Sympathy for the Devil (Oh My Goddess! #5) ★★★★☆ (Manga Monday)

sympathyforthedevil (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Sympathy for the Devil
Series: Oh My Goddess! #5
Author: Kosuke Fujishima
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 160
Format: Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Mara causes a lot of ruckus trying to divide up Belldandy and Kei and in the process it is revealed that Mara is a demoness.

Bell and Urd’s little sister Skuld comes to fix some bugs and Kei is almost sucked into another dimension while hijinks ensue.

Other hijinks, involving Megumi, the Motor Club, Sayoko and Aoshima, happen and laughs are called for by the audience.

 

My Thoughts:

It is really being brought home to me that this is a comedic, episodic manga. It is nothing like Eyeshield 21 and I need to stop expecting something inspiring. This is for laughs and 3 Stooges style of humor, ie, poking of eyes, hitting with hammers, etc.

One thing that did make me smile pretty good was the fact that Urd is put to sleep by Polka music and that’s used against her by Mara. At the same time, Mara has to dance if she hears Disco, and Urd uses that against her! Speaking of Mara, I don’t understand why the “mystery” of her gender until now? It was good for one gag, and that was it.

With the introduction of Skuld, we now have the 3 Norns and the author can play around with Norse mythology interwoven into modern Japanese culture all he wants. Urd and Skuld fight a lot and if that continues, it will get old very fast. Skuld is young and impetuous and very much a “little sister” figure, which makes me wonder just what part Megumi, Kei’s younger sister, is going to end up playing.

Most of the stories were much more focused on Bell, Urd and Kei this time around instead of having them mixing with all 72 other side characters.

The cuteness factor continues to ramp up, especially when you get multiple chibi versions of BOTH Belldandy and Urd!

omg-chibi

I’m just a sucker for cute little chibi’s!

 

This felt like a very busy volume yet beyond the introduction of Skuld, not much actually happens. Fujishima the author really doesn’t seem to have an overarching story and is just playing it by ear week to week ie, chapter by chapter. When that is done right, like with Yotsuba!&, it is fantastic. Here, it is walking the line of feeling frenetic and slightly directionless.

★★★★☆

bookstooge

 

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Love Potion #9 (Oh My Goddess #4) ★★★★☆ (Manga)

lovepotion9 (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Love Potion #9
Series: Oh My Goddess #4
Author: Kosuke Fujishima
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 117
Format: Paper Edition

 

Synopsis:

Sayoko and her cousin Aoshima continue their scheming to break up Bell and Kei so that they can have their respective picks. Of course, with Urd running interference and Bell’s love of Kei, things never turn out for the dastardly duo like they had planned.

There are also several instances of completely ridiculous things being overlooked and ignored. How do you bulldoze a clubhouse that is also a mechanics garage, overnight and have NO repercussions? You really have to enter the spirit of the manga, ie, campy and silly and just flow with it.

The other major plot point is the introduction of Mara, demon first class. While a very androgynous looking fellow, Mara is indeed a fellow. Somehow he’s tied to a Demon music cd and he ends up in cahoots with Sayoko, promising to get rid of Bell so Sayoko can be Queen of the Campus and have Kei all to herself.

While Mara is foiled at every point, he’s not banished and it’s obvious he’s here to stay and cause nothing but problems.Yet another recurring character. The character list is really starting to grow.

 

My Thoughts:

Every chapter was once again a single episodic adventure. Now, most of them revolved around various schemes by Sayoko and Aoshima so the whole book kind of felt more like a romantic comedy than anything.

I can’t really remember what part Mara ends up playing in future volumes, but I think he’s the beginning of the multi-volume story arc. It’s also our first introduction to the opposite of Belldandy’s family. Fujishima is obviously thinking ahead and planning on opening up this world for a full on experience. Having extra powerful beings, on opposite sides of the moral spectrum, is the obvious way to go.

Urd is involved, but not nearly so much as in the previous book. She really is eye candy and comedic relief. The funny thing is, she “represents” eye candy more than she actually is. That makes for a surprisingly clean “smexy” fun drawings without going anywhere near smut. Of course, this is still male driven fantasy, so you get little bits like this. And how cute is a mini-Urd anyway?

 

 

Now on a different note. I am reading the original Darkhorse release manga. I am finding that the chapters are out of order in regards to the original intent and that that has been rectified with the re-release of the OMG manga in it’s original numbered format. Not that I’m going to go out and suddenly buy volumes 1-20 just to be a completist but I am realizing that I’d recommend people start with the new numbered versions and not these “Titled” Darkhorse editions.

★★★★☆

bookstooge

 

Final Exam (Oh My Goddess! #3) ★★★★☆ (Manga Monday)

finalexam (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Final Exam
Series: Oh My Goddess! #3
Author: Kosuke Fujishima
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 152
Format: Paper edition

 

 

Synopsis:

Various chapter stories usually with comedic overtones. Belldandy is crowned Queen of Nekomi Tech. Belldandy and Kei go on a date only to have it ruined by Urd and Sayoko. Megumi invites the motor club over and Urd has them play a magical game of Life.Kei has to take exams but ends up with a brainless double that gets dressed up like a girl taking it for him. Finally, Sayoko’s cousin attends the Tech and tries to make moves on Belldandy with rather predictable results.

 

My Thoughts:

This was a very humorous volume. What stood out to me was the dinner date between Kei and Bell where both Sayoko AND Urd interfere. Sayoko to try to steal Kei from Bell. Ok, an aside here. I still don’t understand why Sayoko is SO determined to steal Kei. It makes for a great ongoing plot point but I really do have to turn my brain off to accept it. Urd interferes because she’s on a mission to get Kei and Bell together conjugally. And yes, conjugally is a real word, I looked it up to make sure! So, during this dinner date Sayoko is trying to be a third wheel and Urd sees it. Urd enchants a roasted turkey to life and it jumps off the serving cart and begins running at and attacking Sayoko. I just about died laughing.

Of course, things aren’t quite so funny when Sayoko’s sleazy cousin shows up and tries to force Belldandy to abandon Kei and be his girlfriend. It had real stalker/rape vibes and while it was shown as something bad, the fact that a character was acting like this at all was a reminder that I was reading something from almost 30 years ago. I don’t remember this type of thing being an ongoing issue in future volumes but I’ll definitely be more aware of it now.

On to the art!

belldandy1

This is a very simple and clean piece of art but at the same time it really expresses everything I like about Belldandy. It’s obvious she’s no ordinary girl, as evinced by her sitting on top of a power pole. At the same time her femininity is in no way compromised. The long flowing hair, the simple shoes, the dress with the sash and apron, the small smile. It all comes together to show a beautiful woman who is extraordinary but not a sexpot. I think that Fujishima did an excellent job of creating beauty without salaciousness. * thumbs up *

★★★★☆

bookstooge

 

November ’17 Roundup & Ramblings

11November17

 

Ok, this month I managed 11 “Books” and 3248 pages (I forgot to add the Spiderman 2099 comic cover to the collage).  Most of those small numbers are due to the busy’ness and blahness of the beginning of the month.  The First Full Week of November just sucked, plain and simple. While things got better with a Mountain Climb, that still ate away some serious reading time. The month was just busy with lots of non-reading things but I’m hoping that December will be better. Of course, Friday, December 1st, we’re heading over to a social gathering at my bro and sister-n-laws new house with several other friends. So I’m not holding real hope that I’ll manage much more in the way of book numbers.

Average book rating was 3.54. That is up significantly from last month.

 

The Bad:

The Voice of Mars 1/2 Star

 

The Good:

Deadhouse Landing 4.5 Stars

The Cygnet and the Firebird 4.5 Stars

Heretics of Dune 4 Stars

 

Manga:

I did manage to start the Oh My Goddess manga and knocked down Volumes 1 and 2.  Enjoyed both and am looking forward to another volume or two in December.

 

Survival Saturday:

Pasta Alfredo   I was pretty meh about it but Mrs Bookstooge really enjoyed it. A complete role reversal from the previous month.

 

Surviving a Bad Book:

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies  By the time I was done writing about this, I’d come to the conclusion that I really hadn’t survived this book. Still frothing with righteous indignation after all these years.

 

Non-review Posts:

Along with  the posts I listed at the beginning of this post, I also did the Brotherhood of the World Tag and celebrated one more big step forward in my Offline Review Library.   Winter is here but thankfully I bought some Good Books to stave off cabin fever.

 

Cover Love:

To end these posts, I usually have Cover Love where I showcase a cover that I really liked from one of the books I read this month. None of them really stood out to me, so I’m going to include the Spiderman 2099 cover that I forgot to include in the ipiccy collage.

spider-man 2099 008 (OCD)-01

Kind of how I feel November went. Busy and so full that it was kind of tough to tell what was going on.

The colors alone should mesmorize you into a brainless state of stupified acceptance.

 

bookstooge

 

Leader of the Pack (Oh My Goddess! #2) ★★★★☆ (Manga Monday)

leaderofthepack (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Librarything & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Leader of the Pack
Series: Oh My Goddess! #2
Author: Kosuke Fujishima
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 152
Format: Paper Copy

 

Synopsis:

Now life as a couple for Kei and Belldandy begins. They have to find a house/apartment for Megumi, stop Sayoko from trying to steal Kei to drive Bell away from Nekomi Tech, win a bet against another racing club with Bell as the the prize, deal with the System Force not working and no longer trying to keep Kei and Bell together and if ALL those things weren’t enough, Family Problems.

Yep, Belldandy’s older sister Urd is tired of watching Kei fumble around, so she comes to Earth to seduce him to give him the confidence to go all the way with Bell. She breaks a few rules and hence gets her goddess license curtailed and ends up having to live with Bell and Kei.

It doesn’t appear that Kei will EVER get to be alone with Belldandy.

 

My Thoughts:

Cute. That’s probably the best word to describe this volume. I did notice the chapter breaks in this volume, as each chapter was titled. Definitely showing its magazine roots. No over arching plot really, just adventures of the week type things. It works for now.

Sayoko is really setting herself up to be a rival to Bell and yet we as the readers know that she simply can’t BE a rival since she’s only human. She does show a few flashes of humanity so we do know she’s not just a complete witch.

Kei is pretty spineless. His senpais make up a rule book for the beach and one of the rules is that he can’t go into where the girls are staying, so he can’t visit Belldandy. IT’S A MADE UP RULE!!!! Sigh, but he doesn’t break it, nor does he show enough intelligence to work around it, until the very end of the stay. Eh, it just shows why he didn’t have a girlfriend in the beginning and gives LOTS of room for character growth.

Bell is pretty and shows touches of jealousy, love and anger whenever the situation needs it, IF Kei is involved. In some ways she’s just as oblivious and naive as Kei, even while being a goddess.

AMG-Complete-V01-C012-250

What ever guy wants, a beautiful woman to be concerned about him

We find out that Bell has family and Urd comes to visit. Without being salacious, Urd is just plain wicked hot. But she’s a liar and doesn’t think about the consequences of her actions, so you know she’ll be providing some good comic relief. Also, her interest in Kei is really non-existent, so no family love triangle drama. Thank goodness for that!!!

★★★★☆

bookstooge

 

Wrong Number (Oh My Goddess! #1) ★★★★☆ (Manga Monday)

omg1 (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Librarything & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Wrong Number
Series: Oh My Goddess! #1
Author: Kosuke Fujishima
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 160
Format: Paper copy

 

Synopsis:

Keiichi Morisato dials the wrong number from his dorm room and ends up on the Goddess Hotline. Thinking it is a joke by his seniors, he wishes that the young woman who appears before him be his girlfriend forever. Belldandy is a real goddess and Keiichi’s wish comes true. He and Bell are now part and parcel.

This leads to many hijinks, as the Ultimate Power does whatever it has to to keep them together.

Belldandy becomes a student at Nekomi Tech, where Keiichi is learning to become a mechanic/engineer/something. Suddenly, Keiichi has gone from Zero to Hero with the beautiful Belldandy at his side. Sadly, it’s not all fun and games as jealously rears it head.

But between Keiichi just being a nice guy and Belldandy actually loving him and being a goddess, they’ll work things out. But can Keiichi keep everyone from finding out that Bell is a goddess? And when the book ends, his little sister has just moved in with them.

 

My Thoughts:

This was just pure fun. It was light and fluffy and romantic and pretty much what every single guy wants to happen to him. Back in the day, this hit my romantic spot right on target, as I was short, thought I was a really nice guy and knew a couple of young ladies who I thought were goddesses.

Now, being married for just under a decade, this was still just as fun. I laughed out loud several times. Being written by a guy, about a guy, I think this will appeal to males more? It is really tough to tell though. I’d certainly recommend at least reading this book to check out if you like the over-arching idea.

The art is a little rough, but in the kind of way that gives it character and uniqueness, not in a slap-dash kind of way where it seems the manga-ka was drunk that day and couldn’t be bothered. The piece I’ve included here is a great representative of the art style for this volume. Bell and Kei sitting on the roof of their temple/home. I’m going to try to include a sample from each volume so you can see the evolution of the art style as Fujishima grows more into his role as a mature manga-ka.

omg

I LIKE black and white manga. It just works for me.

It is episodic. This was written chapter by chapter and released in a weekly or monthly magazine in Japan. Darkhorse just published the chapters in one book and there aren’t clear dividing lines at all between chapters. In fact, there aren’t chapters at all. Which can make it feel almost whiplash’y as you jump from one adventure straight into another. But hang on and you’ll have a good time. A lot of info is thrown at you, such as Keiichi being at a tech school, having a sister, etc, etc, but it is never overwhelming. Belldandy is the bell of the manga and she always takes center stage.

I am really glad this was so fun.

★★★★☆

bookstooge

 

Oh My Goddess! Manga Series Intro

615axv2cxml-_sl500Whenever I start a long running series of posts, I like to do an Intro Post, at least if I think of it. I did an un-named Intro Post for my Malazan Book of the Fallen series and I did an actual Intro post for Survival Saturdays.  An intro post allows me to talk about the subject as a whole before I start in on a book by book, or food by food, gritty battle for supremacy. So I shall sit down and type my thoughts for this upcoming manga series.

I was actually introduced to this series through the anime. It was a 5 part ova [each episode was 30minutes long] and I immediately bought the 2 dvd box set. Once I realized it was an ongoing manga, I began to slowly collect the volumes. Each volume was around $15 and for a young 20’s something guy trying to save for a house and other things that life required, it wasn’t something to splurge on.

Oh My Goddess! has 48 Volumes. However, the first 19 volumes actually comprise 20 volumes as the publisher, Dark Horse, was releasing whole volumes as they saw fit, not when a whole book hit Japan. It had to do with rights and whatnot. It was a lot more tricky back then, with more legaleeze and not so much money greasing the wheels of international love and brotherhood. * eye roll *  But from Vol. 21 onward, the size was shrunk to what we think of as manga size and mirrored the book releases in Japan. It was a sad day when the books went down in size.

1374_4-facebook-smiley-faces-upset

 

Fast forward 14 years. My reading of Eyeshield 21 was coming to a close. It was time to pick another series and since I owned up to Vol 35 of OMG, I decided to tackle that. Why have them on my shelf if I’m not going to read them? So I bought the last 13 volumes, now more affordably priced and things are taking off.

This manga ran from 1988-2014. The art will have changed and I’m going to try to showcase at least one page from each volume in each review. Some of the volumes are pretty slim so the review might not consist of much more than a synopsis and me whining about how little there is to the book.  I figure this series will be read for all of 2018, as I know from experience that there are times I just don’t want to read manga. I know I’m not going to read a volume every week. I’m inviting burn out if I try that again. I would love to get back into a Manga Monday routine but that is going to take some forethought and planning. Probably use November and December to work out the mechanics of if it is viable.

And with ALL that blabbing out of the way (I skim posts this long when written by others, so I feel like I should be apologizing to you all)…

Here is a comparison of the first and last book:

 

omg

It’s been a rough day. 800mg of caffeine might have gotten me through, but it’s doing my hands no favors at the moment.

 

 

While I will be listing each volume reviewed at the end of the current review, I will also be adding an OMG tag. Eyeshield 21 showed me that more than 10-15 links in a single review is just unwieldy and ugly.

bookstooge