「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.

 

Preview

32 Comments

  1. Real character growth here is Yukine. We’ve seen him really progress from spiteful brat to a child learning to take on responsibility and stepping up to be a man.

    And goddamn Kazuma, wtf is that special ability man?

    Dude
    1. my first look of Kazuma’s ability:

      an Booster type. An type to extent someones ability over her Limit for a short time, He use a bit of his Power to go over the user abilities limit, or he would kill the user or shorten her lifespan

      But to force control the Lightning Dragon.. Dunno, perhaps this is the skill of the user

      WorldwideDepp
    2. I interpreted Kazuma’s ability as the ability to grasp (and manipulate) details around him including his opponent’s weakness. From what I see, the one who wounded Kiun was Kinuha but Kazuma was the one who grasped Kiun’s weak points and led Kinuha to wound Kiun.

      @WorldwideDepp: It’s Kazuma’s ability.
      The Gods were ones who rely on their shinkis’ abilities.

      Miyuki
  2. There’s wordplay in Yato’s real name.

    Yaboku (夜卜, night divination) contains the archaic kanji “boku” (卜), which refers to divination or fortune-telling.
    But, “boku” (卜) looks almost identical to the more commonly used katakana character “to” (ト), which is just a syllable on its own. So his name can be misread as ‘Yato’ instead of ‘Yaboku’.

    The Father named him Yaboku in the 1st place, which he associates with all the bad elements of his past. Hence, he’s been using the name Yato as a means of making a clean break from the Father’s influence.

    zztop
    1. Thanks a lot. That explains how Hiyori was able to guess Yato’s real name, she did consider the wordplay. In the episode there were a couple of frames showing the name carved on the shrine, but I couldn’t understand how that could have helped Hiyori since she wrote the name herself.
      Now it’s clear, different readings 🙂

      Voyager
  3. https://randomc.net/image/Noragami/Noragami%20Aragoto%20-%2012%20-%2017.jpg

    The Punishers and High Gods of Heaven aren’t evil per se, but they are portrayed as extremely self-righteous and narrow-minded (jerks).

    Building on the theme “a god’s actions are always just”, the High Gods believe their actions and decrees are the most just of them all, and expect all other gods to obey their rules without question. There’s a manga character who says “Heaven is righteous and absolute, and it must never bow down or apologize to anyone, no matter what.”

    The Punishers are usually not interested in listening to alternative views, dismissing them as treason and severely punishing whoever goes against their strictly defined doctrine.

    The mangaka’s been building this up as the dark side of the inter-relationship between the Gods.

    zztop
  4. EBISUUUUUUUU! The charecter I thought I would not like and assumed it would be another I-wanna-kill-Yato-vengeful-god became I’d happily call Yato’s-new-god-bromance! I simply love Ebisu and the number of times the teased us by making us believe he would be dead and everyone defending him, really put me at my heels. I can hear Yato’s “Ebissuuuuuuu” in my head most of the time.

    And..

    Mm.. did.. Yato just.. drop Hiiro in the underworld? Should I say poor Hiiro or good riddance? I am confused a little. What are father’s plans really?

    The three sighing together was by far what I felt like doing since Hiiro’s unexpected kidnapping of Yato and well, the much awaited introduction of Yato’s real name. I can see Yato’s preference for “Yato” because it sounds better than plain old “Yaboku”, doesn’t match is “fluffy-fwaf” image xD

    I can’t wait for the last episode but now I know I love the three main charecters enough.

    Note: Yukine finally telling Yato off was something I wanted to see. He has been trying so hard for Yato, managing his emotions so Yato won’t be hurt, his growth is really a highlight this season for me, but Yukine is still Yukine, he has to tell Yato and he had to do it that certain way. That Sekki moment was great!

    Ty for your review, M!

    Mi-chan
    1. As much as we like Hiiro to be left behind in hell, the final scene has Izanami weeping that she was alone again meaning even Hiiro managed to return. Probably father soul calling her or something.

      Show Spoiler ▼

      Raiu
  5. https://randomc.net/image/Noragami/Noragami%20Aragoto%20-%2012%20-%20Large%2022.jpg

    i do not mind, if they use Saber out of Fate/Stay to show us an “White Knight”. No this also helps the Viewer to get a gist where she stands, just of the look

    it is the same as we get Female Elves in this “Record of Lodoss War” Lillith (i think) design. This anime “record of Lodoss War” define the good Elves and the Dark Elves appearance until now. And i do not mind if they use Fate/Stay females design, okay until if the source one do not mind

    WorldwideDepp
  6. is Ebisu not
    Show Spoiler ▼

    WorldwideDepp
    1. Show Spoiler ▼

      WorldwideDepp
  7. Well Kazuma is still voiced by Fukuyama Jun, so that ought to easily make him more “dominant” than some heavenly thunder dragon. Choice of voice actor gives characters super powers. 😛

    I feel sad for Izanami though. Which means that’s some good writing right there btw. But she literally just went crazy from the loneliness that she became desperate for some company.
    I dunno, I just can’t dislike her or something for it. :/

    Either way, this episode did a nice display of 1 question I’ve been having. What makes an Imperial Regalia so special and great? I consider it answered.

    Speaking of which, I liked how they first wanted to make everyone think Yato was going to cut down Ebisu. Even if everyone who knows Yato (and anime/manga protagonists in general), he was going for the more ridiculous option and succeed at it.

    Seph
    1. Because that is simply a big DEM being pulled in the last moment. I’m glad that it was removed from the anime adaptation coz I was like WTF when I just saw that popped up and magically solved all their problems. Ebisu makes a lot more sense.

      Raiu
  8. As cool as it was, Yato and Yukine destroying the pacification ring seemed a bit unbelievable. How powerful are they? If Yukine didn’t look up to Kazuma, would Yato-Yukine be more powerful than Bishamon-Kazuma?

    ShalaKairos
    1. “Father will still remain anonymous unless you know where to look at the OP.”

      Or in the previous episodes, as he’s already shown up. (Not gonna tell you where or give hints)

      But yeah the Father reveal is the main reason they’re saving all that for next season.

      Noh

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