Just another set-up episode… hopefully the last one.
• It looks cool, but has anyone ever tried running like this:
Trust me, it’s no fun. Anyway, this week’s cold opening reveals a shared history between Yato and Rabo. I rather like the composition of these scenes… notwithstanding the characters’ running postures, of course:
Really, if there’s anything to take away from the experience of watching Noragami, it’s the fact that the anime has quite the stylish art direction:
I think the show’s morals are questionable. I definitely think Yukine’s arc dragged on for way too long. In general, the story also has this weird tendency to sweep important matters under the rug as if they’re no big deal. Still, at least Noragami has been pretty to look at.
• It turns out Hiyori has only forgotten all about Yato, i.e. she still recognizes Yukine. But really, how does that even work? Yato’s the only reason she even knows who Yukine is. What happens when she tries to think back to how she first met the kid? Will she just draw a blank for where Yato would’ve been in her memories? Does she even remember the fact that Yukine is a Regalia, and therefore he’s someone’s Regalia?
• Plus, why is nobody even worried Hiyori about besides Yato? Yukine goes, “I’m sure it’s a temporary thing. She’ll remember you soon enough.” I don’t know, man… if a close friend of mine suddenly showed signs of memory loss, I’d be very concerned for her health. It’s the sort of thing you go to the doctors for.
• Yukine complains, “I can’t believe you spent all your 5-yen coins to buy art supplies.” Yeah, but it’s for a good cause this time. If spending some 5-yen coins is all it would take to regain a good friend, wouldn’t you do it? That’s why it doesn’t make sense to me why everyone but Yato is so blase about Hiyori’s current condition.
• The show continues to keep us in the dark with regards to what Rabo and Nora are planning to do. Sure, they want Yato to return to his old, brutal self, but for what? No doubt, we’ll get one big explanation at the end when the villain tells us everything, but that just doesn’t sound very appealing to me. I’m not saying that what Noragami‘s doing is necessarily bad, but I have to admit I just don’t care all that much about this final arc and where it’s going. I’m not exactly sure why this is, but perhaps the lack of clarity from the villains is a reason why. The stakes just don’t feel high enough.
• Apparently, Nora has a disdain for humans because they are fickle. She thus wonders why Yato would try so hard to curry the favor of humans when even his closest human friend can forget him so easily. But honestly, what’s the alternative? What else would the Far Shore denizens have to live for? It seems like the gods honestly have nothing better to do, so they may as well grant people’s wishes.
• In general, this fight scene between Yato and Rabo is what the action part of this anime has been missing from the very start.
Most of the time, our foes are nothing more than gigantic, cartoonish Phantoms. As such, Yato disposes of them rather effortlessly, and without any suspense, there’s also no excitement. The only other time Yato has had to break a sweat was when he went up against Bishamon, but that story simply ran into a dead end as soon as Kofuku told the God of Combat to stay away from our hero. Finally, Yato gets to fight someone that makes him do more than just swing his sword around for a minute before the fight is over. Finally, we actually get some choreography to the fight scenes.
• So Nora goes, “If you can beat Rabo, I’ll give Hiyori her memories back.” Then our two baddies just disappear. Uh, okay? That was pointless.
• But don’t worry: it’s time for some juicy exposition as Tenjin and Kazuma fill us in on Rabo’s identity and modus operandi. We don’t even get some fancy flashbacks or anything. Just people sitting around, directly telling us all about Rabo’s former human life as a spy and how people eventually came to deify him after his death. Yeah, this latest arc feels rushed. Ah, I’m so disappointed.
• Tenjin advises, “If [Hiyori] forgets you now, she’ll likely stop changing into a half-Phantom. That will give her happiness.” I’m not sure why he’s so sure about that. If Hiyori knew that curing her condition would prevent her from interacting with her two close friends from the Far Shore, I don’t think she’d agree to it.
• Here’s where anime overly relies upon a lack of communication to establish drama. Tenjin convinces Yato that perhaps Hiyori’s loss of memory is a good thing. By not remembering who Yato is, perhaps this will cure Hiyori of her half-Phantom status. As a result, Yato no longer wants to battle Rabo for the girl’s memories. Still, our hero doesn’t feel the need to tell Yukine why he’s suddenly abandoning the mission, and I have no clue why he wouldn’t tell his Regalia something so important. He just withholds crucial information for the sake up stirring shit up, but the end result is cheap, forced drama.
• I guess we really won’t find out what the two baddies are up to until next week’s episode. Boy, Noragami is definitely playing this one close to its chest.
• Then in the end, Yato resolves to fight for Hiyori’s memories anyway when Nora informs him that our heroine will become an “empty vessel” if Yato doesn’t do something about it. Shit, if you wanted him to fight for her, why didn’t you just tell him this to begin with? Or, and this might sound crazy, you could’ve just kidnapped her like every other villain and damsel-in-distress pairing ever. At least we wouldn’t have had to go through all this song and dance just to end up in the exact same place.