Going Down The List: Noragami

(MAL LINK)

From the very start, I liked Noragami. I liked its characters, the music was very memorable (although, due to a brainfart, I claimed that the music in the first episode of the 2nd season was “nothing special”) and it looked very good. It wasn’t the best-looking bones show I’ve seen, but it looked very solid, and the animation was especially good during the action scenes (more so in the second season, though). Another large part of why I liked the show was that both the season 1 and the season 2 OPs were really good and catchy, at least in my opinion.

Story-wise, however, the show was not nearly as solid as it was with regard to the music and the visuals. The first few episodes of the first season introduced the characters and I thought they did that rather well, but after that the problems started. To me, Rabou was never an interesting character. It’s like he existed solely to be a stereotypical antagonist, and considering his story was anime-original, I’m inclined to say that that’s all there was to the idea behind his character. And as far as I know, the second season followed the manga more closely, so no one even mentions Rabou after the last episode of season 1. In addition, Yukine’s story arc of angst was, while thematically interesting, kind of boring to watch considering how long it took to finish it.

In contrast, the second season (Noragami Aragoto) handled similar story arcs much better. The first few episodes reintroduced the characters, and as a bonus they told a moving story about Yukine making a friend. The transition from this moving story to introducing the villain of the first real story arc was very smooth, and I thought the villain was more interesting as well, because (unlike Rabou) he actually had ties to the other characters and to the lore! And, as an antagonist that Yato had to fight directly, I think Bishamon was a very good choice, because the first season already established her hostility toward Yato, so it all felt natural. During all of this, Bishamon also went through a similar story as Yukine did in season 1, but this time I thought the pacing was better.

My only problems with the second season were the fact that I felt like Kazuma’s background story was told too slowly (akin to the telling of Yukine’s story in season 1), and that the final story arc of Aragoto was kind of underwhelming when it came to the key characters. Sure, Yato was great and he actually had character development, and Bishamon got to be a badass knight in shining armour (literally, and oh god I loved her outfit), but Ebisu felt too new and too unfamiliar for me to be able to empathise with him. In addition, Nora was basically the same as she always is, and I got tired of that a long time ago. However, the light at the end of the tunnel was that the end of Aragoto brought with it a few changes to the cast, the lore and the world. I’m greatly looking forward to seeing whether there will be a sequel or not.

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