Episode 9 – Name
Yukine’s got one hell of a boo-boo!
Well at long last we finally arrive at the breaking point. After last episode’s dangerous conclusion which left us hanging with Yato on the brink of death due to Yukine’s misbehavior blighting him. The former god of war finds himself at war with his own regalia and the other local gods must make a tough decision in order to save Yato’s life, they must punish Yukine with a process called ablution. The risk with ablution is high and it is highly probable that Yukine will not survive, not only that but there is also a chance that the god’s performing the ablution will not survive either. It is a dangerous situation and this may very well be the Noragami anime’s best episode yet because of it.
Ever since his introduction into the series we have come to see Yukine’s struggle take shape as he has had to come to grips with the fact that he is dead and will never ever be alive again. Its a harsh truth for a child to face and the strain it has put on Yukine is highly evident. In this episode we see this struggle come full circle, Yukine has no choice but to confront the darkness that resides within him, he must confess his sins (literally) or die with them.
Before we get to the ablution ceremony, Hiyori and Daikoku must enlist other regalia to perform the process on Yukine. Given the fact that Yato is far from loved in the god community, it wasn’t exactly an easy task. Ultimately Daikoku, Yato’s previous Regalia Tomo and surprise volunteer Kazuma. We still don’t know fully what debt Kazuma owes to Yato but it is evident that it is of great importance as we see him willing to sacrifice his life to say the stray god.
Once the ablution is applied, Yukine becomes trapped in a triangle of borderlines. It is a heartbreaking scene to say the least as his darkness slowly overcomes him and he begins to get blighted, drifting between phantom and regalia. The internal struggle that Yukine has been afflicted with is pretty simple really, he has no identity, he has no purpose, he is lost.
That struggle comes into play in the final moments of the episode, at the brink of destruction Yukine hears two familiar voices, Yato and Hiyori are calling out to him. He appears to respond, but the catalyst that saves him is when Yato tells him, that it doesn’t matter if he is alive or dead because he is still a person and Yato gave him the name Yukine to prove that. Yukine begins to unload a pile of misdeeds, revealing his darkest secrets, even the fact that he perved on Hiyori. The ablution is ultimately a success and Yukine comes back from the brink, with a new sense of self and a cleansed soul and heart.
Yukine’s soul is saved, he isn’t alone, he has friends and he is alive even though he is dead. It’s a satisfying conclusion to the Yukine story arc and with only a few episodes left to go on the series it is anyone’s guess where things will be heading from here. One thing that the Yukine arc has shown us though is that Hiyori is the most honest and pure character in this show. She is the moral core of the show and she has more times than not wound up being the one who saves Yato.
She has a kind heart and it has become increasingly evident that she is the one who keeps these crazy gods and regalia grounded, there is just something about Hiyori. I wonder if there is more to her than meets the eye, if the series’ prologue back in episode 1 is anything to go by, the answer is yes. But for now all we can do is wait and see where Noragami heads from here now that its wrapped its major story arc. Could it be time for mister bandanna face to make his entrance? I think so.
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