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AH! MY GODDESS! #2 -- Retro Review

Love Hurts.

Picking up essentially where Episode 1 left off, “Ah My Goddess” Episode 2 begins with the beautiful and kind-hearted Goddess Belldandy explaining to the chronically unlucky human Keiichi that, due to his pure heart, the heavens have decided that it’s time to properly balance the scales of fate which have been so unfairly tilted against him for the majority of his life. To that end, it has been decreed that Keiichi shall be rewarded for a lifetime of honorable behavior in the face of adverse circumstances by receiving a visit from a Goddess (i.e. Belldandy) who is authorized to grant Keiichi one wish.

(I found it slightly alarming when Belldandy mentioned in passing that, when she says she’s prepared to grant Keiichi any wish he might ask for, she means literally any wish, up to and including the complete and total destruction of the world if, hypothetically, that should be his heart’s desire.)

But of course, a pure soul like Keiichi would never wish for anything as horrible as total planetary annihilation. And Belldandy knows it. She believes with all her heart that he’s a good person. And that, surprisingly, is what shocks Keiichi more than the fact that a floating, magic-using, supernatural being has mystically materialized inside his living room. The idea that a girl as gorgeous and wonderful as Belldandy would genuinely like him, and respect him, and think he’s a cool person, even though he’s not particularly tall or athletic, and he’s not super-handsome (at least not in a superficial celebrity sense) and he has no money.

(Seriously, they go around in circles over this for quite some time. The idea of a pretty girl looking past materialist surface issues and valuing him for the good person he is on the inside is like this bizarre alien concept that Keiichi just cannot seem to wrap his head around. I don’t know if that’s a deep commentary on how a lifetime of rejection can lead to low self-esteem, or a commentary on how much modern consumer culture has warped our perceptions of what’s most important in a person, or if the show was just trying to save money and they figured the longer that Belldandy and Keiichi sit in a room and talk, the less work the animators will have to do.)

In the end, even though Keiichi remains skeptical, he finally finds it within himself to gather enough courage to make a wish. But not just any wish. A wish that will change his life. Since Belldandy seems like a great person, and the brief time he’s spent with her has been more pleasant than…just about any amount of time he’s spent with anyone in his life, ever: Keiichi decides to wish for Belldandy to stay by his side forever.

So it is spoken, so shall it be. And before either one of our protagonists quite realize the full implications of Keiichi’s wish, a light flashes through the room, and Belldandy learns that, in keeping with the wish, she must henceforth relocate from heaven, and begin living on Earth with Keiichi.

An arrangement which one would think ought to change Keiichi’s life for the better. And yet, almost as soon as the wish is granted, things begin going wrong.

For starters, Keiichi’s upperclassmen return from their night out, discover Keiichi alone with Belldandy and, believing that Keiichi has violated college rules by sneaking a girl into a boys–only dormitory, promptly banish Keiichi from the school grounds, throwing him and Belldandy out into the street in the middle of the night. Now homeless, Keiichi and Belldandy wander from place to place in an attempt to find shelter for the night. Keiichi at one point even nobly offers to sleep outside on the street if one of his female friends (who doesn’t have enough room to shelter two people) will at least make room in her apartment for Belldandy. But alas, it is not to be. Belldandy informs Keiichi that, now that he’s wished for the two of them to be together, any attempt to separate will be seen by heaven as a violation of the wish. This will cause a great power called “The System Force” to go into effect, and inflict Keiichi with all sorts of bad luck.

By the episode’s final scene, Keiichi and Belldandy are forced to find shelter by sleeping inside an old abandoned car. Not exactly the most auspicious beginning to their relationship. But to her credit, Belldandy proves that she meant what she said about not caring about superficial concerns like money or luxury or…having a house. And despite all expectations, she actually seems to be genuinely enjoying the times she’s spent with Keiichi so far. The two stay up happily and lovingly talking about their lives, their families, their pasts, and the future they hope to build together.

All in all, this wasn’t exactly what I’d call an action packed or a fast paced episode. But it did what an “Ah My Goddess” episode should do. It showed that, no matter what else might be going on around them, the bond between Keiichi and Belldandy is unbreakable. What will happen next episode? Keep it here to find out.

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.

Watch "Ah! Those Who Believe Shall Find Salvation!" and decide for yourself, then read my thoughts on the previous episode.

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Dig Deeper into Ah! My Goddess

A boy misdials a takeout order and instead acquires a goddess. Thinking it's a joke, he makes his one wish: for the goddess to be his girlfriend. The wish is accepted, and Keiichi must figure out how to live with his pure goddess girlfriend, Belldandy...and her family.

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