The Devil in Miss Urd (Oh My Goddess! #11) ★★☆☆☆ (Manga Monday)

devilinmissurd (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: The Devil in Miss Urd
Series: Oh My Goddess! #11
Author: Kosuke Fujishima
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 176
Format: Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Kei, Bell and the gang all “win” a trip to a hotsprings. There, they run across Mara and they all decide to call a truce while on vacation. Of course, it is all a ruse by Mara to gain a strand of Urd’s hair, which she uses to make a clone of Urd. The clone is empty and needs a soul.

Mara kidnapps Urd and using junkstore equipment, separates her goddess half from her demon half. The demon half Mara sends into the clone and lets it loose. Belldandy realizes what is going on and knows that if one half of Urd’s soul perishes, the other will as well. So they can’t destroy Demon Urd, just try to subdue her. Goddess Urd gets free and with the help of Belldandy and Skuld, Urd is put back together again. Of course, there is an empty “Urd skin” lying around.

The book ends with a one shot story of Banpei the robot putting on the Urd skin and going around helping people.

 

My Thoughts:

This was amusing. Convoluted, silly and not well thought out, but amusing nonetheless.

I think my biggest problem with this series is that I constantly see the manga-ka undercutting himself in the longterm to get what he wants in the short term. Take Urd. She’s supposedly half-goddess and half-demon. Gods and Demons are supposedly the antithesis of each other, so how did she come about? And then it is revealed that even the Almighty couldn’t separate Urd’s two natures but we’re supposed to believe that imbecilic Mara can do it? It is just too evident that Fujishima is making things up as he goes and the inconsistancies are glaring.

Going to be talking to myself for a minute, so bear with it. This series is making me not want to read manga at all. I dread having to read this because it is so blah and this re-read has destroyed all my good memories of what I read before. The romance and humor that appealed to me when I was 24 has not matured along with me. I’ve outgrown this and cannot overlook the faults. And yet I paid for the whole 48 volumes. I feel like I’ve got a ball and chain wrapped around my neck and I’ve been tossed off the dock.

And when I put it as bluntly as that, I realize something. I don’t like this manga anymore and while I spent some good money on it, spending TIME on it will not justify the money. I need to cut my losses and just let it go. I am done with this series. Hopefully I can at least sell it on Craigslist and not lose all my money.

I think this final picture is appropriate. Goodbye Oh My Goddess! Only the anime ova shall live on in my memory. This manga has punished me enough.

domg1_15

Sweet Belldandy. It wasn’t only Kei who was in love with you back then

★★☆☆☆

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

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Miss Keiichi (Oh My Goddess! #10) ★★★☆☆ (Manga Monday)

misskeiichi (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:
Miss Keiichi
Series: Oh My Goddess! #10
Author: Kosuke Fujishima
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 117
Format: Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Urd and Skuld are called back to Heaven, giving Kei some alone time with Belldandy. She gets sick, he messes around with some of Urd’s “medicine” and ends up turning himself into a girl. He manages to get ahold of Urd and she and Skuld come back to nurse Belldandy back to health.

Then a former lover of Urds shows up, a Plum Spirit, by the name of Troubador. He professes to want to get together with Urd but is really after her tears so he can complete his training as a bard. He is insanely jealous and so Urd won’t turn Kei back into a guy while he’s around.

Kei gets suckered into taking over the motor club since the two elder students are graduating that year. He wins a competition only to find out that the two Senpais are staying on for advanced mechanical courses and so will still be in charge.

A girl confesses to Kei in a love letter but her ulterior motive is to perform an exorcism on him as she claims she senses “unhuman” energy surrounding him. Due to her own ineptness, she calls forth some super demon dog and it is only thanks to Urd manipulating Belldandy’s jealousy that allows them all to survive.

Megumi has left the motorclub to join the softball team, but with only 4 members, they are being pressured by the baseball club to fold up and become gofers for them. Megumi, Kei and everyone else gets together as a team and end up winning on a technicality. And Urd shows cleavage.

The final story is about Megumi finding a stray dog, it worming its way into everyone’s heart, Megumi finding the owner and Kei admitting he really likes the dog.

 

My Thoughts:

The only amusing part of this manga was when Kei was a woman and preparing to take a bath. I’ll let this picture speak for itself.

omg-c55-p23

 

The rest of these chapters? Barely humorous, wallowing in vapid sentimentality (that puppy chapter just about made me barf) and generally feeling like the manga-ka was mailing it in. Nothing happens. There is no overall plot. A good manga doesn’t always need some overarching story. Yotsuba is the perfect example of that and the manga-ka there carries it off really well. I can forgive random crap chapters when they at least entertain me or are funny or “something”. However, this book felt like a big bowl of diet vanilla pudding. I don’t know if “diet” vanilla pudding even exists, but I imagine it tastes like chalk or something and that is what this book came across as. Dry and bleh.

Mediocre is a good word for this volume. “Miss Keiichi” keeps it from dropping to a 2 ½ rating since I found that panel very humorous.

★★★☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Ninja Master (Oh My Goddess! #9) ★★★★☆ (Manga Monday)

ninjamaster (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: Ninja Master
Series: Oh My Goddess! #9
Author: Kosuke Fujishima
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 117
Format: Paperback

 

Synopsis:

This volume starts out with Kei and the girls at a beach where Urd, always trying to hurry along Kei and Belldandy’s romance, informs Kei that telling Belldandy he loves her under a full moon will result in their eternal happiness. Urd interferes to make things happen while Skuld interferes to stop them.

Next Skuld goes through a goddess growing up moment, only nobody tells her or Kei and Kei thinks she’s started her periods. So he goes to the department store to buy her “feminine products” and almost gets sold a Happy Family Planning pack.

The final story of this book revolves around Mara siccing a bunch of chibi ninja’s upon the household. Kodoma goes in first and is overcome by Bell’s kindness and moves her loyalty to Bell. Then Kodoma’s best friend Hikari makes her move, with the same result. Then the rest of the clan attacks everyone and Belldandy uses a spell to knock them all out. The little ninjas all renounce Mara and send her a break up letter. Oh, one of the Ninjettes is a Peeping Tom Boy.

 

My Thoughts:

Now this is the Oh My Goddess I remember. Funny vignette style stories that are light and fluffy and fun to read, as long as you don’t poke at them.

It is evident that the manga-ka is poking fun at himself in regards to Kei and Bell’s romance as the first little ninja writes down something like “Bell and Kei Romance: Kindergarten Level” on her first recon mission. It just made me grin.

This time around Fujishima’s humor really worked for me. I was amused from start to finish. Not exactly sure if it was me just being in a good mood or if the humor was actually that funny. The end result was the same though. I laughed out loud several times.

What got me the most though was the whole Senrigan the Peeping Tom Boy. That is the picture this time and boy, did it strike my fancy. The scale isn’t here in this picture, but these girls are all the size of your hand. So imagine something that small filled with that much attitude.

peepingtomboy
Better watch out or Senrigan will tell on you!

 

 

 

★★★★☆

bookstooge

 

 

Mara Strikes Back! (Oh My Goddess! #8) ★★★☆½

marastrikesback (Custom).jpgThis 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:
Mara Strikes Back!
Series: Oh My Goddess! #8
Author: Kosuke Fujishima
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 176
Format: Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Chapter Stories.

Mara returns. She releases an unhappiness demon on Kei but because of Belldandy the unhappiness is turned to happiness. At the same time Mara also possesses Megumi to try to separate Kei and Bell. With predictable results all around.

Kei and the Auto Club go for a vacation to an old inn and there Kei is visited by a ghost. A ghost his grandfather made a promise to long ago. Kei must fulfill the promise or be possessed.

Skuld makes a new robot, Banpei and there are the typical misadventures. Urd is recalled to Heaven but the goddesses put their heads together and cast a warding around the house, to ostensibly keep Mara out but a side affect is that the gate for Urd can’t open either. This crashes the system, again and so the girls are still dependent on moon rocks.

The final story is about Sora trying to make a box lunch for the guy she likes. Belldandy helps her out and Sora gives one to Kei and everyone, but Bell, thinks that Sora likes Kei. Turns out Kei was a test subject and Sora really likes Aoshima, that jerk cousin to Sayoko. No accounting for taste I guess.

 

My Thoughts:

The stories in this volume were a lot more enjoyable than in previous volumes. The whole Mara Strikes Back was probably the best with the others being slightly funny to meh.

There is so much potential here that Fujishima HAS to get a story right even if by accident. I like his drawings a lot, just kind of wish he’d had a separate manga-ka to do the storylines. But when you write for a monthly magazine, kind of tough to split the cut two ways and have enough to live on I guess.

This time around the picture I chose to showcase stood out to me the moment I saw it and I KNEW it was the one to include. Urd has just messed with Sora’s boxlunch with one of her infamous love potions and Belldandy is NOT happy. While Belldandy is usually the levelheaded, peaceable one, she’s also the most powerful. It is rather nice to see her looking so determined, with that “annoyed adult” look on her face.

somg9_27.jpg

Bell might be sweet but she’s also the most mature

 

★★★☆½

bookstooge

 

 

Queen of Vengeance (Oh My Goddess! #7) ★★★☆☆

queenofvengeance (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:
Queen of Vengeance
Series: Oh My Goddess! #7
Author: Kosuke Fujishima
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 152
Format: Paperback

 

Synopsis:

And we’re back to chapter stories.

With the goddess computer system down, the goddesses can’t convert the energy they need. Plus Skuld and Urd begin aging differently so Urd gets kiddiefied and Skuld grows up overnight while Belldandy has to split herself into tiny versions to conserve energy. Keiichi ends up solving the mystery by making moon rocks and turning them into bracelets for his 3 houseguests.

Then Skuld and Megumi get into a robot battle and while Megumi wins, Skuld throws a tantrum and blows everything up.

The volume ends with Sayoko trying to steal Kei away from Bell again and failing, again.

 

My Thoughts:

Thank goodness we return to the chapter stories. Much more slice of life. The ridiculous factor gets dialed down, as it is physically impossible to stuff as much nonsense as we read in the previous book into a single chapter story here. I just read them, was amused and moved on to the next story.

Also, trying to get a decent picture is getting harder and harder as these Dark Horse original releases are out of sync with the actual release and there are no chapter numbers or even page numbers in these paperback copy releases. I have to hope that the digital volume number contains most of the chapters the paper one has and then start diving around. Since chapters are moved around for the paper copies, I feel like I’m throwing a bent fork at a target sometimes.

I was a huge fan of this series when I was in my 20’s but now, I have to admit, I am having some real serious doubts about just how far I’ll go. Obviously I’m not the target audience anymore, but there are manga that still interest me. It’s not even that I don’t like romantic comedies, as my owning W Juliet and Karo Kano shows (of course, I haven’t re-read those since I bought them either. Oh dear….).

I enjoyed this more than the previous book and think that at this juncture that Fujishima can tell a better short story than he can a novel. However, I had to drop it down 1/2star because being honest, it feels like I’ve been rating the previous volumes with some serious nostalgia goggles and I can’t do that anymore. The cold cruel reality of the weaknesses of this manga have clawed their way into my brain and eaten my eyes and filled my ears with maggots. Ok, that last sentence was just to see if anyone was paying attention * wink *

This is the picture that stuck out to me this time around. I’m not exactly sure why, but something about Kei and Bell, both looking up, it is almost like they are inviting me into the story, into the romance of their life. Being on the motorcycle and in the sidecar, with no other goddesses, grounds the picture in hard reality. But they are both smiling and looking happy and content. THAT is very appealing.

tomg1_01

 

★★★☆☆

bookstooge

 

 

Terrible Master Urd (Oh My Goddess! #6) ★★★☆½

terriblemasterurd (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: Terrible Master Urd
Series: Oh My Goddess! #6
Author: Kosuke Fujishima
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 140
Format: Paperback

 

Synopsis:

The first full book plot. Mara is trying to awaken the Lord of Terror and it is revealed that Urd is his heir. She’s had her goddess license suspended for constantly lying and so is wide open to the temptation to take power whereever it may come from. LoT (Lord of Terror) possesses Urd and is on the way to destroying the whole universe. Keiichi gets captured and then accidently reveals that there is a master Total Destruction program. This allows Urd to release the wolf Fenrir and the LoT then jumps from Urd to Fenrir.

Fenrir/LoT then summons the Cosmic String (string theory plays a rather large part of this plot) and is going to cut it and so destroy the universe. Only he needs a goddess made 10 Dimensional scythe to do so. So the LoT jumps from Fenrir to Kei, as he knows that the 3 goddess will make one of those handy dandy 10D scythes to separate him from Kei’s body. Belldandy disobeys ‘daddy’, ie The Lord and releases her seal, making her “Nigh Invulnerable!” (if you don’t get the Tick reference, go read ben edlund’s graphic novels).

The 3 goddesses trick LoT to jumping into a computer disk, hence freeing Kei and stopping the threat of the end of the universe. Skuld then wipes the disk clean with a magnet thus removing the threat of the LoT for good. The whole Yggrasil system is out of whack though, so there will be consequences. The book ends with Belldandy revealing that she is staying with Kei becomes she loves him and not because of the contract.

 

My Thoughts:

This was just ridiculous. 15 years ago I could read, accept and enjoy such ridiculousness with ease. It slid down my throat like a bite of chicken finger dipped in sweet&sour with some vegetable fried rice on top. Mmmmm! However, while I still really like said food concoction, the same can’t be said for the shenanigans pulled here.

This was the first time that the manga-ka goes from a chapter by chapter story to an overarching plot and his lack of experience really shows. Things “just happen because” and they make zero sense. The revelation about Urd being part demon? I’ve been under the assumption that the Lord was the father of all 3 of the goddesses but with this revelation, does this mean that god sleeps around? Or is the Lord not actually god but just a super powerful angelic being? Fujishima just pulls explanations out of a hat to suit where he wants the story to go without thinking through the consequences of those explanations.

This was definitely slapstick humor. One thing I did laugh about was when LoT takes over Kei he, the LoT, threatens to hurt Kei by hitting himself on the head with a hammer. Now that is funny! The rest of it though, it kind of flew by me and made me go “huh” instead of laughing.

I know I’ve complained a lot here but this wasn’t a bad volume, it was just a very juvenile volume. I do have to admit though that my heart kind of sank when I was done with this volume and I realized I had 42 more volumes to go.

On to the artwork! Here we get Keiichi possessed by the Lord of Terror. Goth Kei! His “look” and how the LoT used him was probably what saved this volume from a blasé 3star rating. I mean, look at him! Hahahahahaa.

uomg5_28

 

★★★☆½

bookstooge

 

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