Anime Spotlight: Noragami

Noragami is an anime series based on a manga by Adachitoka. The series is produced by Bones and is directed by Kotaro Tamura. It aired on Japanese television January 5-March 23, 2014. As of this writing, FUNimation holds the North American streaming rights for Noragami.

The series focuses on a minor god named Yato, who doesn’t have a single shrine. One day, he spraypaints on a wall that he will help people in exchange for a 5-yen offering; he’s trying to save up money in order to build his own shrine. One day, while he’s doing a job, a girl named Hiyori pushes him out of the way of a bus. She is hit by the bus, and now Hiyori is a living Phantom. She’s still alive, but her spirit tends to separate itself from her body at unexpected times.

Yato has lost his Regalia, a spirit that serves as a weapon for a god. He finds a spirit to use as his new Regalia, which he names Yukine. Yukine tries putting on a “good boy” act around Hiyori, but it turns out he’s not very pure of heart. Each time Yukine has a bad thought, Yato is affected. It gets so bad that Yato is covered in a blight, and it takes three Regalia in order to perform an ablution ceremony on Yukine in order to save Yato from the blight.

During the series, we are also introduced by Kofuku and her Regalia, Daikoku. They become tenuous allies with Yato and Hiyori. There’s also Bishamon, who has a grudge against Yato for killing one of her Regalia in the past. However, Bishamon’s Regalia, Kazuma, owes Yato a great debt.

There’s also “Nora,” one of Yato’s former Regalia. She keeps offering herself to be used by him, but he refuses. She ultimately allies with Lord Rabo, an anime exclusive character, to fight against Yato.

After watching the first episode of Noragami, I felt it was a strong establishing episode for the series. I also felt the episode showed a good mix of drama and humor. Unfortunately, around episode five, I started feeling like the series wasn’t quite as strong as it was when it first started. My opinion improved a little bit with episode six, and it kept improving with episodes seven through 11.

However, I was confused by the final episode, because it felt like it should have been the conclusion of a season, rather than the conclusion for a series. At the time, this confusion hampered my appreciation for the episode. But after learning later that there would be a second season, my opinion of this episode improved dramatically.

After watching all 12 episodes of Noragami, I have to say that it’s a decent series. It’s not bad, but it wouldn’t necessarily rank as one the top three new anime that I started watching during the Winter 2014 season. Out of the six new series I watched that season, I would have to say that it would be at number four.

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