Oh! My Goddess – Thoughts on the first 13 Volumes
Over the past few years off and on, I’ve read the first 13 volumes of Oh! My Goddess, and I’ve written about them on various other places (including Bureau42), but never on my blog. Having finished the 13th volume of the manga, now is as good a time as any to give some general thoughts about the series.
One of the things that are frequently brought up about works of romantic fiction – particularly from executives, is that once you’ve answered “Will they or won’t they”, you no longer have any story. Oh! My Goddess kind of puts the lie to that. It’s not to say that by this point in the series protagonists Belldandy and Keiichi have gone any further than admitting their feelings for each other – their relationship is still relatively chaste.
However, at this point in the series, I’m not seeing any real challenges to their relationship – in terms of “other women”, while still seeing plenty of narrative potential. Keiichi is still working on his degree, and this is leading to plenty of narrative hooks for the college’s motor club. There’s more then enough weirdness from the world of goddesses and demons to liven things up from Belldandy’s side of things. Oh, and there’s Urd trying to spice up their relationship causing weirdness, and Skuld building an invention that runs amok.
More Sitcom than Rom-com
Yes, this means things can potentially become formulaic – but isn’t that the problem that most romantic comedies face? Oh! My Goddess never really felt like it had the “Harem” elements that other long-running rom-com series have had. Urd never seriously was contending for Keiichi’s affections, and the two mortals who tend to throw a monkey wrench in the works – Aoshima and Mishima – have no serious chance at Bell or Keiichi respectively. Indeed, that’s part of the charm of those characters stories – they’re two people who are kind of assholes running into something well above their ken and trying to figure out how to parse it.
That said, it makes Oh! My Goddess a book that I don’t necessarily feel the urge to re-read once I’ve gone past a chapter (depending on the story), nor do I feel hooked into immediately going on to the next volume like with 20th Century Boys or Ultraman. It’s almost a healing manga in that respect. It’s just a low-stress series.
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