‘Noragami: Aragoto’ Season 2 Review

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Noragami: As a minor god of calamity, Yato not only has no followers but does not even have a shrine to his name. In an attempt to become known, he charges only five yen to grant the wishes of Near Shore dwellers (the name given to the living) to save up for his shrine. Through his missions, Yato encounters a Near Shore girl named Hiyori Iki, whose soul frequently slips out of her body, and Yukine, a wandering spirit whom he adopts as his Regalia (weapon). Together, they work to kill off corrupted spirits (Phantoms) while Yato continues in his quest to become a famous god.

SPOILERS AHEAD.

The Story – Recap

Noragami is back for season 2. The new season titled Noragami: Aragoto is split into 2 major arcs. The first one is a fan favorite from the manga and focuses on BISHAMON a god of War. We were given some hints as to her past with Yato in season 1 but we learn the real connection between them in season 2. It turns out many eons ago Yato slaughtered her entire family of regalia. Bishamon has held a grudge every sense.

It was refreshing to get more character development for those we didn’t get to spend a lot of time with in season 1. Still, Yukine’s continued growth was also great to watch. He was a bit whiny in the first season, as was Yato but both have developed well and grown a lot. Yukine still hurts from not being able to be with kids his own age from the real world. However, he meets one of Bishamon’s regalia’s and they become quick friends.

Things quickly go down hill as it appears her healer has been plotting to get her so blighted by her own regalia that she would end up dying and be reborn. In all of his scheming he used both Yato and Kazuma to get what he wanted. As Yato and Bishamon fight each other, Kazuma and Hiyori and held captive. Yato finds himself cornered and about to die when Yukine steps in front of him and gets cut in half by Bishamon’s sword.

Instead of fading away though, Yukine transforms into an extremely rare form of regalia, a blessed vessel. Something that Bishamon had only ever seen with Kazuma, and Yato’s first and only regalia to do so. In the end, Bishamon learns the truth of what happen so many years ago and how it was Kazuma who asked for Yato to kill their family to save her.

The second half of the season starts to bring together larger story threads that have been weaving in and out of the story since season 1. We learn someone is manipulating events behind the scenes. And we get a short glimpse of Yato’s past and that his father is still in the picture though he doesn’t get along with him. It turns out that another major god, Ebisu is the one creating the masked phantoms. When the heavens find out, they put out a kill order and detain the other gods of fortune.

Yato ends up being forced to do killing jobs with Nora or his father will have him killed. The last job he orders is to save Ebisu from the underworld. Something that he almost doesn’t survive until Hiyori is able to figure out his real name and call it out. It turns out his real name is Yaboku. Ebisu dies but is reborn and Yato keeps is promise to bring him to the Olive Tavern, his favorite place to eat.

Yato finally releases Nora, strengthening the confidence and relationship between him and Yukine. A final cut scene shows that Hiyori’s classmate Fujisaki Kouto is in fact Yato’s father. We don’t know about his real name yet but ending that way, we really hope a season 3 is coming. But if not, pick up the manga and continue the story. I know we will be.

Season 2 built on the first season and then blew the lid off. There wasn’t a single filler episode and the story kept me entertained the entire time. The relationships between characters were also some of the best in the series. Yato v Bishamon and Yukine v Kazuma are my 2 favorite. Yato and Bishamon have a very complex history and for the most part they resolve their issues though they still fight like siblings. Yukine and Kazuma formed a brotherly bond, and that of a teacher/student. As blessed vessels for their respective masters, they both strive to be better than all the others for the sake of their masters. Yukine really looked up to Kazuma and really wanted to learn from him.

There are still a ton of unanswered questions including who Yato’s father is, who Yato really is and what his father plans to do with the brushes. Yato has gone under many titles, God of War, God of Calamity. But some of the flashbacks we got indicated more to the story that we may have to go to the manga to get if a season 3 isn’t announced. There was a long gap between season 1 and 2, but we are at the point where a season 3 should be coming out. If it is going to happen we expect to hear something this spring for a fall release.

The Voice Cast

The voice cast of a show can make or break the tension, inflection and feeling in every scene. The Japanese voice casts are well placed for each character. Funimation gets the difficult task of finding their english counterparts for the dub, and like season 1, they nailed it. Yukine is one of our favorite characters. Not because he is perfect but because he has so many flaws. Watching him grow throughout season 2 was a lot of fun. If you have read our various reviews of other dubbed titles you will know that we greatly enjoy the roles that Micah Solusod get. His ability to maintain the feeling, inflections and soul of a character ensure they are never lost in translation. Pair that up with Jason Liebrecht (Yato) and Eric Vale (Kazuma) and you have yourself a great cast.

So many new characters were introduced in season 2 and I can’t find myself complaining about any one of the picks for each new character.

The Music

Noragami has a very unique soundtrack that is a mix of techno music and asian inspired themes. It plays out very well in the action scenes which tend to be a bit more up beat and quickly paced. Then you have the slower more down beat music for the emotional scenes. There was an issue with one of the songs, Push Buttons, which ended up causing the long delay in the blu-ray and dvd release of the series. The song had to be re-worked before the episodes could be released.

The Blu-Ray Release

The blu-ray release comes in 2 forms, the standard blu-ray/dvd combo pack and a limited edition version.  Both come with 2 DVDs and 2 Blu-ray disks for the series that includes all 13 episodes, Episode commentaries and textless opening/closing songs. The limited edition comes in a nice chipboard box and includes a special fortune envelope with fourteen art cards, including three special pieces inspired by the traditional artistic stylings of the series.

Pick up your copy on Amazon.com here.

Or Pickup the manga here.

Our Rating

Like season 1 of Noragami, season 2 continues the beautiful animation that we have come to expect from Bones Studio. The action, characters and story continue to be enticing and I can only help a season 3 will happen. If it doesn’t, be sure to pickup the manga which is being released in the US as well and is currently at volume 17.

We give Noragami: Aragoto a 4.5/5

Robert Prentice