Category Archives: Noragami

Noragami Episode 3

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Episode Director: Shuuji Miyahara (Episode Director on Naruto episodes 53, 61, 69 and 77 / Episode Director on Bounen no Xamdou episode 7 / Episode Director on Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood episodes 19, 40, 52 and 60 / Director on Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood Third Ending Sequence)

Storyboards: Tomomi Mochizuki (Storyboard Writer on Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch episode 12 / Storyboard Writer on Log Horizon 2 episode 2 / Storyboard Writer on Gundam G no Reconguista episode 14)

Script: Deko Akai (Series Composition on Akagami no Shirayukihime / Script Writer on Yes! Precure 5 episodes 26, 32, 37 and 44)

Kaji Yuuki. Hoo boy I knew I recognized that voice.  His work with Yukine especially with this episode is fairly low key.  Not as aggressive like Arslan Senki‘s Silver Mask.  I just hope Yukine, being a teenage boy won’t deliver angsty drama that this series doesn’t need.

Shinki are people that have already died, we know that much is given.  Phantoms, as revealed here, attach themselves to humans harboring negative emotions.  Shinki are the polar opposite of them in that they truly want to live.  The first three episodes have barely touched the surface on these beings.  Yato put it strongly when he says that if a human wants to commit suicide then so be it, it’s already been possessed and there is no use saving the soul whether its dead or alive.

Remember when he cured his hand last episode with simple medicinal techniques?  In a sense I can see why they’ve made Hiyori into this spiritual guide to Yato.  She may be the key to giving him the answers he’s pushed aside.  She’ll give him the chance to grow up as a God.  I really like how this translates back to Hiyori and her own situation.  She’s caught up in both worlds trying to grasp all she can about her spiritual side from Yato but in all honestly, he doesn’t have a clue how to help her.  It’s a balancing act with his character. Teetering between his outward appearance (untrustworthy and selfishness) and his humanistic desires of compassion that come up every now and then.  This makes him a very likable character because he’s not predictable.

The introduction to Tenjin is a segue into this that captures Yato’s swaying attitude when it comes to saving others.  Now that I think about it, the previous episode we saw him sleeping at a Tenjin shrine inevitably foreshadowing the God Tenjin’s appearance along with his collection of Shinki guised as Japanese Shinto maidens.  Otherwise known as Miko (巫女). Tenjin is quite literally the deity of Sugawara no Michizane. One of the most well-respected and well-known Heian scholars and poetic figures in Japanese history!  I like how composer Taku Iwasaki captures deification by adding in a Hichiriki (double reed Japanese flute) and the Tsuzumi ( a Japanese drum of Chinese and Indian origin) to his music.  It’s culturally inviting of Shinto traditions and its amazing how Iwasaki modernizes it by dropping down a keyboard and a set of electronic beats as Tenjin appears.

The whole shrine scene is probably my favorite out of this episode because it shows right through Yato’s actions.  Not to mention how Yato’s former Shinki, Tomone shows up as one of Tenjin’s shinki.  All I can think of with this episode is “identity” and how individuality separates every one of us.  The big clue to this is Yato describing the Far Shore’s effect on regular humans.  Yato and Yukine aren’t noticed from afar and can only be taken in to the natural world when situations call for it like the restaurant scene.  Certainly a unique way in exploring characterization and this identity motif.  There were also a lot of other parts in this that highlight this point as well.  Yato runs at the seat of his pants trying to earn money,  Tomone refers to herself as Mayu and the most important: Tenjin notices that Hiyori is something not human, spirit or god.  He even questions whether she should be involved in their fight with phantoms.

In Japanese, Hiyori means weather which is extremely crucial to the supernatural aspects of Noragami, I’m amazed how this series as a whole so far has invested so much time exploring the Shinto religion.  For those that don’t know there are 3 types of Gods or Kami as they’re referred to in Japanese Shinto.  The first is that gods can take form of certain weather events, landscape formations, water and even forests.  With Noragami, the Shinki represent this first type.  The second is this idea that gods are attributed to the presence of dead ancestors.  Blood related or honored by a population .  I don’t believe we’ve seen this yet in the show.  The third and final type of Kami are souls of the dead. That are souls that are revered for their bravery, commitment and service.  Perhaps a few of the phantoms represent this I guess I’ll see once I finish up with this first season.  In a broader sense, Noragami places Shinto beliefs throughout with this idea of nature, harmony and balance.  Tenjin phrased it precisely when he said “Disorder among people means disorder in the heavens”.  Another piece of this has got to be that Yato is connected to Yukine’s thoughts and feelings whether those feelings are perverted or not.

This soundtrack is awesome.  I’m enjoying this series a ton.


Noragami Episode 2

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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 ShouSpace 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!


Noragami Episode 1 [Initial Impressions]

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Yato is a minor deity who lacks even a single shrine. In order to build his own shrine, he scrawls his cell number on the wall of a downtown bathroom telling people he will help them in exchange for a 5-yen offering, becoming a self-styled “delivery god.” Hiyori, the daughter of a respectable family, is almost killed in a traffic accident, but is rescued by Yato. This causes her to become a “hanyou,” a person who can easily lose her soul. She chases Yato down, and they begin to work together.. ~ANN

Animation Production: BONES (Full Metal AlchemistSpace DandyAkagami no ShirayukihimeRahXephonSoul EaterGOSICKSTAR DRIVERZetsuen no TempestConcrete Revolutio, the upcoming My Hero Academia and Mob Psycho 100)

Director: Kotaro Tamura (Episode Director on Michiko e Hatchin episode 3, Director on Eureka Seven AO second ending sequence and Zetsuen no Tempest ending sequence / Storyboard Writer on Space Dandy Episode 23)

Series Composition: Deko Akao (Script Writer and Series Composition on Akagami no Shirayukihime episodes 1, 2, 4, 8, 9 and 11 / Script Writer on Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun episodes 5, 8 and 10)

Character Designer:  Toshiba Kawamoto (Animation Supervisor and Key Animator on Michiko e Hatchin episode 3 / Chief Animation Supervisor on Towa no Quon / Animation Supervisor on Space Dandy episode 24 / Key Animator on Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood first opening sequence / Character Designer on Kekkai Sensen, NoragamiNoragami Aragoto and Towa no Quon)

Music: Taku Iwasaki (Composer on Akame ga Kill!, Gatchman CROWDSSoul Eater and Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Read or Die OVA)

Episode 1 Production Details

Episode Director: Yoshifumi Sueda

Storyboards: Kotaro Tamura

Script: Deko Akao

At first glance this show screams generic supernatural shonen series where a high school girl encounters a mysterious guy that fights monsters with special abilities.  We’ve seen this all before.  BLEACH had it with Ichigo’s relationship with Rukia and how he became a Soul Reaper under her guidance.  As did Code:Breaker and earlier works like Inuyasha and Flames of Recca.  Noragami takes a different approach and weaves into its story traditions of Japan, a modernized setting and tons of foreshadowing nicely.

Yato is highly comedic as a God and it balances the heavy theme that’s introduced from the get-go, desire.  The young girl thats bullied at school requests the help of a God to save her from all the negative aura surrounding her.  Definitely a step up from being generic this show takes a not-so strong God and drops real world problems into his own life!  Fed up with Yato’s homeless lifestyle and not having a shrine his Shinki, Tomone, leaves him.  I really like the idea that these Phantom’s manipulate humans similar to how Horrors did in Garo it ties the supernatural elements and this Japanese idea of Gods in an engaging way–through the use of coins.

Without coins Yato can’t live and gain the shrine that I’m sure he’s probably always wanted.  The thread that brings Hiyori to Yato is the very fact that he earns money another way by finding a lost cat leading their fated encounter.  A big part of what this first episode does correctly was leaving out a huge information drop.  We were given bits and pieces here and there.  Hiyori having a tail illustrated she’s a spirit that can fight monsters.  There’s also the thread about the Far Shore and the Near Shore and she dangles between both worlds.  Seeing the resemblance to BLEACH with the human world and spirit world?  Even though Noragami projects similarly strong motifs with the ideaology of spirits and the use of supernatural abilities it pulls it off with flair.

Incredible character detail and smooth animation throughout!  This is definitely a series I’ll be picking up! I was immediately interested when I heard Taku Iwasaki would be doing dubstep for the soundtrack.  It’s a shame his soundtrack for the second season has been pulled due to the use of the Adhan prayer causing a stir.  Luckily I got ahold of the official soundtrack before it got pulled!  I loved his work on [C] The Money of Soul and Possibility of CONTROLKatanagatari and Gatchaman CROWDS.  He’s a genius at  establishing a wide array of emotions with an orchestra, synthesizers and keyboards!  He’s so diversified with his style that channels an edge to his music that other composers simply don’t have. The only other artist that comes close and is getting up to my Top 10 Best Composers list is Ken Arai.  Iwasaki’s entrance into experimental rock was only granted by his work on Witch Hunter Robin which included a combination of heavy guitar riffs and chanting melodies.  Nowadays, I’d say he likes to mesh a lot of styles together and one of my favorites has got to be where he channels out menacing moods with strange voices, echo effects and synthetic sounds!

OP: “Goya no Machiawase” (午夜の待ち合わせ, Overnight Appointment) by Hello Sleepwalkers

Directed by: Kotaro Tamura

Storyboards: Kotaro Tamura

Animation Supervisor: Toshihiro Kawamoto

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Why didn’t I see this series when it aired?! This would have certainly made my list of Top 10 Best Opening Sequences of 2014. Similar Taku Iwasaki’s edgier style, this rock song encompasses the spirit that Noragami isn’t always going to be a bright show to watch.  Shuntaro’s vocals give off the eerie style similar to White Ash’s vocalist Nobita but with a wider range to play around with.  The visuals are top notch–love those blue paneled scenes against the photographic backgrounds.  The animation on the characters is extremely fluid and transitions cut together incredibly well!

ED: “Heart Realize” (ハートリアライズ) by Tia (Supercell)

You can really tell this is a Supercell song.  Heavy on the strings and a focus on melisma.  I like it and it’s very refreshing to see how slow-paced it is compared to it’s opening counterpart. My favorite part is where we see Hiyori stopped at the train tracks symbolizing the Far Shore and the Near Shore and that she can reach Yato in the other world.  The blue lightning effect on Yato and the other character shown establish how otherworldly the Far Shore is.