Noragami Season 1 – Anime Review
Noragami Synopsis: Yato may just be a minor god now, but he’s determined to make it big and he’s got a plan. Unfortunately, things just don’t seem to be going his way. (Official Funimation Synopsis.)
Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Noragami was a stand out during the Winter 2014 season, easily becoming as impressive a highlight as Inari Kon Kon of that same year. With a catchy opening, beautiful art, attractive character designs, and an interesting story, Noragami has few flaws to complain about. Perhaps the most impressive aspects are the fun and enjoyable cast of characters spanning from the aloof minor God Yato, to the feisty teenage girl who finds herself wrapped up in all of this, Yukine and the host of quirky characters in between.
Linny: Noragami offers a lovably comedic ensemble right from episode one, that’s sure to capture the attention of comedy fans. When first released, the show came with a rather dark synopsis, heavily based on the manga, perhaps giving viewers the wrong first impression. I’d like to clear things up: Unlike the manga, Noragami’s first season is packed full of light hearted gags and exaggerated reactions, even with darker themes at its heart. It’s not that the series has reinvented the tone of the manga, as the manga can be quite playful as well, but the anime puts more emphasis on Noragami’s lighter aspects.
Tom: Speaking of anime and manga differences, the anime takes significant liberties in readjusting the flow of the manga, reordering events, or even removing some entirely. Nothing cut ruins the story and many of the adjustments are so well done you don’t even get the sense anything is missing. That said, an anime only ending to the first season ends up muddying Noragami’s continuation, introducing elements and developments that are ultimately forgotten in its 2nd season. When first viewed the ending seems genuinely fine, but subsequent viewings and continuing onto the second season gives this conclusion a lackluster feel.
Linny: The show is however, extremely faithful to maintaining and showcasing its characters’ personalities. Noragami features a very lovely female protagonist, Hiyori, who doesn’t fall into too many tired cliches. She’s not your typical damsel in distress and while she isn’t all powerful, she always gives it her all. And while our main protagonist Yato might feel like a cliche, aka a slacker with big dreams who eats like there’s no tomorrow, he manages to be charming all the same. And best of all, a fair number of the supporting characters all get their own little arcs and/or enough exposition to make them feel interesting and even become fan favourites. Noragami offers no shortage of characters to become attached to.
Tom: Noragami makes good use of its twelve episodes, digging into its characters and giving plenty of screen time to the show’s primary arc before delving into its anime only conclusion. Understand that Noragami, as a manga adaptation, doesn’t wrap everything up, leaving plenty of loose ends, some addressed in its second season and some left for the pages of the manga itself. For example one of the major conflicts falls to the side once the show dives into its anime only episodes. As it becomes clear, in the second season, that this content wasn’t a part of the main story, it starts to feel all the more shoe-horned in. As I said earlier, it’s not a problem you’ll feel the first time around, but with subsequent viewings it becomes an increasingly glaring flaw.
Linny: Noragami is without a doubt at its strongest when it’s focused on comedy and isn’t afraid to be absolutely silly with its humour. The animation and the music only add to its charm, with its opening credits song one of the most memorable ones of its season, especially when you see just how well the animation is choreographed to compliment the music.
Tom: Noragami does so much right that it’s hard to find too much fault with it. It’s biggest flaws are an anime only ending that worked well when the series didn’t have a proper follow up, but now feels a bit out of place when viewed with the idea of a 2nd season. Plot lines left unresolved are frustrating, but understandable when adapting an ongoing manga, and at this point forgivable since the series revisits many of them with its 2nd season. Otherwise, Noragami is an incredible treat from 2014 and well worth going back for.
Linny: If you’ve been living under a rock, or have only recently begun trying out more comedic anime, you HAVE to check out Noragami. While it certainly isn’t flawless, it does enough right to be a solid piece of anime entertainment. Its supernatural elements lend it a creepy vibe, while also allowing it to pack in impressive action and fight scenes. And its adorable cast bring in all of the laughs and a lot of emotion. The only major weakness is an anime only ending/arc that’s weaker than the rest of the season. But thanks to an equally solid second season, it’s now much easier to immediately move on and ignore that flaw and ultimately, makes the series a must watch for anyone looking for an action packed tale that also features a ton of humour.