Noragami Agagoto – 05

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Aragoto is pretty much everything you want a sequel to be.

Make no mistake, Norogami Aragoto is really good.  And it’s good in a myriad of ways – sure, it’s vastly entertaining and that’s ultimately the bottom line.  But it also does a wonderful job of expanding the Noragami mythology and reshaping the way we look at the characters, putting them under new stresses and forcing them to change and evolve.  A sequel should always, ideally, expand on what came before it – it should be more complex, more subtle, and more substantial because there’s been more time to explore the characters and premise.  But in practice it doesn’t usually work that way.

Watching the Bishamon arc unfold has been interesting for a number of reasons.  This is a tragedy, certainly, and I think it’s understandable to feel sad about it from every angle.  But one thing it makes clear is that the victims in all this are the Shinki – most especially Bishmon’s Shinki.  They’re the ones being used and manipulated in all this, and I don’t just (or even mostly) mean by the truly reprehensible Kugaha.

Part of the problem is the system here, no doubt.  Kazuma sums it up perfectly himself – the role of his fellow Regalia is to smile for their master, no matter what they’re feeling.  The relationship could be viewed as symbiotic if one were feeling especially charitable, but I think just as easily as mutually parasitic.  The Kami gives the Shinki life when it would normally be over – the Shinki gives the Kami power.  But each has the power to destroy the other – the difference being, of course, that the God can destroy the Regalia without destroying itself if it so chooses.

But more than the system, I think a lot of the problem here is Bishamon herself.  I could go on all day listing her character flaws – she’s most certainly a hypocrite for starters.  I would argue that the main reason she keeps gathering all these Shinki is ego – she loves the idea of being some kind of “great mother” to her “children”.  In the case of the -Ha clan a lot of it is obviously also guilt over what happened in the past (which was her own fault to begin with).  But when the chips are down she keeps using her “children” in her fight with Yato even though she knows she’s been corrupted and doing so is destroying them in agonizing fashion – her hatred of Yato is more important to her than her so-called motherly love.

As usual, it’s Kazuma who seems to be in the unique role here, because he knows more of the truth than anyone else but bears the responsibility of living the lie for so long.  He’s the one who asked Yato to kill the -Ma clan, then reveled in being the sole recipient of Veena’s love in the aftermath and withheld the truth from her (which, to be blunt, she could have figured out on her own if she weren’t so blinded by her ego).  Make no mistake, Kazuma at the very least allowed – and maybe even caused – the current tragic events to happen.  As vile as Kugaha is, at least he’s clear in his objectives – he wants power.  Everyone else involved on Team Bishamon is hip-deep in self-deception.

From Yato’s perspective, of course he’s being used too – just as he was the first time, with the -Ma clan.  Yato is a small man and a small God in many ways, but there’s something a lot more honest to him than Bishamon.  And against all odds something of a real bond has formed between he and Yukine, as witness Yukine’s transformation into a “Blessed Vessel” when he’s cut in half.  Remarkably, something not terrible seems to have happened to Yukine – and his transformation helps explain why Kazuma looks different than he did as a stripling nail in the distant past.  Will Yukine get a similar new look, I wonder?

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  1. s

    yea this ep pretty much answers what some people assumed was "forced drama" last week. No one told veena, mostly kazuma, because he felt utterly guilty at the time when his clan was wiped out. He knew if he told veena the truth, it would break her but at the same time, he couldnt help but revel in the fact that she needed him. Considering that he didnt seem to get along with his fellow Ma family members, if one wanted to view this morbidly, it's almost as if he wanted to get rid of them in order to have Veena to himself. Those two things were more than enough to keep him from telling her the truth. Yato didnt tell bishamon the truth because 1. she probably wouldnt believe him, but 2. he most likely was just being a bro to Kazuma; he was the guy who gave yato the job and out of client confidentiality, didnt spill the beans. Like Enzo stated, had Veena tried to see the truth, they wouldnt be in this situation. Even yato is aware of how Veena's insistence on running away from the truth, and as a result, he kind of pities her.

  2. m

    I don't think Kazuma had a hard time getting along with her other Ma clan members. It is just that, as is obvious with Suzuha, when a Shinki lives for so long without attachment to the world other than service to his master, it can get incredibly lonely. As such, most wanted more intimacy and attention from their master. Kazuma was selfish in that desire, but what I think he did more wrong was that he indulged in Bishamon's ways despite knowing how self-destructive her "motherly sentiments" are.

  3. R

    Yukine's transformation into twin blades and that whole "blessed vessel" deal was a bit asspullish (the manga probably had a better handling of it). But I can live with that little conceit, since I really like the way the episode played out.

    For a war god, Bishamon sure can be quite emotional. I really like that outpouring of emotions after Kazuma's reveal, with Hiyori describing her as now crying like a child.

    Though there still seems to be more to Bishamon's and Kazuma's relationship than just being maaster and regalia. They still haven't clarified why he calls her Veena and why she actually allows it. Seems to be a personal term of endearment between them. If Bisha actually just let that higher level of intimacy exist between her and her other regalias, her problems could have actually been avoided.

  4. F

    There was nothing "asspulish" about the transformation aside from maybe the timing (and even then how better to show devotion and love than self sacrifice?). It's been referred to constantly that Kazuma "transformed into a Blessed Shinki" since the first season. I don't understand why people are calling it an asspull.

  5. R

    I might have missed those hints in S1, that's why I was a bit surprised by Yukine's transformation. Though, like I already said, it didn't really do anything to hamper my liking of this episode.

  6. E

    Going from death to an upgrade is a pretty big tonal whiplash IMO(it was the same in the manga too btw).

  7. T

    Its very hard for me to feel sorry for Bishamon while I understand that she had the best of intentions of saving regalia from the dangers of the spirit world especially if they are souls who wanted to continue living, she ultimately created a "doll house" that created an tense atmosphere that made everyone hide their feelings from each other.

    It was time for her to face reality and confront her own hypocrisy and begin creating meaningful relationships with her regalia. Also while I admire kazuma loyalty I do worry how far his loyalty will make him lose himself in the process. Asking Yato to kill of the Ma clan was no small request, which brings me to wonder what else he is going to do that will make him lose his "humanity"

  8. R

    Umm off topic is Boku no hero academia Bones first jump animation?
    You expecting this series to have huge success?

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