One thing strikes me about this season of Noragami, and that’s the fact that Yato has been a supporting player for most of it. It’s not as though his name is in the title, but he is the man character and if you break down the Bishamon and Ebisu arcs, it’s striking how rarely Yato has been the real driver of the action. That’s probably even more true of Hiyori, of course, but over the course of the series that’s been the case more often than it has with Yato.
Indeed, if anything can be said about this arc it’s that the action has been spread pretty evenly among a large group of characters. Right now Yato is effectively a damsel-in-distress, and the drama comes from wondering who it’s going to be that rescues him. Yukine is certainly game, but no matter how much he’s manned up this season he’s still a boy, and he’s genuinely hurt that Yato appears to have thrown him over for Hiiro (indeed, his conversation with Hiyori on the subject could easily be taken out of context). But it’s telling that as much reason as Yukine has to feel wounded, he doesn’t waver in his resolve to get stronger for Yato’s sake – whether Yato deserves it or not.
Into this drama steps Kugaha, turning up like a bad penny. Kugaha is like a living representation of Bishamon’s boundless bad judgment, but just what exactly his role in the current crisis is we still don’t know (Ebisu, certainly, would never knowingly team up with him). Kugaha of course is no longer Kugaha – he’s a Nora now, and that gives him a special advantage in his confrontation with Yukine. Indeed he states that Noras are “all-powerful”, with the advantage of not having their names used against them – but as usual, Kugaha overestimates his own power here.
It certainly does seem as if Kugaha is intentionally trying to disrupt Yato’s rescue from wherever it might come, and he may be involved in the closing of vents (even the one Daikoku opens to allow Bishamon to launch a rescue mission to the Underworld). Yes, that may very well be the headline here – Bishamon is indeed trying to rescue Yato from hell, at least after Yukine explains the situation and begs her to do it. For Yukine to go itself, it seems, he would have to become a Nora – and Hiyori going to the Underworld would be a very bad idea for very obvious reasons.
Certainly it’s significant that Bishamon admits that she knew the truth all along, that it wasn’t Yato who was responsible for the tragedy that befell her “family”. But that admission certainly doesn’t negate her abominable behavior towards Yato (I would say relentlessly trying to kill him over sveral centuries qualifies as abominable) – if anything, it makes that behavior even more reprehensible. But at least Bishamon establishes that she’s not completely disconnected from reality, and that she understands the sheer gravity of the debt she owes to Yato.
For now Yato remains under Izanami’s thumb, though Bishamon is doing her best to try and save him. It’s a family affair, this arc – Ebisu appears to be Izanami’s son, and there’s the matter of Yato’s “old man” whose identity we still don’t know. And there’s a sense that the bond between he and Hiiro goes deeper than simply God and Regalia – for all her bad behavior over the ages she’s apparently never tainted him, which speaks to her loyalty (and seems to beggar a bit of explanation).