Quarantine Post #26: Noragami

I know I am supposed to be doing more anime posts. During my quarantine I have been trying my hand at many new things but I am back to anime/manga. Noragami. When my old anime pal suggested it, I wasn’t 1000% percent sure that I would like it. Although, I am not sure why. He always picked great shows. Noragami is no different. We were able to watch both seasons in 2 days. There really needs to be more seasons but there is not yet enough manga for that. Fans have been holding their breath waiting on season three. Maybe now that the creator is putting out more manga that will happen in the future. (Hey Bleach is back… so I am expecting good news for all shows that aren’t finished.) So as is my way let’s talk through why I love it. I mean there is a reason that I was going to cosplay as him.

Noragami is about the boundary between this realm and another. There are eight million gods, dead spirits who serve the gods, and other assorted spirits who help and meddle in the affairs of humans. When a young middle school student named Mutsumi finds herself bullied by classmates, she runs to the bathroom crying and finds a message along with a phone number that says, “I will solve your troubles.” When she calls the number, a boy named Yato appears and solves her conflict. Hiyori Iki was a normal middle school student until she was involved in a bus accident while trying to protect a stranger. This incident causes her soul to frequently slip out of her body, and she becomes aware of the existence of two parallel worlds: the Near Shore, where regular humans and creatures reside, and the Far Shore, where demons and human souls linger. Through her soul, she meets the strange, nameless god without a shrine, Yato. Yato is determined to make a name for himself out there by accepting any wishes for 5 yen (5 yen being the amount that is traditionally placed in a shrine before praying)., including Hiyori’s to fix her body. 

Yato calls himself a god but he does not answer people’s prayers and no one acknowledges him. He one day hopes to have a shrine and followers, but right now he only has his regalia, Yukine, his friend, Hiyori, and the ability to cut all who pass between this world and the next.

The story about a stray god… A god of calamity who no one remembers after he does their bidding intrigues me. Yato is a minor god who desires one day to be worshiped by the masses and get a shrine of his own. To achieve this, he works as a delivery god, taking whatever job people give him for 5 yen. As a god of war born from a wish, he killed many people in his past (including many Regalias) and eventually became sick of it and now desires to leave that past behind.

He is a violent past but he is trying to turn all that around.

Yato can be mischievous, crude, and unpredictable in his behavior. Yato will often indulge in fantasies of being a very successful God with more followers than any other deity; shrines full of luxury and shrine maiden at his fingertips. As his existence would end if he were to be forgotten, he has developed Athazagoraphobia. (Fear of being forgotten or ignored and the fear of forgetting) Yato views gods, himself included, as above such things as good and evil, and therefore is convinced they can do no wrong. He uses this belief as a way to explain why Regalias sting their masters, but not the other way round; Regalias were once humans, and therefore sin, but gods are higher beings, and therefore can do whatever they want. Now is the time to pick out the best moments from the series… anime and manga…. (I started the manga because I enjoyed the show and needed to know what happened next.) SPOILERS…. I am really not sure why someone has be told that over and over. You know if you’re reading a post about something you have finished or not but SPOILERS nonetheless.

  1. Yato meets Hiyori – This is the building block for the relationship between Hiyori and Yato for the rest of the show/manga. Because he is a god that no one really knows or remembers… most people don’t see him right away if at all. He later explains that people can see him if they focus but they’ll forget him, similar to a random stranger that walks past. Yato is on a mission for a customer to find Milord. A missing cat. Poor Yato has been all over town looking for this damn cat. As Hiyori and her gang passby, Yato spots Milord in the damn street. (I mean really who has names their pet this? I have questions.) Yato scurries out into the street after the damn cat and nearly gets run over by the bus. (Since he is a god… He would have been fine.) However, Hiyori being the only one who notices the bus, she rushes to save him from the bus pushing him out of the way just in time. The incident leaves with the little issue of her soul falling out of her body out at the worst times for the rest of the series. She is the first person to notice him and for Yato that is such a big deal.

  2. Yato makes Yukine his Shinki – Shortly after Hiyori saves Yato from the bus, She and Yato are overrun and attacked by Ayakashi (Phantoms that come from the Far Shore but like to influence Humans and other living things in the Near Shore usually to do bad things.) But with no Shinki, Yato is unable to protect himself and Hiyori. (It was terrible to watch.) That is when Yato spots Yukine’s soul and decides to make a Shinki out of him. Shinki are spirits that gods use for various tasks and purposes, having the ability to transform into items or weapons. A shinki is made from the loose spirit of a dead human. The term “loose spirits” usually refers to the wandering souls of people who died from being murdered or killed in accidents. In the eyes of the gods, people who died due to these causes deserve a second chance, since they originally still wanted to live; this is probably why these souls are chosen to become shinki. When a god sees a loose spirit and wants to take them as their shinki, the god must give them two names: one for the human form, and another for the vessel form. Yato gives Yukine his name and uses him to kill the ayakashi attack Hiyori.

  3. Yukine’s Ablution – Oh goodness Yukine. Poor Yukine. He originally got on my damn nerves. I did warm up to him once I realized that why he was having such a hard time. Yukine seems to feel jealous of others who are alive, upset about the fact that he is dead, and cannot make friends and learn what other students do. The other issue is Yato. Yato is an unknown god with no money or shrine. After taking a shinki as their subordinate, a god is to provide basic necessities for the shinki (shelter and clothing to be precise; other things like food, drinks or entertainment are optional). The god is also to train a shinki if the shinki is still new. Most people have a hard time believing Yato is in fact a god and Yukine is no different. They have no place to sleep or food to eat, and this causes Yukine to act out. Aside from basic necessities, the god bears the responsibility of taking the burden of all the emotions the shinki has, and the sins it commits. The burden the god bears is in the form of stabbing pain on the back of their neck. Other than stabbing pain, the area of the god’s neck will also become infected by impurities, called blight. If the shinki continues to commit sin and no action is taken against it, the blight will spread all over the god’s body, causing the god to slowly degrade and die. Once a god is stung by their shinki’s thoughts or acts, appropriate action should be taken against the offending shinki. Usually, a ritual called a purification (or ablutionceremony is performed against the shinki, making it confess all of its sins. Depending on the severity of the offense, the shinki will also have its name released and will be banished, or worse, killed by the owner god. But that decision is made by the god. In Yato’s case, he understood why Yukine was acting out and didn’t want to release him or kill him, to the detriment of his own life. This ablution ritual is performed by three other Shinki towards the offender, and can only be done by Shinki as they are formerly humans and have a sense of right and wrong, and therefore can judge another Shinki’s sins. they used their Boundary lines in front of the offending Shinki to form a triangle-shaped prison, entrapping the shinki. This prison will start attacking the impurities attached on the Shinki’s body, causing tremendous pain to the offender and, to an extent, the God. To remove the impurities the offending Shinki must confess all of his/her sins and repent, however, should he/she fail or refuse to do so, the impurities will eat away at the soul and its bestowed name, changing the Shinki into a phantom. Yato is at death’s door (He will not be reborn like most other gods.) and no one really wants to help with the ablution at first but when they do it is a pain experience to watch. Yato is urged to release Yukine but he refuses to do so. Yukine is forces to confess his sins and be judged. But for a minute, I wasn’t sure if he was going to make it. I mean, he began to transform into an ayakashi. In the end, Yukine was successful purged but he and Yato are returned to normal.  Yukine, now in acceptance of his actions and sins, becomes noticeably more upbeat.
  4. Yato vs Rabō – This is an anime only scene/arc. Rabō  is a God of Calamity like Yato. He is also a cold character, killing humans, phantoms, and gods alike (regardless of whether it’s a paid job or a personal grudge). Rabō was originally a human, however, he was reborn as a god after evil wishes were made upon his death, so that he may kill again.  He has awoken to fill his original position, by taking up murder requests. He also used to work with Yato to kill. Rabō teams up with Nora (Shinki that has multiple names and owners.) to help her get rid of Hiyori. Nora is jealous of both Hiyori and Yukine. (Nora is Yato’s other Shinki… a long relationship decades in the making. Yato used her mostly for killing and since he doesn’t do that anymore… he doesn’t call on her.) Nora blames Hiyori for coming in between her and Yato. They devise a plan to make Yato return to his former self, the killing machine. They cut the ties between Yato and Hiyori causing Hiyori to lose memories of both Yato and Yukine. It is Yato’s biggest fear coming true. When he realizes that it was Rabo’s doing… it he pissed. What they don’t get is trying to kill Hiyori will just make him want to kill YOU. Poor Rabō doesn’t make it out of the exchange alive.

  5. Yato vs Bishamonten – Now Bishamon has always had something against Yato. It was odd to see that even the mention of his name set her on edge. We had no clue why. Bishamon is one of the Seven Gods of Fortune. She is officially a goddess of war and warriors. Yato reveal that she has it out for him because he killed her Shinki. He is very cryptic about it but eventually we find out that years earlier, Bishamon had many Shinki. However, because of their numbers, she was unable to effectively watch over them, and they became corrupt. Unbeknownst to her, one of her few pure Shinki, Kazuma, requested that Yato slaughter all of her corrupt subordinates. Yato, heeding this request, did so, and Bishamon vowed revenge against him. One of Bishamon’s shinki (Kugaha) is looking to usurp Kazuma and take his position. His plan is to have Yato kill Bishamon. He starts his plan by kidnapping Hiyori… and that sets Yato on edge. It is interesting the way a very calm and collected Yato shifts into being a killer just like that. God of Clamity indeed.

    When Yato believes Bishamon has kidnapped Hiyori after she vanishes with two rogue Regalia, Kugaha pushes his plan further. He unveils that the blight caused by one of the infected Regalia, Aiha. This leads to a confrontation in the shrine while Kazuma and Hiyori deduce Kugaha’s plot to succeed the war god. When Kazuma intervenes and is dealt a devastating blow, he tearfully confesses his involvement in the slaughter of the Ma Clan. A tearful Bishamon is told the truth of Kugaha’s scheme for her to “repent”, only for Yato to cut off his hand and state that Gods can do no wrong.

    After finding that Kugaha’s intentions were for the best interest of Bishamon, she accepts it as truth and revokes his name before casting him away, subsequently dealing with the masked Phantom that had slaughtered most of her Regalia and Hiyori is returned to Yato. I mean he was going to burn the place down otherwise.
  6. Yukine becomes a divine vessel – During the fight with Bishamon… Yukine has a breakthrough. Despite his loyalty to Yato, he still is hesitant to hurt other Shinki since they were flesh and blood like him and dulls his blade, but Yato manages to convince him to sharpen himself so he could help save Hiyori. At one point during the fight, Yukine is knocked out of Yato’s hand and Bishamon goes in to kill Yato after he is restrained by corrupted Shinki’s. At the last second, Yukine appears in front of Yato to take the blow for him and is sliced in half, the attack appears to kill him. I could not take it. Yukine was just starting to get better and not on my nerves as much but mostly I am not sure how his death would have been for Yato. I mean I just saw Yato torching everything that Bishamon owns. EVERYTHING IN FLAMES. After noticing that his name hasn’t faded, Yato calls him back. He returns, his form has changed because of his devotion and loyalty to Yato. His new form (blessed vessel) takes that of a long and short sword combination referred to as a daishō. With renewed strength, he continues to aid Yato in the fight against Bishamon.

  7. Yato releases Nora – As a Stray, Nora has multiple owners and thus, multiple names. She also takes on different forms when different masters summon her. As one of her long-time users, she is fond of Yato and often seeks the chance for Yato to use her again. Talk about toxic relationship. Yato attempts to break the cycle but whenever Yato leaves Nora, she often disturbs him and his emotions, taunting him so that he returns to her.  She feels happy whenever Yato returns to using her while disregarding his feelings. In the beginning, (before the ablution)  since Yukine is close to Yato, Nora used to taunt Yukine into hurting Yato. She also brags about her skill and how even though she wasn’t a blessed vessel, she could still do more than Yukine. She feels happy whenever Yato returns to using her while disregarding his feelings. Later on, Yato finally releases her of being his Shinki. He is sick of her constant manipulation and the event with Ebisu is the final straw. She previously teamed up with Rabo to kill Hiyori.She normally lures him into situations without telling him that the other people there are also her masters leaving him at a disadvantage. Nora was noticeably infuriated with being let go. For some reason, she didn’t see that coming. No one was more happy than me that he kicked the little wench to the curb.

  8. Yato and Ebisu vs the heavens – Ebisu  is one of the Seven Gods of Fortune. He is the humorless God of Fishing and Commerce. He first appears in the manga trying to buy Yukine (once he becomes a blessed regalia) off Yato’s hands for an incredible amount of money. Ebisu is later revealed to be attempting to gain control over Phantoms – a severe taboo if not sin in the eyes of the heavens – going as far as descending to the underworld to achieve his goal. Ebisu agrees to put himself at risk and take such extreme measures is due to how, in every incarnation, he was always taught that, being a significant god, he could never truly “die” and would always be reborn. A luxury that Yato does not have. This makes Ebisu take his personal safety lightly, this also had a somewhat traumatizing influence on him, causing him to believe that himself as an individual is not important. And that he must focus only on the task that has been passed down to him by his own previous incarnations. Nora tells Yato that father wanted Yato to save Ebisu from the underworld. Yato is suspicious as he is aware that his father is not kind and would have alternative reasons for wanting to save Ebisu. Nonetheless, Yato complied. When he went underground he became Ebisu’s bodyguard of sorts. There Ebisu tells him that he believes Yato could be the kind of God that could bring happiness to other people while stating how it was good he could value his own life. When they finally reach Izanami, he receives a phantom brush, declaring Yato would be her friend and the one left behind, to Yato’s displeasure. They then fight briefly, then run for it, after Ebisu tells Izanami he was happy to see her again, as she was his mom. Ebisu starts to realize he doesn’t want to die again. Yato tells him he heard his wish loud and clear, taking off with Ebisu, to Izanami’s dismay and anger. Ebisu summons many phantoms to drill a vent in the Underground, and he and Yato go in. Yato, however, is then pulled down. Ebisu is found by Bishamon, and tells her Yato is still down there and she had to save him. The Heavens’ Punishers are then seen coming to kill him once Yato was rescued. After demonstrating his use of phantoms in front of the Heavens to defend himself, Bishamon tells him to run, and he does so. The Heavens decide to use the Pacification Ring, a form of punishment to destroy enemies of Heaven, to kill Ebisu. Yato destroys it, only for another one to form around Ebisu. He is then killed.

    Yato’s father sets up a situation that Ebisu appears to be the Sorcerer (although Ebisu was attempting to tame ayakashi for well-intention reasons), leading to heaven to issue his execution.
  9. Hiyori’s Hospital Disaster (Manga)– Hiyori is fiercely loyal to Yukine and Yato. This causes her to confront Father on his treatment/manipulation of Yato. His manipulation extended to kissing Hiyori which she doesn’t Father then launches a full out attack on her family and their job at the hospital. The ayakashi descend on the hospital and cause havoc. People start attacking each other… patients on patients, hospital staff on patients, hospital staff on hospital staff. It was all out pandemonium. Bishamon helps with overflow of Ayakashi. But the event all comes to a head when Hiyori, who is turning into an Ayakashi, begs for Yato to kill her. Father forces this upon Yato when he has to make the decision between killing Hiyori and turning her into a shinki, or cutting their ties and never meeting again, forcing Yato to be bound to his father. Yato refuses to do so and is wracked with grief that he has bought all of this pain and heartache to Hiyori and her family.

  10. Yukine’s Death – It is again poor Yukine. It is a long mystery, what actually happened to the Shinki in their human lives. Yukine specifically. I had always wondered what killed the young boy. It is sadder when it is finally revealed. When a god names a shinki, the name bestowed by the god seals the memories of the shinki’s human life, including their real name. The god sees these memories upon naming the shinki and must keep them a secret. If a shinki learns their real name, the posthumous name given by the god is destroyed, and the shinki becomes instantly corrupted by the memories of their own untimely death. At this point, the shinki’s soul is unsalvageable, and the only thing that can be done is to kill it. If normal shinki becomes aware of even the existence of the secret, their curiosity about their past becomes all-consuming until they degenerate. In the manga, we learn what happened to Yukine and what his life was like in general and it is pretty bleak. UGH. Be careful what you wish for right?  As a child, Yukine had lived with his sister, his mother, and his father. Yukine’s family was dysfunctional due largely in part to his father’s alcoholic and violent tendencies. These habits worsened to such a point that Yukine’s mother made the decision to leave with Yukine’s sister, leaving Yukine to live with his father alone. This doesn’t sit right with me at all… AT ALL. As a child, Yukine would show up to school with bruises, and became ostracized by his friends by their parents’ orders. ALSO THIS DOESN’T SIT RIGHT WITH ME. YOU DON’T LEAVE A KID WITH AN ABUSIVE PARENT….. ADULTS FAILED YUKINE. UGH. Throughout this abuse, Yukine still managed to send letters to his sister, promising her that he would escape. Yukine’s father, however, discovered these letters at some undisclosed point in time, and as punishment beat Yukine senseless. Yukine’s father proceeded to abandon a maimed Yukine trapped in a refrigerator in the mountains, leaving him to suffocate to death at the age of 14. After his demise, Yukine wandered aimlessly for decades as an uncorrupted spirit, until he was ultimately found by Yato. Both Yato and Yukine share a relationship with an abusive parent and have a sort of father son relationship themselves.

So the show is pretty great… reading the manga has gotten pretty intense. It is a wild ride. I really enjoy all of the characters and the intricacies of the story. Check it out sometimes. It helps that the anime has killer openings. I have yet to decide which season opener is my favorite. Check out the links below and let me know what you think.

Opening for Season 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWCnKoEgfP0

Opening for Season 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZenmeRytEM

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