First Look: Noragami

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Alternate titles: Stray God, Not Soul Eater
Manga Adaptation by Bones
Simulcast on Funimation

Premise

A stray god who wants to become super popular becomes friends with a girl on the edge between life and death.

Marlin’s Verdict: Likeable Leads, Voice Acting Less So.

There was a lot of fun action to be found in this show. I like how the main character Yato is shown to not be indestructible, but powerful enough that you could see him rising through the ranks of gods as the show goes on. Still, I wouldn’t call it anywhere near perfect. I’ll admit most of my reservations come from the less than stellar voice acting of our heroine. I imagine she was going for excitable, as she is most definitely that, but it came off more shrill than anything. Hiroshi Kamiya has proven to me so far that he can do no wrong, so at the very least the hero is superbly done. His voice really fits a guy who’s down on his luck but still has his pride, kind of like a Recruit with superpowers. If they keep up the energy, I can see me growing to really like this show.

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Jel’s Verdict: Divine Potential

I get the feeling Noragami will turn out to be what I wanted Blood Ladanother story about a down on his luck supernatural being vowing to save a girl on the border of life and death, to be: an equal partnership between two people working toward the same goal who grow to appreciate each other over time, maybe even fall in love. I really like the characters too. Yato is ambitious but still compassionate, and Hiyori is believable as a normal girl without being a shrinking violet. This first episode was really just set-up, so where their adventure goes or how the series will be structured is impossible for me to say, but I think Noragami has potential to be the sleeper hit of the season.

Iro’s Verdict: Inoffensive, Unimpressive

The action was okay, the characters were okay, and everything else was okay. Some of the jokes got a chuckle out of me, but overall I wasn’t terribly impressed with Noragami. I wasn’t terribly down on it either, but I can’t shake the feeling that I’m missing something that the rest of the crew is seeing. It’s earned a few more episodes, but things will have to ramp up a bit before I can be invested.

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Aqua’s Verdict: The Bones Of What You Believe

Bones seem to be heading down the same path as Kyoto Animation, where their goal is to make every subsequent series they produce the amalgamation of every other show they have made before this one. There is not a single aspect of Noragami that I have not seen before, and let it be known that that I don’t even watch a whole lot of anime. Nevertheless, Noragami manages to present its platter of clichés in a capable enough way to be entertaining, with kinetic action scenes and cartoonish overacting. Whenever Maaya Uchida opens up her mouth, someone is bound to roll their eyes — see also: Frenda Seivelun, Rikka Takanashi, Hajime Ichinose — but unlike Marlin, I do quite appreciate her performance here. It is sad we cannot have characters bouncing off each other so well in an anime that does show promise beyond “teenagers slay demons”. This deficit sure makes it hard to convince people that Noragami is, in fact, quite enjoyable; and in the end, that just might be its biggest flaw.

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Lifesong’s Verdict: Finally Something Ambitious

Nothing says boy meets girl like hitting the girl with a bus and having her half dead existence team up with the boy who is actually a god. I think this first episode may have been even prettier than Space Dandy, if a bit more simplistic. I love the way the characters were introduced and the world building established. I’m already willing to invest in both of our leads. Our heroine loves martial arts and one of the best gags in the episode builds off that for what was potentially the best lead in of the new season. I’m pretty hyped after this first episode. I’m not entirely sure what to expect from the rest of the story, but the fantastical action of this first episode was a great way to kick things off. If Bones’ animation team can keep up with the quality acting and near perfect timing of this first episode, we might have something really great on our hands.

4 thoughts on “First Look: Noragami

  1. I guess I’m with Lifesong on this one (again). Maybe I’m not quite so hyped about the show – I doubt it’ll become my favourite of the winter line-up – but based purely on this opening episode, I think Noragami shows a lot of promise… and this is coming from someone who typically doesn’t like action/comedy titles based on shounen manga.

    • I’m wary of Shonen manga adaptations in general as well, but at the very least this manga is released monthly versus weekly which often works out better for pacing. Blast of Tempest was also a monthly manga. With any luck Noragami will follow a similar path.

      • Yeah, Blast of Tempest was the anime that gave me a little more faith in shounen manga adaptations. If Noragami ends up being even half as good, I’ll be quite pleased.

  2. It’s certainly not at the top of my list, as far as new stuff not in a second season I’d say I liked Nobunagun the most. Still, I’m not the hugest fan of shounen and this still managed to pique my interest. It could also be the disappointing outlook on the season has made me more accepting of things with potential.

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