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The N series: Part one

N - the 14th letter in the alphabet, and also the first letter of three anime I'm watching - Noragami, Nisekoi and Nourin.

Initially I was going to talk about all three at one go, but then after writing about one of the three anime it got a little lengthy and so I'm splitting it into three parts.

First up, Noragami.

How did I know about it: Through a friend who loved Yato and then after that, a whole other horde of friends...

Progress status: I'm waiting for the last episode of the anime, and I'm reading the manga. (I caught up in two is that good.)

Summary: Noragami is about a poor minor god, Yato, who dreams of life as the most worshipped god in the world with a large shrine. One day after his shinki (a sort of weapon that can take the form of a person) decides she's had enough and left him, he is saved from a speeding bus by a girl, Iki Hiyori.

However, after this incident, Hiyori realises she frequently falls unconscious resulting in her soul detaching itself from her body. Thus, to fix this problem, Hiyori has to enlist the help of Yato and his new shinki, Yukine.

Now it sounds like Noragami is just one of the many typical gods and spirits anime out there, but it's different, the story is something that grows on you and it's characters you can easily relate to.

Let's talk about the story first, after watching the first few episodes, the set up is pretty standard, we are introduced to Yato and Hiyori first, with a rough introduction on them and their lives. The vibe is light hearted on the surface with the usual jokes and yet, underlying all that, is something that keeps you on your toes. As you continue watching the series, you suddenly realise that the mood is rather sad, maybe even full of (controlled) angst.

Yato - manga version~^^
Take a look at the main character, Yato, he is a god. A god that wants to be a somebody, he is afraid of people forgetting about him, so he does all that he can in whatever ways that he can, to the point of taking on underhand jobs, just so that he can live on in the memories of the people he helps. He tries to be strong for the people around him, and even though being a god, he isn't all powerful, in fact he has his moments when he fails, but he still tries. He may come off as a clutz sometimes but, really, I think he is the most inspirational person in the series.
Yukine - anime version~
Another main character would be Yukine, Yato's new shinki, initially you think he is a cute shouta, but under that layer, is just a small abused child, who just doesn't understand why his childhood had to be ripped form him. He is lonely, and he fears that, he is angry and he resents his current state of not being dead nor alive. And that's why Yato held on to him, and refused to let him go despite Yukine's repeated disobedience ending in painful stings for him, Yato just truly wants to help his shinki accept who he is.

Hiyori - I love the manga version of her~
What about Hiyori? She is a kind soul and wants to help where ever she can, the story unfolds through her eyes, while she does influence the story flow, and gets herself mixed up in the business of the gods. I would think that she is slowly becoming Yato's anchor, as the spiritual world constantly tempts him and changes in it's complexity as Yato meets old friends and enemies. She is the character that gently guides the story flow.

See what I mean by cute...
Then there are the phantoms in the story, the villains, they are what Yato and Yukine fight against, they represent the negative emotions that people have, and in the story they affect everyone from humans, to shinki to gods. Yes, they are not exactly a character, but from the anime you can see that the phantoms come in different shapes and sizes, ranging from cute to down right scary, latching on to and feeding off the negativity in people. Which is quite an accurate picture of negativity and fear in real life, they start of small and innocent, then morph into something uncontrollable. 

Cover shot of the manga!
For the art of Noragami, I think it is very well animated and everything from the backgrounds (when the phantoms attack the vibe of hopelessness is there), to the piercing blue eyes of Yato (when he delivers a profound line) is beautifully done, and fluid. The manga is also decently drawn, especially the hair and eyes...yea...okay I have a bit of a fascination with the eyes. 

When it comes to sound, the OP and ED of this anime is really, spot on. The OP is sung by Hello Sleepwalkers, the rock genre really works and the lyrics pretty representative of Yato. The ED is sung by Tia and it's melody and initial pure vocals of the singer is in stark contrast with the OP, but all in all it is a nice song.

Casting for this anime was also good, none of the voices were out of place. Kamiya Hiroshi voiced Yato, he also did Kuroko no Basket's Akashi and Natsume from Natsume Yuujinchou *insert fangirling* and come on, Yuki Kaji who voiced Yukine also does a good job with delivering the angsty lines of young boys...he also did Eren from Shingeki...if you know what I mean...

Overall, Noragami is skilfully crafted with a delicate balance of seriousness, action and comedy and really paints a picture about human emotions. Under that perfect veneer that most people tend to wear, just what is going on under there? Self-doubt, depression and jealously it's all there in this anime if you'd just look hard enough, just like with most people hiding negative emotions, it's subtle but it's there.

This quote sums it up, "Even if things are painful and tough. People should appreciate what it means to be alive at all." -Yato

Noragami is a story about gods, phantoms and humans. With the struggle between the three, an illustration of people battling with depression, with the hope that life still wins out. I enjoyed Noragami thoroughly, the anime did a good adaptation of the manga but I still recommend you watch the anime and read the manga. 

That's all for me, congrats you made it to the end of this long post, stay tuned as things get lighter and fluffier with Nisekoi soon~^^

Written by Neko

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