Sunday, February 5, 2012

Anime Review No. 21, "Oh My Goddess" (OVA), Part 2/2

Hello again, this is the Eclectic Dude

Well, after three rather solid episodes with lots of character introductions and situational comedy/drama, does this OVA pick up the pace? Let's find out.

Episode 4, titled Evergreen Holy Night, starts out with a bad dream by Keiichi in which Belldandy leaves him, which causes some distress. It is really good scene illustrating the transient nature of their relationship, especially considering they are an unconventional couple. Anyway, problems (micro snowstorm, things disappearing, magnetism, etc) start popping around Keiichi and Belldandy's temple abode. The problem is caused by the presence of 'bugs' (multi-legged rabbit critters), as reality seems to function akin to a computer system. More bugs equals glitches in the fabric of reality, or something. These 'bugs' come out from a 'portal' formed by the close attraction of Keiichi and Belldandy, as discovered by Skuld. The two now have to be separated or more problems will occur.
On top of that, 'Father' (the God-figure) calls Belldandy and says she got to go back to Heaven. She has 3 days before a gateway opens up to Heaven and take Belldandy. She reluctantly agrees it as she wants to make Keiichi's life better, even though both of them are in deep love with each other. The pain of separation gets to both of them, and attempts to reconnect with more problems. Near the end of the episode, it is discovered that a tree on the grounds of the temple is the source of the 'reality glitches'. Not much is explained about the tree, suffice to say that its is a rather scary and shocking cliffhanger.

Episode 5, titled For Love of Goddess, wraps up the OVA. it is a tad longer than the other 4 episodes, but I don't mind that too much. It continues the plot from Ep. 4 with Belldandy awaiting the day she has to leave Earth for the Heavenly Sphere, Urd and Skuld trying to keep her on Earth, and Keiichi going to do part time jobs to get something special for Belldandy. All of this during Christmastime, which does make it very poignant.  Will it end in tragedy or will our couple have a happy ending?
Suffice to say, they do. I won't spoil details to the ending, suffice to say it does bring up a twist I didn't see coming even after watching it a few times. Thus, the OVA ends on credit roll with a cheery pop song set to character stills. Pretty good I must say.

Now the pros of this OVA:
The voice acting in the english dub is top-notch. Juliet Cesario and Scott Simpson do a very good job conveying the roles of the main couple. The rest of the cast is generally consistent, though Pamela Weidner and Lanelle Markgraf (who voices Skuld and Urd respectively) are particularly note-worthy as well. The music is rather nice as well. It has nice blend of orchestral and 90s J-pop/synth music that works well and complements the story. It also got interesting concepts, especially with regard to the nature of reality and role of fate in the universe. Those seems odd in this story, they do tie in with what the story is about: Even when they are odds against two people in love, they shall overcome.

Now the cons:
The story is rather straightforward: boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, the two become a couple and overcome obstacles, both human and universal. Still, the interesting concepts I mentioned above help make this OVA stand out among other similar series. Animation is the other thing that at times, ages this production considerably. The character designs look good and consistent, but the backgrounds often look faded in comparison, especially in the scenes during the daytime. Nonetheless, it is old enough to be considered old-school without much problem.

Now, one particular extra I liked about AnimEigo's release of this OVA in 2 episodes is the audio commentary. They decided to do an audio commentary for all 5 episodes. It includes Scott Simpson, Juliet Cesario, Pamela Weidner along with English Voice Director Scott Houle. It is a very enlightening commentary and worth a listen should you get the DVDs, which I recommend.

In conclusion, Oh My Goddess is a very good OVA and stands out as a classic, in my opinion. Sure, the animation makes this on the old school side, but it is worth looking at. Especially if you've seen the 2005-07 TV Series and want to see what it looked like back in the day. Of course, you can always check out the manga, which is very good as well.

Next week is "Ah My Goddess" The Movie, which came out in 2000.

The Eclectic Dude

No comments: