Oh My Goddess!, Vol. 45

By Kosuke Fujishima. Released in Japan by Kodansha, serialization ongoing in the magazine Afternoon. Released in North America by Dark Horse.

Sometimes there’s just too much to say for a Bookshelf Brief, and that’s certainly the case with this volume of Oh My Goddess. Since my last full review 2 years ago, we’ve been going through hell like a video game, with various mini-bosses being taken down. In the midst of this, Keiichi and Belldandy had to break their contract in order to get past one obstacle. Once they reconnect it, Keiichi notices that his feelings for Belldandy, while just as strong, seem more… arousing than normal. And there’s a reason for that, one that set fandom alight when this chapter first came out about a year and a half ago.


Like most everyone who has now read this series for 45 volumes – indeed, hardcore fans may have read the series THREE TIMES by now, in 32-page floppies, then the flipped volumes, then the unflipped volumes – and I had always assumed that the total lack of sexual desire between Keiichi and Belldandy was a function of Japanese fandom and the “we must keep our idols pure and virginal” mentality, as well as a strong dose of “if they actually do get it on, the manga will end, and this is a GIANT CASH COW, so nothing can happen.” Now Fujishima is saying this has all been deliberate on the part of heaven, who have locked up Keiichi’s libido magically so that he and Belldandy won’t procreate – because of the past past experiences with demigods.

That wasn’t the thing that made fandom upset. It was that Belldandy and Urd were aware of this all the time, and said nothing. It’s worth noting that for those who remember the very early days of the series, this retcon is very awkward. Keiichi spent most of the first volume or so trying to get into Belldandy’s pants, and this vanished around the same time that his eyebrows stopped being huge and 80s-shaped. What’s more, Urd’s constant attempts at aphrodisiacs and love potions now make a whole lot of no sense. That said, for a manga that is looking forward and not backward, it’s a fascinating twist, and Belldandy clearly feels horrible and self-doubting about it.

There’s not really much to worry about, as K1 is pretty much the perfect boyfriend, so even when Bell and Skuld’s mother suggests they may have lost the trust between them (oh yeah, she showed up as well, forgot to mention that) he’s quick to smile and show that if anything, he loves her even more. Keiichi and Belldandy can be sickeningly sweet even when they aren’t stressing about whether they truly deserve each other, and I have to assume that if you’re still reading the series you’ve just resolved yourself to that happening. It can be adorable in the right mood.

I note Hild’s plotline is resolved here, which was meant to be the main goal of this arc. Instead, it’s turned into a combination of Dante’s Inferno and Orpheus, with Keiichi and Belldandy having everything that they know and trust about their relationship torn apart and destroyed so that (presumably) it can be rebuilt even stronger and with more sweet smiles. Plus hey, Keiichi can now see her and get aroused, which is a big step forward for the wrong type of fan. :) We end up with a cliffhanger that looks as f it may involve past lives, and I suspect won’t work out nearly as well as K1 and Bell have. But we’ll have to wait a long time for that, as the volume likely won’t arrive till August 2014.

(By the way, there is an excellent tribute to the late Toren Smith by Carl Horn at the end of this volume, well worth reading even if you’d dropped the series long ago. This is one of the series that everyone things of when they think of Toren, so it was lovely to see.)

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