- by Kotaro Tamura
- 12+2 (OVA) episodes
- based on manga
The anime series follows the story of a minor god who calls himself a ‘Delivery God’. His biggest dream is to have millions of workshipper and to own a shrine one day. However, he has to do casual jobs for only 5 yen to achieve his goal. One day, a young girl named Hiyori sees Yato as he jumps in front of a bus while catching a cat. She follows him without thinking about the danger which causes that she got hit by the bus and wakes up at the hospital. In the hospital, she meets the minor god again. After the accident, Hiyori’s soul becomes loose and is able to leave the body. She wants to get rid of this and so she asks Yato to fix it. However, he needs a new partner/weapon which is also called regalia to help Hiyori. He finds Yukine who becomes his new regalia and so the journey of the three begins.
The concept of the anime is very interesting and new. As already mentioned, it is about an unknown and homeless god who tries to find supporters. Apart from his odd jobs he does, he also helps people who are covered by so-called phantoms. Sad, depressed and evil minded human beings are covered and surrounded by these phantoms which make the humans to do evil things. Another ability of these phantoms is taking innocent and good souls into the dark side. Moreover, even though the anime is about gods and shrines, it is not extremely religious which means that it is not a religious anime.
Furthermore, “Noragami” contains many funny and comedic elements. Here, the relationship between the three main characters (Yato, Yukine and Hiyori) are the main focus. The disputes and conversations between them are hilarious. Even Yukine’s “sins”, which means what he is not allowed to do, are quite funny. Another funny element is the fight between the Goddess of War Bishamon and the rather unknown god Yato, because Yato always calls her crazy due to her immense thirst of revenge. We also like the fact that Hiyori, an innocent young girl, is fascinated by wrestling and so she also tries to copy their fight moves. Clearly, the laziness of Yato annoys Yukine and so they have many arguments. Yukine does not respect his “master” Yato and sees him as a loser in a stinky tracksuit. In fact, one can say that Yato is the comic relief in the anime and one is neither bored nor annoyed when he is on the screen.
An interesting aspect is the illustration of gods in a different point of view. They are depicted as funny and human like (especially Yato). Gods are invisible for humans with the exception of children and animals. However, they can also be seen by humans when the gods want to be seen. The same applies for Yato’s phone number which he writes everywhere to get jobs. This number is only visible for desperate people.
The regalias of gods have different functions. Bishamon wears clothes consisting of regalias and her earring for navigation is also a regalia named Kazuma. Yato’s regalia is Yukine who turns into a sword. The regalia of Kofuku (God of poverty) is very amusing: a japanese fan (his name is Daikoku).
The characters of “Noragami” show different personalities. For instance, Yukine is very stubborn and sarcastic towards others. The minor god Yato differs from the typical hero as known from other anime series. His rival Bishamon seems to be a lunatic and Kofuku is bright and light headed. The young girl Hiyori has a very high degree of kindness and is very helpful.
Yato is one of the main characters and is a “homeless” (meaning that he has no shrine) unknown god. His main goal is to get popular and he dreams of having millions of worshippers. However, with his tracksuit, it is somehow impossible to take him serious as a god. He is very playful and childish, but he can also be very harsh which means that he has two faces. On one hand, Yato is very brave and cares a lot for Yukine and Hiyori. In fact, it does not always seem so, but he even risks his own life for Yukine (ablution scene). This part of his personality makes him a very sweet character. On the other side, however, he also carries a sneaky personality which sometimes emerges. Yato’s personality and comic relief fascinate us.
Yukine is Yato’s regalia and one of the main characters. He has a very stubborn and sarcastic attitude. He can be compared to a grumpy and difficult teenager. Most of the time, Yukine is portrayed as being cold and cruel towards others, especially Yato. The fact that regalias are dead souls and invisible for humans, Yukine is annoyed to be so. As he becomes Yato’s regalia, he hates him from the start because Yato is a homeless god with no money. Maybe as a result of this and his age, Yukine’s mind is filled with many sins. He takes advantage of his invisibility to humans and steals money, valuables such as clothes and betrays Hiyori. His sarcastic attitude especially towards Yato brings many comedic aspects in the anime series.
“Noragami” is filled with many character developments. Firstly, Yukine experiences the most drastic character development. Before his ablution, Yukine was a very stubborn, sinful (his acts of stealing), rebellious and filled with hatred (being invisible to humans) young boy. After realizing his mistakes and regretting his sins, he became very kind and nice. However, the arguments between him and Yato still goes on. The other character is Yato. Indeed, his character development is not as obvious and drastic as the one of his regalia. Yato used to be a very selfish god, but after meeting Hiyori he starts caring for her and even Yukine. The relationship between him and Yukine changes positively. Hiyori is the one who keeps them together. As Yato gets hurt because of Yukine who causes him a blight (the fact that Yato and Yukine share the same mind, Yato always feels the same what Yukine is feeling), she tries to stop Yukine from doing these sins. Even during the ablution, she does everything to keep Yukine safe from turning into a phantom. Indeed, she even goes to Yato’s arch-enemy Bishamon’s mansion to ask Kazuma (her regalia) for help.
“Noragami” also includes some dark elements such as the phantoms which are mostly depicted as eyes. Yukine’s ablution is also depicted as very dark. The dark elements do not dominate the anime series but the supernatural aspects do. Hiyori who is a half phantom has a pink tail which connects her soul and her body. The depiction of gods and their regalias who are their weapons is a further supernatural element. The fact that the anime series is about gods and divines, it is very informative: the Japanese culture such as the Goddess of War, Tenjin and many shrines are described.
However, the anime also consists a negative point. Neither the background story of Yato, nor of Yukine are explained, so it lacks a bit of character depths.
Finally, the choice of the opening theme is perfect. It is very infectious, but it also contains some spoilers. We really liked watching “Noragami” and we totally recommend it.