Last season saw Studio BONES take to the stage with two brand new shows, one of which was the somewhat amazing Space Dandy, while the other was an adaptation of the Noragami manga. To put it lightly the show was an underdog, with so many top quality shows to compete against in the winter season Noragami had it pretty rough. It didn’t sound like the most amazing show, and even with the BONES name behind it, many opted to ignore it in favour of better or longer running shows. However, Noragami ended up being quite a strong title in its own right.
Noragami tells the story of Yato, a war god who is down on his luck and will do any job for a 5 yen coin so that he can one day build his own shrine and be rich and famous. One day our young god is almost hit by a truck and has his life saved by Hiyori Iki. However saving Yato comes at a cost for our poor high schooler, as now she has the ability to leave her body and interact with the spirit world that Yato and friends belong to! Yato promises to fix Hiyori’s problems at some point, but in the meantime she is dragged into his many crazy jobs and his even crazier world. We’re introduced to Yato’s fellow gods (some friendly, some less so), as well as a range of different Shinki.
In the world of Noragaim gods control spirits known as Shinki which can be used as weapons to destroy evil, sadly Yato is down on his luck here too as no Shinki wishes to work with a no good god such as himself. The idea of people being used as weapons has a very Soul Eater feel to it which works wonderfully considering BONES’ involvement with both series. It feels fitting to have the studio take charge with Noragami as they inject the same sense of fun and comedy that they did with Soul Eater six years ago. After a few failed attempts with Shinki Yato finally comes across a young guy who he names Yukine. Young Shinki are often the hardest to control as Yato quickly discovers with Yukine, but the god refuses to give up on him, which certainly comes at a price…
Despite the fact the Noragami anime only comes in at 12 episodes the series manages to offer a fulfilling story. It sticks extremely close to the source material right up until the last three episodes or so which then go into a small anime original arc, which BONES handle extremely well as they often do. The original manga is still on-going, so the anime was tasked with either ending off originally or leaving the series open often to go back to, the latter of which it does. A large reoccurring issue I’ve had with 11-13 episode series is that they’re left too open and don’t feel fulfilling enough, so I was very happy to reach the end of Noragami and find that wasn’t the case. The story is left open enough for BONES to easily go back and continue it if the demand is ever there, but at the same time the series taught us enough about the world and characters to leave the viewer completely satisfied with the ending. At this point it seems to be a skill of the studio to be able to finish off a series like this and leave fans extremely happy with the outcome, which I’m always happy to see.
As far as the standard of animation goes BONES have done an impressive job as always. Noragami has a Soul Eater style of animation to it which fits the tone of the series perfectly. As mentioned previously BONES have injected a Soul Eater sense of humour into the series which fits it really, really well. It’s a different sense of humour to what we’ve seen recently, it feels like the type of humour a lot of nineties shows used rather than the more modern comedy offered to us these days. It’s not a sense of humour that comes from the original source either, at least not completely. No, most of this sense of humour comes from BONES and it’s a real treat to watch even if you already know the series off by heart from the manga. Having read the original source and watching the anime it’s clear to see that Noragami is a strong series all on its own, but BONES have injected a little magic into it with their animation anyway which makes it look and feel pretty special. As far as the soundtrack goes, Noragami has been treated to a very catchy and powerful opening track, balanced by a quieter and more relaxed ending song. The official original soundtrack comes in at 24 tracks, all of which fit the series perfectly. In all honesty not a lot of the tracks stand out, at least not on their own, nor are many of them memorable. For the most part, however, the music works with the animation as well as you could leaving us with a not quite impressive, but definitely passable, soundtrack.
In closing: Noragami is definitely not one of BONES’ bigger hits, but the series has been well treated all the same and is definitely worth watching if you care for Studio BONES’ way of doing things and/or happen to be a fan of Soul Eater. With a fun cast of characters and an interesting story, Noragami is a show that’s easily earned a place in my heart as a fun series, I’d love to see BONES’ come back to the show once there is more manga to adapt.
- Overall 8
- Animation 7.5
- Story 8
- Soundtrack 6.5
- Characters 7