So I’m here today to talk to you about a very important topic. I’ve been trying to get people to read Noragami with me for a while now, but when people ask me what it’s about, its pretty hard to explain the premise.
If you look on myanimelist.com for a summary:
“Yato is a minor deity and a self-proclaimed “Delivery God,” who dreams of having millions of worshippers. Without a single shrine dedicated to his name, however, his goals are far from being realized. He spends his days doing odd jobs for five yen…his fortune changes when a middle school girl, Hiyori Iki, supposedly saves Yato from a car accident, taking the hit for him…”
This immediately brings to mind some romcom type, but IT’S NOT. HA! Well ok there is some shippy-ness especially in the anime, but it’s not super overwhelming for the most part.
Anyways, in order to understand Noragami, it’s rather important to understand the world it takes place in. Physically, the story takes place in modern day Japan. However, there is an added layer in that Noragami is essentially a tale about the intermingling of normal everyday life (exemplified by Hiyori the heroine to a certain degree) and Shinto mythology. In the world of Noragami, Gods and spirits exist and interact with the human world, influencing certain aspects of society and everyday life. However, due to the nature of their existence, any interaction between a normal human and a spirit is quickly forgotten, the story describing it as if it were a brush with a passerby, a stranger—barely registering.
Hiyori, a normal, everyday human being gets hit by a truck and somehow survives with only one smallish repercussion—her spirit fall out of her body every so often. And the story follows, at first, her attempts to get Yato, a minor god, to help her with her problem.
But that’s not the real interesting part of the story. The entire mythological dynamic is much more interesting. Essentially, in this world there are spirits called “ayakashi”–blobby, neon colored things with too many eyes. Once upon a time they were normal humans, but then they died. Their existence is the reason for gloom, depression and all sorts of other things that are terrible. These ayakashi cling are attracted to certain people turning them towards darker, unhealthier thoughts. Thus there are some darker moments that undercut the often more light hearted nature of the story, dealing with issues like suicide, bullying and depression.
However, certain gods, like Yato, can “cleanse” or “exorcise” these spirits by what amounts to cutting them to pieces. Then the world turns red and they explode into white text. But they have to do so with “shinki” or sacred treasures, which are basically dead people. But like dead people that can turn into things.
See the shiny sword? That’s a dead person.
Even though it can seem like a weird master—servant relationship, as the story goes you see more and more really touching god—shinki relationships. It’s beautiful. T^T
The entire reason I read Noragami are the two other main characters: Yato and Yukine. Yukine (see blond kid in the lower left hand corner in above picture) is Yato’s (other guy in above picture) shinki. At first he’s a bit of a jerk. But then he becomes a beautiful cinnamon roll and his interactions with Yato are perfect. Ten out of ten.