REVIEW: DVD Release: Ah! My Goddess: Flights Of Fancy - Series 2: Part 3























Series: Ah! My Goddess: Flights Of Fancy - Series 2: Part 3
Release date: 6th September 2010
Certificate: 12
Running time: 193 mins
Director: Hiroaki Gohda
Starring: Aya Hisakawa, Kikuko Inoue, Masami Kikuchi, Yumi Touma, Gara Takashima
Genre: Anime
Studio: Manga
Format: DVD
Country: Japan

Ah! My Goddess: Flights Of Fancy - Series 2: Part 3 continues the story of hapless student Keiichi, as his goddess companion Belldandy and her sisters turn his life upside down and he struggles with his tumultuous emotions, demonic battles and college life. Adapted from the manga by KĊsuke Fujishima, the series continues with a blend of comedy, romance and drama.

The main narrative focus of season two is the continuing relationship between Keiichi and Belldandy as he struggles to profess his love for her. Each of the eight episodes plays out like a soap opera, with contained conflicts and scenarios driven by the overarching will they/won’t they aspect of their relationship. These snapshots of the characters’ lives cumulate in a goddess versus demon battle toward the end of the season. The one-winged angel’s descent from heaven brings a much needed sense of action to the show, a welcome addition to the romance of earlier episodes.

The demon queen, Hild, comes into the fore when she is called upon to fuse the two sides of her daughter Urd’s split personality. Her employee, the demon Mara, works in a convenience store, lamenting her lack of promotion while conspiring to disrupt her former friend’s relationship.

Belldandy loses her powers (again because of Mara) and after retraining in heaven is reinstated with a demonic license instead, causing her sisters to return to heaven in an attempt to resolve the issue. Hild makes another appearance, travelling back in time to seduce Keiichi as a child, in order to affect the future, prompting a time-travelling mission for the sisters…


As a predominantly character focussed series, there is a distinct lack of likeable and relatable characters involved. The lead, Keiichi, is annoying and weakly characterised. His only concern is making Belldandy like him, constantly avoiding conflict and never sticking up for himself, bowing to her every whim. Similarly, Belldandy’s weakness as a character soon grates, as her forced cuteness becomes tiresome quickly. This is clearest in episode 20, when Belldandy struggles with her newly acquired demonic powers. In a rain-soaked roadside scene, Belldandy laments Keiichi’s illness (he has a fever for one night) as if it were the end of the world. She falls to her knees apologising, crying out: “He has a high fever! Why is that? Why is all this happening to us!” in a frustratingly melodramatic outpouring of trivialised emotion. For a series focussed on character based romance and relationships, this over-the-top, tactless approach irritates more than inspires.

The supporting cast are, however, slightly more appealing. Belldandy’s sister, Urd, provides welcome respite from the schmaltz with some really interesting development, as she struggles with the demonic side of her personality. The other sister, the young Skuld, is voiced terribly, and becomes annoying very quickly, but thankfully has very limited screen time.

In amongst the poor characterisation there are, however, moments of genuine comedy. An appearance from a rock band, consisting of Roger and Pete (in an obvious homage to The Who) raises a laugh, as well as Belldandy’s attempts to perform bad deeds, as she reads in a store without buying, writes graffiti on a blackboard and gets drunk, only to catch herself helping some ducklings cross the road, playing on her high-and-mighty morality.

The animation is exceptional, combining excellent character designs with beautifully painted backdrops and scenery. At times the quality slips, especially in secondary characters in the backgrounds, but, on the whole, the artwork is of a high standard. The voice acting fluctuates between decent (Keiichi), mysterious and alluring (in Urd and Hild especially) and excruciatingly annoying (Belldandy and Skuld), which unfortunately draws away from the action and becomes tiresome.


The high production standard, beautiful design and fleeting moments of genuine comedy of this series is marred by poor characterisation, cutesy romance and a general lack of depth, which belies the show’s popularity. RB


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