Noragami Season 1
Rating: 8.5 out of 10 stars
Trigger Warning: This review covers the topic of suicide
- Interesting characters with strong character development
- Comedic elements balanced with dark moments
- Attractive art style
- Good animation
- Love the music
- Great intro and outro
- The flippant way that the show deals with suicide
Warning: Limited Spoilers Ahead!
Noragami, which literally means “Stray God,” is about a minor god of calamity named Yato who does not even have a shrine, and is trying to gain popularity during a time of peace. Gods of calamity are mostly prayed to during times of war or unrest, and if gods are forgotten, they cease to exist. So he has taken to doing odd jobs anywhere from finding lost cats to cleaning bathrooms.
In the midst of the cat-finding mission, he is almost hit by a bus, and a teenager named Hiyori saves him, even though being hit by a bus would not cause any permanent damage to Yato. Hiyori is hit and her soul leaves her body. She recovers from her injuries, but has a new problem where her soul keeps slipping from her body and leaving her body asleep wherever she goes.
It becomes a real issue for her, so she enlists the help of Yato to fix her. That is easier said than done, however, because he has no idea how to do that.
When we first meet Yato, he has a falling out with his regalia (which is kind of like a servant that turns into a useful object–a weapon, for instance). He releases that regalia from her duties and is thus unable to properly fight, since she was his weapon. Soon after the start of the season, he finds a new regalia and names him Yukine. Yukine is a teenager who has trouble dealing with his emotions and is rebellious. Yato is hurt every time his regalia misbehaves because of the bond between god and regalia.
The phantoms in this anime are Yato’s frequent foes, and their design is interesting, usually almost fluorescent. There is a big focus on eyes when a phantom is appearing, which gives the sense that they are always watching. They appear when a person is extremely stressed or on the verge of a breakdown. The especially large one shown above appeared during exam season.
I love Hiyori’s personality–her kindness, her temper, her love of martial arts. She is a mere mortal, but able to stand on equal footing with Yato and get her point across. She is funny, too. In her spirit form, she has a long pink tail. Upon finding that if the tail is damaged, she will be unable to return to her body, she laments that she is not “wireless.”
The intro is beautiful, using a limited color pallet to make the whole thing seem like a work of art. The color in the eyes and certain details really pop because the background is simple-colored. The song, Goya wa Machiawase, is a rousing song with the theme of moving on from the past, even if it means metaphorically killing your past self. It is perfect for this anime, which becomes increasingly apparent later in Season 1 and in Season 2.
The outro is not as good, but is still attractive with its likewise limited color palette and strong contrast. It has the trope in anime songs of the person walking and running.
If someone wants to die, let them die.”Yato
Yato handles suicide in a way that is not great. His opinion is if that someone wants to end their own life, in most cases others should not interfere. Since he is a morally ambiguous character and this opinion is not necessarily supported by the creators, it is not problematic. However, at one point a man tries to commit suicide by jumping from a building and then falls for a ridiculous amount of time. This is obviously meant to be a humorous, if a bit dark, scene. I don’t think that suicide is a topic that should be treated lightly, which is why I listed this as a con.
I won’t spoil any of the ending or more of the plot points. I feel that what I have discussed so far gives a glimpse into what this anime is like and is sufficient to show that it is worth watching. I would recommend this for fans of fantasy and comedic anime.
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