Noragami Aragoto – 12

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The moral of this episode?  Kanji will always trip you up.  They’re damn hard.

I’m traveling at the moment so most of the posts are going to be brief ones by necessity this weekend, so apologies in advance for that.  I’m glad the Noragami finale will come next week when I have more time, and that we got an episode that spoke for itself pretty forcefully.  This was a pure action blockbuster for the most part and a good one, but there are some intriguing puzzles slipped into the midst of the melee.

The issue of names has been a big one in Noragami all along.  Almost all of the characters have more than one name, each with its own connotations and personal history.  Many of them  commonly go by a name that isn’t their true one.  And as we’ve seen in increasing focus lately, the knowledge of one’s true name is an extremely powerful thing – either in the hands of an enemy, or a friend.

With the Gods calling in their full wrath against Ebisu and both Yato and Bishamon helpless in Izanami’s clutches, if Hiyori hadn’t managed to pull off the soul call (which is a bit of a narrative cheat, but a forgivable one) things were pretty much going to be hopeless.  Getting Bishamon back proves easy enough – and just in time too, as the Gods are pulling out their big guns (including something called a pacification ring, which looks like the Shinto equivalent of the nuclear option) against Ebisu and Hiyori, Yukine and Kofuku aren’t able to do a whole lot.  But for some reason (which turns out to be the odd reason) Yato isn’t being a good dog.

I’m not sure of the full significance of the Yato/Yaboku thing – at least in the poetic sense, as the practical import is obvious enough.  Clearly they’re two different readings of the same Kanji (the second character in Yato’s name has always been represented by the Hiragana “く” as far as I know). “夜” always seems to mean “night” or “darkness” in some permutation, but “Yaboku” is a name Yatty is ashamed of and “Yato” is not.  As far as I know there’s no historical Shinto deity he’s based on so I’m not really sure why, and it’s not clear how Hiyori was able to figure it out in the nick of time (maybe she’s just really good at Kanji…

There’s one other interesting mystery at play here – just what the hell (pun intended) happened to Hiiro?  I find it rather striking that we hear Izanami say “I’m all alone again”, because it clearly implies that Nora left the Underworld when Hiyori summoned Yato back.  But where did she go?  She seems to be no more with the others at the vent than she is with Izanami in the Underworld.  Nora is at the center of much that goes on in this series (including the title itself) and it seems very likely she’s going to be a crucial component of the finale…

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4 comments

  1. R

    The 卜 in 夜卜 is pronounced "boku", and it looks very similar to the katakana ト, which is pronounced "to." That's probably how Hiyori figured it out in time.

  2. s

    the main reason why hiyori figured it out in time is because of the research she had down previously. She became aware that god's can have different names to which they are referred to. Notice that hiyori called bishamon, bishamonten as to fully be sure that bishamon would be summoned by the soul call. Hiyori figured that Yato's real name had to be on the shrine because 1. he was extremely happy when he received the shrine and 2. his real….well i guess i wont mention it because it may be considered a spoiler. Pretty much Hiyori took a shot in the dark assuming that reading his name an alternate way would bring him back. I think most people forget that Hiyori is actually supposed to be a super smart person. She's a model student who others go to when they want to be tutored and she's the daughter of a very competent doctor

  3. E

    Hiyori needs to take center stage more often!

  4. G

    When Izanami cried because she was all alone that was because Yato and Bish were pulled out. I took it to mean Hiiro is still stuck in the underworld. We still don't know anything about Yato's father either. They will probably drop some Gem about his father in the finale to make us pine for season 3.

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