What is this I see before me? Is this an Oh My Goddess review? I guess I must be in Perth [1] for SwanCon 2013 [2]. Volume 27 wraps up part of the familiar/angel arc before turning to lighter fare, and is quite a pleasant read all told.

Chapter 170: The Great Earth Search

The Great Earth Search starts with Keiichi fleeing the attempt to return the familiar to an egg [3]. Naturally with Keiichi’s safety on the line, Belldandy blasts through the warding spell to go in pursuit. Her silence towards her sisters is somewhat scary in this scene, and is something that Peorth comments on.

Skuld has planted a tracer on Keiichi just in case something like this happened, and Urd tricks her into admitting to its existence. Skuld promptly activates the tracker with a search radius of 50 – 200m [4]. Nothing.

Skuld expands the radius to 200Km. Nothing.

Skuld expands the radius to 1200Km. Still nothing.

This is when Skuld, being Skuld, comes up with a plan to search the entire Earth using squads of mini-Urds [5]. Naturally this winds up back at the temple because Skuld had excluded the 0 – 50m radius from the initial search.

This is a spot of comedy to distract from the fact that Belldandy is determined to resist harming the familiar/angel, and will resist the other goddesses with all her power. This is Belldandy’s answer to the ethical issue raised in What We Would Save: she is refusing to choose Keiichi or the familiar, and will save both.

This is when Keiichi wakes up and asks if they can find a demon to take the familiar? A highly irritated Urd then asks Keiichi where they can find a demon that is handy, doesn’t have a familiar, and would be willing to help Belldandy?

The “Oh, Right” moment, and the expressions on the goddesses faces is priceless.

Velsper come on down [6]!

Chapter 171: Kiss Me Goodbye

The only problem is that Velsper, like many other things, are still under the seal that Lind placed on them in Volume 24 [7], and after a quick call to Yggdrasil, Skuld rigs a device to fix that little problem.

This leads to the next problem: Velsper is a demon after all, and not particularly willing to help out. However Keiichi and Urd are more than willing to bribe Velsper with promises of Belldandy’s gratitude.

After a little persuasion, and some funny sight gags, Velsper is persuaded to help out. However there is a problem: his identity will need to be revealed to Belldandy.

Well, after a fashion at least. I won’t spoil the details but the resolution does leave Belldandy still ignorant of Velsper’s full identity.

Of course the only way to effect the transfer from Keiichi to Velsper is via a kiss, to their mutual embarrassment. Which Fujishima duly plays for as many sight gags as possible.

The chapter ends with the aftermath of the transfer, including key reassurances and thanks from Belldandy to Keiichi. Keiichi always saw the “ex-familiar” solely as an “angel”, and was the only one to do so. This was a light in her heart, and one she needed.  It is a nice character moment for Keiichi, and a reminder to the reader just why Belldandy stays with him.

Of course there’s one final sight gag with the somewhat, ah, blotchy, effect of an angelic familiar on Velsper’s previously black fur.

Chapter 172: Shoot Or Die!

The Angel Eater/Familiar arcs were Serious Business despite the gags scattered through them. Shoot or Die!, despite the dramatic name, is nothing of the sort.

It is the latest instalment of the fight between Urd, Skuld, and Peorth for access to the TV, and played strictly for laughs.

This time the fight takes the form of an ever escalating rubber band war, goddess style. I did like Skuld’s offhand use of a rubber band chaingun [8].
Actually Peorth was sitting this one out until her snack gets ruined in the crossfire.

Alas the chapter ends before the effects of Peorth’s “rubber band grande” that a slightly panicked Skuld describes as a “giant fan belt of doom!” are seen [9].

Chapter 173: Horsehoes and Handgrenades

You know how I said that this was an ever escalating rubber band war?

In Horseshoes and Handgrenades Skuld has a wooden tank with Sigel and Banpei as her crew, Peorth is using her plant powers for a double barrelled gun cannon, and Urd has summoned what looks like a genie.

Meanwhile at Whirlwind, Chihiro is making a small rubber band gun out of chopsticks.

I don’t know where Skuld picked up her quite decent tank tactics [10], but Skuld is careful to keep her sides at an angle to increase armour thickness etc, at least until Peorth works it out.

This leads to a three way Mexican standoff until an enthusiastic, and woefully ignorant of the escalation, Keiichi shows up to join in.

Suffice it to say that Holy Bell is needed to pull Keiichi out of this one, and the whole thing leaves quite a mess.

The chapter ends with Belldandy laying down the law and telling them to clean up the mess.

These two chapters are just fun to read. However this is continuity based comedy that works because the reader knows and likes these characters, and plays to their quirks without flanderising them.

Chapter 174: Is Here She?

There has been evidence of alternate realities in Oh My Goddess before – as I recall the Schrodinger’s Whales cruised between them [11] – but I think that Is Here She? is the first time that Keiichi gets a visit from one.

There is a race on an alternate Earth called the Machiners, and they’re exactly what it says on the tin: sentient machines.

But even sentient machines need repairs sometimes, and Keiichi is the man for the job, even if they think he is Belldandy’s servant [12]. He is a particularly good servant, and gets more customers and some tools as a reward.

There’s also a bit of a gag with Chihiro chasing a particular 2nd hand Thunderbird motorcycle, and Keiichi confusing it with the TV series. However it proves important in the next chapter.

Despite the oddness, this is a nice reminder that Keiichi really is a talented mechanic, and largely because he loves the machines he works on.

Chapter 175: That Flying Entity

That Flying Entity sees a rather larger Machiner flying past unable to land. It turns out that one of Keiich’s customers from the previous chapter is the nose landing gear it needs to get down.

This is when Keiichi is inspired by his memories of the Thunderbirds TV series and mounts the landing gear on the back of a covered motorbike. The chibi-Belldandy sitting on Keiichi’s shoulder throughout is really cute, and a reminder that Belldandy’s spells don’t really work properly on the Machiners.

Keiichi manages to find a suitably isolated spot to pull this off, but is suddenly running out of runway once the Machiner has docked to it’s nose gear.

There is a teeny tiny cliff hanger here as Belldandy is suddenly surrounded by flowers.

Chapter 176: Sign of Gratitude

The cliff hanger of Keiichi charging towards a barrier unable to stop is resolved by Belldandy creating air brakes out of conjured flowers. Her spells may not work on the Machiners, but that doesn’t affect anything else that Belldandy might direct her spells at.

The flying Machiner presents Keiichi with a gift of a spanner that seems to magically improve the machines it is used on.

This mini arc is OK, and it is a nice reminder of Keiichi’s strengths, but it is a little long for such lightweight material.

Summing up volume 27

Volume 27 of Oh My Goddess! is enjoyable but has some problems. The Great Rubber Band War is probably the best part of the volume; it is light hearted fun that is well paced and doesn’t overstay its welcome. Conversely the Machiners arc feels a touch bloated, and probably won’t matter to the main story in the long run.

In terms of the ongoing story, the transfer of the ex-familiar to Velsper is probably the most important part, and will be reappearing in future volumes.

These quibbles aside, Volume 27 is fun to read and relatively light hearted after the more serious tone of the immediately previous volumes.

[1] Actually I’m in the airport lounge waiting for my flight back to Canberra. I’ll edit the cover photo into the post once I’m back in Canberra.

[2] Over the last year or so I’ve found that flights to/from Canberra are ideal for writing Oh My Goddess reviews. Reading the volume gets me up into the air, and writing up the review eats the best part of 2 hours. Toss in dinner & that’s most of the flight gone.

[3] See chapter 169 What We Would Save in Volume 26, and I apologise for the gap in the reviews.

[4] No prizes for spotting the, ah, plot hole here. Especially since it isn’t actually a plot hole per se.

[5] Once you get past 10 or so I think squads is the right label.

[6] Velsper has been hanging around the temple as a kitten since about Volume 17 or so.

[7] I think it was Chapter 155 Fighting Wings, but I left that detail out of the synopsis. Sometimes it is hard spotting the Chekhov’s Guns in Oh My Goddess.

[8] Which is currently reminding me of the Nerf chain gun that one of the developers has brought into work.

[9] Emphasis not added, and I’m inclined to agree with Skuld’s description. 🙂

[10] I suspect Author Appeal.

[11] That goofy fellow popped up in Volume 18.

[12] Belldandy’s spells don’t work properly on the Machiners.