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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution

Distributed By: AnimEigo
Produced By: Kodansha(manga) AIC (anime OVA)
Run Time: 153 minutes (5 episodes)
Rating: 13+ (suggested)
Genre: Comedy/Romantic
Review By: Anthony Cara

September 3, 2010 - The Oh My Goddess! (or Ah My Goddess in some circles) universe is quite large and somewhat tricky to piece together. It consists of the original 40 volume (at the time of this review) ongoing manga , 2 sets of OVAs, 2 different TV series, and finally 1 movie. The title is literally “Ah My Goddess” and some localization teams feel it is better that way. The author himself has stated however, that his original intent was something closer to “Oh”. This review is actually for the OVA produced in the early nineties and distributed here in America by AnimeEigo. This particular OVA is actually the first animated adaptation of Kosuke Fujishima’s popular manga series of the same title. As with many OVA’s, it offers up a small number of high quality episodes but ends all too quickly.

The general plot of the Oh My Goddess IP is that a typically unlucky average college student, Morisato, has his life turned completely upside down when the lovely goddess Belldandy appears to him and grants his wish to stay by his side forever. As is typical of the “harem” sub-genre, one mystical magical girl is never enough, and soon more goddesses and crazy situations introduce themselves. The characters are all typical archetypes one would expect in such a program: the elegant matronly beauty, the boisterous out going vixen, the adorable (and totally NOT underage) Lolita character, etc.

The OVA covers 3 episodic adventures taken straight from the manga. There is no real main plot arc and the episodes are almost entirely unrelated. The last two episodes contain an original story that deals quite dramatically with Belldandy being forced to return home while Morisato tries desparately to buy her the perfect gift before she is forced out of his life for good. While he works himself to death to afford the gift, the other 2 mischievous goddesses are conspiring to keep Belldandy from leaving.

When viewed out of context, anime fans may find the story a tad silly or cheesy. While watching, one is forced to suspend their disbelief on a regular basis. I myself found no problem with the fact that a few gorgeous goddesses with magical powers wanted to live with a random college student, but I was bothered by the fact that his entire school knew where he was living when he has just stumbled upon the abandoned location the night before! In other words, to truly enjoy such an adorable anime as this, you mustn’t think too hard! When viewed in the context of a romantic comedy/harem anime however, the series has much to offer fans of the genre. It has all of the key elements needed to please fans: a variety of girls, wacky plot elements, and a completely hopeless but ultimately loveable male lead through which average otaku can vicariously enjoy their romantic fantasies.

The visual style is similar to other anime from the early nineties and the characters all have a very unique appearance. Even the minor characters from Morisato’s college are decadent and strange. The DVD release offers both English and Japanese audio. The Japanese voice acting is excellent and the American dub is pretty decent. The English male lead does a fine job of capturing the clumsy but determined Morisato’s personality. The English dubbed Urd is also successful in recreating the original character. The dub’s Belldandy and Skuld, on the other hand, create a very different vibe with their characters. English speaking Belldandy seems less refined and goddess-like, but more approachable and outgoing. The dubbed Skald loses her child-like cuteness in favor of a bratty, ill tempered young voice. Even with my obvious affinity toward subtitled anime, even I must admit that this dub is quite enjoyable.

The DVD release of the Oh My Goddess OVA also offers some pretty interesting bonus material. Aside from the standard subtitles, clean opening and closing, and dual language, the DVD features a slideshow of production artwork, a commentary track featuring the American voice actors and director (very rare indeed!) , and finally, a track of just music and sound effects to allow viewers to create their own fandub.

Fans of romantic anime shows like Tenchi Muyo and Ranma ˝ will definitely enjoy the Oh My Goddess IP, and these DVDs are an excellent way to introduce someone to the title. If, however, you are looking for something deep, epic, and action packed, this is definitely the wrong place to look!


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