First Impressions – Noragami Aragoto

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The return of Noragami feels like getting together with an old friend.

OP: “Kyouran Hey Kids!! (狂乱Hey Kids!!)” by THE ORAL CIGARETTES

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Any anime weekend that gives you premieres by both Madhouse and BONES (there are actually two of those) has a chance to be a pretty good one, and this one certainly lives up to the billing.  There are some pretty clear gaps between One Punch Man and Noragami Aragoto though, starting with budget – OPM is Madhouse at its most opulent, but it’s clear from the featureless background characters and limited detail that Noragami Aragoto is operating on a limited budget by Bones’ high standards.

Noragami is a classic “tweener” show in many ways.  I suspect it was right on the edge as far as making money (just on the right side of the divide, I’d guess) though it’s clear from the way the first season was adapted that a sequel was always in BONES’ thinking.  And while I always liked it a lot, it rarely broke through into the truly elite range – a very typical show for the #11-20 list I compile at the end of every year.  Those are shows I like an awful lot, even in a down year, but not near-masterpieces except in an unusually strong one.

One of the unusual things about Noragami is that it was a show where all three leads were seiyuu I often have problems with, and Aragoto ups the ante by promoting two more actors I sometimes struggle with into lead roles as well.  I like all of them in this series, and that’s a tribute to the writing and Tamura Koutarou’s direction, as well as to the fact that these are simply roles well-suited to the seiyuu in question.  It’s also a testament to how the ancillary aspects of Noragami work really well – the supporting cast, the cinematography, and especially Iwasaki Taku’s stellar soundtrack.

It was a given that the second season would be built around the Bishamon arc, Noragami having steered clear of it in the first.  We’ll see how that works – manga readers seem to like it a lot – but for one week at least, Noragami thankfully doesn’t seem to have changed a whole lot.  The vibe between the main trio is just as we remember it, and they do battle with a creepy phantom summoned by a lonely baby looking for companionship in a mirror.  There is of course an increased focus on Bishamon and her “family“, and the grudge she holds against Yato that seems likely to drive the recurring plot this season.

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ED: “Nirvana (ニルバナ)” by Tia

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3 comments

  1. s

    It's actually the arc after this one that im more interested in. It was the arc that made me truly appreciate how enjoyable noragami really is and from the OP (which is kick ass by the way) it looks like we may be getting it. I do like the attention to detail in the opening when Yato is fighting against the guy in the black coat. There's something different in comparison to when he's fighting bishamon but i wont say as it may be considered a spoiler but a sharp eye should be able to pick up on it. All in all, production values seem to be just about the same as the first season with a slight bump in the lighting department and kinetics of the action scenes (mostly referring to some of the clips from the PV). Solid start all things considered. The best praise i can give this ep is that it played out almost as if noragami was never on break. it also seemed to pick up right after the end of ep 9 of season 1 rather than the beginning of ep 10 which was sort of splice of manga material and anime original stuff (more on when we see more eps) so for the most part, season 2 seems to be ignoring the last 3 eps of season 1

  2. e

    I didn't read the manga, but Yato killed those Shinki for her own good, didn't he?
    In this episode, we saw her taking in an unclean spirit in a form of broken mirror, which hurted herself.

  3. m

    Not much change from season 1, though I did not find the comedy as funny this time round; instead, the creepiness and foreboding vibe from this episode was on the high side, which works for me.
    Looking at the events transpiring in Bishamon's mansion, I'm wondering if incomplete souls are more susceptible to corruption than others…

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