All of us have seen that one series or show or book that didn't seem to know which direction in which it was going. Noragami, however, manages to pull off all of its elements perfectly without even batting an eye. Keep in mind that this is my first review so anything I’m about to say may be incredibly biased or just inexperienced as a whole. With that said, let’s begin.
The story of Noragami begins with Hiyori: an average high school girl who has a fated encounter with Yato, a homeless god, but we'll get to them later. Hiyori, being the angel of a person
she is, pushes Yato out of the way of an incoming bus when he suddenly runs into traffic. This results in not only an accident and her being taken to the hospital, but from then on she gains the somewhat troublesome habit of losing her physical body and taking on a similar form, but travels around as her soul seperated from her body. Deciding she can't live on like this, she begs Yato and pays him in advance to restore her back to her original form, and thus, the two connect and Hiyori is abruptly introduced to the world outside of our reality.
At least, that's what the show would have you believe from its broad overarching plot.
Noragami consists of several plot lines that all mesh in beautifully with each other both in terms of pacing and execution. It wastes no time in moving the story forward, save some of Yato's comic relief and character introductions here and there. It even has some realistic darker undertones thrown in smoothly. They make sure you understand the weight of loneliness and just how invisible those who are not of the living can be, how painful it is to be forgotten and wanting to be remembered. Having read the majority of the manga so far, the anime followed it quite well, had it not been for the filler arc that took up the remaining 3-4 episodes. But for the most part, I enjoyed the story very much and hope that it will follow the manga if it were to receive a second season, which is HIGHLY FAVORABLE.
The main reason why I love the characters of Noragami is not only how diverse they all are, but it seems to have a Hiromu Arakawa feel to it; no character is used solely for fanservice or comic relief in spite of their first appearance. Every person in this series is well fleshed-out, developed, and not one-dimensional in the slightest, though that's what you may get the impression of in early episodes.
Yato, our main character, is somewhat of an underdog aside from being homeless and having a strange fashion sense. He is definitely the real propeller of the show, providing us with not only mystery, insight, and of course, more comic relief than you can shake a stick at, but just such a fun time watching him in general. There wasn’t a moment I didn’t appreciate his presence on my screen. What’s not to like about a bratty, teenage looking god taking up job requests for only 5 Yen? Much about him is still to be revealed, though they’ve given us enough to go on for right now. His viewpoints on humans and life as a whole is somewhat irritating yet fascinating due to his experience of both and naturally, having lived for thousands of years as a vicious war god who has somehow faded to an insanely silly and docile version of that is still unkown. But to end his profile, Yato is a great character who differs from the typical shonen hero who still has plenty of development to go and is an amazing joy to watch at any given time. And personally, my favorite character of the series, so bias warning there.
Next up is Hiyori. I definitely don’t have as much to say here, as she is a pretty bland character until she meets Yato and gets caught up in the world of gods and evil spirits. Before that she is just the average high school student who goes to school with her friends, has a loving and rich family, and is just normal overall. Her most defining trait is without a doubt, her extreme levels of kindness that most female protagonists seem to ooze with these days (hence the reason why she pushed a complete stranger out of the way of an oncoming bus because she’s a female and therefore is /just /that /nice.) But of course, she isn’t simply that customary for no given reason. Her main purpose is to serve as more of a window into the hidden reality we see that is so different from our daily lives, since she lives the everyday life that most of us do either as well or similarly to a fair extent. She reflects more of the confusion and shock the average human being would feel upon having a million revelations thrown into her face via Yato, and I suppose if you really don’t care for her she could be more of a wish-fulfillment character into an alternate universe. Unlike other leading characters, she’s determined and knows when to take the initiative when the situation is tight. But alas, she starts out as the badass female lead and then ends up getting damseled like some million-dollar-prize in the last couple episodes, which I hate with the burning passion of a million suns. But moving on.
Last of the main three is Yukine, Yato’s sarcastic, stubborn fourteen-year-old Regalia who serves as his weapon for 98% of the show and also adds some more comic relief to (but mainly against) our poor underdog god. Out of those already mentioned above, he undeniably undergoes the most drastic character development in the entire show and /all of it/ is so, so, so satisfying. It surprises me how much hate he gets from the fandom, though not only is that a) more personal bias, b) not the time to bring this up in a review, and c) a time to complain about the fandom giving him crap, but I thought all of it was well justified, mainly because it is so simple to see what it is he wants, where he’s coming from, why he wants all these things that he can never have. Plus he actually acts similarly to how an actual fourteen-year-old boy with raging hormones and inner angst would. The show finally starts to get into a rhythm of a plot with his introduction, which is majorly important as well. The only complaint that I would have is that I felt that the episodes just took a /little/ too long having the buildup to his extremely Paramount conclusion, though it was so intensely satisfying in the end that I completely forgot about it. It added a sense of desperation to the entire thing, which, when I think about it, is not necessarily a bad factor now. But of course, since he is a part of this show, he is a brilliant and extremely adorable character to watch if you can understand him, which should not really be a problem at all.
The rest of the supporting cast is also great, each to their own with their own stories, pasts, and different sides, but are all also incredibly fun to watch as they give the show so much colour and variety. The only reason why I wouldn’t give the character aspect a full-on 10 is because of Yato’s rather-late-introduced arch-nemesis from thousands of years ago (who just happens to be a filler character because of the unfortunately short length of this series right now) and Hiyori’s demotion of “Prize to Be Won After We Win Because we Love Her”.
I definitely don’t have any complaints here. For the most part the animation style is typical Bones fare, with the art looking approvingly alike to that of the manga’s. Each character design is bright and interesting to the eye, from Yato’s cat-like blue eyes and strange scarf to the brighter colours of the giggly Kofuku and the other personified gods. Scenery is also well done and detailed, though I wish there were more fight scenes included because this is where the animation /really/ shines through. (Yato’s Rend attack in particular, and mainly since this little cut is re-used multiple times in each episode.) Naturally there are times when the quality would dip here and there, but it does its job and doesn’t fail to please. Solid 8 here.
The soundtrack for Noragami was composed by Taku Iwasaki, the genius who had previously created OSTS for the famous Black Butler and Soul Eater, both of which were known for their very prominent themes varying from rock ballads and pop to Victorian-era themes. Most of the music is light-hearted and a bit repetitive in its loops, but it sets the mood extremely well and never feels out of place. It occasionally mixes in a few classical Japanese themes into it too, and that never feels unnatural either. The battle music is the main point in this entire OST along with a few other tracks that will make you go, “Oh, this played when ______ happened and it sounded awesome!” because honestly it is just that great. No complaints.
As if it could possibly add onto the already existing 10, the voice acting of Noragami is simply SUPERB and there is no other way I can say it. The casting of the actual god Kamiya Hiroshi as Yato was an absolutely perfect choice that would be practically impossible to imitate by anyone else. I wasn’t used to hearing him play such a wide range in a single role, but I have faith in that man. I got used to it, and he was simply amazing. In fact, even if I didn’t have any interest in Noragami’s story I would still watch this anime just because this guy is present in the cast. I don’t even think I need to mention Yuki Kaji, but I will anyway just for the fact that he pulls of Yukine’s pre-teen angst and personality so intensely well that I almost burst out sobbing the second he spoke a single line. Both of them are really what pull off the characters and that goes for the rest of the cast too. Having seiyuu regulars such as Sawashiro Miyuki, Fukuyama Jun, and Daisuke Ono were all great choices as well, and again, no complaints at ALL. Don’t even talk to me about the OP and ED.
Enjoyment & Final Verdict: 9/10
Now, even though I’d like to call it as such, Noragami is not perfect, as is anything else out there. But though it has its problems, I was never once bored or dissatisfied with this show to a large extent. The only thing that would make this bump up to a ten would be the confirmation of more to come. Though the anime had its happy (if not rushed) ending, there is still so much manga content to be animated, including the /incredible/ arc focusing on Bishamon, Yato’s other arch-nemesis from centuries ago, but now’s not the time to mention that. Noragami is a great blend of comedy and the supernatural, a character-driven show that really gets you to feel and has a tone that tends to capture. Beneath it all are underlying tones of darkness and grief, but still manages to put on a lighthearted tone when it needs to. But all in all, I had a great time watching the ride and grew attached to it. This anime will most definitely have a little reserved corner in my heart as one of the greatest animes of the Winter 2014 season and I’m looking forward to the possibility of a future season. And with that, I leave you.
I, like most everyone on this planet, like things.
The things that I like come in many different shapes and sizes. One such thing that I like is the Winter 2014 show Noragami, a 'feels' shounen brought to you by Studio Bones, that brings together elements of shows like Soul Eater and Rurouni Kenshin to give you a 'family-centric' journey exploring what it means to be alive.
Or rather I wish it did. At its best you've got tear jerking moments of mortality, family, and the struggles of existence. You have a cast of characters you care about, the voice acting encapsulating each character almost perfectly,
flowing between emotions and the changing tone beautifully. At its worse you have long 'bouts of 'struggle of the week'. Slow buildup to something with mediocre story telling until the conclusion. And foreshadowing that is either so obvious it hurts, or massively fascinating and never really answered.
This show's strengths are in its characters, mainly Yato - who consistently brings out the best interactions of the entire show, be it his sweetness or his harshness - and are the primary reason that I want more and more of Noragami. Don't get me wrong, the rest of the cast are all better than average. Certainly better than what I expect from a battle shounen. And when the show is being a harsh drama I am utterly entranced, fulfilled and cathartic.
But. When it is not being amazing. It is mediocre beyond belief. Slow pacing, which ,whilst forwarding the overall plot, could easily have been something else more in line with the show at its best. This is further exemplified by the animation quality which just seems disappointing. The art style deserves better than what it got. The art style on its solid and certain 'Phantoms' (The primary antagonistic beings for most of the series) just ooze awesome. Others look about as cool as a blue frog can look. And whilst I couldn't call the animation terrible, for the most part it does nothing good, the creepiness is not exemplified, the sadness is not exemplified, the little details are simply absent. I'm never impressed and at my worse I'm disappointed by how often the shounen “Power up to kill shit” is copy and pasted. Sure it is cool the first couple of times, but with the amount it is reused it loses its power quickly.
The soundtrack takes some interesting steps. Using more electronic and dubsteppy tracks than your standard rocky shounen. I personally found it kind of bland, but I can easily see others enjoying it far more as the tracks are not out of place and certainly match the moods of the scenes. Being unique in this regard should be applauded, but whether it really works or not is something we can question heavily.
However the biggest and most substantial flaw of this show is where the overall plot goes. This is a 12 episode series that does not buckle down and focus. Most of what fascinated me in the earlier episodes was not really built upon. Instead I have a Kenshin-esque fight scene and a re-establishment of the strange 'friend-family-esque' trio, which was only broken up an episode earlier. I want more exploration of Yato and Yukine's character depth and backstory. I want my weird romance subplot between a kinda human and a deity. I want the three main plot lines to be resolved.
But I don't have that. Instead I'm left here waiting and hoping for a season two that takes everything amazing about this show and continues, without the flaws of the first season. Which in itself is an issue, because the ending track is completely and utterly gorgeous. Easily amongst one of the best EDs, based on track alone, that I have had the fortune to listen to in my lifetime. But a single music track alone is not something most people will watch a show for.
(This is a spoiler-free review adapted for this site)
[Synopsis]: Lacking both recognition and a shrine, Yato (Kamiya, Hiroshi) is a god down on his luck, forced to take on mundane requests in order to earn his meager offerings. On one of these menial tasks he is rescued from the path of a racing truck by Iki Hiyori (Uchida, Maaya) who subsequently is subjected to inconvenient out of body experiences when her soul leaves her body. After Hiyori requests for Yato to fix her condition they meet Yukine, (Kaji, Yuuki) a wandering spirit who becomes Yato’s divine weapon. The three fight ayakashi and do odd jobs
in order for Yato to one day become a recognizable god with both a shrine and followers.
Noragami has a fairly small cast which can be nice in terms of simplicity however it can also lead to the show feeling over-reliant on only a few characters. Yato, the penniless god who dreams of becoming a well-respected deity, is a fairly lighthearted and comedic character however is perfectly capable of becoming serious given the proper conditions. He’s not afraid to take on simple jobs in order to earn his 5-yen donations however I also felt that this trait was somewhat troublesome as the character has high aspirations but only progresses towards them at a snails pace.
Iki Hiyori is a generic enough school girl (outside of her interest in professional martial-arts). She isn't a very intricate or even interesting character however her place in the show is well situated enough as she acts as a sort of layman for the viewers so we can have an introduction to the implications and concepts of Noragami‘s world. She is a good source of comedy however I don’t think she holds much intrigue within the story.
Lastly we have Yato’s divine weapon: Yukine. He was a wandering spirit when Yato found him and by nature of this was once human which makes for a good deal of the shows drama as well as Yukine’s own internal anxiety. I found him to be rather irritating as a character – it is eluded to that he had a tragic or traumatic past as a human however his conflict with Yato and his lot in the show is not tied to this and therefore feels needlessly whiny and unpleasant. He is often at odds with Yato however there didn't appear to be any unique character qualities within Yukine that would give way for this and so his discomfort feels petty. He doesn't exhibit very good character development either and while he does become less unpleasant after a point, it is not even his own doing that leads to this near 180 of attitude. All in all, I felt he was rather annoying and I thought his poorly written character exploration took up much too much time.
The character designs in Noragami are fairly simple except when it comes to the more supernatural characters like other gods or the ayakashi – Yato himself is best visually characterized by wearing a jersey and sweat pants. The character designs tend to get a little relaxed or lazy if the scene is not of great import or when the characters are depicted as far away however they never become outright terrible.
The combat in the show could almost entirely be described as single-strike or clash based because many of the battles are between Yato wielding Yukine against an otherworldly monster. This isn't necessarily bad however if one was to look into the show for action reasons then these scenes leave a bit to be desired in terms of choreography, length, and overall complexity.
I think this is where Noragami falls short for most people – not because the story is poorly written or because the characters act stupid but because there doesn’t seem to be much there to begin with. The premise of the story – that Yato wishes to become a famously worshiped god and that Hiyori wants her body fixed – is not something that the story spends much time chasing after. Yes, Yato takes odd jobs in order to increase his recognition and earn his offerings however, as I stated in the [Characters] section, he seem to have much actual ambition and therefore hardly progresses towards his dream within the course of the 12 episodes.
The content that the show actually covers, concerning primarily Yukine’s emotional disposition and later Yato’s dark history, I didn't find as interesting as if the show pursued its original premise more actively. In all honesty, because the show is primarily lighthearted for a good deal of its episodes, I would say that the comedic interactions between the main cast of characters is ultimately of more interest than the plot the show shallowly explores.
The music was pretty good and some people may recognize a similar approach and style as to that of Katanagatari as the composer is Iwasaki Taku. I wouldn't say that the music is nearly as good as his other work in my personal opinion however I would say the soundtrack is one of the show’s better appeals. The music mostly occupies a BG-type quality whereas Iwasaki’s work normally takes more of a center stage role in my experience – the action scenes do play up the music accordingly so I generally enjoy these parts of the music more than others.
[Final Thoughts and Rating]:
While there is a second season now confirmed for Noragami, these 12 episodes felt forgettable to me. The characters weren't very interesting and there were so few of them that the cast of the show felt pretty lackluster.
I gave the show a 5 because its well enough animated and has decent music but the show spent its 12 episode run quite poorly in the progression department and had a few actively annoying elements such as Yukine’s dialogue and characterization.
Because the show offers very little in overall content – I have a hard time recommending the show to anyone for genre purposes however someone that’s looking for a supernatural anime would not go amiss as the ayakashi and gods are fairly present throughout the show. The action in Noragami i felt was pretty lackluster save maybe the final confrontation in the show however I don’t think it was a worthy payoff and wouldn't recommend it for this reason. I would say that the show’s strongest point is its comedy and so anyone looking for a good few comedic reaction faces and decent gags would do fine in watching the show however there is a fair amount of drama as well so its not a pure comedy by any means.
This is one of the few anime I got to watch with my brother all the way until the end, which is quite the rare feat. It isn't all that surprising, however. If you read the summary or watched the show already, you know its plot and characters show potential, or that it at least is serviceable/enjoyable.
... Serviceable it was indeed, but it's nothing more than that quality-wise. The plot is basically about this chick named Hiyori saving a guy from a car accident but in the process, becoming half-dead (her soul can leave her body and all that jazz). That guy turns out to
be a minor god named Yato who wants to have his own shrine with many followers one day by doing all sorts of services in exchange for five yen each. Wanting him to turn her back to normal, Hiyori sticks to him because she has to remind the guy that he needs to solve her problem practically every time she sees him.
Well, when you get down to it, this conflict stops having any actual importance a few (2 or 3, I think) episodes later, so uh, no wonder Yato basically shrugs it off. Anyway, gods apparently need these spirit things called Regalias to cut down phantoms and basically be their personal servants, which is where the third protagonist Yukine (can also be Yuki or Sekki because these Regalias apparently have three different names for some reason) comes in to become Yato's Regalia. The story follows these three characters, and the conflicts they go through together... or... something like... that... Pfft.
Yeah, right. You're at first made to think the focus is gonna be on Hiyori and Yato, and trying to get her back to normal, but that's a ruse. Instead, Hiyori turns into thin air and acts on nothing despite her initial actions making you think she'd be a decent girl protagonist and Yukine's problems become the focus of the show for way too many episodes, especially when you consider the fact that it all could have been solved if Yato and Yukine just bothered talking to each other about said problems. However, how could there be the magnificent/pointless thing called misunderstandings if they just talked to each other like normal people? I mean, Yato's not technically a person anyway, am I right?
I wasn't asking for the story to be about taking down phantoms, the recurring monsters that influence people on bad levels that only the people on the Far Shore (aka the afterlife) can see, and figuring out how to get Hiyori back to normal: in hindsight, focusing on creatures with no character or depth whatsoever would make for a dull episodic format, which I wouldn't want. However, I also wasn't asking for it to go in this strange direction, all the way until episode 9 at that! The problem with this, if you put aside the bit of stupidity present, is really just the fact that it takes up the majority of the show, and not that it's focusing on a character, or that character in particular: focusing on him is great and all, but I also wanted focus on other characters throughout the anime, like, I dunno, Hiyori (too much to ask out of the show).
Anyway, after that, you're introduced to the final arc (I guess: if you consider the beginning to be one arc, and the Yukine part another, then this would be the last arc in the anime), where there's a fairly dramatic conflict caused by a villain that challenges the friendship formed between the three protagonists. Sounds good, right? Even better, you see that no matter what methods are used, this dramatic conflict doesn't get solved so easily, and instead, the villain has to be confronted in this great climax of a final fight and episode. Hyped, aren't you (if you aren't, just roll with it!)?
... Let me tell you why this didn't work:
- There's this character cooperating with the villain who has clear ties to Yato's background and seems really important overall, and yet you get to know nothing about her. At all. Even though you can basically attribute the good dramatic part of this arc to her, you don't see anything about her!
- The villain himself is mediocre. Serviceable, even, like the whole show. Even though he was somewhat hyped with stuff like the opening and whatnot, he's really as generic as you can get. Needless to say I was disappointed, as you'd expect someone more... important or grand from the villain that shows up at the end. You could replace him with a different guy with an equally generic backstory and nothing would really change;
- The fight's not very interesting. It's basically sword fighting, with no noteworthy moves and, well, it's emotional and, uh, um, power-ups, I guess (the pinacle of fine writing). Seriously, the people behind this anime even bothered to put a PANTY SHOT in the midst of the final episode (possibly the most pointless panty shot in the world, by the way, and panty shots are practically pointless to begin with), and it's not like Noragami is littered with fanservice or anything like that! It can make up for not being anything special by the stakes being high (making things more emotional and getting you to care about what's happening), which they were... somewhat. If you care about the characters, that is. Besides, you can't really care about the action when...
- The resolution of the conflict and climax is just stupid. As in, devoid of intelligence, yes. I can even give you examples: Yato is very, very early on established to being able to teleport. He teleports a fair amount of times in the show. He tends to scare Hiyori with this from appearing so suddenly! Teleporting is a total thing with Yato. And yet, Yato doesn't teleport at the very end, when it's needed most, to save a really important x that's on the verge of falling (avoiding spoilers as much as possible), basically dooming what he was trying to save in the first place. Why? Because consistency, man: this show has it in spades, I guess. The stupidity doesn't end here, however: I'm just gonna tell you straight up that every method used to try to solve this conflict, which were legitimate attempts, apparently pales in comparison to the CLEARLY much more meaningful solution of "I can smell dudes!". Not even joking (beyond the sarcasm). And that's when the situation's seemingly hopeless in every aspect! Like, are you freaking kidding me?!
In general, when it comes to the plot of Noragami, my brother even goes as far as to say that "It's like the show was passed around ten different people" (basically, that it's all over the place) and you can kind of see what he's talking about. It's first about gods and phantoms and Hiyori's problems (somewhat), but then it starts being all about Yukine, and afterwards it shifts its focus 100% to Yato and gods and the final stuff with their friendship. If you think about it, phantoms are basically irrelevant to the final arc, Yukine's stuff is irrelevant to the first arc, and Hiyori herself becomes irrelevant for a good chunk of the show. They just have no connections whatsoever with each other, so it really feels like certain details get suddenly forgotten along the way for no reason whatsoever.
Even though I could sort of sense (with shipping goggles) Yato/Hiyori shipping coming with the show, my brother and I legit got misled into thinking Hiyori/Yukine was gonna be a thing midway to the point where my brother got confused when this turned out not to be the case at all. Despite these direction problems, you do end up being behind the developments of Noragami: it's that serviceable. Part of that's because of the equally serviceable cast of characters.
Yato is a likable, cheerful guy, and a lot of humor comes from him. He wants to be well-known, and us, the viewers, want to see that happening too. He's also mysterious in the sense that there's a lot of backstory to him that we don't know, and that he's not devoid of a serious side. However, we don't get to know anything truly relevant about Yato's past in this anime beyond the fact that he has many female acquaintances and that he killed stuff or whatever (totally unexpected of a god of war, huh?). Not only that, but his serious side wasn't what you'd call meaningful: it just seemed like it was there for the sake of being there, as in, "Ooooh no, I'm serious, you can't get close to me!". You know, that sort of thing that easily gets brushed off.
Yukine's also not that bad of a character. You can't expect him to be rainbows and sunshine when he's a spirit who's died at a young age, after all. It's just that he was the victim of that middle arc, which I can imagine got many people annoyed with him. Sure, he's not that likable when he basically acts all mean towards Yato and whatnot, but it's not like he's insufferable, and he does fit in with the cast alright.
Hiyori's another problem entirely. She's shown to be fairly spirited (badum-tss), with an interest in wrestling and overall a personality you can get behind. This goes as far as to have her copy a move from her favorite wrestler to take down a phantom at the very first episode! Sadly, you don't see any of this afterwards. Instead, she just happens to be 'there' for the rest of the show. You can understand why this is the case: she has no ties with the stuff happening; only Yato and Yukine do. Even so, that doesn't excuse the striking flaw of making a pointless protagonist: when you have a protagonist, they have to have some sort of tie with the events of the story, some role, or at least participate in something.
However, Hiyori doesn't do anything special until final episodes, though you could argue she actually doesn't do much there either seeing as it's still Yato saving the day and she's basically a damsel in distress. While I also can't call her a wasted potential because she's not amazing or anything of the sort, she was definitely poorly-handled. I'd literally get surprised whenever Hiyori had some semblance of focus in the middle of the show, like, "Oh, wait, she isn't being thin air now?". It was pitiful.
The supporting characters are alright, I guess. They weren't explored all that much, like a lot of the actually interesting stuff going on in the show related to Yato. After all... everything is tied to Yato. Might as well call the show 'Yatogami', am I right? Overall, the character cast is nothing special as far as I could tell from watching the show. Like the story, it's likable, enjoyable and serviceable.
The same applies to the art and sound. The art looks pretty good, and some of the designs for the phantoms were somewhat creepy, along with the voices they'd have. The character designs are also good, and the animation's not bad at all. The opening's pretty cool to listen to, but I personally didn't really like the rest of the soundtrack. The techno-ish, japanese style-ish sounds with some dude singing out vowels just did not appeal to me (with this, I'm referring to the more prominent tracks). Even so, I can't say it didn't fit the anime. When it comes to voice acting, Hiroshi Kamiya did a good job as always, Yuki Kaji was chosen for an unfortunate role as always and Hiyori’s voice was somehow growing to annoy my brother. In other words, it was good, I guess.
Despite the criticism I throw at it, my brother and I were enjoying Noragami a fair amount: though I knew it'd be worthy of a 5 (which doesn't count as a negative score to me) from the get-go, I didn't have a terrible time watching it. Even my brother, who doesn't watch anime all that much and drops anything if the tiniest thing doesn't appeal to him, wanted to see it through to the end, which is definitely saying something about how enjoyable it is to watch, and not in that 'so bad it's good' way. Instead, Noragami is the kind of show you enjoy in that 'turn your brain off and it's a masterpiece' way, and there's nothing wrong with that. After all, it is really serviceable.
... Seeing something yet? Like me hammering the fact that Noragami's serviceable? Because that's really the point of the review. To point out that Noragami's an alright show. That it's enjoyable, likable, 'meh'. There's nothing really deep you get out of it, and you don't have to either. It doesn't convey anything truly meaningful or absolutely breathtaking, but that's fine: you can pass time with this anime. The story's enjoyable, the characters are likable, the production values are pretty nice, and it's overall a serviceable, 'meh' show. There's nothing in it that makes me feel anything more. But that's not what I can call a flaw.
So, well, I suppose I'd recommend this to basically anyone as a way to kill time. It can appeal to a lot of people, after all. I mean, it's even got a second season now... which I'll never watch. Though I've originally written the review before such an announcement was even made, I decided to re-write it since its writing quality wasn't good enough, in my opinion, to get my points across. Let's hope it's actually better now. Either way, I can imagine that Noragami won't fail to deliver the same quality with its second season, so if you really liked this show, you might as well give that a try.
Serviceable it was indeed, but serviceable never hurt anyone.
It seems that Noragami caught attention of many this winter season, witch is understandable based on the fact that it's produced by studio Bones, famous for their rather high production values. Additionally being an adaptation of rather famous manga certainly make it a high priority show for many. Is Noragami really worth attention it gets from the community? Well, it is definitely enjoyable show but it have its share of problems that keep it from being really good.
The Story 5/10
In world of Noragami gods exist and walk the earth in secret. Just as in human society some have it better than others.
There are those who have legions of followers and many shrines dedicated to them and those lesser gods that have to run around as errand boys to require believers. Our main protagonist, war god Yato ranks among the latter. Day by day Yato bravely hunt hollows (monstrosities born of human suffering) and brush toilets clean for a low price of 5 yen per wish. One day he stumbles upon a girl named Iki Hiyori and saves her life. By doing so Yato grubbed her soul out of her body and she became a half hollow. And so our favorite war god try to help Hiyori get back to normal. Of course things get complicated on the way. Hiyori gets introduced to different gods and a whole different world alien to her.
The story have some interesting concepts, mostly surrounding Yatos past but many things are just introduced to us just to be left out in the dark later on. Noragami obviously suffers from the same problem as other manga adaptations, parts of the story are just being left out of the anime or simply didn't get there yet. The ending is not that great either and do a poor job on summarizing everything up and giving us a decent conclusion. Still, story have some value to it. It's interesting enough to keep you engage so you can enjoy the rest of what this show have to offer. It also include some good morals you can keep with you as you leave the show behind if you care for that sort of things. I know that I do to some degree.
The Animation 8/10
As expected of studio Bones Noragami is beautifully animated. Movements are fluid, light effects flashy and backgrounds full of details. Of course fight scenes are parts when the animations are on their best. Even comedy parts of the show keep up the high quality of animation. Also I have to give a praise for character designs they are quite memorable, mostly thanks to colour contrasts. There are just few short moments when animation quality drops for a moment and they are not easily found.
The Sound 9/10
Soundtrack in Noragami is different from what you will hear in other shows. It have original sound to it. There are few trucks that stand out witch of my favorite is Noratan, it appear to pump up atmosphere when something epic is about to happen. Just listen to it:
Opening is very good, both when it comes to song(performed by "Hello Sleepwalkers") and the animation. In fact when I watched opening first time I thought that it was animated by SHAFT and that it's saying something about its quality. Ending was all right (girls with umbrellas getting really popular nowadays).
The voice acting was also top quality featuring some of the best in the industry. Even Mr. Fukuyama known mainly for his role as Lelouch in Code Geass voiced one of the characters.
The Characters 6/10
There is a lot of interesting characters present, sadly we don't get to know much of their past. Even when they are members of the main cast. Nonetheless most of the characters are charismatic and fun to watch. Everybody of the main cast goes through bigger or lesser development. It's rushed, it's forced but it's their. Hopefully we'll get second season that will explain backstory of the key characters more, or I would be forced to read manga. When I think about it, it doesn't sounds that bad.
The Enjoyment 7/10
Thanks to great production value, decent comedy, amazing fight scenes and overall coolness of the show I enjoyed it quite a lot. If we would just get good conclusion at the end it would be great.
Noragami turned out to be a decent show, definitely worth few hours of my cold winter evenings. When it's failed to give us story with good conclusion its high production values and overall coolness make it enjoyable to watch.
Have you ever felt that you wanted an anime with relatable and well-written characters, coupled with an interesting story filled with action and comedy? Well, look no further, because Noragami is here.
Noragami’s story, I would have to say, be a rather unique one. I say so because the anime spends a lot of time in the beginning introducing you to the characters, and make you wonder, just where is the main story? When are they going to get on with it? However, that’s where this anime shines. The overarching story has been there the whole time – blended well with the character
developments, which provides an even stronger impact when it reaches the climax. So, what is Noragami mainly about? I would say that it is the relationships between our characters, and what they did to solve them. Why did I give the story a 9 out of 10, then? This is because of how relatable these stories are, and of course the valuable lessons it has taught us – Appreciate what you have.
I have one word for Noragami’s main cast and side cast: “Amazing”. This was perhaps one of the few anime where the cast support and play off each other so well, that makes it not only seem realistic, but also a joy to watch as well. Not forgetting, the characters by the end of the series have totally changed from what they used to be in the first episodes.
Yato is a God who doesn’t have a shrine built for him, and so grants people wishes for 5 yen, in hopes that one day, he’ll finally get enough money to built a shrine for himself. In the anime, Yato is more like a fatherly figure to all of the other characters. Sure, he fools around, but he always does what’s best for the group, even though his reasons are not seen immediately. That’s just like how a father is, isn’t it. One who doesn’t always seem to be there with you but supporting you quietly.
While Yato is like a fatherly figure, Hiyori is the motherly figure. I would say that she is the exact opposite to Yato. She looks at things mostly on the surface, but she is always there to support both Yato and Yukine, often reprimanding them for their actions. But why is this so? It’s because she cares for them, just like a mother would. Additionally, in the beginning of the anime, most people would think that Hiyori would be this damsel in distress; basically a useless character that needed saving by the guys. However, this is not the case, as we see she can capably handle herself in fights, and sometimes even be the one to help out both Yukine and Yato.
I’ll be spending a little bit more time to talk about Yukine. I would say that Yukine is probably the most controversial character in the series. There has been a lot of hate towards him, but I’ll have to say that the hate is unjustified. Why? Yukine is a teenager. Merely a 13-year-old boy. Of course by that age he would know from right and wrong, but from 13 to 18 years of age, it is known as the rebellious age. You know what is right and wrong, but you still commit the wrongdoings anyway. Why? Because it is fun to disobey the rules. Rules are meant to be broken, right? Everyone, or almost everyone has been in this stage before (unless you’re under 13 of course). That is why Yukine was acting the way he was. However, the problem kicks in when his rebellious nature is coupled with the longing to belong somewhere. This is yet another trait of the teenagers. In school, just as Yato mentions, everyone wants to be popular right? Everyone wants to have the most friends. The point here is that Yukine is dead, and he cannot interact with them. Yet the living, which can have almost everything and anything that Yukine doesn’t, complain and do not appreciate it. Chasing after something he can never obtain… That is what made Yukine lose his mind.
The art looks really beautiful. You can notice this especially with the character designs (just look at Yato’s eyes) and during the fight scenes. The destruction of the phantoms after Yato’s killing blow looks amazing. I do have one little gripe though, they reuse the same animation when Yato does his final move every episode. Yes, I get that that’s because it's the same move, but it would be great if they could vary that up a bit.
The soundtrack is great since it matches every scene perfectly, whether it being a scary scene, or action scene. I have to give credit to the phantom’s voices, for being so creepily fitting. Of course, our voice actors are amazing as well, being able to bring both the comedy and serious voices when they are required.
The Opening and Ending are both really, really good; There’s no way you’d want to skip that.
The only problem I have with Noragami, is perhaps the wait every week. Just as something interesting was about to happen, the episode ends. In other words, I enjoyed it immensely. This is mainly because they know when to inject comedy, and when to make it serious.
Noragami is a really amazing anime. It not only provides great characters, but awesome stories that are highly relatable. Coupled with beautiful art and soundtrack, this anime is a must watch.
Ever needed help with something from a higher being? Was there ever a moment where you decided to seek help because you couldn’t get the task done yourself? There’s an answer to that now: Delivery God Yato. The catch is that he does require a fee for his services. Yet, the guy gets his hands dirty to the point and is the solution to your problems.
At first glance, a series about a God trying to be a deity of worship seems something that’s hard to take in by heart. Rather, Gods are usually depicted as being powerful, omniscient, and shines with brilliance. That’s what Yato
tries to be anyways someday. As someone who is barely known in the real world community, he’s far from that. Yato’s job of helping others for a price as a God is something that doesn’t seem so appealing at first. His goal is apparently to build a shrine of worship and have his name being recognized by everyone. He doesn’t have many followers nor does he have the ability of omniscience. Yet, he does have the ability to draw attention towards him, especially Hiyori Iki, a high school student who almost witness him get into a car accident. Fate has it for them when Hiyori saves him but not without her life being changed forever.
By traditional standards, high school girls saving a supernatural being isn’t new to the anime industry. Yet, Noragami shines with its own charms on various terms. For instance, we have a young girl who is selfless, brave, and eager to help others in need. She puts others before herself and her actions often speak louder than words. Despite her life being seemingly changed forever, she doesn’t blame anyone for it but rather hope to use her new abilities to continuously help others. This brings her in terms with the n narcissistic God, Yato. Their relationship is odd at first with the duo often complaining and arguing about seemingly events of little importance. Despite that, they are surprisingly entertaining to watch in particular Yato. He makes the time fly fast with his characteristics as a God by helping others but not without a price. (Charging 5 yen for a completed task) It stands out for the fact that Yato helps others for his own personal gain rather than just ‘doing the right thing’. With this set up, you can guess why Yato and Hiyori often gets into debates. These are often comical because in some ways, they are compatible. Hiyori is no shadow to be stepped on despite her kindness. She is able to stand up for herself and take responsibilities. Similarly, Yato has a natural sense of humor with a sense of himself. Sometimes, his behavior reflects human emotions such as regret, jealousy, and solitude. Despite being so different, Yato and Hiyori has a special relationship viewers will feel attached to.
On other hand, there’s one character where viewers will find less appealing at first and hard to get used to. Meet Yukine, a wandering spirit that Yato made into a weapon for his job. To appreciate Yukine will be difficult as he acts just like his age as a brat. He isn’t mature for someone his age and neither does he have a tolerable sense of humor. Despite being a spirit, he acts like a human such as his perverseness, curiosity, and even suffers from kleptomania. It is somewhat acceptable at first to understand where he came from – a child whom missed the opportunity of a normal life as evidenced by some flashbacks. Yet, his present actions does not constitute to justify his reasons to do collateral damage to others. Yukine becomes a character that is developed by deconstruction. Rather than having him remain like a brat, he undergoes through phases and reflects his change in a way that he seems like a whole new person. Noragami depicts his character at his best with this change that shows development in a way that is humane, credible, and stands as a visage of redemption.
Despite the show focusing a lot of in characters, the plot is also attractive with its themes. Various themes explored in the series includes suicide, bullying, revenge, and temptation. As a fantasy series, it colors these themes in a way that is both humorous but at the same time feel so real. It sticks with the premise as well throughout its duration to explore concepts involving dealing with Phantoms, beings of the supernatural world that inhibits in the world of the living. Most of these features in a format of the‘monster of the week’ scenario. However, it is important to note that every monster or conflict explores a concept to send a message. As the plot is unraveled more and more, we also find more about Yato’s past which seems to be ominous. One particular character holds a deep grudge for Yato in a cat-and-mouse like game throughout the series. It sparks curiosity to viewers as Yato’s past life as compared to his present. But with new friends, it also sets up a contrast between the two stages; it makes Yato view his weapons as a different light, perhaps as friends rather than just tools of war.
Perhaps fitting with the stories’ concepts are the spirits involved. After all, this show does present it in fantasy form with the way spirits behave around humans. The rather obvious trope of the spirits revolves around their behavior as nearly all of them behave in an aggressive manner. As malevolent as they can be, these spirits are to be tamed with Yato as the delivery God. Even though it has a serious premise, the comedy coming from Noragami can be described as healthy. Rather than lifeless fan service, we get Yato whom presents himself as a character of charisma that invites laughter. Some of his lack of social behavior is marked with comedy thanks to his failures in the field. To support even more of the high dosage of humor are characters such as Kofuku, an energetic girl and acquaintance of her beloved “Yatty”. On the other hand, there’s Nora, a girl of many mysteries that brings in a moody sphere of gloom and doom.
The artwork of Noragami is simple yet consistent handled by Bones. Taking place in modern world means that nothing should be out of the ordinary. Yet, we get those spirits decorated by malevolence as harbingers of destruction. Background designs also makes its point with the suburban city combined with traditional Japanese themes such as shrines and altars. The character designs sparks curiosity such as Hiyori’s tail. Yato’s artwork design also looks interesting with his electric blue eyes, tough attitude, and jersey that comes with a scarf. The weapon (Shinki) that he uses is attractive with its stellar design. That’s not the only weapon the show focuses on though. Later in the series, we witness other powerful weapons in the form of whips, guns, and even earrings all decorated with a sense of fantasy vibe. On a more negative note, Yukine’s design matches those of a rebellious teenager with his blonde hair and smirk that seems to reflect loneliness.
A strength that brings the action packed scenes of Noragami would be the soundtrack. The OST elaborates on the solid movements of the characters. No movement is wasted and all of them matches consistently with its well-coordinated orchestra. The OP song by Hello Sleepwalkers is highly decorative with characters from the cast colored by an unique form of artistry. The voice mannerisms mostly matches such as Yato’s sarcasm, Hiyori’s maturity, Yukine’s childishness, and Kofuku’s cheerfulness. Nonetheless, do appreciate the OST. I bring this to attention again as headphones are a must to enjoy this at fullest.
Noragami will offer everybody a chance for enjoyment. It will deliver action, drama, comedy, and fantasy at your footsteps. Being a more character driven show, its small yet small cast of characters delivers credibility related to human behaviors that are explored in a relatable way. The soundtrack will blow your mind along with its high dosage of comical power. It’s not just the way dialogues are spoken but how it connects to the character and story. Speaking of the story, Noragami does take a bit of patience to get used to but in the end is worth it to reap its rewards. On a more negative note, a story arc involving Yato and a particular character who has hunted him down for her entire life doesn't resolve. The length of the series prevents the anime from creating a resolution for its pace. Still, this show to me is a dark horse and something of a gem, a sparkling jewelry you won’t find at any shrine but here.
Okay, I believe that many of you have heard of the term that is widely used in anime reviews, book reviews, moview reviews, etc. Yes, it's the "Don't judge a book by its cover". Apparently, that idiom applies to Noragami as well. Why? It’s quite simple, while the anime has a nice cover, a nice premise, and also nice previews (which came out several of times before the anime aired) the anime itself isn't nice at all. Then, is it bad? No no no, not at all. It isn’t nice because it's actually above nice . It-it was amazing, way beyond expectations. Of course i'm
not going to say that without preparing a reason before hand. *cough* Lets begin then.
Story : 9/10
(If you haven't, please read the synopsis above first then continue reading). Okay then, simply put, the story is about a god named Yato; his weapon,Yukine; and a schoolgirl which is a half phantom, Hiyori. There isn't anything complex about the story, though it could be described as a unique. The plot is great, well executed and also well paced, though it feels like it's rushed a bit at some point. But it seems that doesn't really affect the enjoyment since it's pretty much unnoticeable anyway. The individual elements of the story is also a surplus, for example the action. Action in this anime is a no joke at all. Battles are very fluid and isn't pointless no matter how you look at it. Please don't group this anime with those typical shounen action anime with battles in every episode throughout the anime from the beginning till the very end. I don't say this often, but the thoughts on my head while I was watching it was like, "really cool", "awesome", "amazing", "we want more, we want more". All the battles in this anime has a meaning and also a lot of emotions . Though, there aren't that many battles since it's not the sole main aspect of the story. Another element of the story that you'll be getting a lot if you're going to watch it is the relationship progress between the characters which spans until the last episode. And, although the anime doesn't have a comedy genre written in the information page, there are actually comedies in this anime and they're are really funny. There's also little a romance in it, but maybe too little.
Oh, maybe it's too a little too late to say this but the anime is dark themed. The main time of the anime seems to be evening till night. Also, sometimes the phantom are really scary with many creepy eyes in its dark body, creepy voice of multiple people saying a sentence together telling a certain someone to desperately commit suicide. That’s not a bad thing though.
After going through a lot of battles and conflicts with a lot of emotions, the ending was really satisfying. Maybe not that satisfying since it causes the anime to end and made a lot of people demanding more and more. :P But still, an ending is an ending, and i'm going to say this again ~it was really satisfying.
Characters : 8/10
Another great aspect that made this anime better and better is the characters. The characters in Noragami are all well rounded. The different types of personality of the three main characters was great. I'm sorry if I used too much good adjectives in this review since it's undeniable-ly(bad English of mine) great in many ways. Yato is strong, badass and looks pretty stupid, but he gets serious when something happens to Yukine or Hiyori. On the other hand, Yukine is a rebellious boy, something like a delinquent who isn't really grateful of Yato's decision of picking him as his sacred weapon. He gets ...*spoiler*. Then there’s Hiyori. A human who turns into a Half-Phantom because she tried to save Yato from getting hit by a bus, but made herself getting hit by it instead. Hiyori is a nice and cheerful girl who likes to tag along with Yato and Yukine’s godly activities. She can’t stand the idea of the the two getting hurt. Supporting casts are pretty good too, but i’m not going to go too deep into it. (Watch it by yourself okay?)
Art : 9/10
The first thing that popped in my head when watching the first episode was ‘Beautiful’. The studio responsible for this beautiful artwork and animation is Bones. If you haven’t heard about it, it’s the studio well-known for many great and popular shounen anime, like Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, Darker than Black, Soul Eater, Eureka Seven and a much more. And... if you’re not familiar with any of those, I’ll tell you how it’s very pleasant for the eye. Fluid eye-catching battles, nice character design and, beautiful breathtaking backgrounds is what you’re going to get from Noragami. So, that’s how it got a 9/10(great) score from me.
Sound : 9/10
Really nice OP and ED. The OP is called Hello Sleepwalkers, which is a a rock themed song. The artist is a band named Hello Sleepwalkers and the name of the song is Goya no Machiawase. I don’t know about the band before and I just found out about it from watching Noragami, but hell it was really good. And, the ED is called Heart Realize by the famous group of musician in the anime industry, Supercell. The quality of the song is superb.
Voice acting are great too. Seiyuu’s voice really feels like it matched the characters’s personality. The background sounds also fits the atmosphere. I really like the battle’s background music which is really unique. Of course, sounds are undescribable by words so, please watch it by yourself to hear it.
Enjoyment : 10/10
Oh, those good times of waiting every week for a new episode. I enjoyed this anime fully with all of my heart. It get’s me anxious every time and I really want to know what’s going to happen next. There are some episodes that has a great comedy and made me laugh out loud, some that has great battles, some that has a lot of emotions and affects my emotions as well, and the last episode that made me say “please don’t end!”. Of course, I’ll be hoping for a second season since there are plenty of story material waiting to be animated, but I guess hoping to much could lead to bad day if it doesn't go your way. But overall I really enjoyed this series. 10 points from me :D.
Noragami or ノラガミ is a great action-shounen anime that has a great story and not-pointless battles and also a little comedy. If you liked those genres, then without doubt, you’ll like Noragami even more. I highly recommended it to everyone looking for a great series to spend their time at.
Its really honestly a shame that this anime isn't more popular than it is. I find more and more its harder to get into action animes when you've watched so many that let your hopes down in the last two episodes. Nowadays, anime seem to either wow me to tears or bore me with uninteresting characters set in a plot that's way too cool for the likes of cardboard characters. Or your get anime that is just plain worthy of throwing to the depth of the internet where you could care less whether someone actually gives any shit about. Forgettable. Noragami for me wasn't any
of those. Not even worthy of putting into the wow me to tears section. What this anime did for me was made me think - and that's why this anime, in my opinion, is definitely one of the best Ive ever seen this season.
To be totally frank, I'm not usually one for the typical shounen, and tend to like the dark more gritty animes. I usually watch these sort of shounen ones when I just can't find anything worthy of my tastes. But oh boy, was I glad to have picked up Noragami. This anime really sets in the terrifying mind set of being forgotten by all the people around you, and what one must to do be remembered and to feel wanted by those people. I found each time Yato struggled to maintain himself, through being remembered and worshiped, my heart would go out to him and I felt the pain of being lost and old and forgotten.
-I'm not going to rewrite a synopsis, so if you really want to know all the nitty gritty details, read it at the top-
The story revolves around God names Yato, his regalia and a half phantom, Hyori. I learned to love each and every character in this series - each having good character and executing realistic choices int he plot of this anime. The blend of Japanese folklore was very visually interesting, and I always seem to enjoy those types of anime with underlying subtexts and messages.
I tend to dislike when Main characters are treated badly by the rest of the cast, just because they seem to give off a weak or annoying sort of aura ( even if us viewers know how bad ass they really can be) So i was very cautious with Noragami. It seemed like everyone thought Yato, the protagonist, was your typical bum and purposefully exclude him for only that reason, even if he was a god. But that soon turned around, in about the second episode. Sure, they still liked to tease the protagonist about his habits and how poor and helpless he was - but there was still a sort of underlying respect that each character had for him, and they grew to cherish Yato. Hyori for example, explains her dislike and annoyance in yato, yet still respects him and wants to be with him. Hyori is a typical female lead, who can actually hold her own and has a decent personality. I have a thing with helpless female leads that pisses me off to no end, so seeing a female character, strong and willing like Hyori, is a breath of fresh air.
The art is stellar. I tend to be quite nitpicky with art and Noragami was outstanding. The character designs were realistic, clothing appropriate and animations amazing. The colours used for the fight scenes and phantom deaths made you want to stare at the sequence for hours, analyzing the design of the star that seemed to explode out whenever Yato killed a phantom. The phantoms themselves were drawn organically lovely - but still gave a sort of creep atmosphere. The blights and eyes were done marvelous, showing the disgusting of infection. The blue hue all over yato gave him a godly aura, yet he still looked human from the blend of his modern clothing. I could go on but I wont. Just that the art of this anime seemed to never cut loops and always keep me interested.
The OST is absolutely amazing, bringing in traditional Japanese music with a sort of modern rap and hip hop themes. The opening fits extremely well, though it changes three times throughout the series. I didn't mind it at all, and actually enjoyed seeing the variety. The ending was cute, not that memorable but I did actually watch the ending, which I never do so that's saying something. The music during the fight scenes was intense, and got you into the mood of traditional style, not unlike the Yato god himself. The music for the phantoms was down right creepy, and suited the atmosphere to a T. And finally the music played for yato's silliness... was down right hilarious. The funky off tones of the beat made me giggle every time even if the situation wasn't that funny.
Yato in particular is a very interesting character to follow. Development wise, he didn't really change much outwardly form what originally saw. I would almost call it a sort of backwards character development, because we got to see how he developed into the Yato god he is now. Throughout the anime I found myself gaining respect for the god, seeing his struggle and triumphs. He mirrored it through Yukine, his regalia. Yukine had the most character development in this anime. We see him rise, to fall, to slowly rise back again. His personality was bitchy, yes, but with good reason. Characters who lash out for no reason, and all the cast seem to be okay with it is just plain bad writing, but Noragami gives Yukine a damn good reason for it and has the characters react to it positively, because of particular a reason as well. Forget about a hollow anime, this one actually bothered to give good, concrete reasons for a melt down, which I find animes recently have been lacking severely. The interaction between Yato's extravagant character and Yukine's major attitude was very interesting to see. Both grew closer together throughout the anime making me yearn for more scenes of Yato and Yukine interacting.
This anime gives a perfects blend of action, comedy, supernatural and mystery that will have you itching for more every episode. The anime is well spaced, even though it diverges slightly at the end from the manga (if you bothered to read it) - but still keeps it fresh and fulfilling. I would recommend this anime to anybody, and hope you enjoy it as much as I did - this anime will always have a special place in my heart.
Five yen is all it takes to get your wish granted. (If only that were true).
Noragami is a series that I really enjoyed and felt good watching. The saddest part being the fact that it only had 11 episodes and honestly deserves a lot more. I am left hoping for a sequel that I am certain will not disappoint.
+Very good male and female protagonists
+Diverse range of character personalities
+Touching, romantic scenes
+Good actions sequences where it counts
+Great OP and ED themes
-Lack of overarching conflict
You will love this anime if you love:
1. Cute scenes that makes you feel
like this --> :3
2. Shounen action sequences
3. Cut-the-long-story short romance (like seriously, enough of those long monologues, romance should be short and sweet)
4. Swordfighting/Slashing YEAH!
5. Comic humour
Noragami is split into three main arcs. The first being an introductory arc which tells you all about the 3 main characters, Yato, Yukine and Hiyori and how they came to meet, the second arc being the main conflict with Yukine's corruption and the third arc (lasting only 3 episodes) being the final battle against Rabo, the killer god of calamity.
The first arc is full of comedy and funny parts thanks to Yato's very lively and exaggerated personality, Hiyori's kick-ass moves and Yukine's cute reactions. The three share a chemistry that would make anyone comfortable watching through all of it, even if there isn't much of a plot line. All we have is the trio doing odd jobs and trying to earn money to build a shrine (+1)
The second arc is where the first main conflict kicks in, where Yato and Yukine's life is threatened through "corruption" of Yukine's soul. Yukine becomes stubborn and violent and ends up blighting Yato so much that Yato nearly dies. Yato however, refuses to give up Yukine or punish him, and instead sacrifices himself in order to show Yukine his sins. The plot line is quite gripping, so I'm giving full points for it (+3).
The third arc is where Yato faces off with his long-time old partner Rabo, who is still clinging on to the wicked wishes of people. Yato, however, has changed and shows Rabo who's boss in a very action-packed sequence. The main inconsistency though is how Yato kept on saying that Yukine "might die" against Rabo's power, but clearly, even when Rabo absorbed all the Phantoms for power, Yukine was nowhere near dying, and Yato was essentially still going strong. I thought that Rabo was generally underwhelming near the end and had little or no plan at all against Yato. Doesn't he know how strong Yato can actually be? He ended up saying "I actually wanted to die, btw", and I was like... uhh ok. Meh. (+2)
So altogether, there were only 2 main plot lines, but they were quite okay independently. There was no overarching conflict, although the anime does hint to a second season because of the mysterious Nora that we still don't know much about.
I thought that art was clean and smooth. I didn't like the way the phantoms were being drawn though. The shapes and sizes of the phantoms were also really random, and incidentally just resembled about anything the artist thought about (frogs, stingrays, snakes, crabs) basically based off random animals in general. But everything else was nice, especially the animation of Sekki which I was totally hooked to, as well as the abilities of all the other Regalias as well.
Sound for the anime was definitely top-notch. I loved both the OP and ED themes, and the back ground music for both the touching scenes and action scenes were really good. It never bore me at all, so it was a job well done.
It's only a 11 episode anime so I can't ask for much, but I thought that character development fleshed out definitely could be improved. Only Yato's past and backstory was even touched upon, but that was interesting enough to keep me watching. I wished they had put more backstory to Yukine though, maybe what Yukine was like when he was still alive? There was, however, a lot of character growth in Yukine, so I think that makes up for all the lack of backstory that he had. (+3)
Though Yato is my favourite characters (just because he can hack N slash), I want to specially mention Hiyori as well. She's generous, kind, full of love and compassion and understanding. She makes sacrifices, shows appreciation, gives hope and is just this stable rock that completely compliments Yato. I think Hiyori is an excellent female lead in this anime and she NEVER felt annoying like so many other female characters that I come across. She can also kick ass, so that's why she's awesome. (+2)
The other supporting characters were also very interesting. We have the Bishamon team, the Kufuku duo and the "Tenjin and his concubines", all of whom really help with the whole comic element to the anime. The character personalities are very diverse and interesting, and definitely a pull factor for this anime. (+2)
As for the antagonists, Rabo was interesting at first, but honestly he became very shallow toward the end. Only Nora was a point of interest in the entire anime, but she also didn't do much but tempt Yato to use her. Although the anime never really explained why Yato didn't want to use her, as if using a Nora would corrupt his soul or something, but this is something that I am assuming.
Still, I thought that the character interactions and relationships were very well crafted. This was one of the few animes where I actually LOVED the main characters for who they are and felt a sense of emotional attachment to them just because of that bubbly feeling inside. Aww. Especially all the cute face rubbing and general cuteness of all the characters. :3 (+1)
The comic element to this anime is really good. And I love it because it doesn't even pride itself as a "comedy" genre, but it made me laugh a lot more than other comedy animes that I've watched, just because of the really good characters and solid slapstick. One particularly funny part was when Yato was flying downwards and talking to a guy who was falling off a the top of a roof for like 5 minutes and Yukine was like, "Hmm this seems like a really long fall, dont'cha think?" (+3)
Other funny parts include almost every interaction with the Kufuku duo and every time Yukine gets into a rather awkward position with Hiyori. (oh yes and Hiyori falcon kicking everyone in her way). The anime also got me very excited across each episode, and I honestly didn't want to stop until I reached the end. It wasn't that it was very suspenseful, but that it was very engaging and I knew that it would not disappoint my taste time and time again. (+3)
There was not a single time when I felt bored watching this anime, and I think that's a plus point. The pacing was just right. Not too fast and not too slow, they really emphasized on the parts that made you feel for the characters. (+2)
I particularly loved the Sekki activation scenes, it just gets me every time. (+1)
A very good job well done to the creators of this anime. I think it was ALOT of potential to be honest. Now that all the main characters are fleshed out, all they need to do is develop them even further, expand to the rest of the supporting cast, dump all of them into a convincing plot narrative/conflict and you will get an amazing sequel.
*Note: my review is based on my personal preferences, even though I can understand the appeal of the show.
Alright, I'm going to keep this short:
-If you like shounen shows that are pretty well executed, I would DEFINITELY recommend this show. Great show for younger teenagers
-If you are looking for something intellectually stimulating, I would not bother.
The show takes stuff that has been done before and presents it in a way that flows well and feels pretty natural.
-characters are likable and despite them being gods and regalias, they are pretty believable.
-humor is very well executed.
show screams chuunibyou syndrome. Almost everytime Yato, the MC gets into a fight, he has this very cheesy spiel involving a special backdrop. Not to mention the same lines are used everytime
-The last arc of the show is a rip off of Ruroni Kenshin / Batousai.
-very simplistic approach to concepts explored.
The perfect balance of spiritual conflict and slice of life comedy.
Story - 8/10 Noragami is another installation of a trend of recent series that are trying to incorporate youkai battle plots with a light hearted slice of life/comedy/romance element, and surprisingly Noragami is able to pull it off. Without giving away any spoilers, the story is quite unique because it is able to find a great balance between series scenes and funny moments. The drama and action are enough to keep you enticed, and the RomCom isn't so overbearing that the side stories take away from the main plot. The only part of the story
I didn't care for was Yukine's arc. I thought it was a bit too dramatic and lasted too long, but if you can get over his annoying immaturity for a few episodes the rest of the series is great.
Art- 8/10 the artwork of Noragami is pretty good, with a unique op and closing to boot. The fighting scenes aren't over done, the scenery has great detail, and all the characters have unique characteristics compared to the typical anime types.
Character -10/10 The best part of Noragami is the characters, literally the only one that wasn't a 10/10 was Yukine. However, I realize he had to have more drastic development than other characters so I'm still giving this section a 10/10
Enjoyment/Overall - 8/10 overall I thought Noragami was a great series, and has a lot to offer everyone. It is funny, exciting, and heartfelt at times without having too many filler episodes. My only complaints are the distribution of episodes to certain arcs, and the fact that the series itself is only 12 episodes. I feel that if it had been given 25 or so, there would have been more time for better plot development and the ending wouldn't have felt so rushed. But alas 12 is all we get, and I would recommend this series to anyone, and especially those who like sword play and spiritual world genres.
Noragami, or as I like to call it “Everyone Loves Yato”, has a lot going for it. It looks nice, it's got appealing characters, and has a unique soundtrack. But the way the story presents itself in its short 12 episode run time has some dire consequences.
Noragami is all over the place. First we are introduced to the supposed main conflict of fixing Hiyori’s condition, but that gets put off as we get some filler of Yato desperately trying to make some money. These episodes were amusing and can pull off some good action and laughs, but being time wasters, there pretty
much insignificant. The majority of the show focuses on the relationship between Yato and Yukine which was actually well done and the only part of Noragami that had a decent payoff. It contains enough teen angst to be relatable, but not too much to be irritating. But this leaves us with just three episodes left to explore Yato’s past. It not really compelling as its not really explored in depth and in the end, it turns out to be another damsel in distress story. It just ends up feeling insignificant like the filler before it, not the best way to end the series.
I guess I could compare its pacing style to be Bebop. After all, both have a main conflict which is delayed in favor of some filler episodes. Cowboy Bebop succeeded as the fillers were good (for the most part) and its main conflict was resolved within its 26 episode run. Noragami, on the other hand, doesn't just leave its main conflict hanging, but various sub-plots are unsolved and the filler we got ranged from decent to plain extraneous. This was inevitable because of the 12 episode run. With 12 episodes, you simply don’t have the time to mess around too much when you have so many open subplots left hanging.
Some may say that this is excused because season 2 was announced. To that I say, not really. You cannot rely on the hopes for a 2nd season to resolve conflicts. When i'm watching a season, I at least expect some kind of a satisfying resolution (i'm looking at you Tokyo Ghoul), because to be honest, most anime don’t even get a second season.
Yato, our main protagonist, is a well rounded character. He’s funny (with some of the funniest faces you’ll ever see) and can even be bad-ass when he wants to be. But thanks to the shaky plot, what we know about Yato is incredibly vague. Oh yeah, remember how I called this show “Everyone Loves Yato”. Well lemme explain, Yato seems to have a relationship with everyone in the show. Its constantly implied he has history with them, but the show never really touches upon these histories. The side characters aren't really fleshed out and it leads to them just being there cause the plot said so with the worst offender being Bishamon. She’s out to kill Yato for a simple reason, but the show never actually shows the story behind it other than they hate each other.
Yukine is the most developed character in the show. That’s not to say he’s the most likable, but seeing Yukine struggling with the problems of being dead coupled with the frustration of teen angst is believable and at times heartfelt. Seeing him grow and develop is truly satisfying. As for Hiyori, she’s a mixed bag. She starts off rather decent and strong with her inspiration of wrestling moves. But as the series progresses, she suffers something I’d like to call the Asuna effect in which she devolves to become less of a character and less capable of defending herself to the point of becoming a damsel in distress. As likable as she was, she’s really nothing more than the typical schoolgirl archetype with some minor quirks.
Studio Bones once again does a great job with the animation. The character designs were appealing and the phantom had a very creative look to them even if they were just colorful, floating sea creatures. When the phantom’s die, they let some sort of a, how do I say it, wordy explosion and it looks gorgeous every time. Unfortunately, the phantom fights got to be underwhelming at times as it was just Yato doing the same chant over and over again with the same animation and line (sometimes twice per episode) followed by a single slash. The stand out action scenes were the ones involving two gods which was definitely the highlight of the series.
The opening for Noragami just screams cool. While I don’t think the show reaches the Rule of Cool, this opening got me hyped for every episode even when the story got underwhelming. The black and white characters blended well with the blue colored environment. The song on its own is catchy and is fitting with the show. The ending, on the other hand, is meh. Its not bad and it slightly grew on me after a few listens, but it just felt a bit generic and didn't blend well with the upbeat nature of the show or the opening.
The soundtrack for Noragami is a hit or miss. At first glance it may sound a little odd with one of the battle themes sounding like a guy saying “rectangle” over and over again. But for me, it fits with the show quite well. The soundtrack has quite a bit of hip hop along with some tunes that fit really well with the shinto themes. You’ll definitely get used to it and eventually the soundtrack will hype you up during the battle scenes. The voice acting is fine as everyone fit their role. Standouts include Yato’s voice actor for balancing between goofy and serious and Yukine’s voice actor for capturing the teen angst and struggles you would expect of an adolescent boy.
Despite its many flaws, Noragami is still a fun show to watch. It’s a likable show and it’s easy to see why this was the stand out show of the bland Winter 2014 season. Its got some major holes in the story which may be fixed in the upcoming season, but I wouldn't count on it. I give Noragami a 6/10.
Noragami is an action adventure with a rich history and characters such as God's, Phantoms, Regalias, and how could you forget the most important a beautiful High School Girl. Our lead character is the 'God of War' named Yato, voice acted by the ever so lovely Hiroshi Kamiya; yes this is only subbed as of now, who wishes to become a very rich and popular God but has to earn his way up 5 yen at a time! which in dollars is ~5 cents. In the very first episode his weapon, Regalia, decides to leave him because of how poor he happens to be, but
also because his hands get really sweaty!
Yato takes several jobs as a God in the first episode and amidst the arduous task of finding a lost kitten a girl named Iki Hiyori notices he's about to get hit by a bus and decides to jump to the rescue. Soon after, at the hospital, Yato explains to her how God's cannot be seen and that she herself is special because she can see him. Amidst the confusion of Hiyori's and the job seeking of Yato's they suddenly get under attack, and here our second male lead, Yukine, is spotted and Yato turns him into his new Regalia in the shape of a sword. He is a very annoying character for reasons I will let you find out on your own.
There are several other God's including Kofuku, Tenjin, Rabo, etc all with there respective Regalia(s). Most of these characters fill in several typical tropes your average anime has and in fact most of the show revolves around battles with these Gods. Yato has a rich history with the Gods and it's one of the bigger themes of the story. This story has no main plot, nothing driving it to keep me hooked to it, and because of that I found it hard continuing it all the way through. I felt as if the story was just going on for the sake of having the story.. go on. The fights were gorgeous and the art was just as gorgeous and it had the music to back it up but the fights were always lacking to me as if they really had no meaning to them; the God would fight Yato because they held some sort of 'past grudge' on him which really seemed like a lame excuse to add these fights in.
I haven't really mentioned much about the female lead Hiyori simply because her character seemed very unneeded. She never developed by any means and was simply there to act as a cheerleader for the male leads, helping them through there troubles, although that might be giving her a little too much credit. There might still be hope for her character because a season two is coming out soon which I look forward to reviewing as well!
Noragami was simply decent, although if someone were to ask me whether I liked it, my answer to that question would lean more towards a "No, not really" oriented answer. Quite frankly, this show disappointed me, to say the least. And its unfortunate because I really thought I was going to like this one, but sadly, the hype just didn't cut it for this one.
Definitely not the best, and fails to be in many ways. It lacked too many major details, and I found it somewhat choppy in some areas. At first, I liked the whole, "stray god trying to make it big"
idea, and the first half of the series was manageable, if not, enjoyable, but as it progressed further, I felt myself beginning to lose it. It lacked detail and sophistication, a show that would only be worth posing as a time-killer, just another thing to keep you semi-busy until you can find something more interesting to do.
Wasn't too bad, especially since I also watched this on in high quality (I always watch my animes in HD in order to give it's visuals a better judgement). The anime was also filled with many scenic parts, which proved to be beautifully colored and detailed, as well as decent looking effects. However, during most, if not, ALL the fight scenes, the animation dropped by at least 50%. This isn't particularly uncommon in most anime, but that certainly doesn't mean it isn't a problem, especially since this is a shorter series. Most short anime series I've seen lately (ones that have aired around the same time as Noragami) have all managed to keep a steady and nice animation quality, even throughout moments where most animators would get lazy and throw in some half-assed frames or cheap looking CG animation, which is what I saw in this series at many points. Examples of some short series who stayed consistent with crisp looking visuals would be Stein's Gate (well, this one's actually 23, but this only further proves my point), Psycho-Pass S2, Angel Beats, Black Butler S2, and Baccano (this one came out sometime earlier, but I can easily compare its animation qualities to Noragami).
The soundtrack wasn't too bad either, honestly. It was very unique and had a very nice touch to it. The music in this particular show was quite different form the typical rock-ish J-pop you usually hear. It was mixed with some dubstep qualities and, how should I say it... funk? which in my opinion is a plus. My favorite track from the series, however, was Harmony. I for some reason really enjoyed it when this particular one was playing, so soothing~
Hm, I think it's safe enough to say they weren't the best. I mean, as whole, they were funny with the way they interacted, and the the relationship Hiyori and Yato gradually developed wasn't too bad either, especially because it wasn't forced, it made sense, and it was, for the most part, practical. But other than that, I found the cast very mediocre. Many of the problems that arose in this anime were basically the fault of the characters not being able to communicate their feelings in a sensible manner. They were in fact selfish, only thinking about their own needs and what they thought they wanted, without giving a thought of "Gee, I wonder how 'so and so' feels about me doing this/acting in this way? Maybe I should ask them..." But in most cases we got, "I do what I want because I'm 'so and so' or because I deserve 'this and this'. Screw you." (this is 110% directed towards the poor relationship Yato and Yukine had among themselves, just so you know. But keep in mind, Yato brought into the show the things that made it watchable, to say the least, and was definitely one the few reasons why I decided to complete the series) If they had just taken the time to tone down their bitching about 'xyz' and just, I don't know, TALK about how to improve their partnership, many of the problems that occurred in the anime would've been solved or prevented, easily. And then there's Hiyori. She was an okay character at first, her being a half-dead phantom and having to pursue (I guess you can say) Yato in order to be changed back to a full human. That was a story line I didn't have many qualms about, but for some odd reason unknown to me, as the series progressed, she was pretty much demoted as a main character to a petty damsel in distress for some villain we only got to know anything about during just the last 2 episodes of the series... hm... how unsatisfying.
And then that brings me to the villain, whom I found extremely random and unappealing to the story. Honestly, my reaction to the last-minute introduction of this character was "Oh look... a random villain with little to no back story appeared... yay." It felt so misplaced because the time in which we began hearing even a hint about this Rabou character was, I believe, episode 10 or 11, and this is like what, a 12 episode series. I mean, you've just gotta be kidding me on that one. Not only that, the information we finally learn of him is nothing too special, nothing that would or should make you think his debut was anything to be particularly excited for. Additionally, he was an idiot. Like, I don't know whether it was just a petty pride thing, but for some reason, he was so hell-bent on fighting against his partner after what, hundreds of years, after Yato had clearly moved on and even told him to move on as well. But nah, this Rabou dude decided consuming himself with Ayakashi was a swell idea, which there was no real point in doing. Which then brings us to the ending fight scene, which was also unsatisfying. Yeah, we saw some waterbending and water Jutsu stuff going on, but that was it. We experienced nothing different from Yato, EVEN when he switched to rage mode after Rabou had broken the orb containing Hiyori's memories. I honestly expected Yato to have some hidden ability, something much cooler and unexpected than Rabou's, but all we got was a generic 'last one standing" ending where the villain was easily defeated, and therefore had no business being a villain in the first place. Villains like that are for kids shows, not more elaborate ones, but then again, this was not an elaborate anime.
And then I must also mention Bishamon. Not too sure what her purpose to the story was other than the fact that one of her shinki was killed by Yato, and now wants to kill Yato for doing so. We know nothing about her, her past, and who her deceased shinki even was. She also wasn't given sufficient enough screen time, which only made me more irritated about trying to figure out who exactly this woman was. But of course, this may have been intended, as a second season may be on the way (whether another one is actually needed is debatable).
I enjoyed the comedy and the visuals of the anime. The comedic aspect of it was childish (sometimes mature), but I laughed, and I tend to have a soft spot for shows that manage to make me laugh, seriously. That's a always a plus. However, that is only the surface, most of the things that went underneath the series in terms of story and characters wasn't very appealing, and these are all important factors that are meant to add to the watching experience, not take away from it.
It was simply... decent, a show that clearly fell below the hype level. Many aspects of the show seemed bland and unfinished, always building up to some interesting ideas, only for it to be discontinued later on, a reoccurring trait I observed in this series. The characters weren't very interesting and sometimes irritable, and the ending was unsatisfying. But even so, they had great visuals and music, and the series was nonetheless an enjoyable one, even if how enjoyable it was was all the series had to begin with. So fellow denizens reading this review, all I can say to you about this series is, if you have free time with absolutely nothing to do, I guess you can give this one try, just be sure not to expect much, especially if your the type who prefers well thought out, detailed storylines with great characters and supporting details... which Noragami didn't exactly have.
So, I think it's important to write a review on this, since I may have a perspective that a lot of people don't really have on this one.
Noragami is about Yato, a minor god of calamity who can't get a shrine of his own, and is kind of a bum, who lives with other gods. He also can't seem to keep a servant spirit, because they all run off because he's too poor, and they want a higher lifestyle. Enter Hiyori, a girl who has an accident that causes her to slip in and out of astral travel. This is very dangerous for her, and
so she ends up befriending Yato who promises to find a way to save her. Along the way Yato battles lots of demon monsters who are corrupted spirits.
To many people, Noragami is just another shonen. Battles and action sequences, and some light comedy. And to many people that's all it will be.
But at it's core, Noragami is a spiritual piece. It contains elements of Buddhist (and Shinto) teachings that make up the core of this anime.
The main premise of this anime is all about the Buddhist concept of Karma, and Sange. Sange is the act of making spiritual contrition: being freed from the burdens of one's mistakes, and harmful acts, by truly being sorry and remorseful.
Noragami, is at it's core, a story about people who do willful, harmful behavior, and then when the karmic burden becomes too great, realize the error of their ways, and truly and sincerely redeem themselves.
It's an extremely powerful, and deep story in that sense. For many people, they won't get that, they will see gods, and demons, and spirits, and ghosts, and a girl who does astral travel, and think it's all about battles, and another shonen. People have even oddly compared it to Hataraku Maou-sama! (the Devil is a part-timer!) simply because Yato has a part time job. But it's while there are some similarities in the comedy aspects, in Noragami, Yato's "job" aspect truly is a very minor, almost glossed over aspect of the story, and the anime itself is about much deeper concepts.
Noragami has a lot of different elements in it. If all you want is action and battles, hey, it has that, and enough to keep you entertained. If you want romance, it has bits of that too. And if you want character development it's loaded with that.
But if you want something deeper, there is an extremely deep spiritual element too. And that, to me is really the heart of Noragami. All else is just window dressings to provide entertainment. But it's the spiritual development of the characters, and the overall deep spiritual meanings that make this one special.
Up until today, i've never heard of Noragami. It is relatively new but if my friend haden't asked me to watch this with him i probably wouldn't have seen it for a while. That being said i'm glad i took a couple hours of my time to watch the whole first season in one night. I didn't think much of it at first, it looked cool but I personally didn't think it was going to be anything special. This show surprised me ALOT, this a great anime with very little flaws.
Story (9). The story is great, I love how it took time to develop
the characters and relationships without sacrificing action or excitement. The drama between the characters worked good as well very rarely being boring. In the first few episodes I thought the show was going to go one way, and it evolved a great deal molding into a fantastic plot without holes. The story picks up quickly as well, getting right to the point in the first episode and then continuing from there. There are no major plot twists, but there are alot of unexpected actions that happen causing my interest to grow. The story takes time to develop the character relationships and still have a central plot point, then in the last few episodes it introduces the main antagonist. At first glance this wouldn't really work well, but when you see the drama between characters you understand why it was structured like this and you see how it actually works. Each episode isn't just about the drama though, episodes typically have excitement and an obstacle for the characters to overcome while progressing the story simultaneously.
Animation (10). Oh lord, this animation was spot on perfect, bones did a fantastic job making the show look gorgeous. All the characters have vibrant colors and unique and pretty designs. The environments look good and clean as well. The CGI effects aren't overused at all and look perfect where ever they're placed. Water and rain effects look fantastic and blend really well with the overall animation. This is a very colorful series, having unique and bright but real looking characters and creatures. The Phantom creatures look bright and beautiful, very unique as well. The action scene choreography is done perfectly and looks very smooth and fluent. Overall the animation is spot on perfect, everything is pretty and interesting to look at while not being over done.
Sounds (9). This really goes without saying, the sounds are all crisp clean and very interesting in the case of characters using special powers or other supernatural creatures as well. The soundtrack works very well too, the music binds perfectly with fight scenes and doesn't eclipse the action. The intro and outro songs are very good as well, nothing amazing but they set the tone well and I didn't mind listening to it every episode.
Characters (8). The main characters, Yato, Hiyori, and yukine all worked very well and served as great protagonists. Yato is a very likable guy and is humorous as well. He is also a badass and shows that he truly cares for his friends. Hiyori is very good as well, her voice acting performance was great and she brought alot of emotion and depth to the show. Yukine came off initially as annoying, then he grew on me and by the end I liked him alot. This show does a great job at making you care about all three main characters and being concerned about what happens to them. Another thing the show does well involves the antagonists. Being introduced late in the series normally it would feel like they're shoehorned in. In the few episodes they were there they actually made great villains with a decent back story. They really gave Yato a struggle and the show does a good job at making you hate them. The supporting characters were very good as well, they didn't eclipse the main cast but at the same time they all had great unique personalities and brought a great presence to the show. They all got equal screen time for the most part and they had some funny, intense and subtle moments. It doesn't overcrowd you with a shit ton of supporting cast it nails just the right amount. The show also does a great job at developing the relationship between the main characters, they all have really good chemistry and you really get the sense that they're friends. The relationships evolve and change as well and it's very interesting to see unfold.
I just really liked this anime, it surprised me alot and i was glad with the results. The story had good closure as well and had a good subtle ending. It also gave me excitement for the next season. This show is light hearted and funny but at the same time carries a decent amount of emotion and action at the same time. I wouldn't say it mixes the action and comedy but it does a great job at distinguishing it and at the same time binding it together. The episode endings didn't leave me demanding more but i was very interested with the story.
I highly recommend this show i enjoyed it alot and it was very solid all the way through, if you liked my long review (I'm sorry) please give it a thumbs up (:
I had heard great things about this anime so I decided to give it a shot. I went in with an open mind. Overall I thought the anime was well done but not without it's flaws.
Story: I've mentioned in a previous review the Action/Romance genre dilemma. Basically you get one or the other, rarely both, sometimes none. I feel like both story elements (action and romance) could have been done better. What this anime does have in large quantities is anime-style slapstick comedy.
Action: Most of the action (really until the last episode) is very boring. The main enemies for most of the series are
glowing, psychedelic lobsters/crabs/frogs called "phantoms". They are poorly drawn and are in no way intimidating or scary. They really serve no purpose other than to pop up and serve as target practice for Yato. To make matters worse, they insist on having Yato recite the same 3-4 line speech before he executes a sword slash (btw, 1 hit kills these phantoms) before cutting to a prolonged death sequence for the phantom. It feels like filler. Two things save the action aspect anime. First there are other struggles besides slaying these mindless drones. These other struggles are interesting but will easily bore someone who wants Attack on Titan or Darker Than Black fight scenes. The second thing the fight at the end. I won't spoil anything but it's actually pretty good and I wish they hadn't waited till the end to introduce it. If they got rid of the giant floating creatures and replaced it with God fights this anime would have rocked.
Romance: The other side to the coin is the romance angle. To be honest, this anime forgot that it was only 12 episodes long. The pacing made Hiyori seem clingy and Yato seem completely aloof until about 3/4 through the season. My biggest problem though comes back to the 12 episode limit. It's really hard to make two characters bond in that amount of time, especially when there is no mutual struggle to bring them together. Basically Hiyori lives a normal life as a student and Yato tries to earn money. No Death game, no Invasion, no Titans. What saved this series is the possibility of a second season and more character development.
Sound: Those fucking Phantoms. It's like they lifted the voices from Star Wars and borrowed Jabba the Hut's voice and layered it with a Jawa's. It's really awful. They F'd up the phantoms. I was also very plus minus on their sound track. The action sequences use this industrial/electronic theme that's unique but imo not too pleasing on the ears.
Art: It's Bones so the quality is pretty good. When I said the Phantoms were poorly drawn it wasn't from lack of skill, it was the creature design and style. Maybe it's just me but they looked super silly.
Overall: I kept an open mind and, despite my complaints, I actually wasn't too disappointed. This is a 12 episode PG-13 anime and it entertained me.
Bones and a supernatural shounen? This just might be amazing...
Unlike previous works of Bones that may prompt one to think of the magical works of Fullmetal Alchemist or Zetsuen no Tempest, the concept of Noragami is rather peculiar; it takes the concept of deities and the supernatural, and places it in a shounen atmosphere. Such concepts have nevertheless been done many times before, however, Noragami takes a strange twist on it. Yato is a rather poor god (being a newcomer), and in order obtain respect and fame he must earn it through favors. On his path to fame, he encounters Hiyori Iki, a seemingly random
schoolgirl. Hiyori notices Yato in danger (he isn't usually noticed) and "pushes him out of the way of a speeding bus; unaware of his status as deity." This ultimately causes Hiyori to become a "half-phantom" and thus becomes a major driving factor for the plot in the series. Unfortunately, Noragami (in this aspect) lacks strong plot and premise. There are many inconsistencies that seem to arrive, and many questions unanswered. For example, why was it possible that Hiyori could see Yato in episode 1? The anime itself makes a rather ridiculous example of how deities and phantoms from the "far shore" are unnoticable, and later it becomes a huge plot device. Such holes continue when one considers the lack of proper backstory of many side-characters, such as the later revealed incidents with Bishamon, Nora, or even Kazuma. Without a proper amount of content, one has to question their true relevence aside from being plot devices or canon fodder. Unfortunately, Noragami totals at a whopping 12 episodes, so there isn't much time to provide for such things. Luckily, Noragami doesn't take up the challenge of compressing so much into a miniscule amount of episodes, as seen many times before by previous failures.
The primary focus of Noragami seems to be the characterization of Yato's trio of: himself, Hiyori and Yukine. Because of this, the pacing of the story seems to be quite slow, and one could easily get lost at the shift of plot's goal. The whole thing does seem a bit messy; however, Noragami does manage to maintain great characterization. The driving factor of this anime seems to be Yukine, a wandering spirit who still has regrets from when he was still alive. This is (more-or-less) due to the fact that he died while still young. Upon reunion with the world, his "regret" is slowly shaped into "jealousy," and as a spirit, these emotions do not come cheap. These concepts of his "regrets," and the "punishments" regarding them really starts to ameliorate the plot; Yato is left with the trial to properly discipline Yukine, while concurrently trying to maintain his own ideals and respect. From this point on, the series itself takes quite a bit of an emotional turn, and the darker pasts and truths of the characters are revealed. Noragami does a great job with the aspect of "regret," and utilizes the supernatural aspect of the anime to further the emotional progression. Unfortunately, Hiyori herself doesn't develop into a substantial character, but fills the role of both an inspiration to the others and an essential advocate.
Whether Bones has done a good job with the animation is quite important, as Noragami is (despite the lack of emphasis of it) an action anime. Ultimately, it seems like Bones really delievered quality content. A good representation of how this is portrayed is shown in the first few minutes of Noragami. A girl named Matsumi is seemingly being attacked (quite reminiscient of schizophrenia), and Yato descends as she pleads help from the gods. Yato slays a rather menacing looking phantom by a means of many flashy jumps and slices. The animation in this scene in particular is very much like many of the other battle scenes in the anime. It's done quite well, and very much gives an impression of a typical shounen with many action scenes. Noragami also suppplies an array of impressive swordsmanship shown throughout the series, delivering what many who were interested in Noragami came to see. Unfortunately, Noragami isn't entirely action, as it seems to be a minor aspect of the series. Most of the anime scenes fail to live up to a continuing expectation of colorful looking phantoms and artsy buildings as seen in the opening. It should also be noted that the consistency isn't regarded too highly in terms of animation, but it's honestly hard to complain when Noragami was produced in 2014.
Regarding the opening, the selection of music was quite appropriate throughout the series. After an introduction of various closeups and 3D gimmicks, Yato is seen around a rather surreal city while "Goya no Machiawase" plays, a J-rock song that seems to maintain the mood of a typical shounen. The ED in particular, "Heart Realize," a standard J-pop song, captures a much more realistic mood of Noragami; Hiyori is seen searching for Yato and Yukine with an umbrella in a rather frigid, yet exciting atomsphere. Supercell in particular did a nice job of introducing Tia, a young Nico Nico singer. Her voice needs more exposure to the anime industry, as with Noragami, I am now a fan of hers.
The voice acting, in retrospect, is quite conventional. Yato is voiced by Hiroshi Kamiya, a very credible voice actor who won best "Best Lead Actor" and "Best Personality" at the Third Seiyuu Awards. Many viewers may be familiar with his work in Attack on Titan as Levi. The other seiyuus can be held into equal respects, as Maaya Uchida, who acts as Hiyori, won Best New Actress Award in the 8th Seiyu Awards. I'm quite impressed by the voice actors' level of ability, as the amount of emotion needed is essential for success. Without the proper voice acting, it wouldn't be proper to call Noragami a "tear-jerker," while it certainly does hold the title. Unfortunately, the voice acting can only do so much for the series.
Noragami is an anime that had some mediocre plot points, but shapened it up with its great production and characterization. Its pacing is slow, but correct, as it manages to slip in its high points. It's a bit unfortunate that Noragami received only twelve episodes; it could have easily become something special in the anime industry.
Noragami is a supernatural action series with a hint of romance produced by Studio Bones. Along with Shinichiro Watanabe’s Space Dandy, Noragami signaled the current wave of productivity from the studio in 2014, after a slump of low productivity and shows with lukewarm reception which lasted a few years. While not all the shows in this new wave are gems (or even good), Noragami is a keeper. Though it does stick rigidly close to genre conventions, the show casts a wide range of appeal, and effectively hits every one of its targets. It is frequently funny, continuously engaging, and on rare occasion even a little
creepy. Most importantly, however, Noragami has a lot of heart.
The story begins when Hiyori, a kind-hearted teenage girl, starts having out of body experiences and meets a down on his luck god named Yato. Where most gods have shrines or attendants, Yato goes around doing odd jobs as a ‘delivery god’ charging 5 yen for his services. Hiyori requests Yato to find a way to stop her out of body experiences, Yato agrees but says it will be an extended task and will take some time. In the meantime, Hiyori gets drawn further into the world of spirits and gods as she joins Yato and his newly acquired and rebellious Shinki (spirit servant/assistant for lack of better term), Yukine, on their various assignments. All the while, Yato’s dark past is slowly catching up with him.
Noragami is a nicely paced, well-rounded show. It deftly switches between action, drama, and comedy on a regular basis, and does a remarkable job keeping the tone consistent even as it shuffles back and forth. The somewhat episodic nature of the show works well to frame the world in which the story takes place, while giving the cast a plenty of time to develop, and allowing the main plotline to slowly reveal itself over the course of the series. The dialogue hits just the right balance of exposition and character interaction, allowing for explanations which further develop this world and how it works, while never really feeling tedious or dry. Dramatic and comedic moments flow naturally, giving a very good sense of who these characters are and how they interact with one another. Even when the show delves into darker material, it usually does not come across as jarring or unnatural, although sometimes a bit forceful and melodramatic. Really, the execution of the plot and all its elements is quite exceptional.
The strong execution here is very important because the plot, and even characters, in Noragami aren’t anything particularly special on paper. Sure, its world of gods and spirits which exists side-by-side with the world we know is well developed, but it is hardly an original concept. In fact, the setting is one of the most commonly used in the medium of anime; recent shows like Beyond the Boundary and Kami-sama Kiss feature similar settings, and really, they’re only the tip of the iceberg. Having a character such as Hiyori go down the rabbit hole, metaphorically speaking, and entering a world that she is not familiar with is hardly a fresh idea. Neither is Yato’s goofball with a dark past backstory, or half a dozen other plot elements in the show. And yet, the material somehow shines in spite of this. The skillful yet sincere storytelling makes the plot intriguing and emotionally engaging, keeping the viewership invested in the characters and various plotlines even though it is essentially material we’ve seen multiple times before.
Most instrumental to the show’s success is the chemistry between the three leads. Hiyori is a bright, compassionate, and friendly young lady. She’s naïve and unknowledgeable of the mystical world, yet she’s proactive and responsible, always trying to help and understand those around her. In stark contrast is Yato, who seems to be purposely negligent and irresponsible. He’s laidback and only occasionally takes things truly serious, despite his aspiration of being a famous and widely worshiped diety. Unlike Hiyori, Yato can be apathetic to those around him and lets things run their course, even if they lead to disastrous ends. Completing the trinity is Yukine, the confused and defiant spirit of a young teenage boy. Having died at a young age, Yukine is constantly dissatisfied with his situation, and hardly heed the advice and warnings of those around him. He’s also envious of those who have things he does not and cannot have, namely a normal teenage life and friends. These three very different individuals form a makeshift family which is the emotional core of the show. They argue and hurt one another, they console and comfort each other, they have awkward misunderstandings and share laughs. Despite all coming from varied backgrounds and having clashing personalities, there is a genuine connection between the three, one which can sometimes bring them pain, but other times bring them a sense of comfort and acceptance. It’s a connection that is formed through odd circumstances, but one that runs deeper than it might originally appear, and one that the three depend on as the series progresses. The threat of this connection being broken is what makes the antagonists so menacing, and the main plotline so rewarding, even though it is built on a cluster of overused tropes.
Noragami is produced by the prolific Studio Bones, and as such, the show looks expectedly stellar for the most part. The character designs have a bi-shounen/bi-shoujo flavor to them, but thankfully have the best aspects of such designs. They’re attractive and expressive designs, and each character has their own distinct body language. The animation is quite good majority of the time, especially during action sequences. There are a few noticeable technical hic-ups and budget restrictions, but overall it is a very good looking show. It sounds just as nice, with well composed music which is implemented effectively. It’s not a soundtrack that is going to stick in your memory or be considered one of the all-time greats, but it supports the show’s content as all good soundtracks should. Likewise, the voice work from the Seiyuu is solid across the board. There isn’t really a performance that stands out as great, but it is an admirable ensemble effort.
What Noragami lacks in creativity and originality, it makes up in execution. This is director Koutarou Tamura’s first stab at a full-length TV series, having only directed individual episodes or served as assistant director in various project previously, and it is quite an admirable one. It is clear that the staff behind this project cared about producing a quality work, and they succeeded in doing so. Noragami won’t go down in history as a game-changer or anything of the sort, but as it stands, it is a great genre piece.