With the UK Blu-ray and DVD release upon us at last, it’s a great time to take a look at Noragami, and why it belongs on your shelf. Based on the manga of the same name, it is the first, and only, original work by mangaka Adachi Toka. Noragami features excellent animation; which is to be expected from Studio Bones, known for Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and, more recently, Chaika – The Coffin Princess.
Minor god Yato is down on his luck. Fed up with his slacker lifestyle, his partner abruptly quits. He has no money, no worshippers, and no shrine to call home. But just when things are starting to seem hopeless, a bus accident forces him to cross paths with Hiyori Iki, a sweet and perky high school girl.
Being directed by Koutarou Tamura, who recently worked alongside Mamoru Hosoda as Assistant Director for Wolf Children, a visually enjoyable presentation is assured, and Noragami delivers. Rather than going out of the way to overpower your perception with visual mayhem at all times, the series employs detailed backgrounds, with characters feeling almost plain in comparison. This perfectly emphasises the other-worldliness of the phantoms that appear throughout; the vivid colouring of them clashes with everything else, showing that they are out of place. Phantoms and godly powers aside, not much sticks out when it comes to the world of Noragami, emulating the normality of life to which Hiyori is accustomed. She is our envoy to the mysteries of the afterlife, much like Yato is hers; making everything seem plain allows us to relate to her.
Noragami focuses on a trio of characters:
Yato is the stray god after which the series is named; despite being a god of war, his time is spent going around answering five-yen prayers for a variety of people. These prayers often end up being nothing more than menial odd jobs, though some do involve dealing with the defeat of phantoms, essentially dark spirits that can cause havoc and influence humans.
The DVD and Blu-ray is out now, pick up your copy here.