「為すべきこと」 (Nasubeki Koto)
“What Must be Done”
A nice little red bow atop this season’s first half.
After last week’s absolutely powerful installment of Noragami Aragoto, this week’s episode concerned itself with merely sweep away all the crumbs and bloody entrails which remained. It didn’t necessarily resolve matters with any grandiose revelation—just sort of cleanly wrapped up last week’s events, which is honestly just fine and dandy.
The main thing this episode really addressed is where Bishamon would go from here. At the end of last week, we were left with an utterly broken god of war—physically and emotionally devastated by the loss of so much of her family. When Yato implicitly refers to Kuguha, we have little to no idea what action Bishamon will take—how she will react to the regalia responsible? Would she weep on her knees in submission—unable to recover from so much loss? Or would rage overtake her emotions—responding with the same lividness she once addressed that who was previously responsible (Yato)?
Well, neither, actually. Bishamon opts to first hear out the crook’s alibi—feeling out where the truth is in his statements, and realizing that his motives didn’t really contain any mal-intent. However, upon realizing his undeniable responsibility for so much death, she—in a clear sign of well-prepared character development—makes the very judicious call to release Kuguha, sending him reeling back to the earth’s surface. Though as Yato reminds her, Kuguha is left with his life, so I’m pretty sure this isn’t the last we’ll be seeing of him.
And I surely hope so because, if this is it, I still stand by the opinion that Bishamon’s curer wasn’t an entirely fascinating villain. I mean, I realize he was meant to be nothing more than a catalyst for a plot which centered around developing Bishamon, Kazuma, Yato, and so on (a purpose which he served dutifully), but it wouldn’t have hurt if he was a tad more complex and compelling. Again, he was fine enough for the purpose he was meant to serve, but it would’ve been a little rad if we got a more proper villain (although it was interesting seeing him sort of break down before Bishamon’s might—even when she was layered in blight, she managed to appear powerful and intimidating).
Her subsequent resolve to destroy the phantom and all the remnants of regalia life encased within was seriously badass. Using a rusty old blade to do some serious, effortless damage helped too. As Bishamon dutifully wiped out the baddie, she also achieved retribution for her past mistakes. Now she will rationally assess herself and the situation in order to take the wisest route possible—even if that entails familial bloodshed.
This theme carried over into the episode’s conclusion. As Kazuma (who’s alive now, I guess) woke up in bed, adorned in traditional Japanese clothing (as he wore when requesting Yato’s services in the past) next to a radiant Bishamon, we realize that all past ailments and demons have been amended. When he wakes up referring to his master as he once did centuries ago, and she responds with a fond smile, we realize that Bishamon and Kazuma both acknowledge the messiness of the past, and now mean to learn from it moving forward. The shared diary Bishamon has put in place is testament to this.
But seriously, what function did Aiha serve?
Enough of that, though. Overall, a satisfying way to close up the middle of the season that left me feeling warm and cheery, to say the least. Looking forward to what the latter half of this season will bring. If it’s anywhere close to the quality we’ve yet seen, then we’re all good.