The third volume of the Mini Goddess series is subtitled The Urd Files and as such focuses a little more on the eldest of the three Goddesses who shrink themselves to super-cute size and get themselves up to all sorts of harmless mischief. As always, it is usually their rat sidekick Gan-Chan who ends up on the receiving end when things go wrong, and provides a lot of the comedy value. The opening episode, Squeak Hard, is a sharply comical send-up of Hollywood-style action films, in which the goddesses’ nemesis Marla leads a team of gun-toting rats in an attempt to break into the fridge when they go out for the day with only Gan-Chan able to stop them; Rainy Day is a quiet, reflective episode that acts as a restful interlude in which Urd wanders around the town in a rain shower when she gets bored of staying at home.
The fact that the Mini Goddess DVDs contain large numbers of short episodes might make viewing them back-to-back a little tedious, but this time around there is enough variation in episode theme and structure to break up the flow. The two-part Squeak Hard is particularly entertaining, not only for the parody value (Gan is no Bruce Willis!) but the fact that it adds a new character whose lifelong quest is to fight against Urd, Skuld and Belldandy makes for some of the best episodes of the series and generally makes things more interesting.
Rainy Day is another unexpected highlight, unusually relying entirely on animation and music to depict Urd’s wandering journey through a picturesque Japanese town of rivers, streets and parks with no need for dialogue. The animation, which is still of the low-budget quality, is nevertheless used to great effect here and has a contemplative and quite moving atmosphere, very different to the slapstick comedy of the rest of the disc.
The addition of a villain-figure in the form of Marla adds another aspect to the proceedings, with her plans and schemes being constantly foiled; invariably through bad luck as much as anything. Hopefully the three servants she summons for the final story Rules of the Ninja will make a comeback in later episodes. The opening and closing animation sequences also change during the course of this disc, with a different theme tune at the end of each episode.
The third disc of the Mini Goddess series have proved to be the most varied and enjoyable so far, with not only cuteness and zany humour but one or two new characters appearing on the scene and additional effort on the part of the production team to play around more with the format. If you are in the mood for some undemanding viewing that is light relief from more serious anime, the short episodes of Mini Goddess could well be what you are looking for.