Noragami – 07

Noragami - 07 -9 Noragami - 07 -13 Noragami - 07 -17

Another week, another rock-solid episode of Noragami.

You know the drill – every week Noragami just delivers the goods.  More than any new show this season this is the one that’s managed to evade the usual peaks and valleys – in fact, I’d go so far as to say the quality range between the “worst” and best episodes has been remarkably narrow.  Given that it also looks like it has a chance to do respectably well commercially I wonder if BONES isn’t second-guessing their decision to go one-cour – it’s not as though they can’t do more later (indeed, they already have three series on-tap next season) but there seem to have been creative changes made to accommodate a one-cour run (evidence of which appeared this week) that might be hard to take back later.

The overall trend of Noragami is definitely towards the dark side, and it’s been so slow and steady that it’s never felt jarring.  “Consequence” seems to me to be a strong recurring theme here – the costs of our decisions and our actions, and the fact that the universe doesn’t seem to like giving anything away for free, even to Gods.  This is evidenced by a pair of conversations Hiyori – who’s getting a crash education in the harsh realities of the spirit world – has.

First, she meets up with Tenjin while in search of the runaway Yukine.  Indeed, the boy has been there asking for a job (again) but Tenjin rejects him on the grounds that if he accepted Yuki, the boy would become “a Nora”.  Indeed, this is a crucial moment in filling in the blanks of this premise – Nora isn’t a name, but a classification for wayward and detested Shinki that have multiple masters.  They’re the black sheep of the spirit world, loathed by most and their use disdained by reputable Gods like Tenjin. Tenjin seems like a fairly decent sort – if a bit of  a dirty old man and an elitist – but his kindness towards Hiyori only extends so far, and he doesn’t seem anxious to get his hands dirty any further.

Afterwards, Kazuma pays Hiyori a visit on a rooftop, and this too is extremely illuminating.  There are hints that both he and Bishamon (Kazuma calls her “Veena”) have conflicted feelings about Yato – especially Kazuma, who “owes him a great deal”.  Kazuma also tells Hiyori that Yato will definitely die if something isn’t done about Yukine, and that he should be “disposed of” as soon as possible.  Also fascinating here is that Kazuma appears to be the only one on team Bishamon (there are at least eight Shinki here) that can see Hiyori – not even the Goddess herself can see her when she joins Hiyori and Kazuma on the rooftop.

I like Kazuma a lot – he’s an interestingly nebulous and quite powerful character, and the sort of role I tend to prefer Fukuyama Jun in.  But this entire scenario is interesting beyond any single character.  There’s such an obvious inconsistency of attitude here – Tenjin and Kazuma speak of Shinki in respectful terms, and both Team Bishamon and Tenjin seem built on that respect – yet they speak of Yukine as if he were an object, trash to be cast aside.   The conflict is obviously being set up as an “either/or” with Yato or Yukine – if the one isn’t killed, the other will die (though perhaps Yuki would die anyway if his master did) – but Hiyori isn’t buying that it’s that simple, and neither am I.

For now, there’s the practical concern of Yato trying to stay alive.  He’s taken a job on the graveyard shift at a convenience store, and Nora (as we know her, and Yato calls her) has taken to torturing Yukine directly.  Nora is clearly one of those detested ones Tenjin speaks of, the kind who you only use if you’re truly desperate – but she’s keen on Yato using her again, and another in the chorus calling for Yukine’s elimination.  Kofuku and Daikoku show up and offer Yato a gig eliminating one of the many phantoms that escaped from Kofuku’s vent, which he accepts – leaving them manning the register in one of the episode’s few comedic moments.  But Yukine – after wounding Yato yet again by stealing the donations box (that really is pretty detestable) “dulls himself”, and is unable to cut the phantom.  Rather than turn to Nora, Yato has another of his weekly heroic interludes and “re-forges” him in order to finish the job.

We’re certainly left with a fascinating tangle here, with Hiyori seemingly the only one preaching the humanitarian approach to Yato (no, I don’t think it’s as simple as that either).  As well, the anime-original character Rabou (Takahiro Sakurai) shows up whispering in Nora’s ear – completing the reunion of Shirokuma Cafe leads and causing gastric distress for thousands of manga readers.  And through it all, almost unnoticed, Hiroyi seems to be quietly drifting further and further towards the Far Shore.  Noragami has built it’s story brick-by-brick and done a better job of it than any other Winter series, but it has a formidable amount to deal with in the next six episodes.

Noragami - 07 -8 Noragami - 07 -10 Noragami - 07 -11
Noragami - 07 -12 Noragami - 07 -14 Noragami - 07 -15
Noragami - 07 -16 Noragami - 07 -18 Noragami - 07 -19
Noragami - 07 -20 Noragami - 07 -21 Noragami - 07 -22
Noragami - 07 -23 Noragami - 07 -24 Noragami - 07 -25
Noragami - 07 -26 Noragami - 07 -27 Noragami - 07 -28
Noragami - 07 -29 Noragami - 07 -30 Noragami - 07 -31
Noragami - 07 -32 Noragami - 07 -33 Noragami - 07 -34


  1. m

    I think Bishamon and Team couldn't see Hiyori because of what Kizuma said.. about him being able to grasp and influence things around him…or something like that…

  2. s

    yea kazuma made Hiyori's presence undetectable by the others through his ability. Imagine what would have happened had Veena realized Hiyori was linked to Yato

  3. s

    See..i really dont think bones is going to go for the anime original ending like other manga readers are assuming. As a matter of fact, i think the anime original character was created for the sole purpose of filling in the last couple episodes so that the anime wouldn't have to go for an original endingh and leave the door open for a second season. At least when i think about it , it makes sense to me. The manga so far has about 28/29 chapters released so far (about 16 which have been translated). The way the manga is progressing so far is moving in a way that if the anime tried to follow it faithfully in one-cour, there would be no real stopping point. Each chapter has had a "to be continued" type of progression that it would be impossible for the anime to coherently find a good stopping point, which is why i think the anime original character was created. The way i see it, BONES probably wants to have a season 2; so as to not move further in the manga, they are going to create an anime original arc to seal the deal right after the main arc which will probably only last 2 more eps (at the most 3).

  4. That seems highly plausible to me. I actually didn't realize there are only 29 chapters so far – even for a monthly, that's not lots. In glancing at the scans it looks like they're covering a bit less than 1.5 chapters per episode, so if they went along without any changes they'd cover about 18 or 19 chapters.

  5. s

    Exactly; which would leave them smack dab in the preliminary parts of an arc that they would not be able to cover in one-cour. I guess after Zetsuen no Tempest, BONES didnt want to take the risk of doing another two-cour series that would only sell moderately well or worse (correct me if im wrong but for a series of its pedigree, I dont remember Zetsuen being as financially successful as it probably should have) so they decided to do one cour of noragami and see how it would pan out.

  6. I would guess Zetsuen ended up being OK for BONES, not great. Disc sales were unspectacular but the manga did have a large spike, and as I recall the publisher was part of the production committee.

  7. t

    bear in mind that the chapters are a bit longer than average monthly manga. while average has about 35 pages (sometimes a bit more), each chapter in Noragami is almost always 45 pages (even more sometimes) per month. that's why it's almost like chapter=episode (sometimes different due to some changes in events BONES have made and other factors like how intense an episode can be and so)

    it's a bit sad, actually too much. because BONES are doing almost everything right, and every week this series is doing so great, there is material to work it for 1 or 2 cour season. BONES really love this show and putting their special mark upon it. even though there were some changes up till now, it's still going so well. it fits like glove. and we see how it works week by week as this show is so stable and always keep moving.

    yet somehow it seems like they intend to take different path. it's hard to say what they are really planning and how much it's going to be different or not.
    so far I didn't care much for changes here or there because they still deliver the goods and the essence. and I hope they will still do so, they are willing to go for second season later on (next year I guess) so they want and must for this season to work and it is. I started to read Noragami only because of BONES adaptation.
    but I hope they won't mess and screw up too much with the original material.

  8. b

    You're wrong, there's 39 chapters and next month we're getting chapter 40. The spin-off series has 8 chapters, this month we're getting the 9th one.

    Manga readers complaining about the original character are being unrealistic, like sonic said, the chapters tend to be longer than average and its pacing is a bit slow. The manga likes to slowly build up and carefully develop the characters which doesn't work well in a 1-cour anime.
    And judging by the preview, Yukine's arc will end in episode 9 and that would make 3 episodes remaining. It's impossible to adapt Bishamon arc in just 3 episodes for the reasons I mentioned above. Having an original character, designed by the mangaka to boot, is an ideal solution and if done correctly it can still leave room for a season 2.

    Last week the first 2 volumes of Noragami manga ranked in Oricon, both of them selling 12k. Today's the official release of volume 10 with the OAD although some stores already sold them during the weekend. Even if the anime won't sell spectacularly, I think it did the job of increasing the sales.

  9. s

    No your right, I was aware of that since there were ten volumes total with each containing 4 chapter; that was a typo on my part..whoops i just realized that.

  10. Z

    As TheDarkTower said, original material is fine so long as it is good and in keeping with the material before it.

  11. K

    There's something I don't get… Tenjin supposedly doesn't like Nora, but there was that regalia that was working for Yato and left him at the beginning of the 1st episode, and she's now working for Tenjin as one of his regalia, so wouldn't that make her a Nora?
    I also don't get how Yuki's sins could kill Yato when you can apparently release a regalia from your bond whenever you want, if it got to a point where he thought death was imminent, Yato should just be able to release Yuki.

  12. s

    No because when Tomone (now Mayu) quit working for Yato, she had him release her bindings and therefore her name so she could be free to be someone else's Shinki. At the end of the day, Yato had to agree cuz had he not, the feeling of distress Mayu would have felt working with Yato would have started to affect him negatively and he would be able to use her effectively.

  13. m

    my guess is that with that bond with yukine, he could at least monitor him (reading this thoughts). The way he is now, letting him go would probably end up with yukine turning into a phantom, and maybe yato feels some responsibility for him if he turns out that way. when worst comes to worst, and he has to exact divine punishment on him, he probably prefer himself to do it than someone else out there.

    regalia that are set free for too long probably get targeted by phantoms easily too, like the little girl we saw

  14. M

    Overall I'm rather enjoying Noragami. My only problem is it seems like the conflicts are all predicated on none of the main characters actually trying to solve their problems. Hiyori has seemingly stopped trying to fix her own situation and instead runs around worrying about Yato and Yukine. Yato is slowly dying due to Yukine, but doesn't bother to explain anything to him. Instead he simply jokes around and gets angry with him. Yeah, Yukine is being a little shithead, but still, maybe try to right the situation before you die? And Yukine simply sulks around not telling anyone how he really feels (actually this is the most believable action of the three in my mind considering he's a recently dead teen with some kind of hurtful past).

    Of course there wouldn't be much of a story without all this stuff, but I think it's taken to the extreme. They're all just reacting to what's happening in the moment all the time. The closest I've seen to any kind of agency in terms of resolving anything is Hiyori telling Yato to treat Yukine like a person and not a tool. Pretty obvious advice. I think that conversation could went further.

  15. n

    I would guess that Yato's solution to "a regalia who's been sulking around, causing his master neck pain" is that he simply gets rid of the said regalia. So that's his solution (it's tough, being a god). I think Yato made it clear last week that he would give Yukine his "divine punishment" if things got worse. Yukine is just a brat, and Hiyori sees Yukine as the brat that he is, while Yato, like a god, only expects the functionality of his tool. So that's where the communication failure stems from.

  16. m

    I didn't realize the English scanlations were so far behind. I was assuming the show would have to have either an anime original ending or an open-ended ending (or as I assumed a combo of both) that would include this anime original character. But if there are that many chapters already they could definitely fit it all in seeing as they probably could get 2-4 episodes more out of the remaining English translated material alone. I think the problem is that the manga is ongoing, and being a monthly release it would take awhile to get enough material for season 2 (not to mention the problem of a satisfying ending). Which (not to rehash obviously old topics) is always a problem with anime in general: the lack of true endings for shows. Sequel seasons reliance on the BRD/DVD sales of the first season has caused a lot of great shows to fall short of being spectacular. I get why it's set up the way it is, but I can't help being disappointed when I have to wait years in between seasons, or never get a true ending at all.

  17. f

    I already knew what was happening because I had already read the manga, that's why i held off on watching these past two episodes. I knew I wasn't going to be happy after watching them. Yukine stealing from disaster relief fund, why? Of all things to steal, this seemed like an asspull to make yukine look as despicable as possible. And the reasoning that he wanted to switch masters because yato had nora? something about tenjin having a harem of shinkis…………

    Hiyori suddenly pleading for humanitarianism suddenly strikes me as odd. To literally force Yato out and adopt yukine as a housecat to spoil him rotten, and even go so far as to cover up for yukine stealing a skateboard, how would the light handed approach work? yukine was certainly not starved for love and attention when he was living with hiyori, and ultimately allowed the problem to fester into what it is now. Ironic isn't it? by babying yukine and shielding him from yato (because of the rumors she heard of him killing shinki), now she's created a situation where yato really might have to kill yukine.

    Pleading for humanitarianism might be her way of saving yukine, but what about yato? Again, going out of her way to 'save' the situation and making it worse. It's been the same MO for these past 2 episodes, yukine does some terrible stuff, hiyori enables him (HE'S A GOOD KID!!!) and life goes on. except now we know that yato is dying, not that we didn't already know he was suffering because of it (but i guess back then we thought was yato ONLY suffering and not actually dying, then it's okay to leave yukine to his devices)

  18. R

    What makes the theft of the donation box worse, is that Yukine doesn't really have a reason to do it in the first place.
    I mean, he is invisible to normal humans anyway and capable of taking whatever he wants without them noticing. So, under these circumstances, what value would money still have for him?

  19. The same use it has for Yato, in that it's easier for him to steal money once and buy a bunch of things rather than have to steal every time he wants something. They're not truly invisible – just hard to notice unless they want to be noticed.

  20. R

    Considering what little was in the donation box, it still makes less sense when just walking into a shop and taking a thousand dollar from the register.

  21. J

    I'm guessing Yato has been around at least a few hundred years. Maybe he knows how things work.

  22. t

    great news for Noragami – it gets license!

    seriously, if it wasn't for Bones, I wouldn't be reading this manga. and it gets better in further chapters.

  23. I saw that – good news indeed.

Leave a Comment