Monday, February 28, 2011

Oh My Goddess! Volume 37

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

Oh dear. Even for a recent volume of Oh My Goddess, a series never known for its deep and meaningful plotting, this seems like a very inconsequential volume. On the bright side, we once more have one plot carrying us through the whole volume (and into the following one, as we get a cliffhanger here). On the down side, despite the supposed 'threat to the world', the danger quotient just doesn't seem that high here. So what we're left with is a lot of running around the town, and introducing the new girl.

The new girl is named Chrono, and she is yet another goddess from heaven. However, unlike recent kickass goddesses like Peorth or Lind, Chrono is... a dojikko. What's more, thanks to Peorth deciding to be a tease, she's wearing a maid outfit, which is apparently the 'traditional costume' to wear when descending to Earth. This leads to a few jokes with Urd trying to get Chrono to say "Welcome home, Master" to Keiichi, but mostly appears to be there so that Fujishima can draw adorable clumsy maids. I think I liked it better when he spent the whole manga fetishizing motorcycles instead.

The main plot is that Chrono was supposed to be bringing a new program update to Belldandy. Except she smashed into a transformer, and dropped it. And it ended up flying all over the town in several pieces. The program is designed to keep the world 'in tune' essentially, and with its destruction all songs will vanish from the world... which would lead to the end of the world. So now Bell and the others but travel around looking for various aspects of the spell and capturing them, allowing Chrono, who has a beautiful singing voice, to take then into herself and recreate the update. The trouble is, as time goes by, Chrono's voice gets more out of tune because of the busted update...

One reason people might enjoy reading this is seeing the cameos from various minor OMG characters who pop up here. Aside from Megumi and Chiharu, the rest of the large supporting cast OMG had at the start vanished once Keiichi graduated from college. So it's nice to see that Tamiya and Otaki are as insane as ever, even when possessed to make music with their pneumatic drills. And seeing Sayoko raiding an alleyway's garbage so that she can bang on a can - well, that's likely the highlight of the volume.

Honestly, though, this volume didn't grab me. It also continues the tradition of being very short, something that can't really be complained about as the Japanese volumes are also this short. But there's only 147 pages of manga here, and in those pages, very little actually happens. Oh My Goddess fanatics are going to buy this anyway, but casual fans might want to wait for the next time Urd's demonic mother Hild shows up, as the story always seems to rev up once she arrives. Till then... well, have a dojikko maid goddess.

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