When I was first getting into anime I’d just grab whatever I could find. More importantly what I could afford. The late 90s was the last true golden age of OAV anime. Original Animation Video, OAV, is closer to what most people would call a Mini-Series if you are older than me, or like I think the current term is “Limited Event” or something like that on streaming services. See Japanese TV rarely showed reruns. I believe it’s still the same way. It’s why shows like Dragon Ball often did movies that kinda recapped a whole season. There was a large market for them in Japan as a cost effective way to have a whole series at home. So also OAV became a hit where they would take a manga and adapt it into either a movie or a few episodes. Ah! My Goddess was one of those cases. Infact the manga was big in America as well.
Bigish in a way. It was released by Dark House as a standard sizes comic book in the late 90s. You can find them pretty cheaply in lots of used book stores if you like some neat little bathroom reads. I never read it much to be honest. There is even some newer longer running series adaptations which are pretty good in their own ways. Yet the six episode OAV will always be my favorite. It wasn’t the best in terms of pacing. Each episode covered a full arc of the manga. Yet it was such a new take on what I considered to be a played out old idea. Troublesome Magic Girlfriend will always be what I call shows like Ah! My Goddess, I Dream of Genie, Bewitched, and any show where a guy stumbles into a relationship with a magical girl and basically trades one set of problems for another.
Keiichi Morisato is a kind hearted, hard working, push over of a man. He gets in over his head when he makes a phone call to a wrong number. Accidentally calling heaven instead of ordering pizza. Atleast in the OAV, the phone call is different in the other adaptations, but the outcome is the same. As Belldandy comes down to grant him one wish because he has remained such a kind spirit despite his life of hardship and misfortune heaven has decided to give him any wish he desires. So obviously he doesn’t exactly believe her and makes a silly wish. “I wish a girl like you would be with me forever” which actually gets granted. In it’s most literal sense. She will be by his side forever. Originally just as friends. As he is so shy and a very pure person he never pushes for anything more than just that. At first anyway, they do eventually get married. It is a romance story after all. Just unlike all other stories of this type the problems all come externally. Either from her sisters thinking he is taking advantage of her, others trying to steal him from her, and ultimately heaven itself.
As a child Belldandy got lost and fell to earth Keiichi found her and helped her out. They had to erase his and hers memories of that time, but it was why his wish was granted in the first place. When they remember this fact the original ruling that they had to be separated comes into effect and heaven is having all sorts of issues with it’s databases and problems just start flooding heaven and earth. A short simple six episode series that opened my mind to romantic comedies being more than the romcom shlock I grew up on. Sadly it’s hard to find streaming.
Oops looks like I dropped something. Which is fine enough because I happened to see this laying around too, seems kinda newer.
I believe that second Episode 1 is from the 2005 series? I really should do more research on these things, but eh this just that would make things less personal. When it comes to Ah! My Goddess I have to speak from the heart. Mainly because this series is so, well, heartwarming. It has moments of depth when the story needs a kick in the pants. Just most of the time it stays focused on it’s cast of loveable goofs. That is if there isn’t some evil ghost or heaven rebellion going on. Yet they will always pull through. A laid-back show with just enough mystery to keep you invested. I feel it’s the perfect departure from the average selection of shows available nowadays. Anime or live action, American or Japanese, this series stands apart from them all in it’s simple understated warmth. It doesn’t try to hard to get attention or to become popular. It just tells it’s story for better or worse that is all it wants to do. Sometimes that’s all I want a show to do. So how about you give it a shot? If you already have, then why not reconnect with some old friends. This show was one of my first, and stays one of my favorites. I honestly think I would be a completely different person if not for stumbling upon these VHS tapes at the flea market one town over. So if for no reason other than that check it out. It might just get you interested in a completely different style of shows. That or give you a good base line to understand where my views come from when it comes to Romcoms.