In this volume the focus is more on trying to break Keiichi and Belldandy apart than it is on Keiichi and Belldandy trying to get closer together.  This volume also makes the extent to which Kosuke Fujishima is a motorhead crystal clear [1].

I imagine that this could be disconcerting for new readers who would, based on the covers, expect the romance to be the primary [2] focus of the series.  If nothing else the motor sport episodes do distract from the glacially slow pace at which the relationship between Belldandy and Keiichi is advancing.

The first chapter in this volume, Turkey With All The Trimmings, is clearly still within a Christmas timeframe and features Sayoko’s attempts to get her hands on Keiichi [3].  Our erstwhile couple have won [4] a romantic dinner and overnight stay in a fancy hotel. 

This involves some side jokes with Keiichi tracking down a suit [5] , not to mention giving Fujishima an excuse to draw Belldandy, Urd, and Sayoko in evening gowns [6].

Naturally Sayoko and Urd turn up to meddle in opposite directions.  Once Urd starts causing chaos by animating the roasted  turkeys, Keiichi and Belldandy give up on the whole idea and head home.

Urd continues to cause havoc over the New Year’s celebrations [7]with an enchanted version of the game

Belldandy (Manga) cropped - v3 p5

Image via Wikipedia

of Life before Sayoko’s male equivalent Toshiyuki Aoshima arrives to make Belldandy one of his “conquests”. 

I really don’t like Aoshima: he is a sleaze and a dirtbag.  Unlike Sayoko who actually comes to respect Keiichi (at least a little), Belldandy is no more than a pretty face (and body) to Aoshima. 

The remaining chapters deal with Aoshima’s meddling both direct in luring Belldandy to a love hotel, pursuing Belldandy and Keiichi on campus, and indirect in trying to rig a motor rally to bankrupt the Motor Club are highly entertaining [8]

Many of these chapters are full of details for the serious revhead [9], and most of these go over my carfree head.  However the detail in the artwork is amazing and the sheer sense of fun that Fujishima obviously had doing these scenes supports the story well here.

A good chunk of this sequence is Urd “playing” with Sayoko and Aoshima to drive away the competition.  This results in Urd having the funniest lines in the volume.

Overall this is a fun volume, pretty as always to look at with well scripted comedy.  The lack of development on the Keiichi and Belldandy front is only mildly disappointing- with 40+ volumes published a slow burn is to be expected. 

However, if the side stories remain this entertaining I expect to get a lot of laughter in coming weeks.  You can’t ask for much more than that.

[1]Perhaps not to the same extent as Taiho Shichauzu (You’re Under Arrest!) but very, very close.

[2] If not the only focus.

[3] Again. Or still. Take your pick. J

[4] NB: if it will make Keiichi happy, Belldandy will quite shamelessly cheat.

[5] Sooner or later he has to learn to not seek advice from his Sempais. It never ends well.

[6] All three look simply fabulous. No real surprises there.

[7] And the final exams.

[8] Especially Belldandy’s version of splashing a peeping tom with water. Anything that has Urd arguing for restraint…

[9] As in the sort of revhead found at Summernats.