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[ café reviews ]

Ah! Megamisama!
(Oh! My Goddess!)

Copyright: © 2000 Fujishima Kosuke, Pioneer LDC
Length: 106 minutes
Genre: Fantasy / Romance
Rating: G, Suitable for Family Viewing
Format: Original Japanese (VHS, LD, DVD)

Original Story: Fujishima Kosuke Screenplay by: Director: Music:


DVD jacket

It's the third spring since Belldandy and Keichi met. The autoclub has just signed up some new members and to celebrate, have a karaoke party. However, during the party a drunk Hasegawa tries to show off her bust to Keichi while Belldandy has a turn at the mike. Suddenly all the drink glasses and bottles shatter to the surprise of everyone present. Belldandy shocked at her own lack of control over her powers flees the room with Keichi in close pursuit.

Outside, while watching the sakura trees slowly shed their petals, a figure from Belldandy's past suddenly appears before her; childhood mentor Celestine asks Belldandy to join him in his quest to build a new world. But Belldandy overjoyed at once again being reunited with her former mentor asks why he'd disappeared so long ago. Celestine, realising that Belldandy's memories of certain past events had been erased, gives her a second chance to make a decision that had been taken away from her. Erasing Belldandy's memories of Keichi, Celestine gives Belldandy the chance to decide for herself which path she will take, to join him in his efforts to create a new world or...?

capsule review:

DVD liner notes cover

I have to admit it's been a long time since I've watched the original OAV series for AMG. So long that things fade away into memory and while you remember certain scenes, feelings etc., that you associate with the series, overall it has that faded feeling of distant memory. This first movie for AMG brings back so many of the images and feelings from the final story of the OAV series. From the gentle love story between Keichi and Belldandy, the relationship between the two characters are brought back into clear focus along with a strong feeling of nostalgia as well.

For first time viewers who have not been exposed to the story, there are a number of characters to keep track of. And while many characters from the manga have brief cameos, the main characters are introduced in a manner which are not too overwhelming or difficult to keep track of. I do have to admit, I did have a bit of trouble keeping Chihiro and Megumi separate at first though.

For long time fans, the character designs, while they have changed a touch, are still clearly those of the characters that you'd fallen in love with so long ago. Likewise, the character personalities are still the same as in the original series and the voice cast are also the same. For readers of the manga series, Peorth, makes her screen debut here in this movie. Of the characters, Belldandy is the slightly too sweet and gentle-hearted goddess that Keichi first fell in love with, while I found Morgan's character a touch ambiguous. What exactly motivates her to join forces with Celestine isn't entirely clear given the character development that unfolds before us. And as such she is a bit of an unsatisfactory character. Celestine's motivations likewise are both slightly unclear and yet too simplistic to be entirely satisfying or believable.

Even so, the actual story being told follows in much the same fashion as the final two OAVs. Building on Keichi and Belldandy's relationship and the way that the two work to try and overcome the difficulties encountered is what makes this a great watch. With a gentle sense of humour, love and caring between the many characters, there is no true "bad guy" in the film. Rather it looks somewhat superficially at character blindness in their motivations. Superficially because there is that lack of clarity in character motivation for Morgan and Celestine.

Making abundant use of flashbacks, viewers are exposed to some interesting background information about Belldandy. How she met Celestine and the history between the two. I found that while usually well done, there is at least one scene where I thought ??s depiction of Celestine was a touch weak.

Overall, the voice acting in this movie was very well done. Tamiya and Ohtaki's voices during their brief appearance tends to be a touch annoying, but then, given the scene... I found the way that Ohtaki's voice was cracking at the party especially annoying. However, he is given such a brief appearance at the beginning of the movie that this is quickly forgotten. Otherwise, there were a couple of instances where I found the voice acting just that bit off. Too contrived, the voice acting wasn't quite convincing enough to carry things through. Despite these occasional weaknesses, overall the voice acting was solidly done for a theatrical feature.

Perhaps the strongest aspect to this film was the music. I'm having a hard time deciding on it's final ranking. The melodies are truly wonderful at augmenting the scene, and there is a good variety of different melodies from melancholic to happier to downright sinister with the appearance of Asgard. The more I listen to the music, the more I really enjoy it. And while the concept of the power of song and music is a bit strong in the movie, it does work given the story and the way everything unfolds. I wonder how well the soundtrack will work on its own. Otherwise, there are the usual mixing level problems between music, dialogue and special effects that is common with theatricals. Extra loud during intense scenes while quiet scenes are just that bit too quiet.

The animation quality itself was a bit mixed. There was some truly wonderful detail in the background scenes especially as the feature opens. And while there is a lot of CGI, at times it is most appropriate given that so much of what happens is about troubles with a computer system. Visuals depicting the implementation of computer work, hacking and computer viruses all had a unique way of looking at heaven, the goddesses themselves as well as the yggdrasil system and how they all interact which was scarcely even hinted at in the OAVs. This might be something which is more apparent in the manga series.

Otherwise, there were a couple of scenes where the animation was just that bit too obviously CGI but given some of the concept behind the whole story, it was also occasionally most appropriate that a scene be clearly CGI animation. The only thing that I wasn't entirely happy about in the animation itself was the overly plastic-like appearance of some characters' hair. Celestine's hair in particular reminded me too much of one of the guardian demons to many Japanese temples.

The story itself with its gentle sweet sense of humour and the relationship between Belldandy and Keichi even when she has no memory of Keichi is just fantastic. Building on Keichi and Belldandy's relationship and the way that the two work together to overcome the difficulties encountered is what makes this a wonderful watch. And while there were a couple of points which I thought were decidedly unusual (ex. why Belldandy got so close to Celestine even though she knew he was the cause of her amnesia) did occasionally make viewers wonder about things. One other question which comes up is about the desire to create a new world. Why Urd would wish for the same thing and why Celestine feels so strongly against the Desert Gate aren't well explained in the movie. Rather the viewer is left having to accept that this is the case. Perhaps more is apparent for those who have followed the manga series? Even with this weakness in the story, viewers are still caught up in the main story about Keichi and Belldandy.

Lastly a word on the direction. While overall it was well done, I did find there were a couple scenes where things just didn't quite pull together entirely or were just that hint too predictable. Some scenes reminded me of an old 80s movie (the title eludes me - Dreamscape?) But it's not an uncommon sequence to use when entering the dream realm or inner mind.

While some people may find Belldandy that bit too sweet or a bit too much the cry-baby, the character story about Belldandy and Keichi is what really holds this movie together. I would have loved to see this in the theatres on a big screen. Keeping to the atmosphere of the final OAV story line, this movie is a must see for any AMG fan.
- JYN, 2001.07.15

café rating (original japanese):


4 stars

[4 / 5] - A beautiful love story drama, this follows much in the same fashion as the final two OAVs. A must watch for any AMG fan, this movie further solidifies the relationship between Belldandy and Keichi.


4 stars
[4 / 5] - Occasional points where you just knew they'd do something, but otherwise solidly done.


4 stars
[4 / 5] - Occasionally the voice acting seems a bit off but overall it is very well done.


4 stars
[4 / 5] - There is some wonderful background detail in the initial parts of the movie. Later, there is some good appropriate use of CGI.


5 stars
[5 / 5] - This movie has some wonderful melodies, instrumentals and vocals which work well with the various scenes.


[ N/A ] - Based on the original Japanese release

Overall Rating:

4 stars
[4 / 5] - This is a must watch for any AMG fans and a worthwhile film for the uninitiated. With a wonderful love story, it makes for a lovely evening watch. I wish I could have seen this in the theatres!

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Page last modified 2001.07.15