Episode 5 – Borderlines
It ain’t easy being a regalia, always on the borderline between life and death. Such is the case for Yukine, who has become somewhat of an audience surrogate in recent weeks for Noragami. His views of the world between the Near and Far Shore have come to reflect the audiences quite precisely and his tragic existence makes him the most sympathetic character on the cast.
Interestingly, as we come to grow closer to Yukine, we grow distant from Yato who has been gradually revealing his darkness belying his light-hearted poker face. That much has never been as true as it has in this episode. Noragami has hit its dramatic stride and boy oh boy does it hit you right in the heart.
While Noragami began humbly as a show about a stray god trying to make some cheap change by helping out the hapless masses, it has slowly developed into something far more intriguing. It is undoubtedly an exploration of life and death, but beneath that is an even more compelling quandary: what does it mean to be human and what does it mean to be a god?
The more we learn about Yato, the more he becomes less human, the more he becomes a fearful god. We previously learned that Yato was once the God of War. Now he is nothing but a half-assed ‘delivery god’ wandering and taking on odd jobs. Yukine realizes that first-hand this week when Yato mercilessly uses him as a tool to execute a young girl who had just become a phantom. It is a chilling conclusion to the episode and one that points us in a very interesting direction moving forward as the bonds that tie Yukine and Yato together frey and tear with each passing episode.
Even Hiyori begins to realize that Yato is dangerous and forcibly takes Yukine into her custody, keeping him in her house and eventually in her bed. Yato quickly breaks this situation up however. We soon learn something truly critical about the Gods between the Near and Far Shore. The Gods all rely on their regalia to know right from wrong.
The regalia is a manifestation of their moral compass. What Yukine feels is right and wrong carries over to Yato, but it doesn’t mean that Yato isn’t still capable of going against those core morals Yukine passes onto him. Yato is a fearsome God and he looks to only get more and more dangerous as the series progresses.
I do seriously wonder though what path we are heading towards here. The series is only one cour long and this world that Noragami has crafted is way too immense to be wrapped up neat and tidy in just 13 episodes. I can only hope that a second season is in the works because there just feels like there is so much more for Noragami to explore.
As it stands right now, it looks as though Yato is being painted as a lawless anti-hero, Yukine as a tragic reluctant hero and Hiyori as the voice of reason in this mad world. I’d never have picked that these characters would fall into these roles when I watched the first episode but it is shaping up to be something truly special. The pondering frm this episode really does make you think though, what is it that makes us human? Is it our morality? Is it our soul? On the flipside, what exactly is a God? I get the feeling that Yato doesn’t even fully understand himself either.
Things are heating up on Noragami and with this episode, I think the swing towards the more serious side of things is coming into effect now for this anime. I do hope that like Yato, Noragami doesn’t lose sight of its playful heart in the abyss its diving headfirst into. Time will tell I suppose.
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