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Oh My Goddess! (ああっ女神さまっ, Aa Megami-sama), also known as Ah! My Goddess!, is a seinen manga series by Kosuke Fujishima currently serialised in Kodansha's monthly Afternoon magazine. It was first published in 1988-08-25 (the September issue). Originally a typical magical girlfriend romantic comedy, over time it has grown to feature more action and the latest variant has had a greater focus on developing the mystical aspects of the world in which it is set. There are also four anime offshoots. The title is a pun on the common phrase "Oh my God."
The manga tells the story of college freshman Keiichi Morisato, who, because of his pure heart, has been chosen by Yggdrasil, Heaven's computer system, to receive a single wish. The "angelic" goddess Belldandy is sent down to Earth to ask for his wish, and tells him that he can potentially wish for anything that he wants, from becoming a billionaire to destroying the world in an instant. Keiichi thinks that this entire meeting is a prank set up by his senpais. Keiichi, thinking the entire set up is a joke, wishes Belldandy to stay with him forever, under the condition that the offer is valid. Ironically, he does not fully comprehend the outcome of his wish, and is stunned on realizing that Belldandy will now be living with him. The manga/anime follows their relationship as they become closer to each other.
The varying anime series feature the main characters and are based on the same basic plotline as the original manga, but each has taken a unique interpretation on this concept — described below — and, as such, should be considered separate canons. The only exception to this is the more recent TV series, which follows the plot of the manga closely.
Being a mechanical otaku himself, Fujishima frequently bases whole chapters, or even story arcs, around mechanics, focusing especially on motorcycle mechanics. Most notably, readers discover that Keiichi Morisato is a member of his college's motor vehicle club, which is always under threat of being put out of commission by a rival motor club. There are also several story arcs related to racing found earlier in the manga; the concept of racing is also a significant plot device in each of the anime canons. Both Keiichi and Belldandy are exceptionally gifted at racing (Keiichi because of natural ability and Belldandy because of her ability to "talk" with the machines). Most of the other main characters have exhibited some degree of skill in racing and/or mechanics, making the idea of mechanics a significant device for character development and growth.
Ah! My Goddess (Manga)Edit
- Main article: Oh My Goddess! (manga)
The manga was first published in 1988 as a spin-off of the manga You're Under Arrest (逮捕しちゃうぞ, Taiho Shichauzo). Fujishima had added a four-panel gag strip to a version You're Under Arrest in which the main characters prayed to a goddess. The gag became very popular, and Fujishima liked the look of his drawings of the goddess so much that he began drawing a full-fledged manga based around her. Ah! My Goddess was published in the Japanese publisher Kodansha's monthly Afternoon magazine, where it was very warmly received — it has been a staple of Afternoon ever since. A complete collection of the manga published to date would run over 200 chapters (over thirty-four collected volumes). There have been twenty-six volumes of the manga published in the US so far (as of April 2007), and publisher Dark Horse Comics is now reprinting unflipped versions of the earlier graphic novels in order to spark new interest in the series.
Ah! My Goddess: First EndEdit
The first novel of the series written by Urd's voice actress, Yumi Tohma, with the illustrations done by Fujishima, and Hidenori Matsubara (Animation Director for the OVA, movie and TV series). The story follows the manga, taking place three years after Belldandy and Keiichi first meet. The novel was first published in Japan in 2006 by Kodansha; the English translated novel came out on December 19, 2007 and was published by Dark Horse Comics.
Ah! My Goddess has seen various anime adaptations throughout the years, from the original OVA release, to the currently running TV series. Each puts its own spin on the series; the OVA features a condensed, highly altered version of the story, the movie and the Adventures of Mini-Goddess series have original stories not based on the manga while the new TV series sticks as close to the manga as possible
Oh My Goddess! (OVA)Edit
- Main article: Ah! My Goddess (OVA)
A five episode OVA series titled Ah! My Goddess (ああっ女神さまっ, Aa! Megami-sama!) featuring Keiichi, Belldandy, and the other major characters from the manga was produced from 1993 to 1994 by Anime International Company and is distributed in Japan by Pony Canyon and in North America by AnimEigo . The OVA is based on several early plots from the manga, but with many events and characterizations removed. The other Goddesses, Urd and Skuld, are introduced comparatively early (in the second and third episodes, respectively), and in the final two episodes, The Almighty begins working to separate the two, forcing Belldandy to return to Heaven and her duties.
A re-release is now available on DVD for purchase.
The Adventures of Mini-GoddessEdit
- Main article: The Adventures of Mini-Goddess
A 48 episode TV series Adventures of Mini-Goddess (ああっ女神さまっ 小っちゃいって事は便利だねっ, Aa! Megami-sama! Chicchaitte Koto wa Benri da ne ) series featuring shrunken versions of Urd, Belldandy, and Skuld in a comedic super deformed style was produced by Oriental Light and Magic and premiered on WOWOW in 1998 as a part of the omnibus show Anime Complex. It is distributed in Japan by Pony Canyon and in North America by Geneon Entertainment.  This series departs the most from the basic manga storyline, and indeed, shares next to no continuity with the previous series.
Ah! My Goddess The MovieEdit
- Main article: Ah! My Goddess: The Movie
A film, titled Ah! My Goddess: The Movie (劇場版ああっ女神さまっ, Gekijōban Aa! Megami-sama) premiered in Japan in 2000. It saw the return of the main cast, along with several popular characters from the manga who had not appeared in any of the previous anime. It is distributed in Japan by Shochiku and in North America and United Kingdom by Geneon Entertainment in 2001.  The plot does not seem to follow any of the existing canon, but uses plot devices from several different story arcs from the manga.
Ah! My Goddess (TV)Edit
- Main article: Ah! My Goddess (TV)
In 2005, a new anime TV series of Ah! My Goddess (ああっ女神さまっ, Aa! Megami-sama) began airing in Japan, again produced by AIC and distributed in North America by Media Blasters.  In this version, they have returned to the manga roots of the series, retelling events much closer to their original form, though there are minor differences, typically based on what is considered unacceptable for television, or to fix plot holes in the manga, or to just move the time-frame from the late-'80s into the mid-'00s. While this makes good use of the manga, the anime writers do not limit themselves by events in the manga; some episodes do not mirror any particular plot element in the manga at all. This 1st season consisted of 24 episodes plus a special episode (aired between 12th and 13th) being a recap. The Japanese DVD release contained 2 bonus OAV (OVA) episodes focusing on the aftermath of the first season's finalé.
A second season titled Ah! My Goddess: Everyone Has Wings (Japanese: ああっ女神さまっ それぞれの翼 – Aa! Megami-sama: Sorezore no Tsubasa) (titled Flights of Fancy in the U.S.) had picked up the story on April 6, 2006 from where the series left with the first series and concluded at 22 episodes. There is also a novelisation of the second season. 2 bonus OAV (OVA) episodes were also included on the final Japanese DVD release, giving Sorezore no Tsubasa a total of 24 episodes.
As of December 2006, it has been announced that ADV Films has licensed the second season for release in the US. This is a change from Media Blasters who did the first season. The U.S. release of the first DVD of the season 2 is scheduled on May 8th, 2007, according to the Amazon.com. It has also been announced by the new Ah! My Goddess website hosted by ADV that the original cast from the first season has been brought back to provide the voices.
There has also been a UK release of Volume 1 of Ah! My Goddess The first DVD Volume has been rated a PG. The main language is Japanese with English subtitles.
The director of the series, Hiroaki Gōda, would like to animate as much of the original manga as possible, making more episodes a possibility.
A TV special Ah! My Goddess production entitled Ah! My Goddess: Fighting Wings (Japanese: ああっ女神さまっ 闘う翼 – Aa! Megami-sama: Tatakau Tsubasa) was broadcasted in Japan on December 8th, 2007. This special consisted of two half-hour episodes adapting the Angel Eater arc from the manga..
Cast and staffEdit
- Main article: List of characters in Oh My Goddess!
Names are given in Western order with the given name preceding the surname.
Names are given in Western order with the given name preceding the surname.
- Main article: Oh My Goddess! Soundtracks
"Ah" or "Oh"?Edit
The original Japanese title is ああっ女神さまっ "Aa! Megami-sama!". The problem of how to translate this phrase has led to a great deal of debate and flamewars amongst English-speaking anime fans during the early 1990s. The US-anime import company AnimEigo obtained the OVA rights and entitled them: "Oh My Goddess!". Those who objected felt that the title should be "Ah! My Goddess". References to "Oh my god" and "Oh my goddess" in a number of songs (such as Hottokenai No Sa, Megami-sama tto Oyoubi) only fueled further debate.
Series creator Fujishima was ultimately consulted. His initial reaction was to agree with the "Ah" camp. After the English phrase "Oh my God" was explained to him, he decided that "Oh" would be closer to what he was trying to convey. Yet, when a Japanese fan later pointed out to Fujishima that the Japanese merchandise uses "Ah", Fujishima said that it would be better to keep things consistent.
Oh My Goddess!' is the official English title for the manga, which is published by Dark Horse Comics; AnimeEigo later also used Oh My Goddess! for the OVA. The bilingual release, which was released by Kodansha, uses Ah! My Goddess. Pioneer chose to use Ah! My Goddess in their North American release of the movie; this was possibly due not to any aesthetic considerations, but rather because AnimEigo uses the title Oh My Goddess!.
The 2005 TV series and DVD releases carry the title Ah! My Goddess.
References to Norse MythologyEdit
In creating Ah! My Goddess, Fujishima has borrowed extensively from Norse mythology.
- The main example of this can be found in the names of the three heroines of the story — Urd, Belldandy, and Skuld. These are the names of the three Norns, the beings in charge of weaving the fate of the world. Urd, Verdandi, and Skuld represent the past, present and future in traditional Norse and the domains of the three goddesses match accordingly.
- In English translations, Belldandy's name is not written as "Verthandi" or "Verdandi" as would be expected if it were a transliteration from the original Old Norse (Verðandi). This is because the spelling and pronunciation of the name were derived from the Japanese language transliteration used in the manga, not from the original Old Norse. The Japanese transliteration came about as a result of the phonology of the Japanese language. First, there is no /v/ in Japanese, and so it is rendered as [b]. Next, there is no /ð/ in Japanese, so it is rendered as [d]. Finally, due to the fact that the phonotactics of Japanese only allows syllables to end in vowels or /n/, an epenthetic /Template:IPA/ was added after the /r/. All these changes meant that the original name "Verðandi" was transliterated as, ベルダンディー -, Berudandī. This was then in turn transliterated into English as "Belldandy". In the Swedish translation of the manga, her name is Verdandi.
- The other major example of Norse reference stems from Yggdrasil, the tree that holds up the world; the Norns are said to work at the foot of this holy tree. In Oh My Goddess, the power of the goddesses is regulated by the Yggdrasil system, a physically giant, hopelessly complex computer system. The Yggdrasil system is used to access and process wish requests transferred by the Goddess Technical Helpline and the Earth Assistance Hotline, as well as to enforce the implementation of the accepted wishes. This system is so important to the dimension inhabited by the goddesses that, when it breaks down after an attack by the Lord of Terror, the goddesses are not able to successfully fulfill their basic life functions. It is during this story arc that readers learn that the Yggdrasil system is also used to convert energy gathered from the earth into that which the goddesses can then use to function. This particular use of Yggdrasil is meant to add dramatic color to certain storylines, and is not strictly held to throughout the rest of the series, as the system seems to be working fine most of the time.
- Other examples include the periodic cameos made by Sleipnir, the heavenly steed, and Belldandy's use of Norse runes throughout the storyline. Also, it is revealed later in the series that the demons have a counterpart system to Yggdrasil — the Nidhogg system. In Norse mythology, Nidhogg is the name of the dragon that is wrapped around the base of the Yggdrasil tree, continually gnawing at its roots.
- Additionally, Peorth is named after one of the runes. Peorth is the mysterious fourth goddess who is employed by a rival agency to Belldandy's. Not much is revealed about her past, except for that she and Belldandy worked together at the Yggdrasil debugging station. However, readers get the direct impression that Peorth is a fun-loving risk-taker who will stop at nothing to achieve her goals. Her name makes sense, then, as the Peorth rune is classically interpreted as risk-taking and mystery. Tied to Peorth is her use of the Vanir bird to refresh Belldandy's memory. The Vanir are another set of Norse gods tied to fertility and peace — the Vanir bird's function is to reveal the past, and thus bring peace between friends.
- Hild, the CEO of the infernal realm, is named after one of the Valkyries, the battle spirits who take the ghostly spirits of fallen soldiers to Valhalla. According to several sources, Hild means "The Battle."
- In the most recent installments of the manga, a fifth goddess is introduced into the character set. Her name is Rind, and she is a member of the Ah! My Goddess version of the Valkyries — special agents who are trained in the ways of battle. In traditional mythology, Rind is an ice giantess who becomes pregnant with Odin's child. In the English translation, her name is Lind.
- Skuld's second android invention is given the name Sigel by Belldandy after a story arc revolving around the question of whether machines are alive. Sigel wants very much to be alive, and so her name is also appropriate — the Sigel rune is the rune of life.
- In the Lord of Terror arc Mara utilized the urn Mao Za Haxon, which contained the Ultimate Destruction Program's bootup protocol, which eventually led Urd to summon a huge dog-spirit named Fenrir. In Norse mythology, Fenrir or Fenrisulfr is a monstrous wolf, the son of Loki and the giantess Angrboða, who is destined to eat the sun.
- In another installment an exorcist in training accidentally summons Garm. In Norse mythology, Garm is a huge dog which guards Hel, the land of the dead, alongside of Hræsvelgr. Garm was the greatest of all dogs and lived in a cave called Gnipahellir.
- In the movie adaptation of Ah! My Goddess, Peorth is given the order to nullify the threat to the world-tree by using the eradiction spell Gunghir. Gunghir is the name of the enchanted spear used by Odin, the king of the Norse gods.
Oh My Goddess! UniverseEdit
The Oh My Goddess! universe is fashioned quite loosely around the Norse mythology. At least three worlds are apparent, including heaven, hell, and earth. However, it has been stated that many other worlds exist as well. Heaven is the realm of the Lord and goddesses; while Hell, the Daimakaicho and demons. Earth is the realm of the humans, and until recently, is largely unexposed to the presence of either goddesses or demons, as they can unbalance the happiness in the world. Reality is controlled by an enormous and complex computer system, named Yggdrasil, similar to the tree of the Norse mythology.
Each goddess has a certain designation and may or may not have an accompanying angel, depending on their skill and power. Belldandy is a Goddess First Class, Second Category, Unlimited License. Class refers to precision and power level. Second category, for example, is a commerical license; and the limit indicates what you are permitted to do. Urd is a Goddess Second Class, Administration, Limited License. Skuld is a Second Class, First Category, Limited License. Other categories include the Combat division, to which the Valkyries belong. Goddesses may be penalized for dereliction of duty, which includes suspension of their license. A typical suspension can last anywhere from a week for the first infraction to 50 years or more, though attending a study hall in heaven can reduce this term [S2E20]. A Goddess using her powers during suspension will have her license permanently revoked [S1E25]. The licensing division is under the Goddess Assistance Agency [S2E20].
Young goddesses often do not have angels, but are given an angel's egg. When their power matures, the angel's egg hatches and the angel becomes the lifetime companion of the goddess [S2E14]. The angels obey the goddesses no matter what, as they are reflections of the goddesses' inner self [S2E14]. The angels are generally born fully mature and cognizant of the world around them. Furthermore, the goddesses typically have three blue markings on their face, two on the temples and one on the forehead; while demons are marked similarly with red markings. More powerful beings may have more complex designs to these markings.
Despite having phenomenal powers, the Goddesses wear power limiters. It is said that a first class Goddess at full power can easily destroy the Earth. Belldandy's power limiter is the second clasp on her left ear [S1E23]. Goddesses also possess particular proficiency in certain magical domains; Belldandy uses wind magic, while Urd uses fire magic; though both possess lightning magic. Furthermore, Urd is ascribed to the past; Belldandy, the present; and Skuld, the future. Goddesses may also need to recharge their power via various means, especially in the case of a system malfunction: Belldandy by sleep, Urd by drinking Sake, and Skuld by eating ice cream. Their repertoire of magical skills may vary as well. The goddesses can have various means of transportation: Belldandy by mirrors, Urd by television screens, and Skuld by water. If they should exhaust their powers, the goddesses can appear as alternate forms, namely, younger for Urd, diminutive for Belldandy, and older for Skuld [S1E26]. Finally, the inability to lie appears to be part and parcel of being a first class goddess.
One interesting power demonstrated by the goddesses is a form of psychometry [S2E15]. By focusing their powers, a goddess can identify the aura of a goddess in contact with an object previously and replay the events surrounding that time.
The lifespan appears to differ quite a bit from humans. Their childhood seems to match that of a human, but their adulthood may last hundreds of years. However, the exact measurement of time is unclear, as time in heaven can pass much slower than that on Earth. As such, it is possible that in fact they do age at the same rate as humans, just appearing slower, because they live in a different realm. So, what seems like fifty years to us, maybe be only five days to them. Furthermore, old age has not been demonstrated in the series, so their elder years are unknown. The goddesses' metabolism also can vary from humans and from goddess-to-goddess as well. Belldandy, for example, becomes drunk on cola, something not experienced by humans or Skuld and Urd. They do seem to be able to eat all the same foods as humans, however.
The goddesses' purpose is to bring happiness to everyone around them. Toward that end, heaven has created the Goddess Relief Agency, designed to bring happiness to the people of Earth, especially those with great virtue but terrible misfortune. A competing institution, named the Earth Assistance Center, also is staffed by goddesses [S2E7]. In most scenarios, a goddess appears before one that the system has deemed worthy and grants him or her one wish. The wish must be approved by the system, after which a contract is created between the human and the goddess and stored on the Yggdrasil system as a file. The wish contract file is protected by a passcode known to the Goddess [S2E1]. As demons work toward the opposite end, the total happiness on Earth must remain in balance [S2E4]. Heaven and hell strictly abide by an agreement to work through contracts and never kill each other.
Demons have similar class and license restrictions, and are accompanied by devils instead of angels. A seal exists between the demon world and Earth, named the Gate to the Netherworld. It was "created by the gods and can only be broken by an instrument of the gods." As such, demons require a catalyst to manifest on earth. The demons possess a system similar to Yggdrasil, named Nidhogg. Both demons and goddesses possess the power to seal beings away. The demons also operate in a fashion similar to goddesses by creating contracts with humans and offering them wishes, but often at a price [S2E17].
Other elements in the Goddess universe are programs that can be constructed by either the goddesses or the demons for any number of purposes. One example is the Ultimate Destruction Program, a program written by demons to create a world for demons by destroying humanity [S1E23]. Countermeasures include directly destroying the program or using a vaccine, a program specifically designed to nullify its target program. Programs designed to destroy systems and with self-replicative abilities are known as viruses, much like the computer viruses in the modern world.
Other creatures that exist in the Earth plane are a multitude of spirits that are responsible for almost every aspect of life. These include the spirit of Money, the Wind, and such. More specific entities include Earth spirits, which are guardians over a specific area of land.
An adventure game titled Aa! Megami-sama! for the NEC PC-9801 was released in 1993 by Banpresto. An enhanced port was later released in 1997 for the PC-FX which added voice and other improvements.
A Dreamcast quiz game named Quiz: Ah! My Goddess was released in August 1998.
In February 2007 an Ah! My Goddess game developed by Marvelous Interactive, Inc. was released in Japan for the PS2 console. The game was only released in Japan and was released in 2 editions, the limited edition (also known as the "Holy Box" edition) and the regular DVD edition. Currently there have not been any plans for the game to be licensed and translated into English. However the game could be ordered from websites such as Amazon Japan, Play Asia and Yes Asia.
- ↑ Fujishima Kousuke profile
- ↑ You're Under Arrest spin-off
- ↑ Aa! Megami Sama (English). AnimeNfo. Retrieved on 2006-06-07.
- ↑ Adventures of Mini-Goddess (English). AnimeNfo. Retrieved on 2006-06-12.
- ↑ Ah! My Goddess The Movie (English). AnimeNfo. Retrieved on 2006-06-12.
- ↑ Ah! My Goddess (TV) (English). AnimeNfo. Retrieved on 2006-06-12.
- ↑ ANN Exclusive Interview: Mike Bailiff, ADV's Senior VP of Sales and Marketing (English). Anime News Network. Retrieved on 2006-12-13.
- ↑ Ah! My Goddess (TV) (Japanese). TBS. Retrieved on 2007-12-01.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 AnimeEigo's OVA name
- ↑ Kosuke Fujishima quote
- ↑ Dark Horse manga title
- ↑ Kodansha's manga title
- ↑ Pioneer's Movie title
- ↑ Template:Ja icon TBS's television anime title