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.


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.

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.


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?

Oh My Goddess!, Vol. 46

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

Since my last review of Oh My Goddess back in December, the manga has finally ended in Japan after 26 years, and will be 48 volumes total. For those who were reading this entire arc and noting it felt like a grand finale, congratulations, you are correct. There’s still some stuff to do before we get to what will no doubt be a final chapter with a wedding, not least of which is that Keiichi and Belldandy have to be reminded of something really obvious: she is a goddess and he is mortal. In fact, this is something that has happened to lovers in the past, as we see in the first have of this volume.


The flashback is painful, as you’d expect, but is also suffused with the selfless love we’ve come to expect from Keiichi and Belldandy, to the point where once the bard dies, the goddess is determined to see what he sang about even if it means her life. Unfortunately, due to the nature of contractual promises, she can’t even get peace in death. They’re being shown this to remind them that love is not worth all this pain that you’ll see in the end, but Oh My Goddess has spent 46 volumes so far showing us that yes, it absolutely is, so this argument doesn’t really hold up.

After last volume’s rewrite of its continuity, where we see that Keiichi was being repressed by heavenly forces to stop him getting it on with Belldandy, we get even more discussion of the original wish that began everything back in Volume 1. The wish: “I want a goddess like you to be with me always” – was said without being serious, but here we see a devastated Keiichi realizing what the burden of such a wish was on Belldandy, and cursing his past self for not being serious enough. Meanwhile, Belldandy confesses to Keiichi that, far from being surprised to see him when she descended to grant his wish, she’d actually been watching him from heaven for some time, and had fallen in love with him before they’d even met.

Fans of the anime won’t be surprised at this, as it also did a ‘we were destined to be together long before that wish’ plotline. It is nice, though, that Fujishima actually goes back to draw Belldandy somewhat like he did at the beginning – a larger marking on her head and her hair darker – to show us how she’s changed since then. (Keiichi, notably, does NOT get seen as his Vol. 1 self, which is fine, as that was more ‘the artist still needs work’.) And so finally Keiichi and Belldandy have pretty much taken every test of their love that can be thrown at them. We’ve even met her mother. And, as it turns out, her father – Gate turns out to be Tyr, Belldandy’s father and the ruler of Heaven.

Needless to say, he decides on one more test for Keiichi to be worthy of his daughter’s love, and even cheerfully frames it as ‘because a dad has to be a jerk to his daughter’s boyfriend’. Any reader of Oh My Goddess will be unsurprised at what happens next – the final battle involves a motorcycle race over an incredibly dangerous path, with K1 even driving a recreation of his regular bike. He also has to do it by himself, without Belldandy in the sidecar. Can he manage it? We’ll find out in March.