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Keima from the back cover of Volume 24

Volume 24 of Oh My Goddess! neatly wraps up the storyline with Keiichi’s parents, has a short but amusing two chapter story, and starts a much longer story in the last chapter.

Chapter 149: Running Dialogue

Let’s Dance ended [1] with Belldandy admiring the beauty of the race, and the synchronicity of Keiichi and Keima [2].  This continues in Running Dialogue until a flicked up stone takes out his headlamp.

At this point Keiichi relies on his knowledge of the Pass to continue racing. Keima thinks that this is too dangerous at their speed.  Belldandy clearly agrees with this assessment, at least judging by the magical light Belldandy envelops Keiichi in.

At this point there is a nice little side story going that is a funny call back to two of the previous stories set in the Inokuradai Pass. A TV crew is interviewing the former Queen of the Inokuradai Pass [3] about the glowing ghost previously seen there [4].  The TV crew aren’t expecting much when Keima and a glowing Keiichi come round the corner. Cue the panicked call to the producer who is further along the road.

The chapter ends with Keiichi starting to use his local knowledge.

Visually this is a beautiful chapter with a good feel for fast racing in the night, and punctuated by some highly amusing gags.

Chapter 150: The Path of Belief

The race continues in The Path of Belief with Keiichi taking a superficially incorrect line because he knows that it will force Keima into a patch of water on the road.  This will allow Keiichi to accelerate past Keima.  The only problem is that they come upon the TV producer backing his van onto the road with not enough room left for both of them.

In typical manga/anime fashion Keiichi visualises Takano asking him if he’s prepared to protect Belldandy with his life, and also Belldandy telling him to do what he believes [5].  It looks like Keiichi is braking as the chapter ends [6].

Chapter 151: Prepared to Win, Prepared to Lose

This chapter sees Keiichi pull back a bit and run off the road to the left.  However it is in a part of the Inokuradai Pass where he can get back on to the road after it curves back again.

At this point the scene cuts back to the temple where Takano is beating the other goddesses at Mahjong.  I suspect that the social class joke from Mother’s Battle, Father’s Battle [7] is being repeated here as Takano wins with a fairly low grade hand whilst Urd, Skuld, and Peorth are all fishing for special hands.

Megumi is apologising to Belldandy’s main body for her parents but this isn’t necessary: Belldandy can see their vast love for each other [8], and this makes them comfortable to be around rather than weird.  Megumi is used to people seeing them as weird, but I don’t know if the apology is born of actual embarrassment or is a cultural thing (although I suspect the latter).

The end of the race isn’t shown – the next scene is Keiichi and Keima’s return.  Takano immediately guesses that Keiichi lost, and that it was because he held back at the crunch. Keima shows respect by never yielding to an equal, and Takano knew that they were equals as soon as they left.

Takano is also proud of Keiichi for holding back: protecting someone with your life means coming back alive to do so. Takano also manages to pull a spectacular blush out of Keima by implying that he once said the same thing.

I love this moment in the manga.  I grant that it is an Aesop, but it is an Aesop that needs to be dropped occasionally.  It is also a lovely piece of characterisation for the entire Morisato family that is sweet, perceptive, and awkward.

In other words, just like real families can be sometimes. It would not surprise me in the least if this chapter is at least partly autobiographical in nature.

Of course there is an immediate shift in tone to comedy as Takano tries to collect on her bet by asking Belldandy what she really is.  The expressions on the faces of Keiichi and the other goddesses as Belldandy starts to tell the truth are priceless.

Chapter 152: The Real You

This chapter is an interesting mix of comedy and serious business.  The attempts of the other goddesses to keep Belldandy quiet before they again distract Takano, presumably with more mah-jong judging by their suddenly horrified expressions, are hilarious.

Off to one side Keima is asking Megumi for a gas torch. Meanwhile Keiichi is explaining to Belldandy why her identity as a goddess needs to be kept quiet.  I’m a bit surprised this hasn’t come up before, especially as there’s been a fair bit of masquerade activities going on previously [9].

Back in the temple Takano is watching TV [10], and Keima has made beautiful glass pendants shaped like angel feathers for each of the goddesses.  What happens next can be read either way but I suspect that Takano and Keima know the truth about the goddesses on a subconscious level at least.

Certainly their final conversation as they drive (Takano) and ride (Keima) away implies that they know the truth.

Chapter 153: The Hot Springs Episode

The Hot Springs Episode picks up on a throwaway line from the previous volume of Chihiro “paying” Keima for his help at Whirlwind.  The “payment” took the form of a lottery ticket for a free weekend at a Hot Springs resort.  It turns out to be a winning ticket that Chihiro would never have let go of if she really thought it would win [11].

The resulting comedy of errors as Chihiro insists on coming along and driving a slightly dodgy mini is hilarious.  Toll booths, running out of fuel, and getting stuck in traffic are all here.

Chapter 154: I Dub Thee, Yuufuin

I Dub Thee, Yuufuin continues the comedy of errors with further gags about exhaustion [12], bad weather, bad music on the radio, mechanical faults, more traffic, and getting lost.  There is also a lesson there in not tempting fate.

Eventually, lost in the mountains somewhere, Belldandy calls a hot spring out of the ground and they improvise on the spot.

These chapters are fairly amusing filler, but still filler.  I suspect they were buying time whilst Fujishima plotted out the arc that begins in the next chapter.

Chapter 155: Fighting Wings

Fighting Wings is the beginning of a multi-chapter arc that introduces a fifth goddess, and centres on the angels.  It begins with the as-yet unnamed goddess responding to a red alert in Yggdrasil before cutting to a tea party at the temple.

Skuld was initially eager to join in but is much less enthusiastic when she sees Holy Bell, World of Elegance, and Gorgeous Rose at the table as well. There is one page with four vertical panels: three panels have a goddess and her angel, the last has a depressed Skuld and an empty space. It is a beautifully drawn, but quite sad, page as Skuld is still missing Noble Scarlet [13]. Urd only just prevents her from trying again without being ready.

When Skuld acknowledges that she doesn’t have the power yet to call Noble Scarlet, Peorth and Belldandy gently correct her. It isn’t about power, it is about becoming one with your angel, about wanting her for herself, and not out of envy for the goddesses who do have their angels [14].

Skuld is just beginning to understand when a goddess from the war section makes a fairly spectacular arrival. This is Lind, the fiercest of the Valkyries, and known for having an angel with only one wing.  Skuld has never heard of Lind, and this triggers the usual face fault.

The red alert is because someone has stolen Tenshigui, the eater of angels, and Lind is here to catch it. Lind sets a barrier about the temple and stands watch.

Alas the chapter, and the volume, ends with Urd being attacked in her potions laboratory [15].

Summing Up Volume 24

For a volume that is transitioning between two longer stories, Volume 24 works extremely well.  The end of the Morisato family arc is possibly one of my favourites, the bridging filler story with the Hot Springs Episode is pleasantly funny, and the Angel-Eater arc starts strongly.  The blend of action, the hints of character development for Skuld, and the foreshadowing of the possible return of Noble Scarlet are all well handled at the end of this volume.

I’m just glad that I have the next 6 volumes immediately available.

Finally, if you like (or dislike) the new headings I’ve introduced to this review please leave a comment and let me know.  If there’s enough positive feedback I may go back to the earlier reviews and retrofit them.



[1] Chapter 148 in Volume 23 (see related articles below).


[2] If it were any other goddess but Belldandy I’d suspect a hint of jealousy here.


[3] As previously defeated by Megumi, Keiichi and Belldandy in Volume 15.


[4] See Chapters 110 – 113 across Volume 18 and Volume 19.


[5] Her mini-avatar is still on scene so he may actually be hearing that for real.


[6] In its original form Oh My Goddess! is a monthly manga so this would have been a nasty little cliffhanger.


[7] Chapter 147 in Volume 23 (see related articles below).


[8] More or less a direct quote from the translation.


[9] I think a false identity for Belldandy as a foreign exchange student is established in Volume 1.


[10] Which means that she totally owned the goddesses at mah-jong.


[11] Chihiro can be a little on the cheap side sometimes.


[12] To quote an Australian road safety campaign that I wish more people would listen to: Stop. Revive. Survive.  The link is to the NSW version, but I think all Australian state/territories use this one in some form or other.


[13] See Chapter 79 I Want to Be a Goddess Who Looks Good in Scarlet in Volume 14.


[14] World of Elegance means that Urd has someone who truly understands her for so long as she is a goddess.  I have to wonder how much this contributes to Urd’s desperate desire to remain a goddess (See volumes 21 and 22 in the related articles below).


[15] There are also some Mini-Goddess strips but I’m not too fond of those at the best of times, and certainly not on a cliff hanger like this.

OMAKE:

Volume 24 Cover – Skuld

The cover of Volume 24 because it is a really cute picture of Skuld. 🙂