First Impressions: Noragami


Fun but not very memorable

For my first assignment here at Japanator, I decided to tackle First Impressions of Noragami. I had actually watched the first episode of this series right when it first premiered on Funimation's site, but in just a few short days, I had almost completely forgotten what I had seen. That's never a good sign, is it?

crash into hello
Essentially, this is a series about Hiyori, a high school girl with a passion for watching mixed martial arts, and Yato, a minor god with not even a shrine to his name. One day Hiyori sees Yato about to be hit by a bus so she pushes him out of the way and ends up getting hit instead. Soon afterward, she discovers that she now resides in between the world of the living and the world of the dead and that her soul can and will leave her body without any warning at all. Not wanting to stay in this condition, she hires Yato to figure out how to fix her.

It's unfair to say that this is a bad series or even a bad premiere episode. For what it is, it's actually a pretty decent first episode with hooks such as fights with giant phantoms, above-average character designs (Hiyori with a tail is just adorable, and I'm not ashamed to say that.) There are also some great comedic moments which made me laugh out loud, such as when Yato visits Hiyori in the hospital and appears beneath her covers; it sounds dirty and wrong, but if you watch the episode I'm sure that you'll laugh at Hiyori's reaction just as hard as I did. 

Beyond the flashy action and animation however, there's a quieter side to Noragami that many people may not even notice due to how subtle it is. The background music, composed by Taku Iwasaki, is actually quite well done in this first episode. Blending into the background perfectly, it's very easy to miss these tracks but if you listen closely (or not so closely during the fight scenes) you'll find that the music to be one of the best things about this premiere. I'm not saying that I'm going to go out and pre-order the soundtrack as soon as it becomes available, but I also couldn't imagine this episode being nearly as interesting without this particular score in the background. 

The major issue with this first episode is what I alluded to in the first paragraph... for some reason, it's just not that memorable. Sure, it's fun while it lasts but once it is over there really isn't a lot here to make you desperately want to see more or even remember much about it days (or even hours)
later. There's just nothing to really make it stand out.

derp faces

I want to like Noragami and say it's going to be a fantastic ride, but at this point it would be impossible to say that and keep a straight face. Maybe it'll get better and more memorable as the series progresses, but at this point, my feelings can be summed up with a nice loud 'Meh.' If you're looking for an amazing, out of this world, supernatural action-comedy, you can probably do better than this.

[See Hiyori's tail at Funimation]

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LB Bryant
LB BryantAssociate Editor   gamer profile

I've been writing about anime and manga either professionally or semi-professionally since August 31st 2005 starting on before graduating up to ICv2 and other sites more + disclosures



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