Last updated May 29, 2005.

April 22, 2005:

Episode 15 of Aa! Megami-sama introduces Banpei, Skuld's robot creation who has been a constant fixture in the Ah! My Goddess manga for quite some time now.

Banpei and Skuld
Banpei and Skuld

Most of the basic themes from the manga side of the story are covered, including Banpei's affection for Belldandy, and his loyalty to Skuld.

There are a few funny moments, such as Keiichi with the helmet, and pretty much every bit with Marla, who picks a bad time to stop by.

This episode also featured Skuld facing off against Mara for the first time, with Banpei pitching in during the fight.

We also get another reminder of Skuld's love of ice cream. (The reference last episode went by pretty quickly.)

Belldandy and Keiichi
Banpei-vision detects a rival

All in all, it seems the series has really settled in, and could now run indefinitely with the daily slice-of-life segments that make up the best parts of the manga. Assuming the show is slated for 26 episodes, there will probably be time for a few of these such stories before moving on to the final arc hinted in the OP, presumably involving Marla's ninja crew and the possible appearance of Hild. Of course, if the series gets picked up for more than one season, there's no telling where it might go.

It might be my imagination, but Belldandy's character design seems to have changed again. Compared to earlier in the season, her eyes appear to droop down on the sides a lot more. I hope Ah! My Goddess isn't slowly getting the Air treatment, because that really makes for seriously hideous character designs.

April 29, 2005:

Just for the record, every single time I see them, I think Belldandy is wearing two Livestrong bracelets.

Belldandy puts on her game face

Taking cues and bits and pieces from the manga, Ah! My Goddess episode 16 puts together another humorous Marla story. I think just about every character from the show thus far (minus Skuld and Urd) got a decent amount of airtime this week. The rat née Earth spirit from episode six plays a fairly important role, too.

On the relationship front, we get to see what happens when Belldandy gets jealous. I think it plays out better than the jealousy scene in the Ah! My Goddess movie.

Marla calls in an independent contractor

It appears the remainder of the season will likely feature Marla stories heavily. I think they have enough to work with, but I'm already wishing for some Peorth. If the series gets picked up for a second season, they'll definitely have to bring in Peorth early and often.

May 06, 2005:

Ah! My Goddess episode 17 is the first real Hasegawa Sora episode. Hasegawa has had numerous cameos throughout the season, ever since the first episode, but this was the first one to focus on her.

Tamiya and Sora
Tamiya preps Hasegawa for her upcoming race

Hasegawa is a younger classmate of Keiichi's attending the same engineering university. She's another member of the auto club, and worked in its support crew in the past.

Urd and Sora
Remember, Urd's concoctions are not to be trusted

Chosen as the auto club's driver for an upcoming go-kart race, childhood insecurities come back to haunt Hasegawa and fill her with self-doubt. Keiichi and his ever-helpful trio of goddesses welcome Hasegawa into the shrine, where each does his or her best to assuage Hasegawa's fears and anxieties. Naturally, Skuld's methods are mechanical, and Urd's approach is medicinal.

May 13, 2005:

So, we have episode 18 of Ah! My Goddess, which is not the onsen/karaoke episode I was expecting, but rather a beach/outdoor bath episode with the love declaration plot and wacky surf-side hijinks lifted straight from the manga.

Skuld's contraptions are not to be trusted, Keiichi.

Be forewarned, this is a "Man, Keiichi, you suck" episode. Although he isn't as pathetic as in the OAV's beach episode, it's quite a step back for a guy who has made such small steps forward this season.

Urd and Keiichi
Urd and Keiichi. Look, more Urd foreshadowing!

Despite being a straight-up adaptation of the manga, I found the conclusion to the episode unsatisfying. I also suspect the later episodes aren't going to pursue the subsequent follow-up plotlines depicted in the manga.

This show needs Peorth.

May 20, 2005:

As if Urd's concoctions weren't screwed up enough already

Episode 19 of Ah! My Goddess cranks up the fan service up for the "Belldandy, horny as all get-out" episode. That's right, Belldandy spends nearly the entire episode at a high state of arousal, blushing violently—radioactively, even—all the while.

Belldandy flushed with, uh, excitement

Of course, since this is Ah! My Goddess, and all the early chapters of the manga have been retconned* out of existence, Keiichi isn't allowed to do anything about it. Thus, the focus of the episode is in trying to determine whether Keiichi's head will explode, and guessing if his testicles will go ultraviolet before the mid-show eyecatch. Seriously, they should have just drawn him walking around with one of these for the entire episode—at least while he's lingerie shopping with a woman who can manipulate her clothes into different outfits at will.

In America, it's backwash. In anime, it's a secondhand kiss. Go figure.

On the plus side, the scene in the church was sacrilicious. And we get some movement in the Belldandy/Keiichi relationship story. And we see that normal people agree that Keiichi's reticence is dumb.

*In early chapters of the manga, one of Urd's complaints following her arrival on Earth is that Keiichi and Belldandy "hardly ever kiss." And although they didn't consummate their relationship, it's not unreasonable to infer that some horsing around went on between them. Later in the manga (that is to say, nearly ALL of it), and in the instant anime series, there is essentially no movement at all in the Keiichi/Belldandy romance. So, coming to the end of this season, it is good to see some development in the romance plot and the implication that Belldandy (albeit under the influence, as it were) is tired of not gettin' any, even if it's obvious nothing will come of it ultimately.