Ah! My Goddess Manga/Oh My Goddess! Manga
ああっ女神さまっ Chapter 290
The goddess and the bard are chatting on the tree limb, where the goddess expresses the positives she sees about the bard. The bard expresses his desire to take the goddess to places all over, but she can't since she's tied to the lake. That's because at one point, she was a human sacrifice from a village in order to save their water supply, a fate she accepted. However, as she fell to the bottom of the lake, she was contacted and given the choice to sleep forever at the bottom of the lake or stay above and help others find happiness. She chooses the latter, thus became a goddess of decisions. Eventually the villagers left and now, the goddess only rarely gets visitors.
The bard (and Keiichi) is moved to tears by her words. The goddess embraces him for this act of kindness, since it is the first time anyone has done so, but she refuses to share her sadness with him, saying that she's glad she became a goddess. However, the bard tells her that despite this, her story makes him sad, and she cannot stop him from shedding tears. She kisses him for this.
The bard decides to live with the goddess, building a large hut. Their days are happily spent working together and their nights spent happily together in love. Despite this, the time will come for this fantasy to end.
I mentioned in my previous review that I was uneasy over the prospects for the goddess and the bard to have a happy life together. Well, we certainly got to see them living that happy life together, but it is clear from the wording at the chapter's end that something bad is about to happen. I've no idea what that could be, but I figure it will be the reason that Keiichi and Belldandy have to go through this challenge -- what would they do in such a situation?
Still, I have to say that this romance story is very sweet and really appeals to me. It is messed up that she was apparently human at some point and offered as a human sacrifice, something the actual deity did not require. Her becoming a goddess, but being tied to the land is certainly not what I expected. I would have figured that like Belldandy, Urd, Skuld, Peorth, Lind, and the other entities, this goddess would have access to the higher dimension where other goddess and like spirits reside. I guess not in her case, since she'd been human.
I think that this chapter marks Fujishima-sensei's first injection of sex into the manga. I don't think he's ever done any nudity at all, so even doing the silhouette of the goddess going cowgirl on the bard is risque for him. That being said, I did think it was tastefully done and not at all exploitative, which is how most seinen titles would have played it. The single panel conveyed the message quite clearly, so that there was no doubt that this bard and this goddess had in essence married. (Remember that in the past, marriages weren't something you had to go to the government to get a license for, but were done any number of ways, then consummated to "seal the deal" as it were.)
Oddly enough, since Belldandy and Keiichi are within the goddess and the bard respectively, they were in essence making love to each other in a weird sort of way.
Speaking of Belldandy and Keiichi, I did get a chuckle out of Gate having to split them up after Belldandy used her power to reach out and communicate with Keiichi. After all, this is supposed to be a test they are taking, thus it would be cheating for them to be able to communicate freely like they were.
So, another really good, sweet, romantic chapter, but one that ends on a note that strongly suggests bad things are coming for our bard and goddess couple.