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INFO FILE
Title:
Ah! My Goddess The Movie
Format:
Bilingual DVD
106 Minutes
Production:
Pioneer
AIC
Comments:
A wonderful movie with a load of extras to boot.
Overall Rating:
96%

Animefringe Reviews:
Ah! My Goddess The Movie
By Holly Kolodziejczak

"I am Belldandy, goddess first class with no restrictions, and I will do what I must to protect the life forms here on Earth!"

Okay, so you've watched the OVA. Maybe you've even watched the fansubs of Mini-Goddess and this movie itself. But you've never seen Ah! My Goddess like this before. Not only does this movie beautifully present a dramatic story with characters that we have come to know and love, but it also has a more subtle, deeper meaning that I didn't even catch until the second time I watched it.

If Ah! My Goddess is something that you've even remotely enjoyed in the past, you are likely to be hopelessly drawn into this movie from the very beginning. The opening scene of the movie is captivatingly beautiful, and trust me... it just keeps getting better. Kosuke Fujishima's beloved characters truly come to life in this flick. Still, as I mentioned previously, the thing that I liked best about this movie was the subtle deeper meaning that reveals itself as this film runs its course. Ah! My Goddess The Movie is, on the foremost level, a story of a deep rift opening between Belldandy and her life with Keiichi because of something from her past coming back to haunt her. On a lower level, however, the movie addresses one of the greater questions that philosophers and intellectuals alike have been asking since time immemorial: If there are gods, and those gods are so benevolent, then why is there so much suffering in the world? The answer that is offered in this story is, indeed, food for thought. I won't go into any more detail, because I don't want to spoil the story for you, but do keep an eye open for this subplot and draw your own conclusions from it as you will.

The Japanese cast of the Ah! My Goddess movie is full of familiar names. Belldandy is voiced by Inoue Kikuko (Kasumi Tendo - Ranma 1/2) and Celestine gets his voice from a something of a newcomer to the anime scene, Yanaka Hiroshi. The fairy princess Morgan Le Fe is voiced by Kawasumi Ayako (Melfina - Outlaw Star), the normally soft-spoken Keiichi Morisato is voiced by Kukuchi Masami ( Tenchi Masaki - Tenchi Muyo!), and the strong-willed Peorth fittingly gets her voice from Sakuma Rei (Princess Vena - Dragon Half; Shampoo - Ranma 1/2). The English dubbing sounds a little forced at times, but is generally not bad at all. Personally, I was so involved in the story that I didn't really pay much attention to the dubbing, and that gives me the impression that the transition was made pretty smoothly because there was nothing that blatantly stuck out. The spoken translation was not always true to the subtitles, but it was pretty close, and that's about all you can ask.

The score is, for the most part, sweepingly graceful and extremely well suited for the film in general. My personal favorite comes around during the tail end of the movie. In that particular song, the Warsaw Chorus does a beautiful job as a choir of goddesses singing from on high, and the end result of combining their song with the stunning animation in that scene is simply breathtaking. The rest of the music is also very beautiful, but the goddess song is still my favorite.

As if the movie itself wasn't enough, this DVD comes with a barrel full of extras that's sure to please every AMG fan. First and most noticeable is the holographic slipcover that fits over the DVD case itself. The image on the cover (back and front) is that same as that on the DVD case underneath it, but the beautiful holographic shimmer that it has really makes this disc stand out. As with anything holographic (for example, Pokemon cards.. my poor Venusaur.. Y_Y), it is easily scratched, so be careful with it. I personally got a scratch right over Belldandy's head from the corner of the case of the Playstation game that I bought that was in the same bag before I even got the dang thing home. So, learn from my mistake and be gentle with the slipcover.

After you remove the slipcover, the next bonus that you notice is the mini pencilboard that will pretty much fall into your lap when you open the case. The pencilboard is just small enough to fit inside the DVD case and has exquisite full-color illustrations on both sides. Just underneath that, you will find the DVD insert, which houses full-body pictures of each of the main characters in the movie and their dossiers. Once you pull out all of the inserts, you will notice what I personally think is the nicest touch. The case itself is a clear frosted plastic, and the inside of the cover has a lovely picture of Belldandy printed all the way across it that shows through the frosted plastic when you open the case. If that's not classy, I don't know what is.

As for the extras on the disc itself, there's a load of those as well. In the extras menu, you will find a section housing a few TV spots and teasers for the movie in addition to the actual movie trailer, all unsubtitled and in their original Japanese format. There is also a decent-sized image gallery for you to look at. The best extra of all, however, has to be episode 1 of The Adventures of the Mini-Goddesses. Mini-Goddess also features a sub and dub track and the original Japanese ending with the credits in their untouched form. After the ending plays through the first time, it plays again with the English credits, which I thought was kind of a nice touch. All of this original Japanese stuff (in superb DVD quality!) is sure to please the purist otaku to no end. On top of that, the menu screens are very nicely done and the transitions are pleasing to the eye. The scene access is great, with 36 scenes that you can jump to in the 106-minute feature. To put the icing on the cake, the movie features it's original Japanese credits at the end as well, with the English credits playing afterwards.

So, bearing all of that in mind, my final comment is this: Even if you're not a big Goddess fan, SEE THIS FILM! If you ARE a big Goddess fan, you should already own this DVD. ^_^ With all of the extras and goodies on top of the great movie, it really is a superb package. I did have some trouble getting some less open-minded friends of the *ahem* male persuasion to watch it with me, but there are some aspects in this film that even the most macho of nay-saying boyfriends can appreciate. Belldandy in a sailor fuku, a fiery battle between goddesses, a plethora of Skuld bombs, drunk college girls, and the obligatory motorcycle racing are all key elements in that respect. However, this movie is a drama above all else, and you won't get very much comic relief at all.. so if you're one to cry over movies (like me.. Y_Y), keep a box of tissues handy. You'll probably need it. (I know I did. Shhh, don't tell.)

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