Episode Director: Naomichi Yamato (Episode Director on Shinsekai Yori episodes 1, 2, 4, 12, 17, 19 and 25 / Assistant Episode Director on Kekkai Sensen episode 12 / Director on Fairy Tail Opening Sequences 2, 7, 10, 11 and 12)
Storyboards: Kotaro Tamura (Storyboard Writer and Episode Director on Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin episode 3 / Storyboard Writer on STAR DRIVER episode 7 / Storyboard Writer on The Rolling Girls episode 3 / Director and Storyboard Writer on Zetsuen no Tempest First Ending Sequence)
Script: Deko Akai (Series Composition on Akagami no Shirayukihime / Script Writer on Yes! Precure 5 episodes 26, 32, 37 and 44)
Noragami aired in 2014 alongside some extremely top notch series. Mushishi Zoku Shou, Space Dandy and Zankyou no Terror; it’s not big surprise why I missed out on this during Winter season. On the outside, Noragami uses every shonen trope out of the book–demons, high schooler gains powers and a mysterious male lead fights monsters. The high point for this show isn’t these elements rather its interests lie in being super involved with its cast and how Hiyori is trapped between two worlds keeps the momentum going for Yato.
Pacing is crucial for a series that takes a lot of energy in building up the shonen atmosphere this series seems to exude. For a second episode this one is very annotative yet it never feels like it. Good thing director Tamura Koutarou is straying far away from information dumping like many series do with extraneous dialogue scenes. I’m looking at you Rokka.
The key framework to take away from this episode isn’t about Phantoms their corruption of humans like the initial episode had but that Yato’s clearly not an idiot. He knows how to live within his means and work when he needs to. His concern for Hiyori isn’t overly exaggerated he’s sympathetic at times and can seemingly be vagarious. The fuel to the fire here is the Shinki he acquires during the battle with the eye phantom. From the flashback (which was heavily edited with quick transitions and cool animation cuts) opens up to the idea that Yato isn’t as selfish as he lets on to be. His reaction when he’s ignored delivers a great deal about how the comedy is going to be laid out for the rest of this show–visuals are more pertinent than verbal scenes. BONES is hitting the nail on the head with this! The amount of unique and uncolored facial expressions sell Noragami‘s cast wonderfully! As for Hiyori it’s interesting that she’s losing focus of the real world and enjoying her spirit form. After seeing Yato’s reaction to Yukine–Hiyori’s curiosity throughout this episode with the phantoms, shinki and other spirits is a fantastic contrast between the two of them!
The setting thus far is nicely exexcuted. Episode jumping is a difficult thing to direct and can be poorly done if not well-researched leaving plot-holes. Mushishi excels at this as does Space Dandy. Noragami takes a similar approach. Subtlety. Moving around from Shinjuku to different areas of Japan all the while layering on various spirtiual components from the Yuki grommet, giant tick to the storm Hiyori sees off in the distance.
I’m curious how the main story is going to be and how it will be handled with the pacing. Hopefully it’ll keep up with this style of momentum!
They just had to throw in a bath scene at the very beginning.
I haven’t read the manga nor do I plan to as I really want to be surprised with this show given the amount of recommendations I’ve been receiving about it. I’ve also gotten good feedback about my first episode too! Hope my readers are enjoying this show on my blog!
OVERALL IMPRESSION: 9/10