YMMV / Ah! My Goddess

  • Adaptation Displacement: In North America, the anime in general tends to be better-known than the manga (which part of the anime depends on which generation of fan you're talking to), despite the manga arriving stateside first and remaining in-print to this day whereas the licenses to the various anime have all expired.
    • In Latin America, the TV series was never dubbed, so it's overshadowed by the earlier OVA series (and the movie, to a lesser extent).
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Does Belldandy initially agree to the heart-wrenching curse on Keiichi because his wish locked her out of heaven (among many things), and eventually started to object when she grows to love him?
    • Does Hild love Urd or not? She desperately wanted to stay alongside her to the point of placing an avatar child version of her on Earth, but then she is the mastermind behind the Angel Eater arc.
    • Might Skuld be in love with Keiichi? Sure she's hyper-protective of Belldandy but, as the series goes on, she finds herself wanting to be nicer to him (and blushing any time she tries). She also goes berserk when she sees him in a compromising position with any girl, not just Bell. Later, she gets friendly with the one boy in Nekomi who most looks and acts like a young Keiichi. Urd seems to be aware of this and teases her about it.
    • Urd not stopping Skuld from interrupting Keiichi and Belldandy's intimate moments together can either be attributed to her wanting Keiichi to "be a man" and act on his own or due to her slight sadistic streak (a leftover from her older characterization).
  • Arc Fatigue: Particularly for the fans who kept up with the manga as it was coming out. Goddess ran in a monthly magazine, so one could really feel it if the story dragged. It tended to be worst in the racing chapters – did the broom-race between Bell and Hild really need to be spread out over five months?
  • Base-Breaking Character: Keiichi is either a sympathetic Unwitting Pawn who makes hasty decisions out of desperation and skepticism (when his wish is concerned) or a subject of mockery after he was revealed to have his sexual desires suppressed by Heaven.
  • Broken Base: Several, which is no surprise considering how long this series ran.
    • Fujishima's art style changed radically over O/AMG's quarter-century of publication, so fans have differing opinions on which "era" of his style is the best. The most common answer tends to be the turn-of-the-millennium style seen in The Movie (around volumes 18-23). Others claim it's the 90's style seen in the OAV (between volumes 7-15), or the mid-2000's style seen in the TV series (approx. volumes 25-35). The one thing pretty much everyone can agree on is that the earliest art (up through the Lord of Terror arc in Vol.6) isn't anywhere near as good as what came later.
    • While most Goddess fans enjoy all iterations of the franchise, there are manga fans – most notably the admin of the franchise's largest English-language fansite – who dislike the anime and its director Hiroaki Gohda, claiming that rather than the anime fixing some of the problems with the early comic chapters, it instead made the story a mess and Flanderized the characters.
    • In contrast to the above, some fans of the anime have complained about the original manga because it went on and on and on and on, never even hinting at a conclusion (until it did). While not as unbearable in book form now that the series is completed, do note that Goddess ran in a monthly magazine, meaning that a broom race that spanned most of a book took five months to complete in real-time.
    • There are disagreements as to which anime installment is superior – the OVA, which has fine animation and a simple condensed story but outdated music and character designs; The Movie, with its gorgeous music and art but Broad Strokes canon; or the TV series, which attempts to tell an updated yet more-faithful version of the manga's story but has inferior animation to the other two as well as at least one Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole. Amongst older fans, the OAV and/or Movie tend to win out, but the TV series has its fans too. There is one thing the vast majority of fans can agree on though – Mini-Goddess can be skipped.
    • This happens with the English dubs, due to there being completely different casts between the OVA, Movie, and TV series. All three dubs are well-regarded – a rarity in this sort of situation – but fans disagree on which is superior. The Movie, being an LA dub using longtime industry veterans, has the best-known cast. However, many of the first wave of fans swear by the original OVA cast (and were very upset Pioneer decided not to dub the movie at Coastal for consistency). Those same older fans tend not to like the TV series dub as much, but it was popular with critics and newer fans.
  • Ending Fatigue: While it was still running, this series was infamous for its apparent inability to ever reach any conclusion. Made worse by the fact that it ran in a monthly anthology. Fans became convinced that if Keiichi and Belldandy ever did anything to further their relationship, the manga would come to an end. Sure enough, that's exactly what happened, but there was absolutely zero movement on that front for over twenty years thanks to Keiichi's being utterly unable to spit it out. Granted, late in the story we learn WHY that's the case, but still.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Peorth and Hild.
    • Lind too, perhaps. She had only recently been introduced into the manga when the first TV season was in production, so they decided to incorporate her into the final episode of the Lord Of Terror arc (meaning she appears in the anime before Peorth, even though Peorth showed up in the manga long before Lind did).
  • Evil Is Cool: The punk-rock outfits Mara and Lord Of Terror while possessing Urd and Keiichi wear are certifiably fabulous! Especially those of the more powerful ones. Also qualifies for Costume Porn.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Hild, anyone? Mara (after Art Evolution makes her prettier) and Hagall definitely fit the bill as well.
  • Faux Symbolism: Urd is basically the illicit love-child of God and Satan (more specifically Tyr the Almighty and Demon-Queen Hild). The manga eventually confirms what the OAV series hinted at nearly two decades earlier – that all three norns were sired by the Almighty.
  • First Installment Wins: The most-remembered anime adaptation in the West is usually the 1993-6 OVA series, particularly amongst older fans. However, most non-manga official art you're likely to find online will be from the TV series.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Many people, both in universe and in the fandom, make fun of or complain that Keiichi and Belldandy are not that intimate despite being the Official Couple and being together for years (decades in Real Life). Then came The Reveal that the reason why is because Heaven was suppressing Keiichi's urges towards Bell because inter-species romance was forbidden.
  • Growing the Beard: It took Fujishima a while to get a handle on the character designs and characterizations (see Early Installment Weirdness on the main page), but once the goddesses begin to take on a less-Oriental look, the series really develops into the lighthearted romantic comedy it's known for being.
    • This may be why the OAV (beginning production while the manga was still evolving) and the TV series (which debuted long after the manga had hit its stride) both have Belldandy make her initial appearance with her hair done up in a dishwater-blonde ponytail while wearing her trademark blue, gold, and white goddess outfit (which fans agree she looks more attractive in), as opposed to loose silvery hair and that… thing… she wore in the very first chapter.
    • The dynamic between the main cast really didn't gel until Skuld showed up in Volume 5.
  • Memetic Mutation: BELLDANDY LIED, /a/ DIED.
  • Moe: Most of the young-looking characters definitely count, especially Skuld and Megumi.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Skuld, for many fans, is just plain annoying because she deliberately gets in the way of K1 and Bell's relationship – i.e. the focal point of the series. However, the degree to which this is the case depends on the incarnation. For instance, in the original manga, she's a generally tolerable character who grows up a little every so often; the OAV series sees her as a broadly sympathetic girl who legitimately missed her big sister but is still willing to play dirty to stay close to her; the TV series, by contrast, zig-zags it – in the first season she's annoying and obsessed with Bell, but in the second she is literally a chainsaw-wielding maniac… before she meets Sentaro and calms down.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • Belldandy's appearance in the first few chapters, mostly due to her odd eye proportions.
    • As the plot darkens, the last 5 volumes had upstaged Volume 1's style; everybody's eyes (especially Bell's) ended up like this.
  • Villain Decay:
    • Mara gets hit by this hard in both the manga and TV series, but especially the latter. When she first appeared in the first season, she was able to give both Belldandy and Urd a hard time by herself, turning Keiichi into a scooter out of spite, and nearly succeeding at defeating Bell once and for all by using Sayoko's jealousy and ego to her advantage.

      Fast forward a bit, and she's working at the convenience store Keiichi and Bell used to work at (they gave her the job) and surviving on its takeout while living in a run-down building (an abandoned arcade in the manga), sleeping alongside her rat scientists.

      She's no longer able to even get into Tariki-Hongan Temple because Banpei guards it and can easily dispatch her. Urd even points out how big a failure Mara is, causing her to break down and cry. Really, how can you not wonder where her badassery went and pity her at this point?
    • Welsper is an intentional example. After nearly destroying the universe during the "Demon Child" arc, he is forcibly reincarnated as a cat and retains only a fraction of his powers. From that point on, he's more an annoyance than any real threat.
  • The Woobie:
    • Sora when she explains why she thinks she's a jinx. Go on; tell me you don't feel like giving her a comforting hug. (Note: these translations are flipflopped; read left to right.)
    • The Goddess of the Lake. When she was still human, her village was in a terrible drought in which she chose to be sacrificed to restore it. After becoming a goddess, she was bound to the lake forever, even after the village died and people stopped visiting the lake, leaving her alone. And then there's all the crap she went through after she fell in love.
  • Woolseyism: Many of the various English translations have these.
    • Most notable is the original Studio Proteus manga translation by Toren Smith (that's the flipped version).
      • Aoshima has a personalized license plate that reads "SMARM-E".
      • At one point early on, Keiichi lists off a bunch of Japanese musicians, which is replaced in the translation by English equivalents including "Weird Al" Yankovic. In fact, Keiichi's musical tastes are radically altered in the English manga, nearly always for the better (swapping Carpenters for Matthew Sweet).
      • As mentioned on the character page, Peorth in the original speaks a form of Keigo that is in Real Life largely restricted to upper-class women born before World War II (in other words, way off base with how she looks and acts). There's no way to accurately depict that in English with just text, so she instead peppers her speech with Gratuitous French.
      • When Keiichi becomes president of NIT's Motor Club, Sora Hasegawa refers to him as "sir" (vice-sempai), not unlike a certain Peanuts character she more-than-slightly resembles.
    • The TV series dub gets in on the action too.
      • In the first episode, after Tamiya fixes an Auto Club customer's bike, he announces, "Your ride's been officially pimped!"
      • In the second episode, after being thrown out of his dorm, Keiichi tries to stay at a friend's apartment during their mahjong game… but keeps winning due to Belldandy's presence. He aptly exclaims, "Well, luck be a goddess tonight!"
      • Trickster demon Senbei, in the original Japanese, peppered his speech with Gratuitous English. In the English dub, he instead uses Gratuitous French, Gratuitous Italian, and switches between multiple accents (often within the span a single sentence).

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