Ah! My Goddess!: The Movie (Aa! Megamisama! The Movie) (2000)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Adventures of Mini-Goddesses
|Year Of Production||2000|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (79:10)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Hiroaki Gohda|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Ah, My Goddess is a beautifully made movie that follows a short (five episode) series called Oh, My Goddess. I have to admit that I prefer the original name, with its pun, but apparently the movie title is closer to a direct translation of the Japanese.
If you haven't seen the original series, a brief recap of the setup is in order. A young man, a student called Keiichi Morisato, rings for pizza one evening, and gets a crossed telephone line — he is connected to the Goddess Help Line instead. A beautiful goddess, Belldandy, appears and offers him a single wish. He wishes he had a girlfriend like her. Zot! She's his girlfriend. Wish contracts can't be broken. Oops! They seem rather happy with the situation, though. A little later, her sisters Urd and Skuld (also goddesses, but not as skilled as Belldandy — she's a Goddess First Class with no restrictions, they both have restricted Second Class licences) show up independently to find out what's up with her. They stick around, making Keiichi's life no simpler — now he's living with three goddesses, rather than one. The series is rather sweet and enjoyable, and far too short.
This movie is almost as long as the five episodes, if you discount the credits on each of them, so it has plenty of time for lots of plot. There are a few differences between the movie and the series — Belldandy works for the Goddess Relief Office, rather than the Goddess Help Line, for example, but the characters are basically the same — you'll certainly recognise all the characters who've carried over. The quality of animation is somewhat better, too, with some nicely detailed backgrounds, and quite beautiful character designs. There's an interesting added dimension when the goddesses use their powers — a spiritual representation of them appears.
The movie opens with someone, or something, being released from a strange confinement on the Moon. Then we get to hear Belldandy singing — nice stuff. A little later Urd gets a warning from Peorth, who seems to run Operations in Yggdrasil (think of it as Goddess HQ), about the escape — there's some concern that the escapee is heading towards Belldandy. Meanwhile Belldandy is delighted to see Celestin, the mentor who guided her learning from young child to fully-fledged goddess. But something goes badly wrong, and all of Belldandy's memories of Keiichi vanish. At the same time, Peorth is confronted with a virus invading the systems of Yggdrasil. Things get rapidly more complicated, and more threatening — the heavens and earth are threatened with destruction...
Belldandy is very sweet, almost too sweet and submissive, but she's a truly nice person — it's easy to feel for her. Urd's a bit more direct, and in some ways more readily likeable. Keiichi is quite a nice guy. Skuld is a kid, but she's also a gadget builder — perhaps her most amusing trait is that she insists that Keiichi not look when Belldandy is changing costumes (Keiichi and Belldandy have been living together for nearly three years...). There's an interesting extra character who uses the name Morgan, but is listed in the credits as Morgan Le Fe (any relation to Morgana Le Fay, I wonder?).
The world of this movie is an interesting one, with a mixture of magic and computers — it's nice how they never explicitly state that the systems are computers, but they use a lot of familiar terminology (well, familiar if you're into computers...). You don't need to understand computers to enjoy this movie, though. The plot draws on Norse mythology, with which most viewers will be unfamiliar, but that's OK — you don't need to know why heaven is referred to as Yggdrasil, for example.
This is an interesting story, exquisitely-drawn. Recommended.
This movie is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, which seems to be the intended ratio, as far as I can ascertain — AnimeOnDVD lists the R1 as 1.85:1, but that's not the case (it, too, is 1.78:1). It is 16x9 enhanced.
The image is superbly sharp and clear. There is no issue with film grain, and no low-level noise. Shadow detail is not a serious consideration in animation like this.
Colour is marvellous. Interestingly, the R1 looks slightly more saturated than this one, but the colours on the R1 look too intense, too vivid — they look a bit cheap. The slightly more subtle colouring on the R4 looks magnificent — even though the difference is not large, I strongly prefer it. There are no colour-related artefacts.
I noticed only two film artefacts: a faint blue mark at 14:09, and a small spot at 18:23. Both are single frame, and barely noticeable.
There is some mild aliasing and some dot crawl on the black lines that outline the characters, but less than might be expected for an animated image this sharp. There's no moire, no shimmer, and no MPEG artefacts.
There is some noticeable interlacing on certain scenes with fairly rapid movement — one early scene that shows this is the scene where the girl ascends the dais at the Motor Club's attempt to get new members. A great deal of this movie is shot with relatively little motion, so the interlacing is surprisingly difficult to see.
There is only one subtitle track, in English. The subtitles are yellow and easy to read. They seem well-timed and quite accurate (they are different from the dub, but that's normal).
The disc is single-sided and dual layered, formatted RSDL. The layer change is at 79:10. It comes in the middle of a silent black screen, and is virtually invisible.
The soundtrack is provided in English and Japanese, both Dolby Digital 5.1. I listened to both soundtracks, although I only understood the English. The soundtracks are very similar, and equally good.
The dialogue is clear and comprehensible in English. The Japanese sounds equally clear.
The score, from Shirou Hamaguchi and Nobuo Uematsu, is excellent, with some moving orchestral components. (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) The final psalm-like song is beautiful.
The surround speakers are continuously active, with delightfully atmospheric ambient effects, and supplying depth to the score. This qualifies as one (well, two) of the most immersive soundtracks I've heard. Marvellous stuff.
The subwoofer supports the soundtrack subtly, and elegantly. The soundtrack is full-range, from the deepest octaves to clear precise bell-like tones that exercise the high register.
|Surround Channel Use|
The extras are limited, but nice.
The menu is animated with music.
This is a cute little cartoon about the three goddesses, shrunk in size, and playing with a rat called Gan-chan. Several of these have been made, but this is just the first one, called Let's Tell Your Fortune. Perhaps we'll be seeing the others at a later date?
We get the theatrical trailer (1:10) and teaser trailer (0:43), plus two TV spots (both 0:20). The transfer quality of these is lower, and it becomes quite clear how impressive a transfer we have for the movie.
Twelve images of character designs.
Another dose of Madman Propaganda. This time there are five trailers:
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 1 and Region 4 versions of this disc are quite similar, even to the arrangement of the menus (different artwork for the menus, though). Even the cover art is similar, but for some reason the shot of Belldandy on the cover is mirror imaged: on the R1 her right hand is raised, on the R4 it is her left.
The Region 4 disc is missing:
The Region 1 disc is missing:
These differences are slight, really. The main difference is the transfer itself. The R1 looks a little coarser, and the colours feel a bit too intense. It is good, just not quite as good as the R4. This is very strange, because the two versions have near identical run-times (106:19 for the R1, 106:23 for the R4) which usually indicates that one was sourced from the other, rather than both being sourced from film. The interlacing on the R4 suggests strongly that its PAL video was converted from the NTSC video. But the R4 looks better. Strange. Perhaps the R4 was converted from a better quality NTSC master than the R1? Or perhaps the guys at Madman have access to some goddess magic? Methinks we'd best not ask too many questions...
If you don't have a copy of this disc, then get the R4 — it's better. If you have the R1 (it came out some while back), then it's hard to justify getting the R4 as well — is there anyone you might want to give the R1 to?
Ah, My Goddess is a beautifully animated movie, presented superbly on DVD.
The video quality is excellent, even with light interlacing.
The audio quality is reference/demo quality.
The extras are limited.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-S733A, using Component output|
|Display||Sony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5|