「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.
Cultural facts for Ep 9! Take note!
1)The entrance to the Underworld, Yomotsu Hirasaka, is a real-life location that can be visited. It’s located in the town of Matsue, on the coast of Shimane Prefecture*, western Japan.
There’s no actual cave though. There’s some large rocks there, largely believed to be placed by Izanagi the creation god when he fled the Underworld.
Underworld gate: http://www.tofugu.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/yominokuni.jpg
Underworld rocks: http://www.connect-shimane.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Yomotsu-Hirasaka-Iya-Jinja-Shimane-14.jpg
The site’s about 15 mins away from the Iya shrine, which venerates Izanami herself. There’s plenty of historic sites to visit too.
*Shimane prefecture was once part of the ancient Izumo province, strongly linked with Shinto religion and contains many old shrines and historic sites.
2)This episode heavily relies on the Shinto creation myth to understand Izanami and Ebisu here.
Basically, Izanami(female) and Izanagi(male) were the 1st deities who created the main Japanese islands. They descended to earth, got married and decided to make children. Because Izanami mistakenly greeted Izanagi first, the resulting child was born deformed and limbless. They named it Hiruko (leech-child), which they put in a basket and let it float away.
Later myths say Hiruko survived, growing limbs and surviving many hardships to become the god Ebisu. Accounting for this part of the myth, then Ebisu truly is Izanami’s son(which explains why he calls her mother.)
They later consulted the other high gods and found out that Izanagi should greet Izanami first (male greets female). All the other godly children they had came out perfect.
The babymaking went on, until Izanami died from burns whilst giving birth to fire god Kagatsuchi. Izanagi cut down Kagatsuchi (whose corpse formed even more gods) and buried his wife on Mt. Hiba (also said to be in Izumo province).
Lovesick, Izanagi traveled to the underworld to bring her back. Izanami first said she couldn’t return since she had eaten the local food, but relented after Izanagi’s persuasion.
She went off to consult the underworld gods, but Izanagi went to look for her. He saw her body was rotting and maggot-covered, and Izanami chased him down in anger and shame.
Izanagi sealed the underworld entrance with a giant rock. Izanami swore she would each day strangle one thousand people of Japan. He responded he would then cause fifteen hundred Japanese people to be born each day. This is how life and death came to be.
Izanami isn’t mentioned in any texts beyond this, but I can only assume her loneliness and undead status have driven her mad over the centuries.
For a more complete version :http://www.gly.uga.edu/railsback/CS/CSJapan.html
Thank you with the notes of the underworld and location, that was an eye opener and a fact I am glad to have read, very insightful.
Izanagi and Izanami references kind of had me thinking of Naruto Shippuden, which also used their names to explain some Uchiha Clan jetsu, and it is kind of similar.
Thank you! highly appreciated.
Cultural facts for Eps 7 and 8!
1)The 7 Lucky Gods and who they’re based on.
2)Shinto religion believes their gods all meet up for a great annual divine meeting, the Kamuhakari (every year in October of the ancient Japanese calendar),to discuss not only divine matters, but to determine good pairings and romantic matches for the Japanese people for the coming year.
The ceremony is hosted at the Izumo Grand Shrine, the 2nd most holy Shinto shrine in Japan. (The most holy being the Ise Grand Shrine.)
This entire season of Noragami has been a gem. Definitely gonna qualify this as a potential AOTY prospect at this rate.
That’s so great! (wipes a tear away)
I’m sure your child self would be happy to know your dream comes true.
This is just a funny looking ambush.
Dude, what were you thinking? (air-smack his head) Not cool.
I cried at that scene.. :/
Kofuku borrows Ebisu’s name as an alias in introducing herself since if she identified herself as the god of misfortune, no one would ever approach her.
Yato doesn’t actually use the real Yatogami’s name, the gods just heard the name Yato at the meeting and initially mistakened Yato for Yatogami (otherwise known as Yato no Kami). It might be confusing since people sometimes refer to Yato as Yatogami by combining his name and suffix for calling him a god but the characters for Yato’s name and Yato from Yatogami are actually different.
All I can say about the last few episodes is that I’m really happy Ebisu finally appeared since I really like his character and this story arc.
“Join the dark side Ebisu. . .wait a minute”
I’m pretty sure Hiyori just entered high school not college.
In 3 episode, just 3 episodes, Noragami made us really happy, then really mad, then now really sad. These 3 episodes were….. amazing. I was waiting for your review for so long! Wb!
I think I would break this episode down into the versions of Yato we’ve seen so far:
(1) The Yato that was about to cut his relation with Hiyori: so that was his second promise to Tenjin? That whole scene was sad but it was at that moment that we saw Yato looking surprised and moved by Hiyroi.
(2) The Yato who finally entered Takamagahara and his long desired dream of having a shrine had finally come true. The annoying neighbour, poor dude. I loved how he just tries to fit in. Yato is genuinely nice.
(3) The Yato that was so happy and finally gave us a little bit of info about himself. Kapapaya (I don’t even want to spell it) land and how he wanted to celebrate his shrine with Hiyroi and Yukine.
(4) The Yato that was strong willed to break his relationship with Nora, a.k.a Hiiro, but instead we get the revelation that the first god to make her a Nora is Yato.
(5) The Yato that was kidnapped by Nora. Now this is what Daikoku meant ‘other ways’ Yato had survived. It was always in the back of our minds that Yato killed people, but for what or why, and how, we finally got to know a part of why Yato has been able to survive this long. This also takes our minds off the fact that Hiyori forgetting Yato will make him just ‘disappear’. She isn’t his only resource.
(6) The Yato that went manic. This scene was so good, it really was cool.
(7) The Yato who has a ‘father-like’ presence that he does not go against.
Ok, now after all that, I refuse to believe Yukine is being too idle. Even if Yato had been gone, doesn’t Yukine in the least go round to Hiyroi? Yukine do something! (Note: love how with the scene of him and Yato sleeping, there’s a lamp by his bed, and Yato sleeps with a table to keep it away xD)
Now with all that, I don’t know if I like Ebisu or hate him. And I have got to add at that moment where Hiyori was at the park and that guy was about to kiss her, it was Yato’s sleeve but it wasn’t Yato!
I don’t think a long time has passed since Yato disappeared, we’re only speaking months here, or so I am hoping 🙁
I can’t wait for next episode, ty for your review!
Ebisu: Tell me, can you tie a bow knot?
Yato: I’m better with bondage knots, I’d say.
Ebisu: very impressive.
Yato: no reaction?!
Ebisu: Kunimi’s bow knots are works of arts, incidently.
Kunimi, let’s try these ‘bondage knots’ next time.
Kunimi: of course.
This had me laughing more than it should XD
Some reviewers have observed the abusive nature of the Yato-Nora/Father relationship.
From an ANN review:
If nobody worships Yato, then how has he survived for so many centuries?
…“Father” was probably the one who kept Yato alive. This connection has now become a threat – do what “Father” (via Nora as a proxy) wants, or he’ll kill Yato by refusing to acknowledge him.
Some viewers might find it strange that all this happens without a “trigger”…incident that draws Yato back to Nora. But this can actually be a normal occurrence for people with traumatic histories of abuse. The source of abuse is damaging, but also comforting. The security that relationship offers is less scary than the world outside, which is one big unknown.
Abusive dynamics also train their victims to believe that no matter how bad the situation may be with their abuser, it’s better than life would be out there. Yato is miserable with Nora and his “father,” but without them he would be dead – according to them, of course. They’ve convinced Yato that he’s inherently unlovable to anyone else. That’s also why Yato is so needy. He has absolutely no confidence in the fact that other people care about him, so he needs constant validation. His happy-go-lucky demeanor obscures a lot of pain.
yato survived by having small amount of people remember and forget him in succession, he only charges 5yen and advertises everywhere, basicly he helps someone and they will remember him for lets say 2-4weeks during that time he must help someone else for the cheap price of 5yen and the cycle continues.
that’s what I understood. But the small tasks he does with Yukine kept him alive for a short time.
Nora does say “this line of business is more” rewarding, so he survived centuries by doing dirty jobs. Anything so he can not perish. Since he also disappeared every now and then.
Oh, Yato! 🙁
That was so touching to the point where I almost shed tears myself.
My heart can’t take it anymore =( Why is Noragami so heart-wrenching!?
These two arcs are just so bittersweet T_T
7, 8, and 9. … Oh God why…
Slowly but surely, this is now becoming my anime of the season and one of the year’s best. This season of Noragami is a beast of another level as compared to its prequel.