February 12, 2015

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OMG! Dark Horse to Give "Oh My Goddess!" the Omnibus Treatment


Another long-running Dark Horse manga series is getting the omnibus treatment starting in July. This time, it's Oh My Goddess!, which has quite the interesting release history with Dark Horse, including being a manga that they released in single issue form(!!) at one point in time. In fact, the rather confusing state of the early volumes, which were re-worked a few times, makes this an extremely welcome re-release. Trying to go back and figure out which volumes you were actually supposed to be reading, if you hadn't bought them from the beginning, was  a real pain.


Written and illustrated by Kosuke Fujishima, Oh My Goddess! ran for over 25 years in Japan, starting in 1988 and ending just this past year. It's a comedy, and Dark Horse describes it as follows:
College student Keiichi Morisato thought it was a prank when a strange, beautiful young woman appeared in his dorm room one night. But his unexpected visitor is literally a goddess from heaven, Belldandy, come to grant him any single wish of his choosing. When Keiichi wishes for Belldandy to stay with him forever, it’s the beginning of a complicated, cosmic saga of comedy and romance that makes for one of manga’s greatest love stories!
There's definitely some lonely geek wish-fulfillment fantasy going on, but my memory of this series, which I admit I drifted away from after about 10 books, is that it's more uplifting than creepy. Things grow more complicated as Belldandy's family shows up, in true romantic comedy fashion, and if I remember correctly, things get increasingly complex and twisted, as all good comedy should. It was popular enough to last through 48 volumes, multiple anime series, a movie, and even a novel.

This first omnibus promises over 500 pages of comics, in an expanded size, with color and better paper, and is going to retail at Dark Horse's manga omnibus price of $19.99. It's going to cover the first three volumes, meaning they're planning somewhere in the neighborhood of 16(!) omnibi, which is pretty impressive, given the manga market isn't quite what it used to be in English.

Now, I don't post every press release I get, especially on a reprint, so why this one? Well, you see, once upon a time, I was a person who read almost entirely Marvel and DC Comics, with a bit of Image and others thrown in. (Hard to believe, given my current reading, I know.) Eventually, my friends suggested I start trying some manga, and Oh My Goddess! was one of the first I got out from the library. It may not even hold up when I get to re-read this series, and it's certainly not one of my top ten manga, all these years later, but I'll never forget seeing how different comics could be thanks to Fujishima. I might never have read Urasawa if it wasn't for Oh My Goddess!, and if these omnibi editions can do that for someone else, it'll be a great day for comics indeed.

Look for Oh My Goddess! Omnibus Edition Vol 1 from Dark Horse Comics in July, 2015.