Volume 12 of Oh My Goddess! is quite enjoyable, but I’ll admit to almost cheering when Peorth leaves at the end.

I do wonder if Chapter 68 The Battle for Keiichi (1995) helped to inspire the Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered (1998) episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but on second thoughts any inspiration would have been limited to the plot device only. In almost every other element the two stories are opposites rather than similar.

In this case Peorth is still bugging Keiichi but is getting frustrated by his lack of reaction.  To get something happening Peorth raids Urd’s potion supplies and makes some adjustments before slipping the “love drop” into Keiichi’s drink.  One nice touch is that Keiichi was alert enough to ask if there was anything in the drink, and that Peorth didn’t add it until after she truthfully said no.

Of course instead of making Keiichi love Peorth there is an unexpected side effect from the drink that makes every female love Keiichi instead. Unfortunately this includes Megumi, Skuld, and Urd which is more than a little creepy in at least two of those cases.

Fortunately Keiichi’s instincts [1] for dealing with goddess caused mayhem kick in and he manages to avoid disaster.  The best part of the chapter is when the potion doesn’t work on Belldandy because, as Urd points out later, her potions are too good to affect what is already a perfect match. Awwww.

Chapter 69 Okay, This Is the Real Date sees Peorth overdosing on shojo [2] manga and trying to set up the perfect shojo date with Keiichi.  Naturally it all goes wrong when Keiichi invites Belldandy who then shows up with Skuld [3] and Urd [4]. The various incidents are amusing [5] but I think Fujishima was taking a big risk parodying romantic manga in a manga that is itself a romance at heart.  Overall I think he gets away with it, just, but I hope he doesn’t try again in a later chapter: these things tend to be a “funny once” type of humour.

Chapter 70 When a Man Loves a Woman is actually quite funny with Tamiya of the loon squad falling head over heels for Peorth, Peorth thinking Tamiya loves Keiichi, and Belldandy thinking Tamiya loves Urd.  I raced through describing the set up because Fujishima manages it in rapid pace before getting on with the story. 

The story itself is quite entertaining and involves Peorth leading Tamiya on to separate him from Keiichi without realising what is going on.  An attempt to intervene on Belldandy’s part reveals that Peorth is holding a grudge over some past incident that Belldandy can’t remember.

Chapter 71 Meeting a Goddess’s Problems Halfway sees Belldandy determined to remember the incident Peorth referred to and starts by going to Urd for a Truth/Memory drug. This does not succeed, and questioning the effectiveness of Urd’s potions results in Skuld confessing to messing with Keiichi’s stuff.  An attempt to get the secret out of Peorth results in Skuld getting another truth serum.  For the record I do not want to know where the Urd got the nurses uniform.  Finally Peorth agrees to tell if Belldandy can win a tripartite traditional challenge between goddesses.

The first round is a tickling contest between the goddess’ angels [6]. Peorth, as it turns out, is very ticklish.

The second round is a game of whack a mole.  Belldandy, as it turns out, cannot bear to hit the cute moles.

The third round is a pinpoint meteor strike on a bullseye in the back yard, with a bonus for hitting the bullseye first.  This is possibly the best inversion of the Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking trope I’ve ever seen, and it took me totally by surprise.  It is also worth remembering that Belldandy is a Goddess First Class for a reason, and she took the “pinpoint” part of the challenge fairly literally.

With Belldandy having won the challenge overall, Peorth helps Belldandy remember the incident in question, which then turns out to be a misunderstanding around an event that Peorth thought was hypocrisy on Belldandy’s part but was actually nothing of the sort.

Chapter 72 What Men Really Want sees Peorth really put pressure on Keiichi to speak his heart’s desire, including an outright offer of sex. 

Which Keiichi equally outright refuses: unless there is real love on both sides he isn’t interested. Once again Keiichi’s essential purity rises to the surface in the crunch, only to be met by a declaration of love from Peorth.

In the confusion, primarily to make Peorth go away, Keiichi asks her to satisfy “his heart’s desire”, realises the mistake, and starts running [7].  Naturally as the wish is accepted in Yggdrasil Peorth starts pursuing and Keiichi winds up fleeing the Temple to the college with Belldandy.

Of course the critical thing with wishes is the wording: Keiichi doesn’t want any part of Peorth, but hearing the truth from Belldandy’s heart is another story. Having Belldandy say it, and Peorth leave because it ends her mission, was really sweet, and a nice end to this story arc [8].

Given that I’m not all that fond of Peorth I enjoyed this volume a lot more than I was expecting to.  There are some good chapters, and a few good insights into the characters of the main cast. It isn’t the best volume, but definitely above average for the series overall.

[1] Ethics seem to be included in Keiichi’s instincts, which is always nice to see.

[2] And Josei apparently…

[3] To make sure Keiichi doesn’t try anything with Belldandy.

[4] To watch the fun.

[5] Only having tickets to an action film instead of a romance, a special exhibit at the aquarium of molluscs among others.

[6] Yes, the very first appearance of Holy Bell was to tickle Gorgeous Rose.

[7] As I said earlier, Keiichi has good instincts when it comes to goddess related mayhem.

[8] Although having Peorth nick Skuld’s manga collection was an amusing epilogue (although it does raise the question of what the heck is Skuld doing reading josei?)