Noragami – 10

Noragami - 10 -10 Noragami - 10 -16 Noragami - 10 -22

History tells us that the road Noragami started down this week is a dangerous one indeed, but so far it’s safe travels.

I don’t know whether that sound was the manga readers breathing a sigh of relief or just sighing, but for this anime-only viewer Noragami’s original ending started off pretty well.  BONES seemingly had no choice but to diverge from the manga if they wanted to tell the Yukine arc in full and leave their options open for a second season, so I’m not complaining on principle – I wish more studios were willing to take this route.  But there’s no denying the the roadside is littered with the bloated, stinking corpses of anime that crashed and burned while doing so.

So far, at least, I’m happy.  This won’t rank as one of the best episodes of the series for me, but it was quite in-line with the quality we’ve grown accustomed to.  In fact it had a nice balance of drama, action and comedy that was rather welcome given how serious and dark (by necessity) things had gotten with the Yukine arc.  Noragami can be very funny indeed when it tries to be (the guy wearing the “I’m Bald” cap at Yushima Tenjin on New Year’s Eve alone was enough to win me over with this episode) but we haven’t seen much of that side of the series lately.

Yukine’s troubles are still impacting the story, but it seems for now he’s genuinely committed to being a good boy.  He’s taken a part-time job at Daikoku and Kofuku’s Inokashira Koen snack shop in order to pay back the money he stole, and there’s a very funny moment where Yato and Hiyori get all proud-parents weepy over his situation.  He’s even committed himself to studying, though he can’t do so at school of course.  Speaking of money, there’s the matter of Kofuku’s fee for saving Yatty – a mere ¥1,000,000 (factoring in 90% student discount) – she’ll need a few arubaito to work that off (I still don’t understand why Yato only charges ¥5 when other Kami are making a mint).

The repercussions of Yukine’s corruption are felt at Team Tenjin, where one of the Shinki (Miya) was corrupted merely by thinking about what was happening with Yukine and stung her master.  Tenjin follows the “one strike and you’re out” standard, so he cuts her loose, which quite naturally makes Yuki feel bad – and Tsuyu warns him not to, because his feeling bad is a threat to Yato.  Damn, this Shinki business is a bitch.  Yato makes an offhand remark to Tenjin about how he intentionally let things get so bad in order to teach Yukine a lesson.  I’m not certain whether we’re supposed to take that at face value, but even if we are it seems an incredibly abrupt and inadequate way to address the whole issue of the rotten communication that led to the escalation of the crisis.  Yato also confided to Tenjin that he has no clue how to solve Hiyori’s problem, but he’s finally feeling guilty enough about avoiding it to at least try.  Tenjin suggests cutting his connection to her – I suspect we’re going to hear a lot more about just what that means, and very soon.

At this point the focus shifts to what I assume will be the driver of the finale arc – Rabo teaming up with Nora (who addresses her as “Reiki” – I believe the first time we’ve heard that name, though we know she has many) in order to…  Well, I’m not 100% sure yet.  Nora certainly has it in for both Yukine and Hiyori, and seems to want Yato back to what she sees as his old self.  Rabo is keen to kill Hiyori immediately but Nora stays his hand, telling him that Hiyori is still useful.  On New Year’s Eve Hiyori (dressed in full Kimono – for Yato’s benefit?) and her friends visit Yushima Tenjin (students traditionally pray for academic success at Tenjin Shrines, though Hiyori’s friend is far more interested in popularity), and Nora seemingly poses as Yato in order to lure Hiyori off by herself in phantom form.  The result?  By the time Yato and Yukine finish the job Nora has staged to occupy them, Hiyori seems to have forgotten who either of them are.

There are some interesting clues scattered throughout the episode as to where Noragami might go with this arc, not least is Nora telling Hiyori that she should “stop existing”.  Tenjin also notes that severing connections with Shinki is Yato’s “specialty”, which seems another oblique reference to the Shinki-killing incident is his past.  Rabo is officially referred to as a “Calamity God” several times here, so it’s safe to assume he and Yato have a shared past that will play a role in the final three episodes.  It’s easy for me to go into this with no preconceptions, but I hope everyone keeps an open mind and gives Tamura and Akao a chance here – they’ve earned a lot of credibility with ten excellent episodes and I fully expect them to finish off the season with an arc that’s on the same level.

Noragami - 10 -7 Noragami - 10 -8 Noragami - 10 -9
Noragami - 10 -11 Noragami - 10 -12 Noragami - 10 -13
Noragami - 10 -14 Noragami - 10 -15 Noragami - 10 -17
Noragami - 10 -18 Noragami - 10 -19 Noragami - 10 -20
Noragami - 10 -21 Noragami - 10 -23 Noragami - 10 -24
Noragami - 10 -25 Noragami - 10 -26 Noragami - 10 -27
Noragami - 10 -28 Noragami - 10 -29 Noragami - 10 -30
Noragami - 10 -31 Noragami - 10 -32 Noragami - 10 -33


  1. e

    I agree that the anime original ending started well. The start of the arc still follows the manga, it really feels like they just add Rabo as a final boss for this season and not a final boss of the series.
    well as long as bishamon won't have a major appearance in this arc a second season is still possible.

  2. j

    The comedy always seems to work for me in this show.

    Everything else is always kinda okay, but not really good enough to stand out much. The action scenes are always basically the same, with the usual spiel from yato (personally sick of it, but I know why they put it there). The light vs dark thing…well metaphorically it works (True Detective viewers anyone?) but when you try to give it a shape it becomes too structured for me. The whole phantom thing is strange. Why are these emotions (manifested into physical forms) always negative ones? Not all ghosts are vengeful ghosts, no?

  3. m

    It's very subtle in the anime (just a bandaged wrist), but the manga emphasizes it a bit more that Tenjin's Shiki, Miya, actually cut her wrist over the despair she was feeling.

    Unless that bandage was just to cover up a tiny eyeball or something.

    I was also thinking about the comedy in this show and why it works so well. Other animes should take a lesson from how Noragami smoothly balances gag-comedy and drama, without overplaying either one.

  4. Z

    Norigami > Space Dandy

  5. t

    basically I think I agree with that. I love and enjoy Noragami a lot more than space dandy. but I still find myself laughing and enjoying too. it's worth to mention that those two are kinda different in their essence…

    so….what about Space Dandy VS Hozuki? 😛

  6. j

    Your enjoyment is subjective, and I can respect that, but norAgami is incomparable to Space Dandy. SD to me feels a lot more "free" from the restraints of the anime industry. Noragami is enjoyable to an extent, but in less than a year, to me it'll be just another semi-good anime but nothing I would even think of re-watching years down the line. On it's own it's good, but it has that "I feel like I've watched something very similar" feeling I can't shake off.

  7. M

    "so….what about Space Dandy VS Hozuki? :P"

    Hozuki brings more of its own ideas to the table, whereas SD is mostly just an amalgamation of external influences. The latter falls flat in the narrative and character department (Noragami definitely owns there too). And HnR is on another level with references.

    All in all I'd say SP sucks at the basics, but redeems itself somewhat with flashiness and a peculiar vision.

  8. t

    as I said, Noragami and SD are different by essence, thus comparing is quite..not fit. but I disagree with your statement that noragami will be semi-good anime…at least IMO, noragami will probably on top in the end of the year(and I wouldn't be surprised if this will make it to me top 10, but yeah, too early to know right now). regardless, noragami even in about a year ahead, I will think of noragami as a great anime. and I hope for S2 (though depend on sells I guess). not to mention the manga got license and will be released…so I don't think noragami will decay so easily. at least I hope so..but for me it's a given (:

    I found SD and HnR similar – both comedy with same episodic structure (more or less) and consist on references. still so different I can't explain. maybe it's references level and the kinda specific audience for each series. naturally, I am having troubles to..get into Hozuki and feel it as others do (while I guess others, mostly in japan or so, have similar troubles with dandy) but I still don't think about it that badly or something. just because I don't see through the references and understand the comedy, doesn't necessarily means it's bad. I manage to have some moments with that show, but less than probably needed to really enjoy this show.
    as for dandy…I can't say it sucks. the whole point here is kinda being flashy and peculiar with Japanese touch. it manages to enjoy me on the whole. but for sure, it's far from saving anime 😛

    if any series saved anime it'd be HxH and space brothers, which sadly, both will end this year. it's always sad to lose such long on-going anime.

  9. j

    HXH and space brothers (to a lesser extent than HxH) are both examples of taking a well established types of animes (shounen and slice of life/drama) and putting them into overdrive, putting themselves above the competition.

    The allure of space dandy isn't really the fact that it's "saving" anime or being better than anything else. It just has an air of artistic freedom that most anime doesn't have. I think Maxulous said it quite well when it comes to the fact that there is quite a bit of external influences, although I think his judgment of the show based on it's narrative and character development is misguided since the narrative structure of the show is more like a Saturday morning cartoon. I quite like the fact that some things are left unsaid (at the moment) about the crew's background and we only get to see interactions in the now. Through those interactions we can form our own images of the characters. Flashbacks and background info is nice, but we shouldn't always have to rely on them for good character development. Anyways, I'm rambling at this point heh

  10. M

    Oh no, I don't think development need enter into it. You don't necessarily need background info to make a character interesting or better, memorable. Ep05 shed no light on Dandy's background but what it offered instead was a different side to him. Seeing the guy in a paternal light is so at odds with our usual impression of him that the it stuck. Inversely, the character driven background/development in ep10 was pretty run-of-the-mill stuff no matter how emotionally involving (don't expect much from Meow). The issue I find is that Space Dandy's characters just simply aren't engaging. QT is sometimes neat, but that's not saying much in a sea of mediocrity. So far, the less said about the females in the show, the better.

    I picked up on the narrative throwback to Saturday morning cartoons, but I always struggled to engage with that sort of entertainment as a kid, especially hated those "oh noes he has amnesia" episodes. That approach is sure to work a charm with western fans (especially CNers) and perhaps in essence the show reverberates nostalgic endearment. But when you scratch the surface, the written components of the show seem far from outstanding. Cowboy Bebop's main story was never that either. It hit more strides with its episodic content – which makes SD's misses even more baffling. Fancy animation and references seems to be all that the SD cares to indulge in, so again, it must be a lack of character.

    In hindsight, I wish Watanabe had ditched the drama for Sakamichi no Apollon since that show was more fun and unique when it focused on the friends jamming and collaborating together. Very era authentic vibes.

  11. Z

    "so….what about Space Dandy VS Hozuki? :P"

    Hozuki > Space Dandy

    Although I was originally gauging BONES output for this season. Noragami has well exceeded the low expectation I had for it while Space Dandy has barely met the low expectation I had for it.

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