Anime: Ah! My Goddess! The Movie (UMD)

Vandemar

The goddess Belldandy has settled into a seemingly normal life on Earth with love-of-her-life Keiichi and a handful of other goddesses. If you’re not familiar with Ah! My Goddess!, don’t fret, it’s all carefully explained. Being a movie-and thus having some time to build its plot–allows the creators to fill in the back story for those arriving late to the goddess party via paper-thin excuses for a “Let’s reminisce.” But it’s all groovy and what seems like a light, fluffy, fun plot soon takes a 180 degree turn into full-blown drama.

Everything’s going swimmingly until Belldandy’s mentor and teacher, Celestin, returns from exile to cause havoc, erasing Belldandy’s memory and launching a virus that may just wipe out the entire Goddess system. In a weird mixture of various mythologies (Norse and Greek especially) and cyberpunk aspects (the world is a network, just like a computer network, prone to viruses, and though the fates use what looks like skeins, they’re keyboards), the Goddesses go to work, trying to fend off the virus and regain Belldandy’s memory. In the meantime, she gets another chance to live life, a chance to see if she winds up with Keiichi again, and a chance to rediscover a mysterious, lost past.

The plot is actually very moving. What if you could live a chunk of your life over again? Would you end up with the same people? Would you still do the same things you’d done before? While it does have some funny moments, a lot of the movie is actually very moving, as Belldandy wrestles with who she is and tries to remember the life she used to live. Celestin’s promises throw a monkey wrench into her old life and the Goddess’ efforts to defend her and the Goddess system may endanger her life.

Technically, what amazed me was the sound. Not only is it surprisingly crisp, it’s an absolutely beautiful orchestral work. The sound effects are also top notch. Echoes even sound right, bouncing around my headphone speakers in a reasonably realistic fashion. The animation is very nice, bright and clear on the PSP’s screen, and characters move fluidly. The downside is the screen makes the subtitles pixelate some, but that’s a fairly minor complaint.

What we have here is a completely, totally enjoyable movie for just about anyone. There’s some action, there’s some babes, there’s a great plot, there’s even a little romance for those so inclined. It’s not quite as light and fluffy as you’d think, but is ever so much more enjoyable for it.

Technical/Extras: 8.0
It looks good, it sounds great, and it continues the UMD’s tradition of having no extras worth mentioning.

Entertainment: 10.0
Babes, humor, and a moving dramatic plot to cap it all off. What’s not to like?

Overall: 9.5

Features: 16:9 Animorphic Video, English Stereo, Japanese Stereo, English subtitles, 1st episode of the Adventures of the Mini-Goddess.

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