Peorth from the back cover of Vol 21

Volume 21 of Oh My Goddess! is a lot of fun, and picks up the thread of kid-Peorth last seen in volume 17.  That said the highlight of this volume is sweet but poignant discussion between Keiichi and Peorth of his relationship with Belldandy.

It is worth noting that Volume 20 was the last of Dark Horse Manga’s catchup volumes that restored all of the chapters to their proper order, and the original, unflipped, right to left layout. I think this is why it took so long to track it down, and why Volume 20 is nearly out of print.  I think it also explains why Volume 21 is considerably thinner with only 6 chapters as opposed to the 8 – 10 of some of the previous volumes.

But I digress, on with the show!

Chapter 130 The Devil Inside starts with a funny running gag of Keiichi coming to the door to be surprised by the pint-sized version of Peorth.  His exclamation draws Urd who is similarly surprised. Urd’s exclamation attracts Skuld (ditto).

Peorth’s initial amusement wears out fairly quickly and Gorgeous Rose makes an appearance to make her irritation plain.  Peorth’s powers are back, but not her size [1].

There is more amusement with Belldandy coming up with fashionable kiddie clothes worn by Urd when she shrank to a similar size [2].  Peorth is clearly fashion oriented, and can’t help her initial reaction, but again gets irritated fairly quickly.  No one in Yggdrasil can fix the problem, and Peorth is getting desperate.  Peorth has heard that the demon who cast it has been banished to Earth and is looking for help to find Velsper.

Cue the entrance of Velsper the kitten, and Peorth fainting at the realisation that Velsper can’t release the curse.

Chapter 131 Go Your Own Way begins with Belldandy comforting Peorth before Urd and Skuld take the failure of Yggdrasil to fix the problem as a challenge.

As Urd and Skuld get to work, Keiichi wonders what he can do to help.  The first attempt to  fix the problem results in a supersized kiddie-Peorth much like the enlarged Sora seen in Volumes 15 and 16.

Meanwhile a fairly smug Velsper is observing the proceedings in some amusement.

Chapter 132 A Goddess Never Forgets sees Urd and Skuld start work on their second attempts to invent solutions whilst Keiichi again wonders how he can help the depressed Peorth.  He comes up with a trip to the seaside as a distraction, and after some resistance wins Peorth’s agreement.

Peorth also indulges in the clothes that Belldandy was presenting her with earlier [3].

This chapter contains the highlight of the volume.  Keiichi has been wondering about the spell that was intended to rewind Keiichi’s time out of existence.  It hit Peorth, but only reverted her to a kid, and Keiichi works out from this that the goddesses exist across time… and that he doesn’t.

Keiichi doesn’t flinch from where this leads: the realisation that he and Belldandy will only be together for the rest of his lifetime, and not for hers.  He then wonders if it is harder, sadder, for the goddesses to always be the ones who have to say goodbye.

This is Keiichi being the quintessential nice guy that he has to be for this manga to work at all, and it also goes some way to explaining his reluctance to push his relationship with Belldandy to the next level.

I won’t spoil Peorth’s answer, but this is a lovely moment in the manga that is beautifully scripted and drawn, Fujishima at the top of his game.

Chapter 133 The Cat That Stretched begins with Urd and Skuld looking for Peorth to try out their next solutions.  Peorth has worked out how likely these are to succeed [4] and is attempting  (and failing) to make herself scarce.  The usual mayhem and hilarity resulting from Urd’s potions and Skuld’s technology ensues.

Meanwhile at Whirlwind Keiichi is optimising the BIOS on Chihiro’s laptop to nudge a bit of extra speed out of it.  The programming analogue for the various goddess/demon spells has been used in several previous volumes and this reminder triggers a realisation on Belldandy’s part: that the root language for the curse on Peorth is demonic code that a goddess can’t fix.

The chapter ends with Velsper finally chiming into the conversation once Belldandy has left the room [5].  Naturally he’s mocking the intelligence of the gang, and how long it took them to work out what’s going on.

Chapter 134 The Final Option is the real conversation with Velsper and includes some threats on Peorth’s part.  I really like the drawings of Gorgeous Rose in this chapter: Rose clearly wants her Peorth back and the dirty looks she directs at Velsper whenever she appears are simply priceless.

There are also some well deserved gags at Velsper’s expense regarding his now-feline nature [6].  This is followed by some quick dodging to prevent Belldandy finding out that he can talk [7].

Apparently the only being who can break the curse is the CEO of the infernal realms Hild.

In other words, Urd’s mother, and the chapter ends with Urd making the more than a little awkward call to invite Hild over.

Chapter 135 She’s A Devil Woman begins with what is simultaneously a dramatic and restrained entrance by the thoroughly stripperiffic Hild [8].  Her greeting to Urd has to be one of the most embarrassing Mother-Daughter reunions in manga.

Hild’s greetings to the other goddesses, and Keiichi for that matter, are also amusingly embarrassing for all concerned [9].

Then the bargaining begins, and the initial price asked for Peorth’s restoration is Urd joining the demons.

The chapter, and the volume, end with Urd apologising to Peorth for her refusal to accept that.  This is a nasty little cliffhanger, and I can’t help wondering how much of Urd’s refusal is tied to World of Elegance, especially given the revelations of chapter 89 Another Me in Volume 15.

So far this is a multi chapter arc with a natural flow that builds strongly on previous continuity.  It has some genuinely funny moments, as well as some equally poignant moments.  I like the balance that has been achieved thus far, and I’m looking forward to seeing how Fujishima will resolve this one (hopefully in the next volume).

[1] This was left ambiguous at the end of Volume 17.

[2] This is a nice call back to the Terrible Master Urd sequence in volumes 5 and 6.

[3] Peorth’s excuse that it wouldn’t do to appear in public in her goddess outfit isn’t entirely convincing…

[4] i.e. not at all, and that these “solutions” probably involve a fair amount of pain and/or embarrassment for Peorth.

[5] Again Belldandy doesn’t realise that the kitten is the demon Velsper, nor does she remember the events of Volumes 16/17. The scripting in this volume to keep Belldandy in the dark (remember that Velsper cares for Belldandy as well) is really nicely handled.

[6] Think about any YouTube video you’ve ever seen involving a) a kitten and b) string, a chew toy, or a laser pointer…

[7] Apparently Velsper is also telepathic, at least while sitting on Peorth’s shoulder.

[8] Can you say “Absolute Cleavage”? I knew you could.

[9] Hild’s evident interest in Keiichi is a little disturbing though.