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Oh, My Goddess

Oh, my goodness is more like it. The anime series and film Oh My Goddess begins like Mahoromatic Maid and ends like Neon Genesis Evangelion. However, stay away if you're fans of either of those latter two series, as it brings little original content of its own, and poorly executes both of the elements it borrows.

In the series, the First Class Goddess Dandybell becomes the live in-girlfriend of Keiichi, an otherwise ordinary college student who is also a member of a racing club, by accident. He reaches her by phone while he thinks he's ordering takeout, and ends up being granted one wish. Of course, he wishes for her to be his girlfriend, and drama and hilarity ensue. At least, that's the idea.

However, the concept that was palatable in Mahoro because of her nature as a battle android becomes just ludicrous in Oh My Goddess. Whereas Mahoro was, while very powerful, still an android created by man to serve a certain purpose-- war against the evil organization SAINT, Dandybell is a nearly all-powerful goddess, dedicted to helping people through the Goddess Help Line. We're expected to believe that she is so pure-hearted, so altruistic, that she decided the best use of her unimaginable powers is to spend life on Earth "helping" Keiichi. And of course, eventually she begins to like her life, cooking and cleaning for him, and acting as co-pilot in their low-riding racing rig. (Apparently, the makers of the series have something against Goddess drivers.)

The film, released in 2000, progresses the anime from its Mahoromatic roots to its Evangelionesque destiny. The lovely designs are wasted in an apocalyptic storyline that manages somehow to be as baffling as that of EVA without any of the psychological depth. One gets the distinct impression that somewhere there is a script treatment for this movie that specifies that OMG is to be like Evangelion, with the Judeo-Christian elements removed and replaced with Norse pantheon elements. However, events play out in a fairly similar way, with the actions and positions of a few characters swapped around. Dandybell is approached and suborned by her ex-mentor, Celestine, who wants to use her for his own purpose of remaking the world in his image. We're given to believe that his motivations are entirely pure in this manner, as he only wants to create a world without suffering. This suffering takes the form of the so-called Gate of Judgment, through which prospective couples must pass before their love can be recognized. Naturally, no one has ever managed this in the history of the world, and as soon as the audience is told this, they realize how the film is going to end. One gets the distinct impression that the entire script idea was a young college boy's justification for getting married to his university sweetheart before graduation.

Mahoro supplied ample fanservice, bawdy jokes, and a few big guns and explosions-- good, light, entertainment. Evangelion provided a deep psychological drama against the backdrop of a deconstructed, apocalyptic robot anime plotline. Oh My Goddess supplies neither of these, and precious little that's entertaining. The designs of the Goddess characters, however, are quite interesting, and if you're an aspiring animator who'd like to see the chicks-with-wings concept fleshed out rather well, take a look. Otherwise, steer clear.