「神様の祀り方」 (Kamisama no Matsuri Kata)
“How to Worship a God”
“God of Calamity”
「糸の切れる音」 (Ito no Kireru Oto)
“The Sound of a Thread Snapping”
As the first of these three episodes I’m covering establishes, these characters are finally moving forward. They’re all finding ways to move up in the world. Yukine is stepping up and truly embracing his role as his master’s exemplar, Bishamon is no longer so petty and begrudged to not let Kazuma mentor the young regalia of her former enemy, Hiyori is starting high school, and Yato has finally become an official god. There’s a very clear forward momentum present, but one that continues to be stifled by mistakes amongst our protagonists.
Something these episodes have especially enforced is Yato’s avarice for money, attention, and so on—but at more than just a comedic level. It’s clear, that above anything else, Yato just wants to be loved and treasured. However, he continues to be misguided in how he goes about acquiring it. I think Yato believes the only way to attain this love and belonging is through acknowledgment on a mass scale. Being a god entails being remembered, lest they vanish and disappear forever.
Traditionally, this involves worship by the masses in order to stay alive and relevant, so the guy is perpetually fixated on this kind of large and bloated success (constantly trying to get money, advertising constantly, etc.). However, in gravitating towards that methodology, he continues to neglect the fact that the way he will stay alive and relevant—the way he will attain gratification and love—is through a smaller, more intimate level of affection and meaning—specifically, through Hiyori.
He at first, seems to finally understand this when he displays some of the most genuine, heartfelt emotion he has in quite some time upon receiving Hiyori’s shrine, and then subsequently when he meets with Nora to finally break things off once and for all.
However, she very cleverly taps into Yato’s deepest insecurity—of not being loved and forever being forgotten—saying how his current entourage isn’t nearly enough to sustain his life. He subsequently (and, as it seems, tentatively) regresses back into his former self—making a quick and easy name himself to last him a little bit longer (as seems to be a regular occurrence, given passing mentions that Yato goes into hiding frequently).
This decision actually begins achieving the opposite effect, though. As he goes about extending his lifeline, he actually begins losing his strongest source of love and belonging—Hiyori. Yato must realize that what he seeks isn’t really widespread adoration and fame, but intimate affection with a smaller, more dedicated amount of people. The way he currently goes about his actions works against this, for in order to keep Hiyori, he must be strong enough to sacrifice the conventional success of a god, and instead treasure the relationships with those closest to him. It builds atop an already dynamic relationship between the two—making it deeper and more interesting. She is the key to his happiness. (d’aww).
Furthermore, I’m incredibly pleased to see that the series is exploring territory I’ve wanted it to for quite some time. We’re finally finding out about Yato’s past—what makes him the way he is today, the origin of many of his motivations and desires, and the relationship between him and Nora. I’m fascinated to see how this “father” figure will factor into the story—perhaps as the catalyst of his obsession for attention and fame? Who knows, but I’m excited nonetheless.
Some little bits of the mythos which confuse me, though: does anyone know what the deal is with some gods borrowing the names of others (ala Kofuku and Yato)? Is this just some common facet of the traditional Japanese lore (of which I am almost completely unfamiliar)? Does this degrade the status of those borrowing the names? Should Kofuku not be as respected as the seven gods of fortune? This stuff is confuzzlin.
Also, I’m not so sure what to think about Ebisu. I’m still not even entirely sure if he’s this arc’s primary antagonist. I mean, he certainly seems to be on the surface—the orchestrator of a very large concern with the masked phantoms and whatnot—but he plays little to no role of villainy in the core narrative (the development of Yato). Sure they clash heads for a second, but merely in the spirit of mutual cooperation. If he is the antagonist, then I want to see more out of him (perhaps after Yato is done sorting out his existential troubles), but as a character, I do at least find him entertaining—even humorous.
Overall, a strong beginning to Noragami Aragoto’s second half. Mayhaps a tad bit rushed in pace, I feel, but a nonetheless highly intriguing narrative. Pumped to see what the rest of the season has in store.
Author’s Note: Yes, I have not posted in quite a while—a lot of you probably even forgot there was a new writer around these parts, lol. For this, I sincerely apologize. A series of personal emergencies have arisen within the past few weeks for me. This, atop my responsibilities as a full-time student, has unfortunately kept me far more occupied than I’d like. I could hardly find the time just to write this post. The last thing I want to do is let you guys down. Though I’m new, I already feel blessed and humbled that anyone would bother reading anything I write, let alone look forward to it. For those who have, and continue still, to bear with me and my hiccups and mess-ups, I sincerely thank you. Once again, I’m incredibly sorry for the delay, and I look forward to getting back on track with the posts.