Candidate for Goddess Volume 1G.O.A. Wants YOU!

One thousand years ago, four planetary systems were utterly destroyed by an alien force. Since then, humans have moved into space colonies and developed humanoid weapons known as Goddesses to defend their last remaining home planet. Five young boys are caught up in the drive to provide worthy pilots for the defense program and must learn to overcome their differences for their sake, and the sake of all mankind.

Earth is long since destroyed and mankind now live amongst the stars. However, all is not well as an unknown alien menace known only as the Giseisha (‘Victim’) threatens all that we hold dear. The last remaining planet available to us, Zion, is now too under threat and our only hope lies with the five Goddesses, or Ingrids (giant mecha), piloted by young pilots with a unique blood type and special EX ‘ability’ to match. However these pilots can only fall within a certain age range and as such a constant supply of new pilots need to be trained and held in reserve should the current pilots ever fail. For this purpose G.O.A., the Goddess Operator Academy seeks out and trains all possible candidates while it still can.

Volume 1 introduces us to Zero Enna, a rambunctious young lad whose goal is to one day pilot the ‘White ingrid’, the most powerful Ingrid of them all, in order to fulfill his promise to his dying mother. However, there is something a little different about Zero that causes him to stick out from the rest of the candidates and naturally this doesn’t sit too well with his new training partners…

…and of course his particularly fateful encounter with an Ingrid already doesn’t help all that much either!

Female mangaka Yukiru Sugisaki is responsible for bringing us The Candidate for Goddess, perhaps one of her better know titles amongst a stable that includes the likes of D.N.Angel, Rizelmine and Lagoon Engine. Not much is known about this fairly elusive creator, apart from the fact that she really seems to like rabbits – a lot.

The Candidate for Goddess is a fairly interesting concept to begin with, but one can’t help but feel a little perplexed by the smaller points like the fact that the people in charge of fighting off the alien menace all happen to be young teenagers who don’t seem to have a single shred of maturity amongst the lot of them. That said, I’m not exactly sure which target market this manga is aimed at, so I’m not going to hark on this point too much. The storytelling, dialogue and plot advancement are a little shaky in places to be honest and quite often you’ll find yourself scratching your head in trying to figure out just what exactly is going on, all of which is a little bit annoying at times. Also, I don’t feel her comedic timing is all that great, meaning that quite often a lot of the humour she tries to inject into this semi-serious space-drama doesn’t quite work as well as it could have and some of it feels quite forced at times.

Visually, Sugisaki is at best… inconsistent. Some panels she comes up with some fantastic character and background detail and design, but others she simply seems to slip up in and a lot of her more serious moments are slightly dulled by characters who come across just that little bit too cartoonish for the moment. Her action sequences are also not particularly polished and one often strains to try and figure out just exactly what it is that she is trying to depict, particularly when it comes to the mecha fight scenes.

However, all that said, her characters are usually pretty nicely drawn and although her fashion sense is pretty damn weird at times, she does put a lot of effort into the detail and designs of her characters and backgrounds for the most part. Oh, and hats off for some interesting Ingrid designs as well – even if you can’t quite make them out 95% of the time! :)

The Candidate for Goddess can best be summed up then as fairly mediocre in all aspects of its production. The storytelling and visuals are average, the enjoyment gleaned from the story is pretty average and the desire to pick up the follow-up volume is also pretty much a hit or a miss. Some people might enjoy the humour of this title or at least enjoy the ‘young boys in shorts’ male leads, but in all likelihood, most people could simply do with giving this one a skip… completely.

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