Monday, March 13, 2017

OBSCURE O.V.A., *Oh My Goddess

Before the 2 anime TV series, or the full-length movie, Ah My Goddess received this prestige 5-episode OVA series. Originally titled "Oh My Goddess" mostly because its seemed trendier, this name-change caused quite alot of stir with the American otaku community at the time back when they were really specific about how some anime titles were labeled in English. Bubblegum Crisis director Hiroaki Godai put together this series, and subsequently all the other future Ah My Goddess anime titles. Since it was being produced around the dawn of the manga, the producers came up with their own semi-conclusion to it, but really works as far as the story goes.

Keiichi Morisato is a freshmen living in the mens dorm, when his upperclassmen leave him behind for the evening to stay and take phone messages. Being hungry, he orders for takeout, but accidentally phones the Goddess Helpline, and the goddess Belldandy(really the Norn goddess of present)appears and offers to grant Keiichi a single wish. Thinking the whole thing is a joke, he wishes for a goddess like her to stay with him forever. Belldandy then declares that the two of them will be forever bonded together, not technically in a romantic enchantment kind of way, but more like being together as a duo. However, Keiichi's roommates kick them out since a guys-only dorm, so now the couple have to find a new place to crash. Belldandy leads them to a vacant temple out of town where they magically get permission to live there. Later on, Bell's sisters Urd and Skuld move in with them too, providing their own personal brand of shenanigans to the mix. The OVA has its own personal ending though revealing a secret past between Keiichi and Belldandy as she is told she needs to go back to the heavens.

This anime was a big contender for the most beloved 90s OVAs on both sides of the ocean. American fans took to it slightly because the manga it was based on was also being released at the same time from Dark Horse, a rare occurrence at the time for a simultaneous anime + manga release of a title. The OVA had serious theatrical quality animation, and made for the first genuine release of a shoujo anime in the U.S., which give the whole market a gigantic foothold in the otaku market. Animeigo did an supreme job in the Region 1 release of this, and their dub is masterful, even though both the single volumes and collected edition are currently out of print.

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