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[DVD] Anime Review: Noragami

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Hiyori Iki was on track to becoming just another ordinary middle school student. That was until she was hit by a bus while trying to save the life of a boy in a tracksuit named Yato. Miraculously, this destined encounter causes her to become a ‘half-phantom’ — a human who floats between the living and soul world at random times. Hiyori soon learns that Yato is a ‘god’ who grants wishes — of any kind — for 5 yen. Hoping Yato will fix her soul-body issue, she tags along Yato and his Regalia called ‘Yukine’ where they embark on missions to defeat phantoms.

With a compelling combination of lead characters and a unique plotline about a God who wants to regain his savior’s body, NORAGAMI will fascinate fans of Studio Bones production. A ‘god’ who wears a tracksuit and a scarf? As absurd as it sounds, Yato (self-proclaimed as ‘delivery god’) is a God of irrelevant status who simply wants to build his reputation so humans can worship him.

But it was going to be a long road for Yato and his friends as we discover that Yato is actually a big dreamer with no shrine and money. Since Yato is her only hope, Hiyori has no choice but to put up with Yato and his flamboyant personality. With the two clashing on-screen personalities, they inject comedic relief into the series with great ease that makes the show enjoyable to watch.

Gunned to be the perfect series with a strong concept and set of characters, all initial impressions of the show completely goes off course when the character of Yukine is introduced. Frustratingly, a majority of Noragami then revolves around Yukine’s erratic and spoilt behaviour as a Regalia, and the effect it has on Yato. While we appreciate the emotional depth to Noragami‘s storytelling, the audience – in all honesty – simply wanted more of Yato and Hiyori’s relationship — not Yukine.

Unfortunately, the audience doesn’t see Yato actioning Hiyori’s request until the end of the series after realising that he owes her a lot. Noragami attempts to make the story dramatic by having Yato’s former ally, Rabo, kidnap Hiyori just to make it personal. But with the story racing rapidly towards the end with a lack of spotlight on their relationship, the storytelling struggles to make the arc emotionally moving, plus make Yato’s convictions convincing.

screenshot_3_33431In many fans’ eyes, many would have deemed Noragami as an action-comedy due to its comedic dialogue and exotic action sequences. Personally, we don’t concur with this view as the series is ultimately a drama that emphasises on characters and their interaction with one another.

The fascinating universe of Noragami is largely intertwined, exploring the world of Gods and Regalias, and how the Japanese respect different types of individuals.

With a distinct mixture of characters including Nora, Kofuku, Bishamonten, and Tenjin, Noragami keeps us intrigued wherever the story leads us. However, when it comes down to it, Noragami threw these characters together to create a ‘complex’ story — a result which left Noragamiscreenshot_2_33430 directionless throughout the series in which could have been saved if Noragami had stuck to the trio and the original story itself. 

Overall: If you love the concept of the living and spiritual realms blending with one another, NORAGAMI is the perfect series for you. While it was disappointing to see a directionless story that seemed to only care about Yukine, we still enjoyed every moment that was shared between the wonderfully vast group of characters, especially Yato, Yukine and Hiyori. 

Rating: 7.5/10

NORAGAMI SERIES COLLECTION is now out on DVD. You can view more info on Madman Entertainment’s site [here

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