Things’re heatin’ up.
This week’s installment of Noragami Aragoto seriously ramps things up—addressing questions and issues I didn’t think would come up until the season was starting to wrap up. The fact that the imminent skirmish between Yato and Bishamon is occurring during just the fourth episode of the season is actually somewhat comforting. It implies, I think, that the season will do more with the characters and narrative during the meat of the later couple of episodes than what was expected going in. I feel that the landscape of this world will be drastically altered—starting with the apparent slaying of Yukine–but more on that a little later.
So the past conflicts between Yato and Bishamon were revealed to us this week. Now, this story was been hyped up for quite a bit (since last season)—and while I think the execution was a little lackluster (merely in a cave through Kazuma) compared to (at least my) expectations, I found the explanation for their feud…sensical. Didn’t add any earth-shattering understanding or perspective to the characters involved—but it made just made sense concerning all the little bread crumbs the series has been dropping thus far. Maybe a little let down that it wasn’t anything more dramatic or ground-breaking, but nonetheless a tight, and functional explanation for all the conflict. It’s germane to the behaviors and priorities of Kazuma, it somewhat justifies the adamant hatred from a god who so dearly values her shinki, and so forth. I am complacent—although I feel not nearly enough was revealed about Yato himself, and his past personality. However, maybe there’s more that hasn’t been said here (which I hope), but I guess we’ll just see.
Also, I really am surprised just how deeply Bishamon now seems to loathe her now former regalia. Now, while it’s not unlikely that these are merely tentative, of-the-moment sentiments—birthed in irrational, knee-jerk anger—I think a significant inference can be seen here. So Bishamon’s deep-seeded hatred towards Yato is rooted in his responsibility for wiping out her former “Ma” family. Thus, it’s somewhat unintuitive to think that she’d so easily toss the only surviving “Ma” member—even if he involved himself with her sworn enemy. This sort of leads one to believe that at this point in time, Bishamon detests Yato at least more so than she grieves the loss of her former regalia. Her animosity has evolved past any sense of rationality—almost as if she’s forgotten the reason she hates him so much. She just sort of hates him now, which is powerful statement to her character.
Also, some greater detail has been revealed of Kuguha’s schemes…this early in the season? Again, I’m not concerned so much of the narrative developments are being addressed so early—I’m actually excited because it means I’ll likely be surprised at what comes shortly after. Just like the little story Kazuma provided early, this is a very efficient and clever narrative development, but just like that story, it’s nothing more than functional—not especially engaging in nature. It just sort of gets the job done—which is all I suppose one could really ask for.
However, now that we know exactly what his plan is, I’m now more curious what his driving motivations and intentions might be. He still needs to be explored and developed as a character.
Also, I still don’t get who or what Aiha is—or what sort of role she plays in the plot. I hope more attention is paid to her as the series goes on—a lot of catching up needs to be done with her, I feel.
The episode’s concluding event, though, is just the sort of radical game-changer I’ve sort of been waiting for. This could send the series going in so many different directions, and I’m thrilled to see if the writers either stick through with this development or kinda cop-out and take back the credibility of Yukine’s apparent death. I really do love, though, how different Yukine is from when he started—he’s evolved into a far more likable and sympathizable (I don’t even know if that’s a word) little dude, making this little development all the more heart-wrenching.
Overall, I’m diggin’ the direction that this series is taking. The episode could have benefited a little more in the surprise department, but it’s goin’ alright nonetheless. The rapid pace of this season continues to do more good for Noragami Aragato than any bad.