Oh My Goddess!, Vol. 47

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

The final volume is not going to have much time for this, so it’s very fitting that this penultimate one is devoted to the greatest love affair in the entire series. No, not K1 and Belldandy, though they’re cute too. I’m referring to the love affair between Fujishima and motorcycles, one which reaches its obvious zenith here as we wrap up a mini-arc where Keiichi must justify his life and earn the right to love Belldandy by driving a really difficult motocross race, something that would sound a bit ridiculous to anyone who hasn’t read Oh My Goddess! before. In fact, ‘really difficult’ may be underselling it – Keiichi’s failure at one point leads to his limbs being broken and his organs tearing apart, something he feels every bit of.

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That said, he ends up perfectly fine, even if his bike is totaled. But wait! A new arrival comes on the scene, who wants to play up the old ‘did you drop this gold motorbike or this silver motorbike’ schtick, but K1 and Bell aren’t having any of that – it’s the Lake Goddess, fresh from the tragic story of Vol. 46. Yes, she is now freed, and yes, it was due to the sheer power of the feelings Keiichi and Belldandy had for each other. This may seem like a hoary old cliche, but honestly, it’s exactly what readers of this title wanted. No one wants to read a grim and gritty Oh My Goddess where our heroes learn that life is pain and suffering.

So yes, she’s free, and able to make fun of Tyr as well. Yes, he’s still testing the couple in his guise as the Gate, even after Keiichi wins the final race, possibly due to the sheer joy of being on a motorcycle – it wouldn’t be the first time he’s won a race for that reason. But there’s one final test, and it’s one that many Oh My Goddess fanfiction writers have theorized about – Tyr offers Keiichi a chance to be a god, so he can stay with Belldandy forever, according to the terms of his deal. Naturally, though, Keiichi is never going to accept that – he is a living embodiment of all that is good about humanity. Take that away and you waste it a bit. Of course, that was a test as well.

The ‘cliffhanger’ ending has Hild explaining exactly over a game of Koi-Koi (and Skuld reading what appears to be Nakayoshi) how she managed to get pregnant with Urd despite losing the same contest that K1 and Bell are going through. But really, the real cliffhanger is knowing that this all wraps up in Vol. 48, and we’re still in the middle of Hell. Will everyone be able to get out? Will K1 and Bell live happily ever after? Is this series really as optimistic as it seems? Yes, yes, and yes. Again, what series have you been reading that these questions aren’t a surprise?

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