Rediscovering Oh My Goddess

28th February 2010 – 3.10 pm

The Oh My Goddess! novel First End is not the only discovery I make when performing a random but wistful search. I also find a new collection of the comic, Oh My Goddess! Colors, which I gleefully order. The collection features a key story for each of the goddesses, reproduced for the first time in colour, and an encyclopedia containing a wealth of information about people, places, and items from all of the published volumes of the comic to date. There are also details about the change between the classic Oh My Goddess! paperbacks and the new editions.

The stories in colour are fun to read again, and the colour certainly adds some value to the content. I know it probably would have been a bigger investment but I would have preferred Belldandy's story, the first issue's introduction of her to Keiichi, to be redrawn instead. Kosuke Fujishima's art is far from poor, but his style clearly becomes more refined quite quickly, and the early comics look sufficiently different that a new rendition by the artist would add much more value than colour does. And with the stories being reprints, the cross-referenced notes about the world of Oh My Goddess! are probably of more interest to fans, and it is interesting to see so many collated details.

One feature I most keen reading about is the continuation of the old comic series in the to the new trade paperbacks. The monthly Oh My Goddess! comics finished a long time ago, and I thought that was the end, particularly with no new glossy paperbacks appearing. But it turns out that the series changed from being a monthly comic to a less-frequent trade paperback as its only published form. When I find out I naturally want to start reading again, but I don't know which book I need to pick up first, and I don't want to duplicate my collection unnecessarily. My local comic shop was unaware of the significance of this transition, which is why it has taken so long for me to realise that the series has continued. But what Oh My Goddess! Colors does is list the last book of the old series and the first of the new. It turns out, in fact, to be quite logical.

Sora Unchained is published as volume 19/20 of the old editions, which seems a little odd but it is because of the overlap of material in the different versions. The American edition of the comic tried to publish whole stories, whilst the Japanese version wasn't as concerned with keeping neat boundaries between stories and volumes. The new trade paperback editions will effectively be reprints of the Japanese volumes, unflopped but translated, and Sora Unchained is volume 19 of the American series but containing all the material up to volume 20 of the Japanese series. So volume 21 of the new series is the natural continuation, and the numbering of 19/20 is to prevent any gaps for people with mixed collections. With this information, I can now catch up with the goddesses.

I am a little disappointed in my local comic shop not picking up the new series of Oh My Goddess trade paperbacks in their new form, but the shop unsurprisingly tends to trade mostly in American comics with Japanese comics given a nod in its own section. The situation isn't helped by the transition from monthly series to occasional books, which is not a traditional form of release. But not knowing everything about a niche genre is hardly a flaw, and the shop is now aware that the changes herald new series and not only reprints, so I am getting the new books. The main problem is that they cannot get the books I have missed since the change.

Not being able to get the back-issues is not a problem of my comic shop, they have tried quite hard to get them, but the distributor refuses to sell the older books to a UK shop. I don't know why. At least I have the internet to help me, and rather than buy the books from the USA, incurring large shipping charges, I find all the volumes I am missing on my usual internet book shops. My first attempt at ordering them goes awry when I am delivered German editions. I am rather annoyed that little discrimination is made between the different language versions, considering the title is in English and the book is sold on a UK website. I endure the return postage costs and try again, but with a different company. I soon get a bundle of trade paperbacks posted through my door and I am a happy cat.

The new stories are wonderful. I suppose they aren't really new as much as a simple continuation, as I have a complete collection of Oh My Goddess! comics from the first Dark Horse release, but it seems like it has been ages since I last regularly read of Keiichi's adventures with Belldandy and her sisters. I note the issue date in the cover as being from July 2005, meaning it has been over four-and-a-half years of Oh My Goddess! that I have missed! Or maybe it is four-and-a-half years of catching up I have ahead of me, which is great! The first of the new books even features Peorth, so I am in heaven.

I love Oh My Goddess! The stories are romantic and humorous, the characters beautiful and charming but not perfect. The series has kept me enthralled for more years than I can remember, and I love it now as much as I did before. Being able to return to the comic years after I thought it had finished is a joy.

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