Noragami was one of the best new anime of the Winter 2014 season. The story revolved around a young girl who could switch between our normal plane of existence and the world of Gods and Spirits. The show was a mix of drama and comedy in a supernatural world involving deities and touching a lot on morals and life etiquette.
Let us begin with what made Noragami such a great show of the Winter 2014 season. One could argue that the first reason Noragami seemed like one of the best show to air in the Winter 2014 season is because everything else was ordinary at best. I wouldn’t say that this impression is such an exaggeration, but it remains true that Noragami was a solid anime on its own nonetheless.
The first and key thing that made Noragami what it is lies in the moral, ethic and philosophical aspect of the show. Noragami is a show that explored the world from a different point of view than usual, we were following a God and God had no notion of good and bad, it was their worshipers which defined those things. From its very concept, Noragami was intelligent and fresh, it made us look at the world and certain social construct in different ways. In the anime we get to learn very early on that Gods can only exist as long as some human believe in them and worship them. As soon as a god is forgotten completely, it dies. Just this very concept makes you think about the conscious decision of society to group together and create those god. It gives weight to the thought that anything is true and does exist as long as someone believes it does. The more people believe in something, the truer it gets.
This was just one of the many examples of what the show has to offer. It is rich and let you observe moral decisions in a completely new and different way. The show was successful in giving new perspective on day to day life struggle. Noragami was never about extreme lifestyle, it was about the struggle and pain of regular people. This is what made Noragami such a relatable and immersive show. Yet it was not only because of its philosophical look at the world that Noragami was great, it also had its own qualities as an anime.
Noragami might have been complex in its themes, but at face value the show was really simple and light. It mastered how to properly balance drama and comedy in each single episode. Every episodes managed to feel both depressingly deep and cheerfully light at the same time. The show was rather episodic in nature, where each episode a single case or request is accomplished, but there was an overarching plot which consisted mostly of the discovery of the characters and the universe. This overarching plot was really at the center of what made Noragami so interesting. For all those reasons, Noragami was a wonderful universe to be immersed into every week and the show was able to provide both light comedy and complex ideas all in one show.
Now that we discussed everything that made Noragami great, let’s go into everything wrong with the show. Noragami was one of the best show that began airing in the Winter 2014 season, therefore there were not many negative points to talk about. The show mainly suffered from a case of bad ending.
Noragami had a problem where the universe it created was splendid and vast and there was only 12 episodes to explore and understand it all. The pacing of the show was rather slow in term of general character development, especially when it came to understanding more about Yato. This slow development created a lot of hype and build up on his character. By the end of the season everyone was ready to finally understand his deeper secrets, we were ready to really hear from his past and know what the hell was going on with him. While it is true that a good portion of Yato’s past was revealed in the few final episode, the information was revealed with action and by a lot of guess work and reading in-between the lines. There was never a very clear explanation for his path, Yato never himself mentioned anything about it. This proved rather disappointing since it seemed the whole premise of the show turned around this reveal.
Another major disappointment of the last few episode was the rapid introduction of a new major character without enough time to explain his background and personality. The character of Rabo just appeared in the last few episodes and while his job was to be a catalyst to learn more about Yato’s past, his introduction was rather short and it became really difficult to understand and relate to his character. We had no idea why he was acting the way he did and it was even more frustrating that even after we learn more about the character it remained difficult to grasp why he made the decisions he did. Overall the whole story with Rabo was too rushed and it cheapened the ending quite a bit.
Finally, still with the ending, the last episode was about 60% action with very little of the comedy and interesting discussion that was featured in every single other episode so far. It was a rather swift change of focus and one which didn’t felt quite right for what the show was about. The ending felt empty compared to everything else the show had offered so far and felt like a travesty. For all those reasons, Noragami saw a rather abrupt and unfortunate ending which ruined the perfect track record of the show before hand.
Overall Noragami was a solid show, with great characters, a sublime universe and impeccable episode direction. While the show had a really lackluster ending, it wasn’t enough to undermine the overall quality of the work and it still remains easy to appreciate the show despite everything. Noragami is a show that was able to strike a perfect balance between sadness and smile, for that reason alone I think it is worth a watch. With only 12 episodes, Noragami is an anime worth looking at if only for the intriguing question it will have you think about.
ZeroGhj signing off.