Tenjin suggests that the only way to cure Hiyori of her half-Phantom condition might be for Yato to sever his connection with her. Our hero doesn’t seem all too keen at the thought of disappearing completely from Hiyori’s life, but it looks as though he won’t really have much of a choice in the matter if Nora has her way.
The uncertainty surrounding Yukine’s future
I guess Yukine’s the perfect kid now. At the moment, he’s working part-time for Daikoku, and even using Hiyori’s old textbooks to study. I’m not exactly sure what he’s studying for, but apparently, he just wants to be like other kids. Still, you have to wonder what’s in store for an average Regalia like him. Surely, they can mature on the inside — Yukine’s a prime example of that — but what is there for him to look forward to? Yes, the anime has resolved his trouble-making behavior, but not his existential anxiety. I’ve no problems with Yukine being contrite, but it seems like the uncertainty surrounding his future is being conveniently ignored for now.
I mean, what would a spirit like him do for the rest of his existence? Is he stuck being a Regalia until the Big Crunch occurs? Well, nevermind the Big Crunch since it’s doubtful that the universe of Noragami is particularly concerned about such scientific potentialities, but nevertheless, let’s assume that time will never end for Yukine. Then what? Noragami wants us to believe that Yukine’s not all that different from an actual living, breathing child — and to a certain extent, I can buy that — but his “life” is and will be anything but normal.
Most us have goals to achieve, careers to pursue, true love to pine for, etc. On the other hand, I can’t imagine that Yukine’s life will be like ten years down the line. What about twenty years down the line? Thirty years? So the fact that I can’t imagine Yukine’s timeline beyond what we’ll see in the episodes before us leaves me in a bit of a strange place. I can imagine Hiyori growing up to have a normal life. I can imagine Yato continuing to struggle as a minor god trying to make it big. As for Yukine, it’s just one big blank. Yes, he can put aside these worries for now, and just enjoy being a “kid,”, but at some point, he’s going to have confront the questions and purpose of his existence all over again. He probably won’t act out again, but still, what will he do? What will he think? Nevertheless, I feel that Noragami as an anime series will officially end long before we ever get to that point, and that’s a bit of a shame.
Being a Regalia sucks
Hiyori notices that Miyu, one of Lord Tenjin’s many Regalias, is missing. Apparently, she’s been kicked out for stinging him. Right there and then, you can draw a sharp distinction between how Tenjin handles his affairs as opposed to Yato. Yato’s faith in Yukine held firm despite the fact that Yukine’s stubbornness nearly cost the minor god his life. On the other hand, it’s zero tolerance with Tenjin: “Stinging a master even once means immediate banishment.” Still, something bothers me about the way Miyu was dismissed. Y’see, when one Regalia goes bad, his or her corruption can become rather contagious. So just hearing about Yukine’s trials caused Miyu to… uh… well, this is the part that confuses me a bit. We see her sobbing over this particular wish: “When I grow up please let me be a school teacher.” So you can imagine that — like Yukine’s desire to be a real boy! — Miyu has regrets about her former life.
Still, where’s the corruption? What did she actually do wrong? We certainly saw Yukine acting out, but we see nothing of the sort from Miyu. You see some bloodied bandages on Miyu’s left wrist during this scene:
But by itself, it doesn’t really tell us much of anything. I’ll admit that perhaps Miyu’s story has been left out of the narrative for expediency’s sake, but still… it really makes you wonder how one can go from crying over a wish to stinging her master. I mean, I certainly hope it wasn’t her feelings of sadness that ended up stinging Tenjin, ’cause that would be horrendously unfair. After all, who amongst us doesn’t feel a pang of regret every now and then? So again, I really hope it wasn’t just her crying that ended up stinging Tenjin. She must’ve done something that was actually bad. Too bad we’ll never get to see it in the anime. We just jump immediately to a scene of Miyu futilely begging Tenjin for forgiveness, and the takeaway from this is that, well, being a Regalia sucks.
On a related note, Mayu says, “Revoking your name and sending you away after an ablution is actually a generous act. Because, if you’re lucky, a new master will take you in.” Maybe, but what exactly are the alternatives? Assuming the ablution is a success, what else would a master have done besides either A) keeping the Regalia like what Yato opted to do with Yukine or B) kicking him or her out? What’s the ungenerous alternative?
• Mayu asks Yato why he allowed his blight to get so bad. Yato replies, “[Yukine] has rare, outstanding talent. I couldn’t let [him] go just like that.” Naturally, one has to wonder if Yato would have put his own life on the line had Yukine lacked potential. I’m not sure how I feel about this.
• I keep forgetting that Hiyori’s only in middle school. This fact skeeves me out a bit when I think back to some of the earlier scenes in the anime.
• I rather like this shot:
Hiyori’s excited to share her first shrine visit of the new year with Yato, but there’s something foreboding about the way the darkness surrounds her. Hell, it’s as if it’s encroaching upon our heroine. The composition of this scene is just one of the many hints we get in this week’s episode that something bad is about to happen, but I always prefer visual hints over any other alternative, y’know, anime’s a visual medium and all that.
• We’ve seen from previous episodes that Yato can instantly teleport to his clients when they have a job for him. With that in mind, Hiyori really should’ve given her crush a ring as she was being chased by the murderous phantom wolves. You might say she didn’t bring a cellphone with her because she’s all dolled up in that yukata, but I find it hard to believe a kid in the 21st century wouldn’t have her cellphone on her at all times. In the past ten years, I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have mine on me, and I don’t even text or check Facebook. Having a miniature computer on you at all times is just too convenient.
• Apparently, Rabu’s a god of calamity too. I wonder how many gods of calamity there are. Maybe one for each calamity. Joking aside, it feels odd that the conflict between Yato and Bishamon is still left hanging in the air as we move onto the final arc of the series. Maybe we’ll see those two put aside their differences in order to team up against Rabo or something, but I still would like to know why Bishamon hates Yato so much even though Kazuma, one of her Regalias, doesn’t.
• According to Nora, “Yato has grown weak after meeting [Hiyori],” but that seems patently untrue. My impression is that Yato’s been a vagrant god for quite some time now, i.e. he’s been this way long before he ever met Hiyori.