Oh My Goddess! TV
I've liked the "Ah! my Goddess" material for many years. I own many of the manga, I enjoyed the OAV's and seeing the material brought to life in the movie was wonderful. Naturally when the TV series was announced I was interested, I realized it would have production limits, but how many fine stories could be told in that time... especially considering the immense amount of material to draw from.
Keiichi Morisato is a young Japanese college student, and his primary ability is his inability to stand out. Since he's somewhat shy, so earnest he's easily manipulated, and has more talent with machinery than people he's often overlooked. Thus he's the one left in charge of the student dorm in which he lives while everyone else goes out. While he is on this vigil he accidentally calls a wrong number... and is more than a little shocked when he finds out he's dialed heaven's unlisted number.
More specifically he has reached the "Goddess help line" and an operative, the incredibly attractive and excessively warm natured Belldandy, has arrived to grant him the one wish he has earnt. He can wish for absolutely anything, even the destruction of the world, but he finds himself so drawn to Belldandy herself that he makes an impromptu wish, "I wish a goddess like you could be with me always". And, to the shock of both parties, the wish is granted.
And thus is one of the classic relationships forged. See the problem is that Belldandy is so pure, and empathic, that it's hard to imagine having a "normal" relationship with her. This is assuming Keiichi could even get over his own weaknesses in that area. And it doesn't get any easier, because as time goes by the series builds up an increasing number of characters quite a number of who manage to get in the way of things. Many of them are very interesting in their own right, but it does mean that the romance between Keiichi and Belldandy is intense and totally without hope of advancement.
So what does this series add to this well established story core? Well sadly, as far as I can see, the answer is "nothing". It basically re-tells a number of stories from fairly early on in the manga. There are some changes, but few substantial ones, and the changes made I don't really consider much of an improvement on the originals in the manga. This might well mean if you don't know the manga you'd enjoy it a lot more, but it's not like I can scrub my mind and forget that I've seen the stories before. Considering they could have extended, enhanced or perhaps even produced some original material it seems a bit of a cop-out. There's not even any story thread to tie the series together as a whole, it's just a bunch of largely independent short stories exactly like the manga.
However, when I do my best to ignore my pre-knowledge, I still find this series oddly boring. Considering my great liking for the antecedents of this material that is rather odd. I expected to either love it or hate it as it interacted with the source material. It's hard to pin down exactly why, but I think it is due to a really rather lifeless production. The dialog lacks sparkle, the emotions of the characters seem muted, their reactions to, and reflection upon, the events seem shallow. Even the central relationship between Keiichi and Belldandy becomes submerged by the endless procession of largely meaningless events. This anime was so lacking in soul it even made me wonder whether I was mistaken in my liking for the original. And when something is bad enough it can corrupt a fond memory that has to be a warning sign.
In a way it is an interesting experience. There's nothing obviously wrong that you can point at as being the fault. Thus I sat and watched relatively happily until I realized it just wasn't engaging me. The comedy is not funny, the love of mechanical objects (the manga author loves cars and bikes) was downplayed and characters came and went without making much of an impression. In some ways, without the subtle spark of character, the trappings of the series prove to be very empty indeed. The original was never all that deep, but whatever charm it did possess is notably absent in this production.
The production has almost exactly the same flaws as the story. It has some quite attractive character work but it can't really animate them that well. Thus motion is kept to an absolute minimum which gives the series a very "static" feel. For each character moving there are many others frozen in time and space. It is computer assisted so the colors are bright, but the computer assisted backgrounds are empty and boring. It seems as if they focused on producing great stills, which is sort of pointless for a series that needs a focus on emotion expressed through body language. It is further hampered by the fairly neutral music and some unimpressive voice work. The major voices are okay but fail to carry much emotional weight, quite possibly due to the dull script. The lesser voices, even for major characters such as Skuld, are significantly weaker. It all looks okay, but it failed to satisfy.
Another anime instance drawn from the long running manga in which shy but good hearted Keiichi manages to get a Goddess for a girlfriend. However she's so pure of heart having a "human" relationship seems impossible, and that's before more characters arrive to complicate things. This series goes through the motions, re-telling some stories from the manga, but it doesn't really add much and the production lacks charm, character and humor. And since Ah my Goddess was fairly light to start with that doesn't leave much of interest.
None of my regular sources seem to have a review of this title.