「斯く在りし望み」 (Kaku Arishi Nozomi)
“A Certain Desire”
Noragami Aragoto continues to impress with its latter half.
Before I really get into it though—the first few minutes was some seriously dark stuff huh? Like, uncharacteristically so. I thought the implication at the end of last week’s installment was that Hiyori’s life was moving in the direction of this other guy—her affections and memories of Yato would get lost in the relationship she builds with this other individual.
But no, Noragami Aragoto decided to make the event something really quite traumatic for our poor heroine. The result is a scene that comes of as sort of disturbing. Not to mention that Hiyori is depicted as utterly powerless and weak—atypical for someone who has no hesitation throwing kicks at phantoms and running right into the middle of some intense battles between freakin’ gods. I’m not really sure if I’m diggin’ it.
And then the rest of the episode just sort of forgets about it as the primary plot ensues, making this scene just seem really arbitrary. I’m not denying that it was a well-crafted scene (which I think it is) that followed reasonably from the end of last week (which I think it somewhat does)—one could say that it even fleshes out Hiyori quite well as a character, and might imply that just as Yato needs her, she too needs Yato for strength and courage. I just hope that, as the season continues, more is made out of this as far as plot developments go, so it appears more pertinent (and not just become some throwaway scene), since as it stands, it was tad bit too jarring in contrast with the rest of the episode. But hoo ha, what do I know.
Aside from that though, this week’s episode made some great strides in the development of this story arc. I’m especially impressed with the Ebisu character—he kicked ass. Not physically though—as he made clear last week, he’s not an especially competent fighter. No, this guy is so great is because he’s righteous enough of an individual to really remind Yato of what kind of god he wants to become.
When Ebisu reveals that the meaning of his actions is well-intentioned (the freakin’ protection of mankind), it really puts some perspective on Yato’s current deeds, and how they are ultimately unconducive to his ultimate goal. Yato wants to become a god who doesn’t resort to cheap, rudimentary methods of name recognition, but one who is shameless, and truly good.
More than that, though, he wants to be someone who makes Hiyori proud. In this moment, he realizes that Hiyori is the only human whose affections he really cares about, and it’s really an important development which he undergoes. Perhaps now, Yato can finally renounce Nora and move on with his life, no matter how he might struggle.
Also, how disturbing was it when his regalia were captured? That was seriously kind of horrifying. Noragami Aragoto really doesn’t let up with the graphic deaths
Anyways, a fear I have with the series going forward is the sort of secondary plot concerning the gods of fortune. I don’t know, it just seems a tad bit aimless, and exists completely outside of the core, Yato-driven narrative. It hasn’t yet received a healthy amount of time and development. However, I’m sure it’ll eventually tie in nicely with everything else that’s going on, since Yato has been trusted to carry on Ebisu’s torch, in what will likely result in opposition with the gods of “the heavens” and alliance with the gods of fortune who obviously care a great deal for their fellow god. Maybe this is the means by which Yato will redeem himself and ascend to higher standing as a god.
Also, some strong moments between Hiyori and Yukine. How touching was it when Hiyori first only heard Yukine’s voice, then saw him appear before her, then read his name, and then remember everything about him. A short but well-handled scene that packed a bunch. Also, towards the episode’s end when the two resolve to find Yato, and we continue to witness a stronger and more competent Yukine. Really good stuff.
Overall, a strong foot forward for Noragami Aragoto—looking forward to seeing more on Yato’s past too (which we might dive into next week as Yato ends up wherever he will).