|Ah! My Goddess - 2011 OAD Special|
This time however we are given a special OAD out of the blue and without much fanfare, packaged along with the 42nd and 43rd volumes of the manga roughly titled Together Forever.
As a fan of almost every form of Ah! My Goddess, I was instantly excited about getting more of what I love, and while the episode isn't canon, it is at least somewhat consistent with the latter events of the anime, and how they interconnect with one another.
This OAD is the first original anime DVD--meaning direct to DVD video--produced for the series, and not the typical OVA made available everywhere, and thus limited to manga purchases only(sorry to the North American fans, but I doubt that Dark Horse Manga will be bundling the DVD for us anytime soon).
My first reaction to seeing the new OAD is that I noted that it didn't have the usual bag-pipe music opening song that I loved hearing during the series episodes, now replaced with an opening song by FripSide; but that wasn't any real big loss, since after a few times listening to them, I just hit the skip button anyway.
I did notice that the characters are sporting new wardrobe, which while it doesn't happen all the time, does happen, and usually at the moment when you are thinking to yourself, "Don't they have any other clothes to wear?" Though personally, Urd always looks better in tight fitting side cut skirts, and not necessarily a pant-suit.
Once again however we are treated to a slightly different looking Belldandy and Urd; and for those of you that have been long time followers of the franchise in all forms know, Belldandy and Urd have seemingly gone through the most character changes imaginable.
The new look isn't as drastic of a change as that which happened in the manga, where one volume she looks erotic and exotic, and the next she looks more refined and clearly sculpted; this change is only slightly noticeable and only due in part to drawing style of AIC. I didn't find it distracting in the least, and I hope that the fans of the series wont even be able to notice.
The plot of this OAD is more or less, Keiichi and Belldandy going on a date to visit an amusement park one last time before it is closed permanently. The twist is that during the hours leading up to the trip, Belldandy begins to exhibit stronger than normal feelings of happiness, which are so abundant and overflowing, that they threaten to nullify the need for any goddess's presence on Earth.
Without any needs, and with their hearts filled with ultimate happiness, mankind will no longer require the assistance of goddesses to grant them blessings and wishes, and the likelihood that they will be recalled back to heaven, becomes a serious danger.
Of course, it is up to Urd and Skuld to stop the happiness, or at least hinder it, without incurring the dispair of their sister Belldandy.
The episode is slightly longer than an average episode of anime, weighing in at around 28 and a half minutes, and throughout has really good pacing. The plot is sound, while still being whimsical, and the appearance of a villain to meddle with the situation allows for some excitement.
All in all, I walked away from this feeling a little saddened. Simply because I now know that any future releases of Ah! My Goddess are going to be pretty much limited to OADs and OVAs, and the chances of seeing another full season are now past.
I always want more, as a fan given a morsel of anime, it seems only fair that we should have a little something larger to gnaw on, but as a fan, I often am reminded that we have to take what we can get from time to time.
I am disappointed--like always--in Keiichi's character, as he seems to perpetually wuss out on us, when it comes to expressing himself to Belldandy. Granted it isn't as annoying this time around, but after all the time they've been together as a couple, it seems that he has gotten no closer to a physical relationship with Belldandy, choosing to be more of a boyfriend in title only.
I'm also greatly annoyed with Belldandy, but only from a critical stance, as I adore her in the series, but find her repressed desire to be with Keiichi equally frustrating.
On a whole, this is a great OAD. It gives us a good dose of the goddess goodness, and doesn't fail to entertain. I wouldn't give this one the highest of marks, simply because it felt as if it needed more, and crisis resolution in a single episode is something that shouldn't be done, lest you make it go too fast.
I would have liked more of Urd, but as an Urd fanboy I'll have to sulk about that later I suppose.
Great, but not a masterpiece; I'd definitely recommend you check this one out.