You’ve got to figure that behind every tired trope, there’s an original title that still feels fresh and real, even after dozens of imitators have absolutely worn out its premises.
Maybe AH! MY GODDESS wasn’t the first anime centered on a sexy, mysterious, magical woman suddenly dropping down into the life of mousy, put-upon normal guy and turning his world upside down. I realize my knowledge of the genre isn’t thorough enough for me to be certain about that. However, I do know that it’s an older franchise that still carries around a fair amount of notoriety, so I’m willing to bet that the throng of latter shows I’ve sat through are all likely all paying some kind of homage to it.
Why go on such a preamble? Because the aforementioned trope really does bore me and, despite that, I still enjoyed this pilot a lot. It actually takes time to flesh out the “put-upon normal guy” so he feels like an actual character instead of archetype who’s just expected to be there to facilitate the scenarios you’ve come to expect from a show like this. While I wouldn’t call his shenanigans with the auto-club “realistic,” they are well-realized enough to carry enough… verisimilitude that his plight might actually, y'know, remind you of something you, yourself, have gone through.
Granted, the price of that extended stretch of grounding is that you kind-of forget that this is supposed to be a fantasy show, after a while, and the reintroduction of the fantasy element at the end feels a little jarring. Then again, that’s probably the precise intention here.
Coming into this without any preconceptions, I can confidently play the “they just don’t make ‘em like they used to” card again and say that it was so refreshing to watch an opener that takes care to mind its fundamentals and avoid the usual clichés (or, at least, make them work).
A question to the more season fans - - does the show continue to be like this? Or does it eventually fall into the nonsense I’m poo-poing, anyway?
Watch this episode, “Ah! You're a Goddess!" here and decide for yourself.