Oh My Goddess!, Vol. 48

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

It’s going to feel very strange living in a world where no new Oh My Goddess is coming out. As I’ve said before, this was only my second manga series ever after Ranma, and I’ve been following it in various formats for as long as I’ve been in the fandom. And now it’s over, with an ending that’s a bit rushed, to be honest, but gives us one last look at our favorite gods, goddesses, and (one) human (more on that later), seeing them escape Hell and return to yet another completely destroyed temple in time to have a pseudo-wedding. No, there’s no kiss or honeymoon – this isn’t the Oh My Goddess of Vol. 1. Even if their sexy times limiters are now turned off, K1 and Belldandy are still incorruptibly pure pureness personified.

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In a series this long, there are certain things that we not only expect to see, but which are brought out to help wrap the plot up – character development come full circle. This includes Skuld’s kludged-together improvements having self-destruct mode at the most opportune times, and Lind’s hilarious inability to repair anything being used in order to allow the gang the time to escape at the last second. There’s a lot of fast-paced action and chatter from the usual suspects, which don’t really include Keiichi and Belldandy – let’s be honest, their big emotional wrap up happened in the last couple of volumes. Hild and Ansuz also have a very interesting discussion on the nature of love and what is and isn’t appropriate to sacrifice for it, something that I think filters down into how their daughters were raised.

Everything ends with a wedding, but unfortunately it’s an impromptu one involving only the goddesses that have formed around Keiichi (and demons – Mara is still used here for comedy relief, as she has been for 48 volumes or so). While this is sweet and looks nice, I do wish we’d gone an extra chapter and shown K1 and Bell getting married among their friends and family. The human cast has at one time or another been just as important in the series as the goddesses,and while Belldandy has a token mention of some of them earlier in Hell, it would have been nice to see them. Certainly I imagine Megumi will have words with her brother about getting married without their parents or his sister involved.

And so the series comes to a close, and Fujishima has moved on to his next project,which debuts over here in 2016. I’m not sure how successful someone would be in getting new fans addicted to Oh My Goddess the way us old-school fans are – so much of what defines the series has been mined for other anime and manga over the years that you don’t really realize how influential it really was. There’s also the frustration of the main relationship being so static and sexless for so long, something unfortunately also highly influential in harem comedies, though at least Fujishima hammered on an explanation at the last minute. Have a happy marriage, Keiichi and Belldandy. We’ll miss you.

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