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The latest few episodes of Noragami reveal the anime’s true point: a focus on relationships.

These episodes focus on Yato teaching Yukine about being a Regalia, and about their struggling relationship as Master and Regalia.  Hiyori does her best to help—offering Yukine a place to stay with her rather than roaming the streets with Yato, among other things—but that isn’t really enough to keep Yukine from being tempted into doing bad things.

This sort of behavior poses a problem for Yato, though, and not just on an abstract level.  When Yukine does bad things, has perverted thoughts, or experiences conflicting negative emotions, Yato feels pain from it.  According to Yato, this is how Masters of Regalias learn the difference between right and wrong: from the pain they feel when their Regalias do something wrong.

When Yukine fails to prevent the ghost of a young girl from becoming part of a Phantom, and Yato employs his Regalia to kill that Phantom, the relationship between Yukine and Yato becomes strained, at best.  The depression Yukine feels after this act begins to cause Yato pain, as well.

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On top of the problems with Yato and Yukine’s relationship, another god, Bishamon, is after Yato.  She is the strongest war god Yato knows, the god who punishes evildoers according to Hiyori, and wants revenge on Yato for killing one of her Regalia.  She has eight Regalias that make up her weapons, the lion she rides, and even her clothing.  It’s fascinating that Regalias can fill so many roles, whereas up until this point we’ve only seen Regalias as weapons.

Due to the internal conflict Yukine is having regarding his service to Yato, he has grown blunt in his weapon form.  Meanwhile, his negative emotions and wrong actions are causing Yato to become blighted.  Herein lies the beginnings of the true purpose of this series: highlighting the importance of interpersonal relationships that work.  Part of the reason Yukine is so anxious about what he’s doing with Yato is that Yato never talks to him about anything—not about his past, not about whether or not he sees Yukine as more than just a tool, and not about Nora.

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Hiyori learns about Nora from Tenjin, though.  It turns out “Nora” is a term for a Regalia with many owners, generally considered detestable because they’re more likely to betray their masters.  They’re usually used to do jobs a god wouldn’t give to their own Regalias, though.  We don’t know yet exactly what jobs Yato had this particular Nora do for him, but she seems really intent on getting him in particular to use her again.

Hiyori also learns more about what’s going on between Yato and Yukine.  One of Bishamon’s Regalias, Kazuma, apparently owes Yato a great deal (although we don’t know for what), and thus respects Yato.  He informs Hiyori that if Yukine stays with Yato and they continue to be as out of sync as they are, so to speak, the blight will kill Yato.

I’m honestly quite happy about this seemingly new turn for Noragami.  I wasn’t expecting this anime to be what it is; I basically expected it to be about Hiyori following Yato around while he did odd jobs and put off helping her with her wish.  I assumed there would be some larger plot, of course, but I didn’t expect it to focus on the relationship between gods and their Regalias so much.  Clearly, Hiyori is going to act as more of a mediating force between Yato and Yukine from now on, especially now that she knows continued friction between the two could lead to Yato’s death.

Noragami Episode 8 Preview

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