Noragami – 09

Noragami - 09 -12 Noragami - 09 -22 Noragami - 09 -27

Considering the massive build-up it was carrying on its shoulders, I’d say this episode of Noragami held up pretty well.

This was definitely the most “big-time” episode of Noragami so far. The drama, the volume, the importance to the overall plot – everything was turned up to eleven.  That’s always a dangerous moment for any anime because there’s a lot more room on the downside of expectations than on the upside, but Noragami has lived up to pretty much every challenge so far so its success here should come as no surprise.  I have a lot of unanswered questions (it’s too early to call them problems) with the larger picture, but in terms of execution this was pretty unassailable.

Let’s jump right into that, why don’t we?  I’m actually pleased to see that there’s a vibrant debate going on in the discussion of this series on the question of just where our sympathies should lie in the way this entire arc has played out.  It seems clear that both Yato and Yukine are flawed individuals who nevertheless have many sympathetic qualities – clear to me anyway.  Even watching the rather ugly events of this episode play out, though, my reaction is pretty much the same as it’s been from the beginning – I still don’t see what makes Yukine all that terrible.

Setting up the resolution of this crisis in the terms of an ablution paints things in pretty stark terms – Yuki is on trial, convicted and sentenced.  Repent or die.  That it’s what must be done in the context of the series canon to save Yato I don’t dispute.  But as Yukine was reading off the litany of his own crimes – pretty theft, lust, lying et al – what I was hearing is, “Yup – that’s a teenager”.  There’s a reason the rest of the human species tends to regard adolescents with suspicion and often worse – they’re difficult.  They’re often annoying.  They’re self-centered and often dishonest.  Does that mean they should be killed to make life easier for the adults?

When Yukine got to his greatest crime of all – envy – it only made me more convinced I’m not connecting the dots the way Noragami is.  Why in the hell shouldn’t Yukine feel anger at his lot in life, when he’s denied so many things the average child his age is not?  Yeah, he’s annoying and surly and exercises poor judgment but I just don’t see why that makes him the villain in all this.  Frankly, it’s the system that sucks – dead people are used as weapons by Gods and expected to like it, and if they display very normal fallibilities and weaknesses they can bring their master to the verge of death.  It’s not that Yukine is such a terrible kid – if anything, the moral of the story is that 14 year-old boys should damn well never be shinki, because they’re pretty much all like this (or would be, in Yukine’s shoes).

Where all this really gets difficult – and interesting – for me is that I’m not sure what the series is asking me to think and feel here.  That’s been the case for a while, as I’ve noted already.  Are we supposed to believe that Yukine got exactly what was coming to him or are we to rage at the injustice of the system?  I’m honestly not sure – and because of that I’m not sure just what we’re supposed to think of Yato either.  Clearly, Yato is capable of compassion and empathy, and he deserves credit for not renouncing Yukine when that seemingly would have been the easiest way out.  But he’s no hero, that’s for sure – much of this stems back to his own abysmal communication with Yukine.  It seems very likely to me that a little honest communication could have avoided this entire disaster, but instead you had Yato seemingly too proud to lower himself to Yukine’s level and Hiyori acting like a kind and well-intentioned but too permissive Mom.

What we have here, it seems, is a very typical dysfunctional family, right down to the adolescent son being the scapegoat for all their problems – with the one caveat that the cost of that dysfunction is the father dying in agony unless the son is killed or set straight.  Like I said, I blame the system more than the participants – but whether I’m supposed to, I’ve no idea.  All’s well, seemingly, that ends well – with the help of Mayu and Kazuma Daikoku manages to stage the ablution (you may as well call it an intervention) that’s needed, and Hiyori’s sincere appeals to his heart are enough to call Yukine back before he completes his journey to the other side.  It was a good moment for Hiyori, and I’m glad Yato recognizes it – she had enough courage and good judgment to save the day when he was incapable of doing it himself.

With that, it seems that the Yukine crisis storyline is over for now and the series is going to turn to an original mini-arc for the final three episodes.  It could very well be that their doing so is a good sign that they have plans to deliver a second season – I certainly hope so, because Noragami has consistently been a very good show indeed.  Whatever issues I have with the series’ perspective are in good measure overshadowed by its execution – it’s technically superb, beautifully paced and nearly always engaging.  I, for one, would be thrilled to see another season – we’ll see if the production committee feels the same way once the disc sales are on the books.

Noragami - 09 -8 Noragami - 09 -9 Noragami - 09 -10
Noragami - 09 -11 Noragami - 09 -13 Noragami - 09 -14
Noragami - 09 -15 Noragami - 09 -16 Noragami - 09 -17
Noragami - 09 -18 Noragami - 09 -19 Noragami - 09 -20
Noragami - 09 -21 Noragami - 09 -23 Noragami - 09 -24
Noragami - 09 -25 Noragami - 09 -26 Noragami - 09 -28
Noragami - 09 -29 Noragami - 09 -30 Noragami - 09 -31
Noragami - 09 -32 Noragami - 09 -33 Noragami - 09 -34
Noragami - 09 -35 Noragami - 09 -36 Noragami - 09 -37


  1. s

    Ive had the same..issues (for lack of better word) with the whole god/shinki relationship. I dont know if the story will later on expand on this but the way the shinki are expected to behave for their respective god is a bit unreasonable in my eyes. If i had one nitpick with this good ep of noragami, is what the anime left out in terms of Yato's persistence to not relinquish Yukine. i guess you can infer it from the events that have taken place but Yato's reason behind taking all that stinging (besides the fact that he thinks Yukine is special) got overlooked and i kinda wish they left that tiny bit of extra dialogue in because it does shed a lil bit of light on his character.

  2. m

    I agree that the system is fully unfair for the shinki, but I think that is sort of the point. I think its supposed to enforce the fact that it's the story of these characters coming together to support each other in an unfair world. The Shinki are those that died in some way that left them unable to pass on, and thus were granted a second life as a Shinki by whatever God chose them. Yeah it's unfair to force them to be perfect or kill the one who saved them, but it seems to be the authors metaphor of life in general. I think what he wants the audience to feel isn't blame the system or the individuals. but more of a a story of realistically flawed characters trying to make their way in an unjust world. Yukine trying to come to terms with how unfair life (and afterlife) has been to him, and the struggles he has with that. And Yato trying to be a famous God (seemingly more so to not die out from no one knowing him more than to have the easy life) and to help others while struggling with his past and the choices he has had to make. And how those two come together to support each other in this unfair world they both live in.

    Side note Enzo are you planning on blogging AnoHana the movie that recently was subbed?

  3. It was? I haven't found it yet but I certainly plan on blogging it.

  4. m here a link where u can watch it

  5. m

    I was just about to watch it myself since it snowed again in my area and I don't have to go to work today. No work and new AnoHana to watch is a pretty good Monday.

  6. m

    Haha sorry nvmd on that link It didn't have it listed as raw anymore but when you watch the vids it still isn't subbed yet.

  7. t

    the blu-ray and DVD will be released in two days (March 5th)
    but apparently raws are available already…still not subbed. probably soon (THO captain harlock still not subbed so who knows lol). but it (anohana movie) gonna be mostly recap as chuunibyou movie was…that's a bit unfortunate IMHO….=

    speaking of movies…Enzo, have you seen the movie Hal (by studio WIT) that was released a few months ago?it's good and not too long. recommended (:

  8. It's on the list…

    Love those snow days.

  9. s

    at the end of the day, that's the conclusion that i came to as well, but it still just bothers me that it's a system that the Gods and Shinki just seem to go with..the trade off is too…i dont know, it just intrigues me that no one has really questioned it…but i guess that's a plot element that will be addressed in the future

  10. m

    Yeah it's an absurd world the creator made, but I think it falls into that same category as the science behind mecha. If you question why its there it makes no sense, it's there bc having it sets up the story. They could've found a better way to make a metaphor for life being cruel and unfair, but maybe that's all the Mangaka could think up. Shinki accept the trade off bc otherwise they'd be eaten or become those evil spirits or whatever. And Gods do it for power/pity towards the dead/or necessity depending on the individual God.

  11. e

    yeah the anime cut yato's explanation on why he takes all the stinging.
    and yes it will further elaborate the shiki and god relationship with bishamon arc but i dont think we will be seeing it this season.

  12. t

    superb episode for Noragami.
    great execution throughout the episode. so intense, strong, deep, even a bit dark (but not much). loved it!

    "It seems very likely to me that a little honest communication could have avoided this entire disaster"
    as I said last time, yes, better communication was necessary for them. but that wouldn't have prevented this disaster even if they tried to talk reasonably with each other…it just wouldn't have worked. Yukine is a teenager so no matter how much you are going to put him into series talk..he won't listen. and Yato is Yato.
    as I mentioned last time, bringing both of them to edge is what actually brought them closer to understand. it something that..only in certain circumstances will happen and not under an attempt for series talk/communication..

    " I still don't see what makes Yukine all that terrible"
    since when was it the case?because he sinned? because he was punished?
    yeah, Yukine committed crimes he should be punished for them. we already knew that. but the series and the characters (mostly Hiyori and Yato) doesn't present him as terrible, even when committing those crimes. he was desperate, helpless, confused and..he was simply blind and stubborn as teenagers are.
    it went too far, like a snowball, because..let's not get much into it but because of the circumstances. he isn't totally at fault here, but a crime is a crime.

    "Why in the hell shouldn't Yukine feel anger at his lot in life, when he's denied so many things the average child his age is not?"
    we don't know what he knows or remember for his previous life (how he lost his life or when and such questions..we don't know) but he does feel anger due to it. that's the main cause for his rage. when they "isolated" him in that force field, he was saying that they(the kids at school and all) have everything, they have life..while he left with..emptiness and the dark every night. it's clearly that this is the straw that broke the camel's back here…

    " if anything, the moral of the story is that 14 year-old boys should damn well never be shinki
    now I don't think this exactly the case. because..well, Noragami wants to demonstrate, again, the complexity among teenagers and the complexity of this god-shinki relationship. as Yato said a few eps ago, the gods can steal and do whatever they want, unlike Shinki. but gods are simply..naked without shinki (that can "stab" them via emotions and thoughts). so there is complexity here that combined with adolescence in Yukine's case. and after all this..dissonance, they have finally found some balance because they were pushed to the edge and able to communicate, and of course thanks to Hiyori which is some sort of a balancer with those two, that are now see each other eyes as this isn't the connection of just master and subordinate..more like a connection of friends (or father and son) and although tough (especially with teenagers), it can handled.

    anyway, as expected from Bones, they really put out their best of this episode.
    next episodes will probably be some sort of fillers as the epilogue (after the ED sequence) wasn't from the manga (as far as I recall), still, I hope they will finish it in the right tone.

  13. t

    I just noticed…this doesn't look so well…sorry for quoting you back and forth.
    nothing personal and I don't have any bad intention by that. totally respects your opinions and feelings you got from the episode and/or the series.

  14. C

    No peaceful life for a shinki/ghost… or freedom to act out without deadly consequences apparently.

    It sucks that Yuki was forced to repent like that over his petty crimes but I see it as the natural way he would have progressed anyway (with a little helping love from Hiyori and Yato). At some point you feel the consequences of your actions and grow up which was already happening. In his case the whole thing sort of just happened all at once. Ironically the fact that Yato LET him act out all this time, poor communication or otherwise led to this crisis point. I wonder what would have happened if Yuki asked to be unnamed and set free…

    It would have been nice to know a little more about Yato's true beliefs and motives but maybe that would take away from the mysterious god bit. I suppose i'll see when I get to the manga.

    Also i'm amused by the fact that it's the human Hiyori and the once human Shinki who save the day through their compassion and logic as well as being the ones to pass judgement on Yuki. I kinda thought of it as a reverse deus ex. Ahh it's nice to have an anime to discuss~

  15. R

    wow, that was pleasantly horrifying. yukine's near transformation was totally scary (what with all those eyeballs popping out of him). on the other hand, i actually found that bit of hiyori fanservice good 🙂

    yep, this is obviously gunning for a season 2, what with them leaving a lot of things open. would definitely want to see yato's views on the whole kami/shinki system. from what i get, he himself is very much against it.

  16. A

    While I did like the sense of urgency and the body horror, I was honestly very disappointed with the outcome of this arc. I don't like moral lessons. I thought Noragami was actually really good at this, with stuff like "when did making friends become a competition" or giving the other kid two box cutters instead of one. That stuff makes me think. However, the moment they started explaining the details of the cleansing ritual, I couldn't help but cringe.

    Putting aside how easily this could've been avoided by just talking with Yukine about the consequences before the death race began, or even not being an ass to him for absolutely no reason, I just can't ignore the fact that this was all reduced to a guilt trip over petty theft and being in puberty. You don't need a blood ritual for that! You just need a good talking-to! At least make it a childhood trauma or something not so easily approachable!

    I don't blame Yukine for being a teenager, I'm blaming the show for going such lengths to make an arc over it. Then again, I'm not sure what else I would rather they made an arc about.

  17. w

    "I'm not sure what the series is asking me to think and feel here."

    Isn't that kind of the point? Maybe I'm completely misunderstanding the whole situation, but it seems to me the whole Yukine/Yato blight issue is intentionally in a very gray area. I feel we've been shown enough that we can draw any conclusion about who or what's at fault here. Yato, Yuki and the whole Shinki system have all had a hand in bringing the situation to this point. And as such I think it's telling us everyone is to blame, but it's not really anyone's fault.

    I also don't think it's making Yukine out to be a villain or even wrong here. Given how the situation played out, I think everyone in the story treated him exactly as they would have. Take even last week's episode; Hiyori was clearly angry with Yukine when she met him in the school, but given the circumstances, she would be. Yato was succumbing to the blight, and Yuki *had* caused it to happen by stinging him. She was scared and panicked, and it seems natural she would give out to him there.

    As for everyone else and the absolving of sins thing, it didn't seem to me they were angry at Yuki personally. They were all focused on saving Yato, and that was the ritual they needed to do it. Yuki had sinned, and they needed him to repent for them if they were to bring Yato back. Sure Kazuma wanted to just kill Yuki and call it a night, but he also knew the least of how horribly those two had communicated with each other. He probably assumed Yuki had been treated more or less the same as he was as a Shinki, and concluded Yuki was a truly lost cause.

  18. Angry is subjective. But it certainly seemed to me that apart from Hiyori and Yato everyone considered Yuki's life utterly trivia, and that he was completely at fault.

  19. w

    And I can certainly see where you're coming from, it's definitely a fair view to have. I don't fully agree with it, but I suppose opinions have always been funny that way.

  20. M

    Completely agree whemleh. Why should we all be asked to think and feel a certain thing? There's an uncanny likeness within this scenario that mirrors real life. Why do some value an idea above all else, while others rigorously demonize it? It all becomes a matter of perspective down to where each of these characters have walked their lives, and the different struggles that may have entailed. I think that's a healthy perspective for a show of this nature to have.

    As for Yatty, he must see something of himself in Yukine that makes him unwilling to abandon the latter, a bond Hiyori also sees and treasures that others naturally don't. From my point of view, I sensed that deep down the other regalia knew how unjustly this situation had become for Yuki, but from ugly past experiences rationally thought that good will would end in lose-lose for all concerned. By a hair they were wrong this time.

    That's why a doubtless Hiyori, irrespective of what or who to blame (and certainly the most our of her depth here), was such a goddamn hero. <3

  21. w

    Exactly. You've worded it much better than I could.. I feel everyone behaved as you would expect them to, given how much they knew of the situation up to this point. Pragmatism over sentimentality.

    And yes, Hiyori was awesome here. Glad Yato's taken notice of it as well.

  22. N

    Not sure if someone else already asked this, but have you watched the OVA episode?

  23. Yes they did, and no – I was waiting until after this arc.

  24. M

    This show has come a long way from its pedestrian roots. The last seven or so episodes rank very highly for Bones, afaic. Props to the mangaka for writing such great leads, and the creative team for running with it.

    Season 2. My arms are wide open.

  25. Wow, major manga spoilage there. Cannot unsee.

    Here's the sanitized version, since you obviously put some time and effort into the post I didn't just want to delete it.

    the anime actually changes the story a little bit to make yuki more sympathetic. In the manga he's an unrepentant brat who steals money from hiyori's purse, abuses her charety, uses her to lie for him, so on and so forth. she basically shields him in the manga because she's afraid that yato will kill him if he finds out the truth. In short she's letting him get away with murder not understanding yato knows the truth of the situation anyway.

    -> yato lets it go because

    -> because of the world, Yuki's crimes are 100% self inflicted. What do i mean? According to yato there is no cosmic laws. And gods don't suffer blight for "doing illegal things". Blight happens to gods when a Shinki does something IT THINKS is wrong. In short all the bad things yuki did, if he didn't think they were wrong, wouldn't have harmed yato one bit. THIS is the crux of the problem. Yuki knows he's doing bad things. Thats why yato is hurt by his actions. Because yuki has a concience, and is ignoring it. This is why Tenjin and the other gods are so judgmental. to them it's simple. Yuki knows he's doing wrong, and knows by doing wrong he harms yato, so yuki is at fault.

    -> The heart of Yuki's problem was he couldn't accept he was dead, and this was his existence. Part of why Yato didn't call him to task is because doing so wouldn't change this basic problem in yuki's thinking. Until yuki got over the fact he wasn't alive he'd keep acting out. so this had to be addressed first before he could be properly punished and repented for his crimes.

    -> The system might suck but remember the nature of Shinki. They were people who wanted to live so badly that they couldn't cross over to the far shore. If a god didn't come along and make them into a regalia, they would simply be devoured by a phantom, and their soul would be cursed. Like what happened to that little girl. Yuki was SAVED from that fate when Yato gave him a name. This is why the gods universally think yuki is ungreatful. Yato gave yuki a chance at continued existence when his greatest desire was not to die. Doing so he prevented him from being cursed and devoured by a phantom. In the grand scheme of things he should be grateful to yato. Unfortunately he was so self centered and so self absorbed all he could see was he couldn't be alive like other people and so he let that rage lose on the world and the God who "saved" him.

    I think the general confusion in the story was caused by the anime choosing to make yuki seem more sympathetic then he was in the manga. The manga paints him pretty unfavorably, and these points stand out clearer. By the anime making him more sympathetic these points are made a little less obvious, and the issue is clouded a bit. Either way, this is a great show and very entertaining.

  26. k

    ^People who read the manga keep saying that Yukine is much worse and less sympathetic there, but if this arc plays out the same way in the manga as in the show then frankly, I don't see what difference that makes. In fact it just makes me more certain that the mangaka did in fact intend to put all the blame to Yukine and it never even occurred to her that Yato might be responsible, too… in other words, that she created an all-too-real conflict and solved it in a really cringe-worthy way.

    "Unfortunately he was so self centered and so self absorbed all he could see was he couldn't be alive like other people and so he let that rage lose on the world and the God who "saved" him."

    But why can't he be self-centered and raging about the injustice of it all? He's dead, ffs. ^^;; He's a troubled kid who died, ended up stuck with a sleazy, seemingly uncaring asshole who doesn't even bother trying to make him feel better and doesn't bother trying to explain him anything, has a weird girl randomly bullying him and telling him he's worthless, and the girl who is trying to help him ends up just making him feel even worse. He has every right to be upset and angry, and if he expresses this by doing crap that troubled teenagers do – well, isn't that completely natural?

  27. n

    Maybe a little late to comment on this ep, but after watching the episode I cannot help myself praising Kaji Yuki's performance. It was superb. I just wished he'd shown the same excellence in Shingeki.

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