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Aa! Megami-sama! (TV)

In a world where humans can have their wish granted via the Goddess Help Hotline, a human, Keiichi Morisato, summons the Goddess Belldandy by accident and jokes that she should stay with him forever. Unfortunately for him, his "wish" is granted. Suddenly, Keiichi is now living with this gorgeous woman all alone, causing him to be kicked out of the all-male dormitory he was staying in. But soon, after they find lodging in a Buddhist temple, Keiichi and Belldandy's relationship begins to blossom. Although they are both awkward and rather uncomfortable with one another at first, what awaits these two strangers could turn out to be an unexpected romance. [Written by MAL Rewrite]
User Count9649
Favorites Count90
Start Date7th Jan 2005
Next ReleaseInvalid date
Popularity Rank1206
Rating Rank2698
Age RatingPG
Age Rating GuideTeens 13 or older
SubtypeTV
Statusfinished

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(This Review Was Originally Written For JapanCinema.net) Before reading Romeo and Juliet, one must explore the intricacies of Cupid and Psyche. The romance genre is absolutely teeming with fantastic stories, but in order for any of them to have an impact, it is necessary for on to understand the meaning of “true love” within a medium. Harems, gender-benders, and romantic tragedy lose their sense of impact unless there exists a show that completely embodies love in its purest form. Luckily, Kōsuke Fujishima’s Ah! My Goddess! fulfills this role. After a couple of original video animations and a series of animated shorts entitled The Adventures of Mini-Goddess, the Anime International Company was tasked with producing the first full anime version of the franchise. With Hiroaki Gōda at the helm and a fairly large production staff, the animators were able to stretch their legs a bit and tart the series up. Romantic comedies aren’t exactly the most aesthetically demanding of shows, so instead of blowing their budget on ridiculous, large-scale action set-pieces (besides one at the end on the first season), Anime International was able to instead spend time polishing each scene up. Character movements are crisp and the environments truly pop. On the soundtrack side, things are slightly less impressive. Once again, romantic comedies don’t really need massive coffers in order to be notable, but putting some effort into making a few good tunes wouldn’t go amiss. Nothing on the entire soundtrack is particularly notable. However, this can almost be applauded, as it means that nothing can subtract from the absolutely sublime English dub. As great as Masami Kikuchi and Kikuko Inoue are, they just can’t hold a candle to the combined forces of Drew Aaron, Eileen Stevens, Shannon Conley, and Kether Donohue. While all were relatively unknown beforehand, Ah! My Goddess! catapulted each person that made up the main cast to a level of super-stardom in the realm of voice-acting, taking on roles as varied, loved, and memorable as… Actually, their four roles in the series at hand are basically the only notable ones any of them have done, but each of their voices just fit their roles so perfectly. Keiichi Morisato is your typical college student. He struggles to find a balance between his classes and the various activities of the Motor Club, which he is a member of. One night, while his roommates are out, he accidentally dials the Goddess Help-Line, causing the goddess Belldandy to appear, giving him a single wish. Under the impression that Belldandy is part of some sort of prank on the part of his friends, Morisato wishes for her to stay by his side forever. Needless to say, the wish is granted, and Keiichi and Belldandy are almost immediately put in hot water after his roommates return and discover him with a mysterious girl in their males-only dormitory. After being unceremoniously ejected from the building, the pair find themselves seeking a new place of residence, which comes in the form of a Buddhist temple. After witnessing Belldandy’s warmheartedness and divine abilities, the monk who resides within the temple is inspired to embark on a pilgrimage to India, leaving Keiichi and her in charge of the grounds. However, this is only the beginning for Keiichi. Living with a goddess is just a magnet for trouble, and he finds himself having to deal with demons, the antics of Belldandy’s sisters Urd and Skuld, and to top it off, his growing feelings towards the goddess he is bound to. The show remains almost entirely episodic throughout its two seasons, but this creates a great sensation of time passing, something which is extremely important in a series which is so heavily reliant on characters slowly developing romantic feelings for one another. Keiichi’s evolution didn’t happen overnight. It’s augmented by the many unique characters that touched Belldandy and Keiichi’s lives, and the series does a fantastic job developing at least one aspect of every background character in a balanced and extremely compelling manner. Many of the episodes that deal with the expanded world of mythology that Fujishima has built only seem to detract from the overall experience. Whenever talk of Yggdrasil and the like comes up, the focal point shifts away from the near-integral relationship between Keiichi and Belldandy, leaving the end product feeling somewhat anemic and unpolished. Interestingly enough, the audience becomes just as dependent upon the pair as the story, which is why the ending comes as such a slap in the face. It’s as if the producers wanted to use the tried-and-true romantic comedy trope of a club trip in order to get a confession scene with some jolly pretty background, but the script writer just ran out of time, lost the will to live, or was abducted by aliens, forcing the rest of the team to string together whatever they had just before the deadline reared its ugly head. One would assume that this kind of finish was intended to pave way for a series of original video animations as was the case with the series’ first season, but the two that the fans were provided with did absolutely nothing to help the situation. However, these are all minor quibbles in the end. The many issues of the show are all stumbling blocks in the way of the delightful experience of watching Belldandy and Keiichi grow together, but they aren’t deal-breakers. The end result is a great, albeit flawed series that truly embodies love and romance, and is an experience that shouldn’t be missed.

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