This one has been sitting in my inbox for quite some time, and it’s not alone – the beginning of any season, especially Spring, is a tough time to fit in anything outside the broadcast schedule. But I’ve snipped some of the low-hanging fruit from the watching list and Wednesdays are a pretty slow day for anime in almost any season, so what better time than to reconnect with one of the best shows from Winter?
There are going to be two Noragami OADs, so there’s no chance this will be the last we see of the series in anime form. And with sales looking quite respectable (look for the final average to be somewhere between 5-6000 units) we’re in the grey area where the invested parties might just be willing to pony up the dough for a second season. It’s close – definitely no slam-dunk like Hoozuki, but this is a show that could benefit from it. It has a built-in storyline that would be a perfect fit, and BONES rigged an original ending for the first season rather than burn it, which suggests they were at least hoping it might happen. We’ll see.
In the meantime, we have a very fun OAD to content ourselves with. I believe this is manga material, but either way it definitely feels like it – the tone is 100% authentic to the first nine episodes of the TV series. It’s definitely comedy-driven, but then OADs and such generally tend to be given the limitations and expectations of the format these days. There’s not a whole lot of Kamiya Hiroshi here, but that’s not to say there’s not much Yato – he’s just inside Hiyori’s body, which gives Uchida Maya a chance to stretch her comedic muscles quite extensively.
Jitsu wa, it’s Hiyori’s first day of high school (confession: I thought she was already in high school in the TV series). Naturally, Yato chooses this moment to perform a “divine possession“, which is exactly what it sounds like. This is definitely the Yato we saw a lot of in the first few episodes – irresponsible, flamboyant and selfish – but comedically, it’s good to have him back. Pretty much the entire episode is Yato going on a spree in Hiyori’s body with Kofuku acting as his wingman, she taking time out to seduce most of the teaching staff. Some of the highlights are Yato-yori handing out his cards with a promise of “that” for ¥5 (you can guess what the boys assume “that” is), spinning tales of time spent as hostess clubs (indeed, Yato has clearly had an interesting life), promising to confess to the entire soccer club if they win, only to have Kofuku’s misfortune trip them up in hysterical terms (forcing Hiyato to rally them to a 810-5 victory) and a poor sap played by Natsuki Hanae drafted to carry him/her to the nurse.
This is one of those scenarios it’s plainly better not to think too much about, because Yato is really screwing over Hiyori’s high-school life pretty good here (though certainly making an impression). Poor Yukine has been assigned by Daifuku to keep an eye on things, but when he sees them spiralling out of control he has a chance meeting with Mayu, who enlists Tenjin to help. This seems like a good idea until it becomes clear that the old lecher is simply keen on dressing up in his best modern finery and having an outing, and when the young girls call him “dashing” he”s soon ignoring Hiyori and dispensing life-advice haiku (the gag about Tenjin “knowing what it’s like to leave loved ones behind” is clever indeed). All this finally gets resolved when a peeper played by Shimono Hiro plants a hidden camera in the girls showers (where Hiyato is about to peep on himself) while under the influence of a phantom, forcing Yato to save him from falling to his death and injuring Hiyori’s shoulder in the process.
One of the undeniable strengths of Noragami is its ability to switch back and forth between outrageous comedy and tragic seriousness without missing a beat, so this OAD being so successful is hardly a surprise. This is a seriously good show, one that does a lot of little things right and not all that much wrong, but does it in such a way that it’s easy to take it for granted. There’s obviously plenty of life left in this story and these characters, and plenty of enthusiasm from the creative minds at BONES to give the series the adaptation it deserves. Here’s hoping we see another full season of it on television.