「あなたの音声通話」 (Anata no onsei tsūwa)
“Your Voice Calls Out”
This arc keeps teasing me with what I want right before pulling it away.
That’s not to say this episode or the arc entirely aren’t incredibly high-quality works. No siree, the latter half of the season is proving to be a tightly constructed narrative which continues to poke and prod at the seemingly established character dynamics. How members of the main cast—especially Yukine and Hiyori—continue to evolve in their relations with Yato is a testament to the quality of storytelling Noragami Aragoto has achieved this season.
But gawsh dernit do I want to know more about Yato’s past.
Throughout the entirety of this season’s latter half, the greater details into Yato’s backstory—his “father,” his prior motivations, his former personality, the catalyst for his redemption—have been hinted at time and time again, but with little to no elaboration. As the final episode rears its head, and with an entire war to resolve and alleviate, I fear that the series will not give Yato the proper historical examination that I’ve been yearning for since briefly seeing him sport that trendy ponytail.
The conflict which the season chooses instead to focus on—the treason and punishment of Ebisu—while finely crafted and presented, is not a strong enough distraction from my fixation. I hope at the very least they address this issue in the concluding installment, and not merely push it away for another day.
Personal obsessions aside, this episode made some significant developments among the clatter and bedlam of the heavenly punishers’ arrest. Most notably the enforcement of Yato’s role going forward.
I know I literally just made a big deal of the season not showing enough of Yato’s personal past, but this episode conveyed why what Yato once was might now be irrelevant. When Ebisu lets Yato know that he inspires him to break his perpetual chain of cyclical deaths—to stop fixating on what will be and pay more attention to what currently is. He realizes he has things to live for—a life which he wants to experience now—away from all the politics of gods and phantoms.
This runs parallel to Yato’s situation. Our jersey-totin’ god has spent the majority of this arc obsessing over his own legacy—his place and role in the future. He resorts to actions reminiscent of a life he swore never to return to in order to reinforce his name and sustain his life—activities oriented towards his life in the future, just like those taken by every reincarnation of Ebisu. But just as Ebisu realizes the pertinence in focusing on the present, the impetus is now on Yato to acknowledge the greater importance of cherishing his current relationships over any future ones. So who greater than Hiyori to rescue him by calling him by his real name—acknowledging and accepting him for his past sins—in order to move forward in their relationship.
I also appreciated how Yukine has been reinforced as an unconditionally faithful exemplar—choosing to look past Yato’s deceptions and secrets in lieu of friendship. Yukine has remained a patient and dutiful individual in these trying times, and I hope we get to see him grow more in power as well.
Aside from that, I do find the heavenly punishers a little dry. The season climax obviously has a lot to do with them, and the series has just not spent enough time fleshing out their qualms and motivations. This provides for an action-packed spectacle which I can’t help but view as somewhat dull. The battle just does not carry the same emotional weight as, say, Bishamon’s encounter with Izanami. The heavenly gods have just been meddling about in the background, and are jarringly thrust to the forefront of the story. Not to say that it’s bad by any stretch of the imagination—it just had the potential to be something better with more care, given that the finale is telling us we should care a lot about it. Although I will admit that that lightning dragon regalia, as well as Ebisu’s use of phantoms and Kazuma’s dope battle skills, is pretty freakin’ sweet,.
Also, do cars just never drive by on this road?
Nitpicks aside, Noragami Aragoto seems to be wrapping up in quality fashion. Sure, it’s perhaps not delivering on the emotional grace and power as the season’s first half, but it nevertheless provides a great conclusion to this sophomore effort.
Now if only we could get some more sweet deets on Yato’s past.