As someone who deeply enjoyed the original “Ah My Goddess” 5-episode OVA from the 90s, when I heard that modern day animators were planning to expand the “Ah My Goddess” series into a full-season-long anime, I was curious to see how they would re-imagine Keiichi and Belldandy’s adventures in such a way that they’d stretch across 26 episodes instead of just 5.
Now I know: Padding.
I don’t necessarily want to say that “Nothing important happened” during “Ah My Goddess” episode 3, because something important did happen. This episode tells the story of how Keiichi and Belldandy went from being two homeless…well…bums, to becoming the owners of a beautiful Buddhist temple, and finally finding a happy safe (and most importantly: Rent Free) home where they can begin building their lives together.
In fact, now that I think about it, the 26 episode anime actually makes the story more believable, and tells it with more interesting details than the original 5 episode OVA. (“Believable” in this case being a relative term. In the old version, they merely found a temple that was inexplicably vacant and moved in without anyone asking any questions. In this version, they meet a Buddhist monk who agrees to let them spend the night in his temple in exchange for doing chores. But after the monk witnesses Belldandy perform a miracle, he feels the need to go on a quest to re-discover and improve his own spirituality. On his way out the door, he appoints Keiichi and Belldandy as the owners/caretakers of the temple until such time as his return. Not exactly “Believable” according to the laws of physics. But at least it’s more emotionally believable. And we don’t have to worry that some government agency will show up one day and evict our heroes for illegal squatting.)
HOWEVER, as enjoyable as it was to see Belldandy and Keiichi’s adventures in real-estate acquisition recounted out as part of a more clearly delineated, logical progression of events, this episode also contained several LONG scenes, filled with things I did not enjoy. Things that were not necessary to advance this story. (Or any story for that matter.) Things like, Belldandy and Keiichi talking about how much fun it is to count sheep when you’re trying to go to bed. Belldandy and Keiichi eating at McDonalds. Belldandy and Keiichi shopping for teacups. And multiple other scenes that were filled with just…PADDING.
When I first heard that “Ah My Goddess” was going to be expanded outward from a 5-episode OVA, I assumed that new exciting, interesting scenes would be added to the story in order to make it fill 26 episodes. I sincerely hope for everyone’s sake that this is the path the creators will take as the series moves forward. Because if they stay with this padding strategy…boy…as much as I like Keiichi and Belldandy, this is going to be a long 26 episodes.
Kaita Mpambara works every day to try and create shows, stories, and characters that are as exciting, energizing, and entertaining as the very best works that have been given to the world by both the western and eastern animation industries. Keep up with his musings on life, the universe and everything by following him on Facebook.