A Farewell to the “Ah! My Goddess” Manga

A Farewell to “Ah! My Goddess” Manga

Ah! My Goddess Chapter 01With the recent news that Fujishima-sensei is ending the long-running manga series Ah! My Goddess (aka: Oh My Goddess) after over 25 years, I thought I’d take a moment to say farewell to a manga title that has a very special place in my heart.

As many of you know, the original, 5 episode Ah! My Goddess OVA series was one of the first anime titles I watched back in 2002 when I first got into anime.  Naturally, I found I enjoyed this anime quite a lot, so I went online to find out more since five episodes weren’t enough.  Since there were no other Ah! My Goddess anime series and none on the horizon at the time, folks suggested I read the manga, which received a lot of praise.  Further, these people informed me that the OVA series was just a very general adaptation of said manga, and that if I wanted the whole and true story, the manga was the only way to go.

As soon as I was financially able, I immediately purchased every “graphic novel” that Dark Horse had out at the time. Back then, Dark Horse did not bother with sticking to the volume system that they employee now (along with every other manga publisher), and they “flipped” the artwork so that their graphic novels would be printed American style. Since I was a noob to the whole anime and manga fandom, I had no idea that this was not the way things were done (as hardcore fans would say).

Ah! My Goddess Skuld KentarouWhen the books came in, I marathoned them immediately. The first things the manga did was lessen my enthusiasm for the OVA series on a story level, since the manga’s stories and introductions of characters came off as superior. Plus, there wasn’t that whole, manufactured, melodramatic wrap up to the OVA series in the manga.  Ah! My Goddess was just a lot of fun to not only read, but to reread as well.

My hunger for more of the manga’s story eventually lead me to the fan efforts to bring the current manga chapters to America.  It was here that I learned about the artwork flipping, but I also got an eye-opener in terms of adaptation. Since fan translations were making full use of Japanese honorifics, I discovered that the nature of the characters changed somewhat, leading me to realize that the Japanese use honorifics as a literary device to fine tune characters and how they relate to others and the world around them in general.

The biggest surprise for me came from the discovery that at times, these Ah! My Goddess “scanlations” had speech bubbles or the like which were radically different from the official adaptation. Indeed, when reading the fan works, certain scenes made more sense than the official English ones. It was then that I was educated on how official adaptations would rewrite things to suit their own purposes.

Ah! My Goddess ColoursIt was here that I “met” Toren Smith, the man instrumental in bringing Ah! My Goddess to America.  How he learned about me, who can say since back in 2003, I wasn’t blogging, but I was active on forums and did write reviews on other sites.  Regardless, he was kind enough to e-mail me out of the blue and explain why the artwork was flipped, why the graphic novels did not match the Japanese tankoubon system (which Dark Horse now uses), why he didn’t use Japanese honorifics, and why he made the decision to rewrite some things within the manga. Sadly, of all our e-mail correspondence, I only have one left, where he told me why Dark Horse/Studio Protus had to use lyrics from Mathew Sweet instead of the lyrics from the Carpenters that Fujishima-sensei used (the Carpenters were charging an outrageous amount to license the lyrics).

Throughout the years, I’ve stuck by this manga, even when its stories were sometimes boring and there was never any progress between Keiichi and Belldandy in terms of the romance angle that was at the heart of the manga’s origin. When I started blogging in late 2006, I started blogging the current (or fairly current) chapters coming out of Japan and have done so ever since. When Dark Horse switched to the proper volume format that matched the Japanese tankoubons, complete with unflipped art, I gladly double-dipped (even though the new adaptations didn’t go 100% on the Japanese honorifics).

Still, I’ve been expecting Ah! My Goddess to end for quite a few years now. I first sensed it in 2007, when I mentioned it in my review for chapter 223.

Fujishima-sensei has been going down memory lane a lot recently, enough to make me think that maybe he’s going to be allowed to end it in the next couple of years or so.

I voiced this opinion in different places, but everyone kept saying something like, “He’s not going to end it. The memory lane stuff is just for the 20th Anniversary.” As such, I started having second thoughts, which I mentioned in my review of chapter 224.

I was reminded that we are approaching the 20th anniversary of the manga. I had been thinking that Fujishima-sensei was bringing back all these faces from the past because he could be taking a “goodbye” tour of characters before ending the series. He still could be doing that, but more likely, he’s preparing for the big 2-0.

I didn’t really talk about it much after that, but as time went on, I realized that Fujishima-sensei was not doing stuff for the 20th anniversary, but was in all likelihood doing a farewell tour by bringing back so many forgotten old characters. In 2009, I made this response to a commenter of my review of chapter 244.

I still think this is Fujishima-sensei’s farewell tour though. He’s been bringing characters out of the closet for some time now, enough to make one think that this might be the end. Who knows for sure though.

Finally, and this is a MASSIVE SPOILER if you are not current with the Japanese chapter releases, the joking prediction made by fans whereby we’d know that Fujishima-sensei was ending the manga came about in chapter 278. That led me to this remark.

The thing is, for many, many years now, I’ve maintained that if we ever saw Keiichi and Belldandy properly kiss (flowers weren’t mentioned, but they are part of the deal), then we’d know that Fujishima-sensei is getting ready to end the manga series.  I still feel that is the case.

Since Ah! My Goddess is a monthly manga, it isn’t like bringing the series to a graceful conclusion will happen as fast as it could for a weekly series. So, for quite some time now, I feel that Fujishima-sensei is bringing the manga to a close, possibly with chapter 300.  Since I think chapter 280 is already out in Japan, that would be 20-months from now, assuming I’m correct in my theory.  Fujishima-sensei has gone back to the beginning by bringing back characters from early on in the manga (Sayoko, her cousin who’s name eludes me, teachers, etc.) as well as certain elements, as seen in this chapter with this kiss and subsequent flower eruption.

I ended up being off by a few chapters, but I think that was more about Fujishima-sensei deciding write this final story properly, even if it meant going into another volume of material.

Regardless of my predicting the manga’s end nearly seven years ago, I have mixed emotions on the Ah! My Goddess manga ending. On one hand, Fujishima-sensei seemed to be phoning it it for a number of years until this final arc, which he allows himself to go out with a bang. So the manga’s end is a relief in that way.

Ah! My Goddess Girls

On the other hand, having been a fan of the manga since 2002, I’m going to miss reading new monthly adventures of Keiichi, Belldandy, Urd, Skuld, and whomever else they have along for the ride.

To Fujishima-sensei, I’d like to say “thanks” for making my first manga series such an enjoyable (on the whole) and memorable one. To all of the many Ah! My Goddess fans I’ve met over the years, thanks for the many fine discussions we’ve had in various places.

Here’s hoping that Fujishima-sensei turns Paradise Residence into a full-time manga next. ^_^

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20 Responses to “A Farewell to the “Ah! My Goddess” Manga”

  1. Halat says:

    I will miss Ah! My Goddess but it probably is time to end it and from the looks of things it will be a good ending.

    Is it just me though or are there a lot of manga ending at the moment. Soul Eater and Rosario+Vampire ended recently while this and The World God Only Knows (which you would probably like if you haven’t looked into it already, it is probably my favourite romantic comedy series) are ending in April. Even Bleach and Naruto are apparently on their final arcs (and I think Fairy Tail may be too but I am not too sure on that).

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      I will miss Ah! My Goddess but it probably is time to end it and from the looks of things it will be a good ending.

      I hope it is a good ending.

      I’ve heard nothing about Fairy Tail ending, but yeah, a lot of manga are. I’m just glad Hayate the Combat Butler is still going strong. ^_^

  2. Krono says:

    Fairy Tail’s not going to be ending anytime soon. Back in volume 35’s afterward, Mashima responded to various “Fairy Tail is ending” rumors. The response being no it’s not ending, and he currently had at least three more arcs he wanted to do which he estimated would take 15-20 volumes. Though naturally he warns that it could end up ending sooner than that, or it could go on much longer than that. In other words you can expect Fairy Tail to take a minimum of 55-60 volumes. Which is not what I’d call soon.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      As long as he enjoys cranking out stories for Natsu and company, Mashima-sensei won’t go anywhere.

  3. shadowofthevoid says:

    It’s been a good long run. I knew it had to end sooner or later, but when something has been around for so long it kind of comes as a big shock. The first chapter came out in September of ’88. Back then I was in 3rd grade, Reagan was President, the Berlin Wall still stood, Die Hard was in theaters, “Sweet Child o’ Mine” by Guns & Roses was the #1 song in America, and Super Mario Bros. 2 was weeks away from release on the NES. Now I am 34. Granted, I didn’t actually discover AMG until the very late 90s when I was like 18 or 19, but still, just trying to put it’s run into perspective. The Simpsons didn’t even come out until 15 months after AMG did.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      The first chapter came out in September of ’88. Back then I was in 3rd grade, Reagan was President, the Berlin Wall still stood, Die Hard was in theaters, “Sweet Child o’ Mine” by Guns & Roses was the #1 song in America, and Super Mario Bros. 2 was weeks away from release on the NES.

      Heh. So, nearly your whole life has had Ah! My Goddess being published. Where does all the time go? ^_^;

  4. ether101 says:

    I think issue 308 is going to be the last one and and its going to need to cover a lot for it to rap things up.

  5. Debayan says:

    Same here… As an Indian reader (especially Kolkata reader), manga comics culture is quite unpopular here but since my urge to reading comics book(my childhood was spend by reading comics like Phantom, Flash Gordon, Mandrake, Tintin, Asterix etc) was way beyond, I discovered e-comics & started reading manga since 2007; randomly… You won’t believe but I was supposed to read manga for eicchi purpose (Lol) and I found AMG. At that time I was going through loads of problem of my life… I started reading lightheartedly and one fine morning I suddenly discovered I’m in love with this series… Started discovering more about “what is a manga?” “whoa! there are animations of them!! ANIME” and finally “Oh Dear!! I love Japan”… As I dig though it, I remembered I was getting bliss of joy, found my life’s purpose and a better way of loving life and dealing with things positively. Ya! I know its sounds lame but that is the truth… This manga inspired me, Moreover, Belldandy inspired me… Now-a-days I’m an animator and a faculty… I love to inspire people and inspire them to be good in their life. Even I made an OVA that time which I would love to share with you guys http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1acW3z3BDaY

    Now like every good things come to an end, AMG is also finally came to a nice ending. Really sad guys… felling really sad… :'(

  6. René Marquez says:

    i have been reading ah my goddess since it started and have the mexican volumes that editorial vid created, now the editorial doesn’t exist anymore, so i have been thinking of finding a compilatory on another language, only not japanesse tough, is there a way i can have the last issues ? i am even willing to read them on pdf if there’s no way to get them here on mexico . . . . sigh . . . . .

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      I’m sure there are files on scanlation sites that would be in English. Otherwise, I’m not sure how to assist you.

  7. Bobby says:

    Why don’t we pester Dark Horse to talk to Fujishima and let them finally publish You’re Under Arrest! in its entirety finally? 8 issues wasn’t enough (they came out when Animeigo licensed the original 4 episode OVA series).

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Actually, I think that Dark Horse really tried hard to convince Fujishima-sensei to publish all of the You’re Under Arrest volumes, but he wasn’t having any of that. It is a real shame ’cause I’ve seen the original stuff, and while rougher than what he would go on to do in Ah! My Goddess, it was OK.

  8. Sorwen says:

    :’)

  9. Meili says:

    Im not satisfied there ending of ah my goddess because I want more expectation that keiichi become a God once a day to protect their beloved belldandy and the ending their have a child.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      I don’t think I ever saw Keiichi becoming a deity. But that said, the ending was not satisfactory for sure. Thanks for writing!

  10. Alejandra says:

    Thanks for this. I really like the manga, the anime and the OVA’s. I would love another season or a special to celebrate the 30th anniversary. It’s a story that I love and I still see it.

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