Mirasato Keiichi is the unluckiest person alive. Although he is genuinely a nice guy, bad things always seem to happen to him. Constantly turned down by girls and mistreated by the guys in his university dorm, Keiichi shoulders his burdens quietly. One night, while trying to make a phone call, Keiichi inadvertently dials the Goddess Assistance Hotline. It would seem that Heaven has not been blind to his misfortunes and has sent the goddess Belldandy to grant him one wish. Belldandy is so beautiful and so kind to him that he spontaneously wishes that she can stay with him. Forever. In what can only be described as His unending sense of humor, God allows the wish to be granted and Belldandy is Keiichi’s forever with all the benefits and problems that come with her.
I've had enough of sappy, fuzzy, feel good, love stories where the girl/guy/main lead is just sickeningly perfect and cute! Well, okay. I guess I have room for one more. And if I could only have one more romantic comedy, it would definitely be this one. I confess that Ah! My Goddess! is a little sappy at times, but it is a romance after all. The characterization make it more believable and Belldandy is more likeable for her sweet personality and naivete than any other anime character that I've seen. The flaws of the other characters only add to the humor. Urd, Belldandy's older sister, having grown bored with the excruciatingly slow pace of Keichi's romance with her little sis (and believe me, when I say excruciatingly slow, I mean it) decides to skip out on her heavenly duties and grace the couple with her presence, and her advice. "Advice" that comes in a variety of hilarious forms, from potions to mind control. Skuld, Belldandy's younger sister, has had enough with Keichi's goddess monopolization and decides to try to put a stop to it once and for all. Good characterization gives us just enough of those side characters, and as arrogant as Urd is, or as bossy as Skuld is there are specific insecurities that make these goddesses refreshingly human. And, ironically, it is Urd who often points out things about Belldandy which remind us that she isn't perfect either.
The story is pretty easy going and moves at a relaxed pace. While never falling into a rut or becoming boring, it isn't exactly edge-of-your-seat either. Accurately labeled as a comedy, Ah! My Goddess! has its somber issues as well and while these are often short-lived and fairly few they really are wonderful moments in the series.
The animation is not really anything to stand up and cheer over but the colors are very pretty. The character design is pleasing without falling into sugar-induced-coma cuteness. Thank god(dess). I adore the musical score in this series, especially the opening theme and Ah! My Goddess! is one of the few series that I will sit through the opening of every episode.
Recommended audience: Ah! My Goddess! is very family-friendly, with the only objectionable material being Urd's clothes, probably. There is a demon in the series, but her idea of suffering is to make you drop your icecream in the dirt or break your shoelaces. The language is fine, the fan service is minimal, and there is no violence. Fine for anyone old enough to understand the content.
Ah! My Goddess! is one of the ultimate feel-good anime series and it does just that. If 10 is the highest score I can give it, I guess I will settle for it. Subract 3 or 4 points if you just need something to explode or someone to get their head cut off. Or if you just don't have a sense of humor. 10/10
NOTICE : This review covers all seasons OVAs and movies. There are hardly any differences amongst them, so more reviews than one are unnecessary.
This is the title that initiated the Magical Girlfriend subgenre of harems and ecchies and it’s also amongst the oldest harems yet still published manga series (it’s been around since 1988). They made a short OVA series and a movie in mid-90’s and then a 2-season remake and 3 following OVAs in mid-00’s. Funny thing; it is still amongst the best in the field.
- It is the best work to date from the dozens of tv shows studio AIC has produced so far. I gotta give it a credit for finally making something noteworthy amongst its several lukewarm anime.
- The director, Gouda Hiroaki, pretty much remained faithful to the original material and only rearranged the order of events, so the pacing would feel more interesting. He also took out lots of racing and engineering events which were fine to show how much the mangaka loved racing but otherwise would be completely boring in anime form. Thus he did a fine job in the transition from manga to anime and this is also his best work in overall (he also directed a season of Bubblegum Crisis, which, unlike AMG, is an obsolete franchise today).
- The anime is based on the manga by Fujishima Kousuke, which is also his greatest work that is still continuing today. He also did You are Under Arrest, but that title was forgotten very fast.
So in all three cases, it’s the best work everybody in the staff ever made.
[Feels almost like a hentai]
The story is about a teenage dork dialing the wrong number and ends up living with a beautiful goddess, ready to fulfill his wishes, of which his is to stay with him forever(wish fullfilment). Soon afterwards her also godly sisters pop up (harem creation) and his life becomes complicating as he is constantly surrounded by supernatural hot chicks and had to keep using his talents to save the world from cosmic horrors (action) without messing his tiny personal life (comedy). The story is one big pile of comedy, romance, drama, that also blends mythology with science fiction. The core premise is always about Keichi and Belldandy being in love and staying true to each other, even when the cosmic forces conspire against them.
The whole “Sudden Girlfriend Appearance” never made much sense and a “Magical Girlfriend” one makes even less. The whole deal is quite unrealistic. Beautiful goddesses, living in your apartment and helping you solve your problems with epic-level magic? That is something that happens only in anime as cheap means of escapism. Plus, only living with them but never go beyond peeking and hugging is something that all men should loathe worldwide.
But let’s not forget it was amongst the first to set the stage as such and it was everybody else that copied this now tired formula. I hold nothing against its premise as it was quite original and interesting back then. Also, judging it as a fictional story it is far-far better than most similar series as it leaves room for infinite possibilities. Unlike most harems that are hardly trying to flesh out their characters or provide internal logic to all the madness in the story, AMG is actually trying its best to make everything seem logical and excused. The girls are all there for a reason, react somewhat logical with the restrictions of the premise, have powers that are somewhat excused through science and every event has technology and mythology to back it up.
Also, the story never forgets to still be easy-going and funny, where nothing major or deadly ever happens; so all “fake-looking” or “nerdy” situations in it are easily ignored. Realism aside, it is good and cheery, without being great. Some parts are definitely more exciting or funny than others and most of the duration may feel as dead time but it is still overall quite enjoyable.
A big flaw for some is that there is no actual scenario development, other than introducing more secondary characters and ephemeral threats every now and then. But if stand-alone episodes and stale stories don’t bother you, this is not a problem anymore. Other than that, there is no actual objective or even a conclusion, no matter how many mangas or episodes or OVAs or movies come out. It just goes on and on indefinitely.
[Sultan’s favorite place]
I admit that Belldandy is amongst my favorite anime girls. Too gentle and good to be true, but then again she is a goddess and that is enough of an excuse. Her sisters Urd and Skuld are also very interesting. Few series manage to present so many diverse and yet likable characters. I can say it is the combination of great visuals, ethereal music and unearthly nature that makes them feel far better than the average harem bimbo out there.
But Keichi is was and still is a typical male dork that is swarmed by beautiful girls without being anything special. Oh, sure, he is gentle, kind, good-hearted and the like; but let’s face it, girls don’t really notice such things. We can always justify it with the fact that Belldandy is a goddess that can see people for what they really are. But since I am not a god, I say he is a sissy for feeling embarrassed every time he has the chance to make some lovey-dovey. He and all other males like him in most harem anime are despicable! They give the male gender a bad name, he is the driest and worst character amongst the cast. But if I am to give him a few redeeming qualities, I can say he is actually using his brain from time to time to solve some problems and even finds the courage to fight for his harem. Too bad he isn’t bold enough to do anything other than that.
Other than that, all characters have quirks, backdrop stories and goals that go beyond their stereotypes as sex-bombs, edgy lolitas and shy male virgins. The secondary characters are all very likable and give enough coloring to main ones. None of them were bad or unneeded in the story. I can’t say the same about Keichi (and to think he is supposed to be the protagonist!).
None develops or finds any sort of catharsis because of the short-arced type of series, which may become tiresome after awhile. Meaning, the characters are colored but are not developing at all. Keichi and Belldandy come a bit closer in the end but it’s nothing much.
The animation is great if you compare it with other similar series.
-All Slice-Of-Life series don’t use flashy visual effects (they don’t fit there). So, the graphics here are catchier, by default.
-Most romances hardly have so heart-warming atmosphere and adorable character figures.
-Most Magical Girl series don’t have so well made (or serious looking, if you prefer) visual effects.
-Almost all comedies don’t have so detailed character figures. They are usually simplistic and go chibi all the time.
-Most Harem/Ecchi series turn their female characters into obnoxious, panties-revealing sluts. The girls here retain an air of purity and gentleness. The naughty scenes are few but worthwhile, as the focus in the series is not waiting to see boobs every 10 seconds (like it happens in most).
So, ok, they are not Clannad good and not Howl’s Moving Castle good; the animation is bad most of the times. Still, they visually beat in background detailing, body figure drawing and 3D modeling almost all series that are 2 years and older than it.
Music themes and voice acting are very good. The women voicing the goddesses are also the singers in the songs (a thing that was kept intact in the remake as well). Very likable voices and backdrop music that fill your heart with happiness. Even the funky sound effects during the action parts feel cool as they are usually attributed to technology or mythology.
[Like a sunny day, it is enjoyable but also rather passable]
Ah! My Goddess helped to mainstream Harem and Magical Girlfriend stereotypes and thus deserves a good mark just for that. The manga is still far better than the watered-down adaptation; longer and with bolder erotism. Rewatchability is medium-high for fans of slice of life but for most else there is very little to expect from a second watch. Although not original or unique anymore, it is still amongst the best of its genre.
Some problems ruined a portion of the enjoyment.
-The relationship between Keichi and Beldandy never goes beyond hugging, making the whole deal stale and without further development. The story itself has no development, other than introducing more secondary characters every now and then.
-There is a lot of character coloring as the series progress but very little character development. You get to know more about them but don’t see them change at all.
-There are lots of uninteresting episodes, where the goddesses and/or demons rival each other, just for laughs.
-There is no conclusion (not even the manga has one, as of yet).
The rest of it was quite decent and a worthy watch.
Read the manga version. It is far longer and better.
Can Can Bunny Extra (Hentai tribute)
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 9/10
General Artwork 2/2 (nice magic feeling)
Character Figures 2/2 (cute/sexy)
Backgrounds 2/2 (basic but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 2/2 (lots of pretty colors)
SOUND SECTION: 9/10
Voice Acting 3/3 (fitting with the feeling of the series, plus the voice actresses are the singers)
Music Themes 4/4 (very melodic)
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess)
STORY SECTION: 2/10
Premise 1/2 (typical)
Pacing 0/2 (loose)
Complexity 1/2 (not much)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 0/2 (nothing solid)
CHARACTER SECTION: 6/10
Presence 2/2 (cute/sexy)
Personality 2/2 (rather cheesy but well founded)
Backdrop 2/2 (all major ones have some)
Development 0/2 (none)
Catharsis 0/2 (none)
VALUE SECTION: 8/10
Historical Value 3/3 (all-known)
Rewatchability 1/3 (low because of too little plot)
Memorability 4/4 (extremely well-made to the point of forever remembering it)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 6/10
Art 1/1 (looks magical)
Sound 1/2 (the songs are great)
Story 1/3 (feels generic)
Characters 3/4 (they are fine for their roles, even if they are now just archetypes)
Story - 9/10
Original? Not for today's standards. But remember that this franchise is more than 20 years old, with the original anime OVAs dated back in the 1993 and the manga in the 1988. So the lack of originality in the ground story is not really a factor that I would judge on. Moreover, while the main path develops on a pattern that has been used several times, I feel like if there is something in this franchise that I haven't found nowhere else... Still I can't really name it... I just feel it. But let's get back to the objective review.
A simple and unlucky guy (Keiichi Morisato) suddenly meets a beautiful Goddess (Belldandy) that for a couple of reasons starts living with him. In a short time grows within Keiichi's heart the desire to remain with Belldandy forever, but various troubles from both the magical realms of gods and demons and from the more normal world of the humans, won't make this easy.
Without falling too much in a spoiling review, a good chunk of the story rotates around some characters (again from both the demon realm and the simple human world) whose aim is, each one for its own reason, to compromise the romantic relationship that evolves between Keiichi and Belldandy during the span of the episodes.
To make everything more chaotic, after a short while, Belldandy's sisters descend on Earth, bringing along with them some help for Keiichi but also a lot of troubles. Urd (older than Belldandy, and also way more uninhibited) wants to see a more determined Keiichi, and pushes him for a more "direct" approach with Belldandy, often recurring to her skills as Goddess. On the other side, Skuld (younger, with a strong affection for Belldandy) is not really happy to see her sister caring more for someone else.
And here's the good point in the whole. While there is a strong fantasy and magic component, also with a sparkle of action every now and then, one of the main themes of this anime is the sentimental story between Keiichi and Belldandy. But unlike in many other anime, where there are the two "lovers", and all the others are just a side appearance with a minor relevance, here everyone has is own active role, from Keiichi's senpai at the university to Belldandy's sisters. Heck! In the end the main story even seems to shift its focus from Keiichi and Belldandy to... no... wait... I nearly fell in the trap of a big spoiler...
Anyway, in the end I see here an excellent development of the plot, with various themes intertwining one within each other, from the main focus of the sentiments to the plea of Skuld for more attention from Belldandy to the worries of Urd regarding her origins, and some more. I've seen several attempts in other anime to merge together a bunch of themes, but the result was usually something messy, with some aspects that were thrown in by force, thus unbalancing the whole story. Not here: the harmony that brings together sentimentalism, magic, action, friendship, comicality, etc is in the end a very appreciable result.
Animation - 9
The way the characters are drawn and animated is good, still noting extraordinary. Especially Keiichi: the first time I saw him, lots of doubts on the graphical quality of this anime rose inside me. Luckily those doubts vanished shortly after, as this anime actually shines in expressing a character's thoughts and feeling by skillfully using the expressions of the character, together with some other graphical stuffs.
Particular attention on this point for the three Goddesses. Take as example a smiling happy Belldandy, and a smiling angry Belldandy. It really shows how a smile could say lots of things.
Also a good note to the magic animations, smooth and clean.
Sound - 6.5
This is where I'm not fully satisfied... Animation, story and characters achieved a really good result, but here there is something missing.
Don't get me wrong, the opening and ending song are good (still not exceptional), and moreover the character's voices are nearly perfect, each one matching perfectly the character's personality, and also voice actors very skilled in expressing emotions.
What I feel is that there was a great chance to introduce a splendid song in some steps of the anime. More precisely, whenever Belldandy sings I'd really appreciated something on the style of "Lilium", the opening song of Elfen Lied. Of course, with a lyric adapted to this background, that is.
I know this means being picky and also quite demanding, but I have the idea that while the voices can be the incarnation of the perfection, what really raises the audio aspect of a movie, an anime, a videogame, etc, is the presence of a song, result of a master's job, that every now and then lets you just close your eyes and listen it again even just on a simple mp3 reader, and by doing so one could feel again the emotions felt during the view.
Characters - 10
Just like I said for the animation, the way the characters are handled is the strong point of "Ah! My Goddess!". All characters (both principal and secondary) have a well elaborated personality, even if they do not actually have a direct influence on the main story. Some episodes are even dedicated to someone else than Keiichi and Belldandy (although they both are still there, more or less active in these side-story).
Especially between the three Goddesses, particular attention is paid to the dilemmas of Urd and Skuld, each one with her own problems, providing a widened show of the relationships between Keiichi and the two sisters of Belldandy, but more importantly between Urd and Skuld, who are normally always in a strife for one thing or another.
Moreover, mixing dumbness to perspicacity within each character is not easy task, still it is achieved with perfect balance, leaving each character with a complete and interesting personality.
Overall - 9.5
A mix of sentiments, action, magic, comedy and some other things. Still this mix is gracefully balanced and it never gets oppressive. Once I started to watch it I actually did not feel the urge to rush to see the last episode, but at the same time I hardly could stop and take a break between one episode and the successive. I simply felt the need to enjoy every single minute of this bright anime that finds a place above the simple romantic story of some school guys by adding various elements, still without falling in the trap of an action/fantasy anime, thus loosing all the cuteness this anime contains. Every element is aimed to expose all the various meanings of "love", still it never gets redundant.
An anime that I suggest to to everyone. A must for who likes sentimental stories, a good choice for those who want to take a break from more fast-paced stuff.
Let me see... What can I say about this anime? I'll say this first. I like dopey and sentimental. To me, it's a refreshing change of pace from what we see everyday. So I'll start my review by saying that if you like the dopey, sentimental shows, then you will most probably find something to enjoy about this one.
Some would say that the story is about a wimp and a doormat finding love in spite of the odds. I tend to disagree with this. Keiichi is not a wimp. He's unsure of himself and lacks confidence, but he's not a wimp. I say this because when it counts, he stands up for his friends, and through the series you see glimpses of his inner character. Unlike most other Anime stories, he is not quick to gain that confidence in himself. I guess I remember what I was like when I was 21 and I remember that I didn't have a fraction of the self confidence that I do now, so that means I can identify with the character. He's unsure about women, but he's not unsure about his love for Belldandy.
Belldandy, on the other hand is most certainly maligned just as much as she is lauded. She's a First Class Goddess, Second Category, Unlimited License. She is most certainly not a human female. I think that's where a lot of evaluations of her character fall down. She is the example of what a Goddess should be in the world of Ah My Goddess. Because you choose to devote yourself to someone else's happiness doesn't make you a doormat. I think it makes you a person to be admired. Yes, she looks for the best in people. No, she isn't worldly when it comes to sexuality. Yes she is incredibly gorgeous --all the things you want in a "Magical Girlfriend" anime. The only thing is, she's a little more than that, too. There are times in life when all you need in order to make a difference in your own life, is for someone to have faith in you. And she does struggle with this sometimes, in spite of the expectation of her to be perfect.
I think the funniest thing about this series, is that if the two of them were left alone, they would work this out together on their own. They are both comfortable to move at their own pace, only everyone else around them is in a hurry to see them "Do the deed..." to quote Urd. Everyone sees what they have and they want to help it along, causing more problems than they solve. It does provide for some hilarious moments.
I will say that I found Marller's voice to be annoying, and Skuld's over use of "Big Sis" to be painful at times. I have ten brothers and sisters myself, and I have never called them Big Bro or Little Sis --but that's just me. I believe that the Senpai are hilarious, and I'm quite fond of the appearances of Sayoko and Aoshima. I just wish they had greater parts, but all in all I was happy with the season as it stood.
I wasn't really crazy about the Lord of Terror arc towards the end. Though I can tell why it was put in, it felt completely different from the rest of the series. I can understand that they wanted to show that if it came down to a choice between the world and Keiichi, she would save Keiichi, but I think that there are perhaps better ways to accomplish this than that. The only other thing I would think that would add to the understanding of the series is an explanation of why Keiichi overracts with women. In the Manga they explain this, but they never touch on this during the first season.
I haven't watched the OVA or the movie. Honestly, I don't really intend to watch them. I bought this DVD set for my daughter because we are exploring Anime together. Little did I know that my older brother, my niece, and my 16 year old nephew would enjoy it as well. (In fact, he told my brother to tell me last week I couldn't come over for dinner if I didn't bring the DVDs so he could watch the las three episodes.) I didn't feel like anything was too violent, or too suggestive, and I truly enjoyed the show. I can't wait for season two to arrive. I just ordered it today.
Disappointed is how I'd sum this up. I had put this one off for a long time as it seemed a little two...not my style, but in the end I broke down and watched it. I have to say I was really pleased with how it started and if the same vibe that had been created in the first 10 or so episodes had hung around I'd have likely rated this as high as a 4 and maybe a 4.5. Why? Well let me break it down!
Positives: Really fun concept, well planned out characters and supporting cast, mostly great episode plots. Now this anime again isn't all that "mature" in the sense that I would normally consider myself someone who likes more realistic storylines like Monster, but it is a fun, silly premise that offers a lot of creativity and comedic moments. Both Morisato and Belldandy are really fun though I'll agree with a number of people who like the other goddesses more than Belldandy. However, I don't think that having anyone else being the primary love interest for him would even come close to working in the same way as she does.
Negatives: So my big gripe with Ah! My Goddes TV is that some of the episodes start to feel like they just couldn't think of anything else to use as a main plotline. I'm a huge fan of character development, but I don't think your story needs to suffer at the hands of it, and I remember distinctly several episodes that I would have probably just thrown out and enjoyed things more.
Another gripe I have is they kind of blew the fun kind of mystery parts really early and then it became almost a slice of life in a fantasy world show which I don't think worked as well.
I guess in the end my real problem with it and the reason I didn't rate it higher is because I think the script could have been so much better. There was a lot more room to do things that were working much better and it seems like they ended up taking the easy road and just pushed out a bunch of throw away episodes that ultimately, while fun, weren't anything special.
Meh. Good enough that I watched the second season, but not good enough that I'd really pass it along as anything more than a fun waste of time. (In a good sense, mind you!)