This really should have been the Volume 25 cover IMO.

Front cover for Oh My Goddess! Volume 26

Volume 26 of Oh My Goddess! wraps up the Angel Eater arc and starts a follow-up story dealing with the consequences of Belldandy’s additional, not-entirely-angelic additional angel.

Volume 26 shares many of the same strengths and weaknesses as Volume 25.

Chapter 163: Flight of the Fighting Wings

As the name suggests Flight of the Fighting Wings is mostly combat sequence as the re-invigorated Lind attacks Hild and the Angel Eater. Along the way Lind loses her Axe to Hild’s delight.

Hild’s delight is both short lived and ill advised. Lind’s Axe is actually a safety device that limits her powers [1]. The next scenes show the results: A slightly damaged Hild bugs out when Mara notices that the Angel Eater has gone berserk.

As before the high points of this chapter are character centred: Belldandy’s quiet confidence in Lind, and Skuld’s somewhat more vocal confidence in Belldandy.

The chapter ends with Belldandy suggesting that they try and send the Angel Eater back to Hell rather than killing it.

Chapter 164: Pleasure and Duty

The first part of Pleasure and Duty deals with Lind’s role as a Valkyrie, as a goddess of battle who takes pleasure in the fight. There is a sense here that Lind is almost dying inside as a result, and Belldandy’s compassion again comes to the fore.

Although Lind may take pleasure in battle she does not fight for pleasure but to spare other goddesses that terrible duty, and in that time Lind will not be alone. Lind will always have the support of the other goddesses. This is a lovely moment in the manga, it is the sort of character work like this that I look for in Fujishima’s work.

This is when the fight to open a gate to the demonic world and force the Angel Eater through begins. It looks like things are going badly when the other goddesses return with their angels. This double page spread is glorious [2], and I hope that there’s a full colour version of it on the web somewhere.

Even this still isn’t quite enough [3] so Lind finally manages to call Spear Mint to return whilst Cool Mint is also still out, and this ends the chapter [4].

Chapter 165: With the Binary Angels

The first couple of pages of With the Binary Angels is devoted to Lind’s union with both her angels before launching a massive attack on the Angel Eater.  As the attack is coming in, Belldandy asks Urd to hold the gate open while she dives to protect Keiichi.

The attack doesn’t quite work and a stubborn Angel Eater is stuck in the gate until humorously threatened by Urd, Skuld, and Peorth. The Angel Eater beats a hasty retreat as the other goddesses then squabble over who should get the credit for this, much to Lind’s amusement.

Meanwhile Keiichi is waking up in Belldandy’s cleavage to much embarrassment [5]. The goddesses then “help” Lind and Belldandy rebuild the thoroughly trashed temple in a completely over the top way.

This is probably the weakest chapter in this volume, there isn’t enough character work and the gratuitous fanservice was just annoying.

Chapter 166: To Call You Friend

To Call You Friend is a much more character focussed chapter, and a big improvement on the previous chapter.

It begins with Lind’s amusement, and a gentle smile, at the antics of the other goddesses. This is a really nice piece of artwork – for the first time Lind is beautiful rather than grimly impressive. Belldandy’s quiet approval (pride?) makes it clear that this is a first for Lind.

There are also genuine thanks to Keiichi for showing Lind the path to having both her angels meet, including regret that her relentless training to gain more power [6] was the wrong way to achieve this. That Keiichi both needed and completely trusted Cool Mint was the key: Cool Mint and Spear Mint didn’t need Lind’s power; they needed Lind to need them.

Skuld has learnt the same lesson regarding Noble Scarlet.

However Keiichi reassures Lind that her training was not wasted, as it meant that Lind had the power needed to save them. It is at this point that Lind returns to Yggdrasil, but without releasing the seal she placed on their possessions.

Chapter 167: Inside Belldandy

Inside Belldandy starts with a pretty dream sequence of Belldandy walking beneath giant versions of Holy Bell and the ex-demonic familiar. The sequence is turning ominous when Belldandy is jerked awake by Keiichi swerving to avoid a cat on the road.

The rest of the chapter is plagued by Belldandy’s powers running out of control – dismantling an engine instead of removing one screw, filling up a photoshoot for Skuld [7] and Noble Scarlet with plushies.

This leads to a discussion about removing the familiar. Belldandy and the familiar are clearly opposed to this idea, and more chaos ensues in the temple.

Chapter 168: Landscape with Angels

Landscape with Angels continues the discussion until Keiichi offers to hold the familiar until a better solution can be found. The other goddesses, including Belldandy, oppose this but the familiar embraces it.

I suspect that the familiar is trying to be good as best she can, and knows that she is causing trouble for Belldandy. However, Keiichi isn’t really up to dealing with her either.

This is made clear when he faints and finds himself in a windswept, snowy, cold landscape where the only light or warmth is coming from the familiar/angel.

There is one highly amusing set of sight gags when Keiichi mentions that, according to Lind, he only has the angel receptor because he supported by the love of so many goddesses: Urd, Skuld, and Peorth are not amused.  There are some more gags as the familiar keeps trying to “help” Keiichi.

Chapter 169: What We Would Save

What We Would Save has an ethical issue buried at the heart of the out of control powers sight gags: when is sacrificing one entity necessary to save another.

Urd and Peorth come down fairly hard on the side of saving Belldandy and Keiichi, even if it means returning the familiar to an egg (or worse). Belldandy doesn’t accept this, and it looks like Skuld has been pressured into supporting Urd and Peorth.

It’s hard to blame Urd and Peorth, especially as they haven’t seen the nightmarish landscape that the familiar is dealing with. However it isn’t something that the familiar wants to be trapped in, so the volume ends with Keiichi sprouting wings to flee from the other goddesses.

Summing Up Volume 26

Overall the Angel Eater arc is one of the stronger stories so far. Lind is a new character that I want to see more of; her emotional growth in this arc was well handled. The same can be said of Skuld, albeit to a lesser extent. On the other hand, Skuld has Noble Scarlet which puts her way ahead of Cool Mint and Spear Mint [8].

The combat sequences, and the seinen fanservice tropes, are the weak points of Volume 26.

The familiar arc is better than the combat sequences but feels like a letdown in comparison to the Angel Eater arc. I’ve read to the end of this arc, and please note that I haven’t named the familiar.  As with the Welcome Robot/Sigel [9], names are powerful things and the omission thus far is deliberate. I’ll reserve further comment on this arc to the review of Volume 27.

Overall this is quite a fun volume, albeit with a relatively weak 2nd half.

[1] Belldandy’s power limiters are earrings. Although I didn’t mention them in my Volume 5 review Belldandy’s earrings take a special ritual to remove. Lind can simply throw hers away when necessary…

[2] Noble Scarlet is still totally cute. 🙂 I haven’t found a colour version but I have found a scan of this page here.

[3] Given that five goddesses can’t immediately deal with the berserk Angel Eater, Hild’s decision to be elsewhere starts looking quite sensible.

[4] I’d also like to see a colour version of the first image of Lind with both her angels. This is also why the cover to Volume 25 was a spoiler.  The covers for Volumes 26 & 27 should have been swapped. Again, B/W is the best I’ve found for this page.

[5] Belldandy is still wearing the stripperiffic demonic costume supplied by Hild. Two Words: Absolute Cleavage.

[6] Lind’s training is shown in a flashback.

[7] Skuld is wearing a frilly dress in this photo shoot. I think that’s a first for Skuld, usually Skuld tends towards clothes that are more practical for a mechanic/engineer.

[8] I stand by my comment in Volume 25 that Cool Mint and Spear Mint are silly, silly, names. The Binary Angels themselves have lovely character designs, but those names have got to go.

[9] See Volume 19, Chapter 118 The Sign of Life