Ah! My Goddess (TV)

Good

This isn’t to be confused with the OVA series of Oh! My Goddess, which came before it.  Apparently, Ah! My Goddess more closely follows the manga.  This series contains a blend of three different kinds of stories, which prevents it from being truly great.  As a consequence, most of this anime is fairly plain and forgettable. That said, it’s a fairly laid-back story that’s suitable for easy watching.

Purpose: Decent.  Ah! My Goddess is, overall, a light slice of life comedy with some light romance and a little bit of world-focused plot at the end.  The slice of life-type comedy is fairly simple and plain, without any truly crazy antics.  However, this anime really shines when it focuses on the sweet/romantic moments.  What is surprising is that about 2/3 of the way through, they suddenly transition to a much more serious tone and actually create something that resembles a plot line.  The division of time doesn’t really detract from the series so much as preventing it from reaching its full potential.  Overall, the anime was solidly Decent, but some of the stronger elements managed to barely pull it up to Good.  

Characters: Decent.  The oddest thing about the anime is that much of it was focused on amusing antics, but they didn’t make the characters “spectacularly crazy.”  To be more specific, none of the characters were strong enough to be memorable in any way.  Once the anime settles down into its routine, roughly halfway through, the basic setup is the “nice-guy” and the “nice girl,” coupled with two instigators.  One instigator is designed to try to make the two closer, the other designed to create some distance.

The problem with this setup is that, instead of developing the characters very well, they decided to create other characters to artificially create situations for the main two to react to.  So, for much of the anime, rather plain characters were reacting to new situations.  Thus, much of the character interaction was reaction to other characters.  Now, that setup actually worked quite well when it was just the main two characters since it ended up creating some really sweet or cute moments.  It just wasn’t well suited to everything else.  That said, the last 8 or 9 episodes actually went to create character depth… but in the secondary characters.

World: Good.  This was another category resurrected in the last handful of episodes.  For much of the show, the world was just there to allow some characters do to interesting things.  For that, it was, again, a really plain magical world-setting.  Much of it was a real-world setting with a “cheat code” of magical powers.  In the last handful of episodes, it described some of the greater workings of the world, which served as the basis for a semi-fantasy drama type event towards the end.  The world was full of potential, but not really explored.

Plot: Decent.  The vulnerability of the plot is that it was mostly non-existent.  Normally, that is perfectly okay for slice of life-type anime.  However, the addition of magical powers, both positive and negative, served as a cheat to bypass solid plot-writing.  Thus, the problem and the solution was often magical in nature, yet artificial.  Basically, magic was the plot hole. This created some internal inconsistency, working at odds with the characters.  Thus, instead of acting as steps for the characters’ relationships and growth, the plot served as an aberration – a weird hiccup that sort of forced things along for our characters.  The reason the plot is Decent in spite of this is because (fortunately) the characters were plain enough that it didn’t really affect anything.

Storytelling: Good.  Much of the storytelling was taken up by light comedy.  However, when they actually focused on the main characters’ relationships, they really shined.  Sadly, the setup was often incomplete and the sweet/awkwardly romantic moments came at the tail end of a forced plot.  One other area that is notable is the world-based plot.  It served as a really interesting exploration into character relationships other than the main two.  Once they started doing that, it made everything fall into place and actually paved the way for some emotional investment in both the characters and the overall story.  With all that said, frankly, the storytelling did the best it could, given the setup.

Pace: Good.  Overall, the pace is quite slow.  Internally, however, there are several pace changes that took place, namely when they focused on relationships and then the overall plot.

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