Table of Contents
- Animation and Art
- Final Verdict
STORY – 8/10
In a world similar to ours, Yato is a minor deity of calamity without a shrine of his own. He meets Hiyori – your typical girl who tries to save him from an accident. After which, she realizes she can leave her body and whenever she does so, she acquires a tail. Yato agrees to solve her issue, while trying to fight off various Ayakashi – demons from the dead realm. Little does Hiyori know, that Yato’s past is shrouded in mystery and his whole being is like a box of secrets.
Welcome to Noragami, a show that takes a very unusual concept and takes it to a whole new level. To be true to how I do things, let’s start with the setting.
The setting is actually a really good thing in Noragami. While the first scene may leave an impression of it being a high school focused anime – it’s just a facade. The whole thing revolves around three characters with no particular place that is visited more often than the others. This in turn makes the whole thing more unique. The fact that the main character is a deity of calamity and calls himself “Delivery Yato god” only adds to that. Ask yourself, how often do you see a god cleaning toilets for 5 yen? Exactly. It’s a very cool concept to have a series run with, and not fail miserably.
The story revolves around Yato, Hiyori and his Divine Instrument fighting off Ayakashi, trying to get Hiyori’s problem solved and doing jobs for 5 yen so that Yato can buy himself a shrine. Simple enough? Yeah, and it stays relatively simple at it’s core. The more we watch, the more we realize the boundaries between what is considered good and bad, how do gods perceive those things, and what makes humans do wrong. Various laws of the universe are also really well explained, examples being the Ayakashi and where do they come from, the Divine Intruments’ weaknesses and stuff. It shows that sometimes what one does hurts the other without the former realizing it. It’s very coherent, and does a great job introducing new things without it all feeling too rushed or too slow.
The pacing is another good point of the show. It feels just about right. Sure, sometimes the show spends what feels like too much emphasizing a single point, however, it all makes sense as to why it did so. Although, with the pacing comes one major flaw the show has. The “main villain” so to speak. He’s introduced way too late, given just enough background to live by, and ends just about as quick as he started.
The show did leave some things out in the open, without answering them, but with the news of second season coming soon, there is nothing to worry about on that part.
CHARACTERS – 7.5/10
The cast of Noragami isn’t the biggest one there is, and that’s a fact. Three main characters with few side ones. They are rather well developed for 1-cour series, though may appear bland. Except for Yato, who has somewhat unique personality, Yukine and Hiyori are very archetype-y and don’t necessarily grow to become something else, at least in this season. If you’re looking for a show in which characters undergo dramatic changes, it’s not that one. It does have some reedeming aspects, mainly the dialogue and interactions between characters, but besides that they are the show’s weak point.
Yato : The god. Yato is very confident and intelligent person. He is also doing a lot of childish and silly things, and tends to be sneaky and playful. He also has a mysterious and serious side to him. He wants to become more popular god and build himself a shrine, so that everyone can admire him.
Iki Hiyori : Very kind girl with a strong sense of what’s right or wrong. She is very loyal and has no troubles expressing her emotions to the people who are close to her. She “saves” Yato from an accident, causing her to go out of her body in a “spirit” form.
Yukine : Divine Instrument of Yato. He appears very annoyed by the fact that he died and that Yato made him his Divine Instrument. Seeing as he is very young, he tends to have a lot of swings in his mood, getting easily excited or easily aggitated. In his weapon form he takes a form of a sword with bandages.
ANIMATION AND ART – 8.5/10
The art of Noragami is rather pretty and pleasant to look at. It’s colourful, and uses a great ton of colour effects to make a point, or just look flashy. Sometimes the borders of a characters’ model are in different colour, or, as seen in the opening and few scenes, everything is grayed out and only the colour of the eyes and something else remains. Even if it doesn’t require much, it looks surprisingly amazing. Sometimes the art takes a trip to a comedy world, looking almost like a manga drawing, or adding “cat-like apperances” to characters, mainly Yato.
The Ayakashi are done in a very creepy way. Think of something similar to what Madoka Magica did with the Witches, just a tad less weird, and more colourfull. The effects of them disappearing are also fantastic.
The animation is really good as well. It’s above average for the most part, stepping up big time when the fights happen. I really mean big time. Even the first episode’s first moments show that it looks really well. The movements are smooth, and the action scenes are really fluid. The effects are also done really well. Can’t say anything bad about it really.
SOUNDTRACK – 9/10
Welcome to the show’s biggest, in my eyes, asset. The soundtrack. It’s outstanding and amazing. It’s a mixture of techno music with something else just as pumpy. The OST adds a lot to the show. Many tracks are memorable, making the scenes that much more epic in a sense. Every song is put to a great use in just the right moments.
The opening is an alright one. It has two visuals, with the only difference in them being switching one character for another. They are really well and fit the song. The ending is also an okey one. Nothing too outstanding, but nothing to worry about either. It also has cool visual to fit it.
The show has been licensed for dubbing by Funimation, and while I didn’t particularly like it, mostly because I didn’t feel like the VA for Yato fit the character, it wasn’t a horrible dub by any means. It’s decent enough, and if you prefer to watch anime dubbed, you’ll do just fine with it. The Japanese Seiyuu, on the other hand, left a very good impression on me. The voices did fit the characters perfectly (I watched the first two episodes in dub first, then in Japanese FYI) and performed really well. Especially Yato’s. His personality that was switching between a silly child and a mysterious man wouldn’t be as visible if it wasn’t for his Japanese Seiyuu. Other than that, both are good, I just thought the Japanese was way better than the English one.
FINAL VERDICT – 8/10
Noragami is a really good show with some unique concept. It’s very entertaining with some outstanding soundtrack that many of you will probably love. It has really cool art and story, with somewhat interesting characters, but what it does bad it covers with great action and themes it discusses. On top of which, it’s confirmed to get second season, so anything that’s been left unanswered has a chance of getting explained.
Should you watch it? Probably yes. Why would you? Because it’s really entertaining, and not that long. If you need an action anime with some great soundtrack and action scenes – Noragami, that’s the one you pick.