Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Oh My Goddess! Volume 36

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

This is the first volume of OMG in a while where the book takes up one entire story, though they are helped by the volumes here (and in Japan) being about 50 pages shorter than earlier volumes. This one is just 6 chapters long.

The plot itself carries over from the last chapter of 35, featuring a drunken Megumi showing up at the temple wondering why guys keep dumping her. Naturally, we find it's because she's far too awesome for them. Any casual OMG fan could have told you that, Megs. In any case, she's wasted and heartbroken, and both Urd and Skuld decide to SOLVE ALL HER PROBLEMS by erasing/modifying her memories. And of course, everything goes wrong, and now everyone there has lost ALL their memories.

The main thrust of this volume, of course, is seeing how even with their memories eradicated, Keiichi and Belldandy are still head over heels in love with each other. They seem to realize it right away as well, even if they're initially too shy to say anything. Meanwhile, Megumi can see it as well (she's really one of the smartest in the entire cast, despite not knowing about the whole 'goddess' thing), despite Keiichi being stuck in a sentai suit, Keiichi's collection of porn, and the annoying cat demon thing trying to convince everyone that he and Belldandy are engaged while Keiichi and Megumi are married.

First of all, I've ranted about it before and I'll rant about it again. Why does Keiichi need porn? He has Belldandy! Yes, I realize that Urd and Skuld are there to be annoying and stop any nookie, and yes, it's true that Keiichi is a reader surrogate and therefore cannot have sex with any of them lest he ruin the innocent purity that Japanese otaku prize (so they can dream of taking it themselves). But dammit, it's been 36 volumes, Keiichi is clearly in his mid-20s by now, and he and Bell have been 'together' for about 5-6 years now. They pledge their love to each other AGAIN here. It's getting ridiculous. I don't care if you have to move to Evening and cross over with Kosaku Shima, it's time to get more intimate.

Secondly, there's a vague tinge of incest through the entire volume. It starts with Keiichi realizing his little sister has grown up (he wasn't even aware she was dating), which the predictable shot of him ogling her breasts (and then feeling guilty). Then Velsper tries his 'you're both married to each other' thing, which luckily Megumi sees through fairly quickly. Finally we have the epilogue, where Megumi's seen with another guy and letting him know that he just can't hold a candle to her brother. (Interestingly, this line is far more suggestive than the scanlation that was out ages ago, which notes that she's looking more for what K1 has with Bell, rather than looking for a guy like K1. I have to assume that Dark Horse's is more accurate, but don't have the Japanese to find out.) It does remind me that Keiichi and Megumi are a brother/sister pair who get along surprisingly well in the manga canon. Though hopefully not that well.

In any case, this is a nice sensible, meat-and-potatoes volume of Oh My Goddess. It's not devoted to mecha fetishes as much as prior volumes, but makes up for it with some nice heartwarming scenes with our favorite couple, and lots of Megumi. Recommended to those who would be reading it anyway.

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