Kicking off the Winter 2014 season with Noragami, an anime that shows us even gods have it tough sometimes, especially when they don’t have many followers!
At first glance, Noragami seems strikingly similar to Kyokai no Kanata: a world filled with monsters fueled by negative human emotions that only some people are able to see, with a handful of characters fighting and defeating these monsters. Rather than youmu, these monsters are called Phantoms, and rather than being fought by Spirit World Warriors, they are subdued by gods wielding humans-turned-weapons called Sacred Treasures. These weapons seem to be a shout out to Soul Eater.
Yato is a minor god who wants to gain followers to become more important. He “charges” five yen per wish, in the hopes of eventually having enough money to have a shrine built for himself. His ultimate goal, and quite an ambitious one, is to become the greatest god around.
Unfortunately for Yato, he doesn’t have all that many followers, and he seems to be a bit lazy. His Sacred Treasure quits her job at the beginning of the episode, leaving him unarmed and thus barely able to deal with any Phantoms he might come across.
Enter Hiyori Iki, who spots Yato running after a cat in the street and pushes him out of the way of a bus that’s about to hit him. It’s obvious that no one else sees Yato, leading me to believe that only certain people can see him, just like the Phantoms. After being hit by the bus, Hiyori has an out-of-body experience in which she briefly talks to Yato. And this is just one of what will apparently be many out-of-body experiences. When she runs into Yato again later, he tells her that her soul “slips out” of her body because she’s somewhere between the Near Shore (the land of the living) and the Far Shore (the afterlife) due to her near-death experience.
It’s clear that Noragami will focus mainly on Yato helping Hiyori get back to normal. He’s obviously going to get a new Sacred Treasure within the next couple of episodes, not that he really needs it with Hiyori’s martial arts skills when she’s out-of-body. It should be interesting to find out how Yato will go about obtaining a new Sacred Treasure. I also hope we get to see him interacting with some other gods in this series.
The music so far is pretty awesome. The music from the opening scene when Yato fights the eel/fish Phantom is a mix of dubstep and ambient music that fits really well. It gives an almost old-fashioned feel to the series with the ambience, but kicks it into a more contemporary feel with the dubstep.
Noragami has a promising start thus far. The plot seems interesting, and the characters have plenty of room for further development. Fans of supernatural anime should definitely keep this one on their radar this season.