Noragami Episode 1 [First Impression]

Vantage’s Impression

Pic111I thought this was great! It’s innovative and has an interesting plot – I think there’s a lot to build on with Noragami. While I’ve got no knowledge of the source material, it seems to be a show about gods and their relationships, be it their interactions with humans or other gods (as the OP clearly suggests). I’m already loving Yato as our protagonist, despite his unfortunate status as an impoverished, homeless minor god. He’s a witty guy, and you’ve gotta love his ambitions to climb up the social ladder, as woefully impossible as it seems right now. Props to Yato for still doing his job even while stuck with so little faith – even small things like finding a lost cat (whom I totally thought was some important high-ranking god with a name like Milord) will mean a lot to the right person. And of course, Kamiya Hiroshi (of Araragi fame) knows what he’s doing as always! You really can’t go wrong there.

It seems like gods like Yato go around dealing with “Phantoms”, a dubiously titled species of youkai(?) that go around causing havoc and mischief. If properly equipped with the right tools (termed “Sacred Treasures”) gods can exterminate them and restore peace; without them they’re practically unarmed. Poor Yato was abandoned by Tomone (a tool who seemed pretty fed up of living in skips) which means that, until he finds a new one Yato can’t do much fighting. I’m wondering if Tomone’s a separate sort of existence – it’s clear that she’s not quite a god (nor is she human) but can humans become such tools? What if they’re not quite fully human any more – someone who’s, say… gone halfway like Hiyori?

Pic131Hiyori’s reactions to everything were hilarious. That hissing on the couch! And she’s got a great tail, by the way. Carrying a (purely coincidential) resemblance to Chitanda, Hiyori’s going to be at the center of everything – Yato’s now taken on her request of turning her back to normal, after all. Whether she’s able to help him out as a tool is (for now) unknown, but I don’t actually think her ability to push back the frog youkai was just due to her sumo fanaticism. Moving closer to the “far shore” has probably given her some resistance against them – or at least, she’s able to damage them more than a human can when her soul has left her body. Also, I found it strange how Yato and Hiyori’s advertised meeting (through summaries like the one MAL is featuring) is not how they actually met – the synopsis there states that Hiyori was a bullied girl who calls Yato’s number after finding it scrawled on a bathroom wall. Lies! She was actually hit by a bus!

After a flimsy start to the Winter 2014 season, it’s great to see a promising show in Noragami! The only real disruptions were the Funimation hardsubs from hell, which gave me a lot of grief in the past when I covered Psycho-Pass and Freezing. They also have an odd tendency to use badly translated terminology – even though I’m not fluent in Japanese I sense something off about terms like “Sacred Treasures” or “Phantoms”. If possible, a fansub group might be a better bet. As for blogging, I’m pretty unsure about this one – I’ve already got Magi and Saki on Sundays, and three shows on a single day seems like a bit of a stretch. I’d be more receptive if someone’s willing to share it with me though. Any offers?

Possibility of Watching: Guaranteed
Possibility of Blogging: Unsure

Dan’s First Impression

Noragami was a real pleasure to watch! If the rest of the series is as easy to watch as this episode, I’ll be extremely happy. This episode managed to strike a good balance between world building, character development and humour. I enjoyed the fact we focussed mainly on Yato and Hiyori, rather than being inundated with 20,000 new characters.

The series has firmly established Yato as an absolute buttmonkey, and I’m really looking forward to his desperate efforts to establish himself as a major god. Naturally, there are going to be a heap of setbacks, and I’m hoping they’re delivered in the same manner as the humour present within this episode. Yato’s reaction to everything in general, and his delusions of grandeur were the highlights of the episode for me. Despite being quite down on his luck, Yato feels like a character you want to root for; he means well and seems to be a genuinely good guy at this stage. I’m interested in him as a protagonist, which is always a boon.

Our leading lady, Hiyori, is also pretty funny. Her reactions to the unbelievable phenomena going on around her got me laughing, and were probably quite relaistic, albeit more comedic. She too seems likeable, and a capable fighter. I’m really hoping she becomes a valued part of Yato’s efforts to become a major god, rather than simply a damsel in distress and an object to further the plot.

Obviously Yato has a way to go before reaching the status of a major god, and he needs to acquire a new Sacred Treasure to do so, who I am guessing is the younger kid in the OP. The concept of gods using these Sacred Treasures is very Soul Eater, so I’m wondering if they’ll share similar mechanics in terms of compatibility and functionality. The whole concept of gods having status based on offerings is also one I an keen to see play out, especially in terms of the interactions between gods. I would wager there’s some sort of social stratification, and while I don’t think Noragami is going to make any real commentary on this kind of social structure, watching Yato struggle against it will still make the series a worthwhile watch. Not every series needs to serve a social purpose or provide commentary on society. I don’t think Noragami is trying to establish itself as anything other than an entertaining series about a dorky god and his friends, which I am totally fine with.

The aesthetic of the series is appealing, and the short fight scenes we saw were fast paced and executed well. The art style and animation isn’t KyoAni level, but the style allows for greater comedic effect through its use of more exaggerated character models and expressions. The soundtrack is also top notch, composed by Taku Iwasaki. Thus far, the pieces have sounded quite similar to the style he used for the Gatchaman Crowds’ score (which was superb), so i’m really looking forward to the otehr tracks on the soundtrack.

Overall, Norgami managed to pull off a successful first episode, introducing a likeable air of protagonists and establishing a world with some intriguing elements. With humour, action and what promises to be an excellent soundtrack, I think the winter season will manage to deliver at least one show which makes the season worthwhile. Definitely willing to share the Noragami love with Vantage!

Possibility of Watching: Guaranteed
Possibility of Blogging: High

Sidekick’s First Impression

Yeah,I watch a lot of anime don’t I? You’ll be seeing me post quite a few first impressions if you don’t mind! :-D

Anyways, on to my first impression of Noragami! This is definitely a decent premiere. Decent to me means two things – either a more unusual and unique premise executed with less than desired flair, or well-executed unoriginal stuff. This show falls into the latter category. It’s not bad, but I have seen series like this before. It’s basically just a better than average shonen series with great visual style (THE VISUAL STYLE IS GREAT) and animation. Seriously, I gotta praise BONES for this one. Despite producing Space Dandy that’s definitely an incredibly high budget project I expected this to look shoddy but damn was I proven wrong. Also, I bloody love the soundtrack for this one. If Space Dandy didn’t air in the same season this series probably has my favourite soundtrack of the season so far.

Other than that though, even with great aesthetics a plain series is still a plain series. Nothing can hide it. The characters are very standard shonen characters – Yato is likeable sure, but I’ve seen so many iterations of his character type before. The same goes for Hiyori – there just isn’t much about her that stands out at all. I don’t think we’re going to get any layered characters here, I won’t bet on any of the unintroduced characters to deliver either. It does have decent comedic timing though. It got me to giggle quite a bit. But the jokes are, once again, stuff I’ve seen before. It’s still better than most shonen out there when it comes to the humor though, I remember Soul Eater cracked over a hundred jokes in the first five episodes and I didn’t find it funny in the least.

The same goes for the premise. There just isn’t anything special about it. Nothing at all. Sure, it’s decently done, but I’ve watched anime for almost half my life and I can vouch that 70% of anime start off in the exact same fashion, with incredibly similar, formulaic premises. This one just happens to have great animation and sound, and that isn’t enough to hide its err…originality.

I’ll keep watching for now, but I’ve got way too many Sunday/Monday series on my hands, blogging or not, and this one could be the first one to go once I get bored.

Possibility of blogging: NOPE

Possibility of watching: Low (after the first 3 episodes)

Midnight’s impression

I said at the start this was the anime I wanted from the beginning. I picked well. I watched Space Dandy right before I watched this so I feared Noragami would be overshadowed by it. Luckily my fears were entirely unfounded. The first five minutes of the show when his Sacred Treasure quit on him had me in stitches. Honestly she was a real bitch anyway. He’s better off without her.

When I say “Better off without her”, I mean, he’s totally screwed without her. Never in my life have I seen a more useless and pathetic God. I mean seriously, He’s adorable in that super goofy kind of way. Spray painting his info on a wall. Looking for lost kitty’s. Wishes granted for a mere 5 yen. I mean how cute is that?! A mere five yen. He’ll never make a temple at this rate but who cares? Okay, Yato kind of cares since that’s his ultimate goal.

We have our other main character Hiyori Iki, “Closet” martial arts fan and ordinary school girl. We all know he’s gonna be her next Sacred Treasure. However, I can’t say I was expecting this show to pull a Yu Yu Hakusho of sorts on me. I mean, Yato runs out to get a cat out of the street. Hiyori runs to save him and gets slammed by a bus. Because, that’s exactly the sort of thing we needed in our first episode.

Now what have we learned about jumping out into the middle of the street to save people? It will obviously turn you into a Spirit Detective or a Phantom of sorts. So kids, everyone go out and play in the street if you want to be an awesome Shonen hero. (Note: Midnight does not truly advise jumping in front of cars. Look both ways before crossing the street kids!) However, unlike Yu Yu Hakusho, Hiyori doesn’t die. She just gets sort of jumbled up and ends up half alive and half dead. Phasing in and out between being Dead and being alive.

We move to her parents hospital. Oh i totally see what’s going on here. High profile family and all, she probably hates it and wants more out of life. Hooray for Disney Princess syndrome. Yato appears in her hospital room, under her covers. Like a total creeper! Shark Teeth and all. She tries to call the cops. In the most hilarious way. She keeps fading in and out of consciousness and being able to remember Yato. She seeks him out.

Giant spirit frog. That’s all I can say. There is a giant spirit frog! They had to run from the giant spirit frog.

I don’t think she wants to be a ghost, because once she gets all this explained by the very sexy and yet very pathetic Yato. She wishes to be normal again. He tells her it will cost here a mere 5 yen. She wishes for him to return her to normal and now it will all work out. If only it were that simple, I honestly think it’s going to be a little more complicated then that.  Oh and I know you were all wondering about the most important thing in the episode. Will the cat be okay? Will the cat, that Yato was chasing and Hiyori got herself psudo-killed to save Yato from be alright? Well I have good news for you.

Milord, will live! -insert cheering here-

overall: I loved this show. Yeah it rubbed off as a little generic at points but it didn’t bother me too much. I found Yato to be interesting enough to get past that. I also really liked the music, the animation and the humor.

Watching: Guaranteed
Blogging: Moderate {Only because I don’t want to fight with the others over the series, otherwise, it’d be super high!}


I love cute things.

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7 Responses

  1. Eva says:

    Oh man I am pleasantly surprised how hilarious this turned out to be! I know I’m going to enjoy this one a lot! XD The characters are awesome! Finally something that livens me up for the Winter 2014 season!

    • Vantage says:

      The season has managed to redeem itself xD It’s a pity Noragami’s only going to be a one-cour show, especially when it blends supernatural, action and comedy so well. We don’t get many of those!

  2. lilgamergal says:

    Wait only 12 episodes?
    *sobs in the corner*

    I really enjoyed the first episode, and the funny moments had me dying of laughter (I have a good sense of humour :P)
    Also, all the cats ;3; I love cats so woopie~

  3. Noc says:

    The manga is still fairly new, so even if we’re only getting one cour, at least there’s a better chance they won’t do an original ending and keep things open for a second season ^^

    I got pumped for this series watching the trailer and then read all the available manga, I have high hopes for this one!! I really love the fluid animation of Hiyori’s tail, so many shows have these extra appendages just hanging or floating stiffly (anime hair has this problem a lot too, it’s a pet peev of mine >.<) so that was an excellent touch. The blend of comedy, action and seriousness was really great too. So excited for next ep!

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