Oh My Goddess! (1993)
Directed by Gohda Hiroaki

Artistic Value: * * ½
Entertainment Value: * * *

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A young college student named Keiichi inadvertently conjures up a beautiful goddess, Belldandy, who grants him his wish that she will be his girlfriend. The two soon take up residence together in an abandoned temple, where they are later joined by Belldandy's two sisters, the sensuous and interfering Urd and the often jealous but technically adept Skuld.

Gohda Hiroaki's animated five part made for video series Oh My Goddess!, while hardly inspired, is, nonetheless, both fun and endearing.

The program, despite the presence of recurring narrative threads, essentially consists of four different stories. The first three of these are told in one episode each and the last extends over the series' final two episodes. Even though Oh My Goddess! is not tightly structured, it is still consistently engaging. The themes that run from one episode to the next, especially the shy development of Keiichi and Belldandy's affections, do bind these installments together and so help to keep the viewer involved throughout the program's duration.

Oh My Goddess!'s capacity to interest the viewer is, fortunately, enhanced by its pleasant and likeable characters. Keiichi, for instance, is a decent and caring individual who is often uncertain of himself. Belldandy is invariably generous, kind, and sweet natured. Urd is a sultry, meddlesome, but basically loving individual, and Skuld, while not as intriguing as are the others, is still a good person who is deeply attached to her sisters. Several of the supporting characters are, admittedly, little more than caricatures, and a few are grating, but the series is so focused on its protagonists that the limited presence of such individuals is unlikely to bother the viewer unduly.

Finally, I should note that although the series is never truly impressive visually, the character designs the director has employed are usually attractive. There is a certain murkiness to some of the animation, and the often exaggerated and very elaborate costumes worn by the female characters are occasionally a little annoying. Nevertheless, the attractiveness of their faces and the general skill with which they are drawn prevents the series' visual shortcomings from ever being much of a distraction.

Oh My Goddess! is far from being the best animated program I have encountered, but it is charming and enjoyable.

Review by Keith Allen

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