Fantasy Anime – Noragami
Noragami is a comedy anime about Yato, a god without a shrine or worshippers, and a schoolgirl Hiyori. Yato got abandoned by his Regalia – familiar spirit / weapon – Tomo for being a bum, and is in search of a new ally. His eventual goal is to build a shrine and gain worshippers in order to become a respectable god. In order to do so, he has to acquire new Regalia, because without it he is essentially unarmed and nearly powerless. Meanwhile, Hiyori is obsessed with martial arts and wants to become a peerless martial artist, which is completely incompatible with her parents’ wishes.
Yato and Hiyori first meet by accident while Yato is searching for his escaped cat, Milord. After Yato notices Milord on the street and runs to catch him, Hiyori saves him from a bus. She actually dies in the process, but Yato manages to revive her. But her revival has some unforeseen side effects, which she needs Yato’s help to resolve. Unfortunately for her, Yato may be a good person, but he is very definitely a bum, and both of them have become the targets of various demons populating the world – which she now can actually see and hear. To make things worse, Yato cannot help her until he has obtained a Regalia. Thus the anime quickly shifts focus from Hiyori’s predicament to Yato’s own. First season also largely relies on a monster-of-the-week formula, with numerous side-quests which all eclipse the main one. Story is on the safe side – adequate, not bad, but not outstandingly good either (at least, if one limits himself to anime – manga significantly develops in complexity and depth both as it goes on).
Yato is definitely not a typical god. He is, as noted, a bum, and most of his concerns and problems are fairly standard human problems – a day job, place to live, and so on. But in addition to these, he has divine problems, such as gaining worshippers, and a divine weapon. Partly because of this and partly because of his own personality, he can move from silly to serious and threatening in a heartbeat. One of things which really gets on his nerves is that nobody – friends, enemies, or anybody else – really shows any respect towards him, even as they do to other gods. Yato often acts like an asshole, but he does have a hidden heart of gold, and is always willing to help his friends.
Yato’s and Hiyori’s interactions are funny, but they are always underlined by the seriousness of their situation. Hiyori has to rely on Yato to help her – despite the fact that she is often exasperated by his behaviour, she really does not have anyone else to turn to.
Third main character is Yukine – Yato’s new Regalia. They do not hit it off at the beginning, with Yato’s bum attitude rather going on Yukine’s nerves. Instead, Hiyori acts as an intermediary at the first.
Animation is usually of relatively high quality. At moments, however, it can get quite funky. Spirit designs are likely the high point of Noragami’s animation, as they are both diverse and highly detailed.
Sound effects are of a good quality. Main music teme is fast-paced and upbeat – something that fits Yato’s personality quite well. Voice acting is also excellent, in serious and comedic scenes alike.
Noragami is a fun anime, though probably not something one should (or would) binge-watch. It also starts out rather slow, and develops over time.
Despite the serious premise, Noragami is in large part a comedic anime. Comedy occasionally feels forced and/or overdone, and is of fairly typical anime fare. Its action parts are very well done, and are not the only good thing about the anime. While nothing exceptional, it is definitely a recommended watching for the fans of the supernatural.
NOTE: Reddit discussion thread