Cover Art. Sourced from: http://www.darkhorse.com

Oh My Goddess! Volume 10 is a fun read, and unfortunately the last volume I have to hand [1].  It also proves that Fujishima is at his second best when he mixes some serious character studies into the comedy.

Second best I hear you cry? Fujishima’s best has always been his beautiful art, and the colour frontispieces of Urd, Belldandy and Skuld with wings in this volume are just wonderful.

Chapter 58 Let’s Have Fun features Megumi in trouble again, this time over softball.  The baseball club have kicked them off the practice field despite a verbal promise not to.  Megumi has been having trouble getting members of the club, and this leads to a challenge match between the two, with the prize being the winning club taking over the loser.

With the goddesses, Keiichi, and some of the other supporting loons getting involved this is a fun chapter to read, and there are some good gags [2].  I don’t know how Skuld’s “automated target tracking bat” didn’t get her booted for cheating, and Urd loosening her “tight” uniform convincingly turns the baseball team into drooling idiots. Obviously this involves a certain amount of fan service but since it is a) Urd and b) in a more or less good cause I’ll give it a pass.

But it isn’t the comedy that really that makes this chapter work.  Desperate to keep her softball club alive, Megumi is facing defeat with despair until Belldandy cheers her up.  This is when Megumi remembers why she loves softball, and proceeds to enjoy the rest of the match.

Right at the end there is an incident with Sora fumbling a ball that, initially, looks like it has lost the softball club the match.  Megumi flashes back to a similar incident of her own some years previously, and Keiichi’s kindness then is why Megumi still loves softball now.

Seeing Megumi pay that forward to Sora is what makes this chapter work.  Fujishima gets away with the slightly [3] contrived victory for the softball club because it repeats an error Skuld made earlier.

Chapter 59 Remember the Sad Times is a nicely written example of apparent out of character behaviour being perfectly in character once the background is known.  It starts with Megumi bringing trouble to the temple again, and the way Keiichi lampshades this is worth a chuckle.

This time the trouble is in the form of a lost dog, and the normally kind Keiichi is stubbornly refusing to allow him, or any pet, to be kept in the house.  Keiichi even goes so far as to refuse Belldandy, although he does allow a week to find a home for it.

This feels wrong, and the feeling builds as the dog [4] works his way into their hearts.  On a walk Keiichi betrays more knowledge of dogs than you’d expect and his grief for an earlier pet is revealed.  He is afraid to love this dog because he fears the hole it will leave in his heart when it is gone.

The ending with Megumi finding the real owner is again somewhat contrived, but the core message of not letting sorrow for lost loves block the entry of new loves is well presented.  It does make me wonder if this is part of why Keiichi is so reluctant to advance the relationship with Belldandy.

Chapter 60 Karaoke Friend is Mara and Senbei again.  Mara is one running gag that is getting a little old, although I’m mildly surprised that it took Fujishima this long to do a bathhouse chapter.

This is an amusing enough chapter, but only really worth it for what it sets up.  In essence Mara conspires to get the gang to a bath house so that she can get one of Urd’s hairs for cloning purposes. 

This doesn’t come out until the end of the chapter and in the meantime the usual hilarity and hijinks ensue.  Fortunately the fanservice isn’t too bad and, as is often the case with these episodes, most of the action is aroung ping pong, and karaoke.

Chapter 61 Urd Turns 100% Evil sees Mara kidnap Urd to move her demon half from her original body into the otherwise empty clone.  Naturally the evil half goes into the clone, and the good Urd remains locked up.

Part of the set up to this chapter is the relationship between Urd and Skuld.  Urd doesn’t really know how to handle Skuld, but was out buying apology icecream when Mara caught her.  When Skuld finds out she charges off to rescue Urd but gets caught and sealed in a mirror by Demon Urd.

This is possibly the best aspect of the chapter: showing and dealing with awkward sibling relationships.

Chapter 62 Skuld Strikes Back sees Mara and Demon-Urd plotting to destroy the earth whilst offing the other one when the opportunity arises.  Whilst they’re out meddling with Keiichi and Belldandy, Angel-Urd [5] awakens and manages to free herself and then Skuld.

Watching Angel-Urd channel Belldandy’s personality is funny to watch, especially considering how much it confuses Skuld.

Meanwhile Demon-Urd has managed to seriously kiss Keiichi, causing Belldandy a fair amount of grief.  Keiichi wasn’t expecting it, and I suspect he is currently unconscious.

As Demon-Urd prepares to attack and seal Belldandy, Skuld counterattacks and the volume ends on a cliff hanger.  The final panel of an angry Skuld with a somewhat passive Angel-Urd behind her is really nicely done.

Overall I enjoyed this volume.  The first two chapters are brilliant, and the latest Mara storyline at least has some new elements [6] that is making it interesting.

[1] The next 10 volumes are on order but may be some time.

[2] Skuld’s “automated target tracking bat” springs to mind.

[3] OK, the completely blatant and over the top contrived victory.

[4] The dog is variously named Pliers, Penicillin, and Assam by the goddesses, and you get one guess to work out which name goes with which goddess. J

[5] For want of a better name.

[6] To the extent that an “evil twin” can be called a new element.