神さま kamisama variously translated as The Almighty, The Creator, The Lord, God, or simply Kami-sama. (The phrase is commonly used in Japan to mean “God with a capital 'G'”.)
This is the name (or title) of Belldandy's father, and the lord of the Gods and Goddesses, the ruler of Heaven (or Daitenkaicho). In spite of his title he should not be confused with the God of Christianity, Judaism or Islam. He is not transcendent or ineffable, nor is he actually all-powerful. His true name, as revealed in chapter 294, is Tyr, the Norse god of Law and Son of Odin, ruler of the Aesir, the gods of Asgard.
Historical Backing Edit
According to the Poetic and Prose Edda, at one stage the Aesir decided to shackle the Fenris wolf (Fenrir), but the beast broke every chain they put upon him. Eventually they had the dwarves make them a magical ribbon called Gleipnir from six wondrous ingredients: the sound of a cat's footfall, the beard of a woman, the roots of a mountain, bear's sinews (meaning nerves, sensibility), fish's breath and bird's spittle. The creation of Gleipnir is said to be the reason why none of the above exist.
Fenrir sensed the gods' deceit and refused to be bound unless one of them put his hand in the wolf's mouth. Tyr, known for his great wisdom and courage, agreed, and the other gods bound Fenrir, who struggled and failed to break free. The Aesir, pleased with their success, rejoiced with the exception of Tyr, as Fenrir had bitten off his Right hand in retaliation.
Thanks to Tyr's sacrifice, Fenrir will remain bound until the day of Ragnarök, as such, he is known as the "Leavings of the Wolf"; which is to be understood as a poetic kenning for glory. According to the Prose version of Ragnarok, Tyr is destined to kill and be killed by Garm, the guard dog of Hel. However, in the two poetic versions of Ragnarok, he goes unmentioned; unless one believes that he is the "Mighty One".
In Lokasenna, Tyr is taunted with cuckoldry by Loki, maybe another hint that he had a consort or wife at one time.
In the Hymskvidha, Tyr's father is named as the etin Hymir – the term "Hymir's kin" was used a kenning for etinkind – while his mother goes unnamed, but is otherwise described in terms that befit a goddess. This myth also pairs Tyr with Thor, and draws a comparison between their strength via the lifting of Hymir's cauldron. Thor proves the stronger, but other than Thor's own son, Magni, Tyr is the only deity whose strength is ever questioned in comparison to the Thunderer's.
In the Series Edit
Tyr has never made a physical appearance in either the manga or anime. However, he had appeared in behind, in silhouette form, or controlling a puppet. For that reason, it is impossible to determine his exact physical features aside from his long hair and robes. It is also impossible to determine if he possesses both hands.
In addition, his personality bears more resemblance to that of Odin, as he is more than willing and capable of ordering harsh punishments for gods who break the rules, and he requires the gods to abide by the cruel and chilling doublet system which keeps the conflict with the demons from escalating into all-out war. He was also unafraid of siring a child with Hild, despite the rules forbidding the joining of Gods and Demons with other races, much like how Odin was willing to resort to 'unsavory' or 'dark magics' to achieve his ends.
Yet he can be forgiving as well. In the course of the Lord of Terror arc Belldandy and Skuld disobey him repeatedly, make numerous mistakes and more or less allow the universe to be destroyed. After surveying the wreckage Kami-sama says only “You all did your very best.” In a later story the three sisters and Keiichi conspire to keep Urd from being forcibly recalled to Heaven, and Yggdrasil is severely damaged as a result. He lets them off with a mild reprimand. It is not entirely clear why he is so forgiving. It probably makes a difference that their intentions were good, and in the latter story it is suggested that he may be secretly pleased to see the goddesses working together as a team for the first time.
In spite of their occasional differences Belldandy seems to feel a strong loyalty to him. When Sora innocently remarks “God is so unfair” Belldandy immediately leaps to his defense. (Of course Sora has no idea that Belldandy is talking about someone that she knows personally.) Belldandy's opinion is probably our best evidence of Kami-sama's true character. She knows him better than we do, and she must consider him a worthy leader since she is not the sort who would obey out of fear.
In the most recent chapter of the manga (294) he hijacks the Gate of Trials in order to witness the outcome of Keiichi and Belldandy's test, the same test which he and Hild failed, thus forcing them to separate, only to give himself away by forgetting to use the gate's 'ya know' inflection. Keiichi, understandably flustered at meeting Belldandy's father for the first time, asks Tyr for Belldandy's hand, only to be refused, for while they had indeed passed the test to be together, they still had to obtain his blessing as Belldandy's father.