Oh My Goddess! Volume 9 is a bit of a mixed bag, enjoyable enough with some character development but also some frustrating elements.

Chapter 53 Law of the Ninja follows straight on from Chapter 52 Ninja Master [1]. In essence Mara created three mini ninjas from various species of rats.  When Kodama fails to return, Hikari is sent to punish Kodama, and then Nozomi is sent to punish Kodama and Hikari.  This is an amusing enough chapter, but again would work better as an anime I think.

Fujishima is getting better at managing the flow of continuity though.  An overexertion by Belldandy in Chapter 53 creates problems in Chapter 54 Together for Never when she falls ill.

Before that Urd is called back to Heaven for some remedial training, and Skuld also needs to do the paperwork to get a licence to train her powers on Earth.  This gives rise to the funniest moment in the volume. First the departing Skuld threatens violence if Keiichi tries anything with Belldandy, and the departing Urd threatens lightning bolts if Keiichi doesn’t try anything.

Naturally Keiichi completely freezes and fails to even hint at wanting anything more than a cup of tea [2].

Then Belldandy falls ill from overusing her powers.  Keiichi realises that human medicine isn’t going to work on a goddess, and panics. Panic is the only explanation I can think for the Idiot Ball of randomly testing Urd’s medicines before giving them to Belldandy.

Think about it: Keiichi has realised that human medicine won’t work, or would work differently on a goddess.  So why doesn’t he realise that Urd’s medicines are likely to work differently, or not at all, on a human?  That even if he did get a good result, it would be a good result for a human?

And then Keiichi does it twice. The first result is waist length hair. The second result is a gender change that, to Keiichi’s relief, is above the waist only.

Finally he desperately dials as many numbers as he can in an attempt to connect to the Goddess Technical Help Line, and does eventually manage it.  Urd is on duty and talks him through the correct combination of medicines.

Naturally the only way to deliver the medicines triggers Banpei’s directive to keep Keiichi away from Belldandy.

Chapter 55 Can’t Stop Being Jealous has one of Urd’s old flames, a troubadour plum spirit, showing up. Troubadour is something of a drama queen and his history of jealousy delays curing Keiichi for a while since it won’t trigger if Urd has only been living in the same house as women.  This works for a while until the inevitable bathing scene [3].

There are some nice touches in this chapter, but it is still tainted by the setup in the previous chapter.  Seeing a pensive Urd dealing with a troubled romantic past is possibly the best part of it.

Chapter 56 It’s Lonely At the Top is probably the best chapter in this volume.  Another racing chapter, this time an insane hill climb, has Tamiya and Otaki missing while Keiichi is dragooned into directing the club’s efforts.

Chapter 56 reminds the reader that this is a manga where time passes: it turns out the entire thing is a setup on the graduating Tamiya and Otaki’s part to see if Keiichi can handle being the Club director full time.  Getting the support of the club, and with some fun gags along the way, Keiichi manages to win the race [4].

Of course Tamiya and Otaki stay on for Graduate School and promptly establish themselves as a Supreme Executive Committee with authority over the Director.

Chapter 57 Tainted God is another example of Keiichi getting hit with the Idiot Ball.  One of his most defining characteristics is his deep loyalty to, and love of, Belldandy: losing his head the way he does over a love letter from a girl he’s never even met came that close to shattering the suspension of disbelief.

It doesn’t help that Shiho thinks she has the talent to drive out magical spirits etc… and usually manages the reverse with the goddesses cleaning up the messes she leaves behind.  This aspect of the chapter is somewhat amusing.

The entire chapter is a setup to make Belldandy jealous.  The reconciliation at the end is really sweet, but I do wish that the setup could have been a little less clumsy.

This volume is fairly enjoyable, but does have a number of flaws, especially the tendency to drop the Idiot Ball on Keiichi.

[1] See the review of Volume 8 in the related topics list.

[2] Which he manages repeatedly: cue insomnia and a slightly deranged look the next day.

[3] Remember that Keiichi was only transformed above the waist

[4] Having Belldandy waiting for him at the top of the hill may have had something to do with it.