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Manga Review: Oh My Goddess! Volume One by Kosuke Fujishima

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Oh My Goddess! is a manga with the story and art by Kosuke Fujishima, and it was published in North America by Dark Horse Manga. This review is for the second printing of this volume, which was released in 2005. There isn’t a rating printed anywhere on this volume, but after reading it, I would recommend Oh My Goddess! to manga readers who are 12 or 13 years of age and older.

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; women 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 1980s. 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  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 manga series.

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About Lesley Aeschliman

Lesley Aeschliman is a freelance writer who began writing on a full-time basis in 2007. She has served as the Anime editor at BellaOnline.com, and she also writes and maintains two blogs: Lesley's Musings... on Anime and Manga and AeschTunes.
  • Hushpuppy

    Ah, this is an interesting surprise. Oh My Goddess: another long-running, award-winning manga. A plausible set-up (for a manga), interesting characters, a nice twist on Norse mythology, and a fun story.

    Unfortunately, the one thing that didn’t work for me was Belldandy. It’s a shame her name wasn’t anglicized directly; Belldandy as any kind of name just doesn’t work, and the character design just looks wrong for the role she plays.

    But the biggest drawback, as much as I would have liked to read more, was the cost of buying into the series. This one had already reached 40+ volumes with no sign of ending and, without a good local library, it was a bit too expensive for casual reading.

    Much more tempting is the side-story Adventures of the Mini-Goddesses. All the fun in one single volume — plus now I can keep up with the original through your reviews.