have.
Then Belldandy dabbles in mystical cloning of Keiichi to try and help him grab quality time to study while giving the clone to his pals to party with... but you know things are not going to go according to plan!
And, finally, a scum of a brother to Sayoko tries to make the moves on Belldandy! With a little unexpected good deed-ing from Sayoko Keiichi might catch on in time, though Bell was never in any danger you know.
"Mask" - Check out the masks at the festival in the first story (the beauty contest). One of them should be familiar to fans of Kamen Rider... the familiar bug faced mask of that old school hero is visible.
"Scream for your formal wear" - Check out the hotel where Keiichi and Belldandy are supposed to spend their "romantic" Christmas! It's the Hotel Koenig... and while I don't know if there is a Hotel Koenig in Japan I do know the first name you may think of when I say Koenig. Old school Sci-Fi fans would say "Walter". As in Walter Koenig (Chekov, Star Trek and later Bester of Babylon 5).
"Destroy All Roasters!" - Once again, at the dinner storyline, Urd/Belldandy end up fighting each other (after Urd uses her power to try and chase off an interfering Sayoko) and end up fusing the random roast chickens with whatever's around to form -- Roaster Godzilla and Roaster Rodan?!?
This time you can be absolutely guaranteed that, yes, both "Godzilla" and "Rodan" DO taste like chicken!
"A Burning Commentary" - Pay attention to what the board of LIFE says during the new year's story.
Amongst the possible "events" of the game there's the following...
"Hide in the closet and pretend to be Yotsuya"
"You will annoy others by mumbling to yourself. Pay $3000 (probably more like 30,000 or so yen) to other players."
"You will be run over by Juzo Itamin Harajuku"
"Set fire to your..." (self most likely).
Why is the last one important? You're Under Arrest! also speaks of a burning (artist to be precise). It seems to me that this refers to an actual event, but what Japanese artist pulled a Richard Pryor and set himself on fire is something I'm not entirely sure from what I've seen, let alone if it's real or not.
Guess only an interview with Kosuke Fujishima will straighten that out, and that will never happen. Sigh.
We continue the reviews in August with a look at the following...
TPB 4 - Love Potion #9
TPB 5 - Sympathy for the Devil
TPB 6 - Terrible Master Urd
But that's in August. For now let's break this down and wrap this up.
Oh My Goddess! Breakdown the 1st
What's Hot? What is not to like? It's a solidly written piece of Essential work that I can't recommend enough. A feel good, downright fun, it's just a downright pleasant and enjoyable read for all title. From the writing to the artwork (that "evolves" as the series goes through the years) it's one of the classics that continues to entertain new readers year after year, and is still going from what I read to this very day!
May Belldandy and company live on for a good long time! Amen!
What's Not? Nothing bad to say about this. No, sir. It's quite an investment, maybe, but for a good read it's worth it to invest in having the whole series if you can get ahold of it!
Moments to Remember? More than I can put down here. It's all memorable.
What to Ignore? Nothing. It's all good.
Overall? A classic that is tops on my list of the Essentials of Manga, and something I hope you try out soon! All about a great read (from writing to artwork it's all good) and something everyone should be checking out! From me to you it's a title I can't rave about enough. A true essential of your collection!
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