Having previously watched Good Luck Girl and Kamisama Kiss, the time has come for me to once again check out an anime featuring Japanese deities. Noragami is a twelve episode series based on the manga written by Adachitoka. If rumours are to be believed it is also one of the last Funimation properties that Manga Entertainment will be releasing in the UK. Given the number of quality shows that Funimation localizes, for the sake of British animation fans out there, one can only hope that other distributors will step up to the plate and licence future Funimation titles in Manga’s absence.
Middle school student Hiyori Iki has been suffering from out of body experiences ever since an automobile struck her one fateful day. When she least expects it Hiyori becomes an incorporeal being, complete with a cute tail protruding from her hiney, leaving her mortal body behind in an unconscious state. This is most troublesome, even if her pals don’t seem to be overly concerned by Hiyori’s comatose spells. As far as they are concerned Hiyori is simply suffering from narcolepsy (a condition that causes sufferers to randomly nap.) I used to work with someone who had narcolepsy – although if you ask me his symptoms were more the aftereffect of partying to excess at night and having to endure a dull job the following morning.
Seeking a remedy for her ailment, Hiyori decides to hire the services of Yato – a tracksuit wearing god who is presently saving up to buy his own shrine. For the generous sum of five-yen Yato will take up any job, be it slaying suicide-inducing phantoms or scrubbing a client’s bathroom spotlessly clean. Even though Yato’s divine powers are unable to cure Hiyori of her spiritual disorder the pair become firm friends over the course of the series. The contents of this two disc DVD set has Hiyori getting embroiled in Yato’s adventures, which see the penniless deity tangle with a rival from his past and even a scantily clad goddess who rides atop a lion. A hot blonde whose preferred mode of transport is a panthera? If you need an example of why anime is so cool look no further.
My rating for Noragami is three and a half stars. It’s a well-produced anime although for me it lacked that unquantifiable something that makes certain shows special. The series’ mix of action and humour is entertaining, but I can’t say that I was rushing to watch the next episode once the ending credits started to roll. My scapegoat for not enjoying the series more would have to be Yato’s petulant sidekick Yukine – a human spirit who can transform into a Katana. Yes, we get that your master lacks the prestige of other gods and that you envy the living. Deal with it and stop whining. Granted the character matures as events unfold, but given that Noragami has a good supporting cast it’s a shame that the brat’s screen time wasn’t supplanted on someone who is less grating.
Noragami also suffers from being one of those shows that lacks original ideas. Goofball protagonist with a dark past, humanoids who morph into weapons, heroes who save the day for chump change and comic relief characters who are mightier than they initially appear. These are all things that I have spied elsewhere (first person to name an anime that uses those tropes in the comments section gets a free cookie*.) On the plus side, even if the source material won’t win awards for originality, studio Bones have done a stellar job adapting the story for the small screen. The latter episodes, were Yato crosses swords with a fellow calamity god, are blessed with some very impressive artwork and animation.
So there you have it. I didn’t love Noragami as much as some other people, but I certainly liked it. With the groundwork laid down I am keen to see how the story progresses in the second season, which is due out imminently. Okay, that’s enough typing for today. I need to go and clean my toilet… how I wish that inexpensive godly labour was a real thing.
* Delicious chop chipped biscuit will be delivered to the winner once my blog hits one million followers.