All the hate and angst build-up has finally led us up to this point – the purification of Yuki.
And I’ve got to say, they did a great job on this episode. From the revelation of the phantoms on Yuki’s back, to the flashbacks and the actual confessions by Yuki, I was so blown away by the series of events. There were a lot of raw emotions coming out of Yuki during this short time and even though I saw it coming (spoiler tags in the comments please!), it was still a shock to see how well they portrayed it in the anime. Having not read the manga myself, I thought it was like removing a giant splinter out of my foot as soon as Yuki admitted to his wrong-doings. I felt a huge relief for both Yuki (and Yato) because he can finally see the impact of his harmful ways and strive to be a better person. Of course, this doesn’t negate the fact that he did those things, but he’s found redemption and I think the turning point was really seeing him confess to his crimes. I can’t say that I feel sorry for him, nor does that mean that I forgive him for the past 3 or so episodes, but at least the story finally moves on.
This episode was focused on more than just Yuki though. I thought it showed the importance of Hiyori as well – because up until now, let’s be honest, she was kind of just babying Yuki and making excuses for him. This episode really put some responsibility on Hiyori’s shoulders to try and do something to save Yato (and at the same time, Yuki). At first it annoyed me that Hiyori kept sticking her nose where it didn’t belong – she hurt herself pretty badly already carrying Yato. On top of that, what does she know? She knew nothing about what the repercussions were for Yato or Yuki until someone told her. Regardless of her actions though, Hiyori played a very predictable role and it worked to return Yuki back to his original state. It was done well and I can feel the urgency that she had towards the two when she was going to lose both. It would’ve been nice for a touch of romance to be added in, but let’s not ask for too much at once.
My favorite character appearances this episode though, had to be Kazuma and Mayu. No doubt, the most selfless actions (and Daikoku as well) as Shinki. Given the circumstances and their prior knowledge of what was happening with Yuki and Yato, they still chose to participate and help them out. I felt extremely touched when Mayu (having no obligations to Yato) would actually volunteer to help Yato. It’s characters like these that make such a powerful impact with their short amount of screen time that I just love. It’s also great that they reuse characters and show that they have a purpose in the show rather than being used for as fillers. I find that as the taste of anime audiences are changing (and so are budgets), shorter-running anime really just give enough time to introduce character rather than develop them. And just as you start to really grow attached – the season is over and you’re dying for a next one (that might never come…). But Noragami doesn’t do that. It gives you a great cast, it sets up some real issues (not just episodic issues), and there’s some actual resolutions that happen. I can’t wait to see how it all ties in together with Rabou (Sakurai Takahiro). Yes, I know he’s an anime original (and that probably means no second season?) but that just helps keep the manga-readers on their toes too.
Bottom Line – @RCCherrie: So much love for this week’s #ノラガミ. Still not loving Yuki, but I just loved the execution of this episode. Kazuma’s my favorite <3