Sunday, May 4, 2014


Noragami is a series adapted from a manga, and it’s about a god called Yato Gami, or simply Yato.  Yato is not your stereotypical god, wearing traditional Japanese robes, living in a shrine and surrounded by shrine maidens.  Yato is a poor god, wearing sweats and a ratty scarf, living on the streets and spray painting his cell phone number everywhere advertising that he does odd jobs for a living.  In fact, give him 5 yen and he’ll take on any job – from slaying demons to cleaning your bathroom.

At the start of this series Yato has taken on an odd job and he's searching for a lost cat.  In pursuing the cat, he steps in front of a bus.  He is pushed out of the way by a high school girl named Iki Hiyori, who is hit by the bus instead and should have died.  Her soul leaves her body, but when Yato makes her notice her body lying in the street, she returns to her body and lives.  Since Yato’s life was never in danger, he goes to the hospital to check on how Hiyori is doing, and the two begin to interact routinely. 

Due to the bus accident and essentially dying, Hiyori now has the ability for her soul to leave her body, at which point her body falls asleep.  She has a tendency to do this without intending to, leaving her body sleeping in various places, which her friends then have to deal with.  Her soul form looks just like her regular self except as a soul she has a fuzzy tail, which is essentially her lifeline to her body.   Hiyori blames Yato for this and demands that he fix her so she stops leaving her body.  She pays him 5 yen and he accepts the task.
Around the time he meets Hiyori, Yato is weaponless.  Gods take and name wandering spirits, who then become their “regalia” or shinki, and can then be used as weapons by the god.  Yato has just released his previous regalia due to personality conflicts with her, so he’s without any regalia.   Because he needs a weapon to fulfill some of his requests and to protect Hiyori and fulfill her request, he and Hiyori search for a new spirit which he can take on as a shinki.  Yato eventually settles on the spirit of a teen-age boy who he names Yukine in boy form.  When Yukine takes on weapon form he is called Sekki, and his form is a katana.    
This series is basically split into three arcs.  The first one introduces all this background and the characters and sets up their interactions with each other.  The second arc is Yato and Yukine coming to terms.  Yukine resents being dead and takes to lying and stealing, not knowing that whenever he does something bad, Yato’s life force takes a hit, becoming more and more defiled.  Eventually Hiyori rounds up Yato’s friends and acquaintances, who Hiyori has met, to perform an intervention on Yukine.  This ritual will either bring Yukine back to the good side and save Yato’s life, or to destroy Yukine in the demon form he’s become and hopefully save Yato’s life that way.
The third arc is related to Yato’s past.  Apparently Yato was once a God of Calamity, killing and maiming and just generally wreaking destruction as he went.  Another god of calamity named Rabou, who was at one time Yato’s friend, tracks him down and wants to fight him as Yato once was, a powerful god of calamity.  (yes, the old testosterone-filled ploy of ‘I-must-fight-the-strongest-to-prove-I’m-the-best’).  Because Yato won’t play, Rabou and Rabou’s shinki Nora (who was at one time Yato’s shinki) go after Hiyori, taking away her memories of Yato and Yukine and eventually taking her life.  Yato and Yukine of course ride to the rescue, but satisfyingly, Hiyori herself is as much a part of the rescue as the one being rescued.  It takes all three of them to beat their opponents.
This is as usual the bare bones of the series without introducing any of the secondary characters or smaller plot lines.  It was actually a fun series to watch, with good music and a good animation style.  I could have wished to know more about Yato – like why he went from a god of calamity to a good guy, saving teen-age boy spirits and granting wishes for 5 yen, but overall the series was well worth watching.

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