Episode 2 – Snow-like
If Yu Yu Hakusho and Soul Eater had a baby, Noragami would definitely be it. It borrows from other series of the same genre of anime certainly, but what makes Noragami so damn good is its execution, that is where the brilliance lies. If episode 1 was all about introducing us to the premise, episode 2 is a masterwork of world-building.
In this one episode, Noragamai sets the table for the entire series, giving colour and life to the world between the Near and Far Shore. It details the mythology of the Near and Far Shore, the Phantoms that live between them and the rules of the world. Its a great episode all around that gives an incredible level of depth to the Noragami mythos.
With that I feel pretty confident in saying that Noragami is the best anime of Winter thus far. Its got two solid episodes clocked on the meter and things look to continue strong. The concept is great, the mythology is highly intriguing and the action on screen is compelling. Not only that but the cast is well-rounded with plenty of great gags to lighten things up.
The episode opens up where we left off last week. Hiyori is coming to grips with the new reality that lays before her. She is now a drifter between the Near and Far Shore. Her soul keeps falling out of her body in what ends up being a hilarious sight gag. Yato has promised to grant her wish of bringing her back to normal. But in the mean time she has to help him find a Regalia (a human weapon, not unlike those in Soul Eater). After she spends the episode searching across town for a Regalia for Yato, she winds up in a spot of trouble. From this point on things get turned up to 11.
Smack bam right in the face, we get hit by development after development. The pacing and timing here is utterly superb. Each revelation is handled with a deft hand, as to not over explain, but also detail just enough. There are two points here that are worth noting however. The first of all is Hiyori’s tail. We learn via Yato that this is a link between her spiritual and physical forms and that if it were cut off, she would die. If that link is broken, she could possibly become a phantom. The second point of note is the introduction of the third member of the cast, Yukine, Yato’s new Regalia.
Now while I’m no big fan of Yuki Kaji’s ham-fisted voice work, which grates on the nerves more than it does just about anything else. Despite that, I did get a real kick out of the debut of Yukine. His tsundere reaction to Yato cracked me up, it was unexpected and timed perfectly. Especially after we get a brief glimpse at the look at his sad life.
It is a surreal thought to think that Yato just witnessed Yukine’s life from start to end. How do you cope with that? How does that make you feel? Well I’m sure we will see more of this connection between Yato and Yukine in the coming weeks, but damn you can colour me intrigued after this brilliant episode.
This was a great follow-up for Noragami to its excellent premiere last week. It built upon its premise in great fashion, detailing the concepts and rules of this world all the while further developing its solid cast of characters. If Noragami can continue on with this consistently, I’ll be one happy soul. Noragami has got me hanging for a new episode each week. I can’t wait to head back down to the place between the Near and Far Shore and see what the Stray God gets up to next.
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