It’s been a while since Belldandy and her sisters came to live with Keiichi, and by and large, he’s settled into as normal a routine as you can have when three goddesses are sharing your home. Unfortunately, everything is about to be turned upside down by the arrival of Celestin- Belldandy’s former tutor and a man with whom she once shared a close bond. What Belldandy doesn’t remember is the circumstances which caused her to be parted from Celestin, circumstances which also branded him a criminal in the eyes of Heaven. Now unsealed from his prison, Celestin is ready to put his plans into motion- the first stage of which involves removing Belldandy’s memories of Keiichi! How can Belldandy cope with this new situation when she can’t even remember the person who is most important to her?
When an anime franchise makes the jump from OVA or TV series to movie, it has a depressing tendency to follow a standard formula, and unfortunately, the AMG movie is no exception; in fact, if you read the linked article, what you will find is an almost word-for-word summary of the plot. The film is an on-the-rails experience from start to finish, but in essence, that is all it needs to be- fans of the franchise will buy it because it sports the Ah! My Goddess name rather than for an originality of plot.
Even for casual fans, however, such an approach can be forgiven if the film at least makes sense, but whilst the majority of the AMG movie is entertaining, it loses cohesion by the end. As is the case with most villains, Celestin’s actions are motivated by his desire to create a better world, but for reasons that are not abundantly clear, that first involves destroying the current one. Apart from an excuse to see him hacking away at Yggdrasil before the power of destiny puts a stop to his plan, there seems to be no logic to the final battle whatsoever.
Whilst Celestin at least gets some flashback and exposition scenes to establish his character, Morgan le Fay –the other new character introduced for the movie- is left short-changed in comparison; apart from some brief and necessary background information, we barely get to know her. In contrast, the main cast could almost be accused of having too much added to their characters thanks to some convenient back story between Keiichi and Belldandy that is retroactively added for plot convenience.
As expected, the visuals are the strongest aspect of the movie; the usual injection of animation budget allows increased detail for the already high quality character designs, as well as the addition of some grandiose settings for the story to take place in.
Mildly entertaining but fundamentally flawed, Ah! My Goddess is a film strictly for fans of the franchise and those dedicated to the cause of completion. Then again, since it is unlikely that anyone else is going to want to watch it, it could perhaps be argued that it does not need to be any more than that.