Anime vs. Manga – the Showdown (Noragami Review)

Repost from old blog

After picking up the manga on a whim, I decided to also give the anime a shot, after all wouldn’t you love to see a good manga come into motion?  But the anime doesn’t always do the manga justice.  How about Noragami?

noragamiNoragami tells the story of a god, Yato, who is so insignificant that he doesn’t even have a shrine.  Instead, he goes around, completing requests for 5-yen offerings.  He crosses paths with Iki Hiyori, who tries to save him from a bus, but nearly gets killed herself.  From then on, her soul is able to be separated from her body.  Yato finds himself a shinki (a divine weapon), Yukine, and the three of them battle ayakashi (phantoms), revealing Yato’s dark past.

That wasn’t the greatest synopsis ever.  For more information and a more proper summary, head over to MyAnimeList.  The anime, which is produced by Bones (notable works: FMA, Ouran) is 12 episodes long aired during the winter 2014 season.

I personally found this anime rather enjoyable to watch.  It has a good world premise, great art, and incredible music.  But in comparison to the manga, the anime really does fall short.  Noragami suffers from the fact that it’s only 12 episodes long.  It leaves the pacing rushed and awkward.  Sometimes, it feels like the creators are scrambling to pull the story together.  However, the show does pull through to make it enjoyable to watch.

Now if you haven’t seen Noragami, do not let any thing that I’ve said so far scare you from watching it.  It is a fun anime to watch, definitely give it a shot…Personally, my suggestion would be to read the manga first, and see if you like it from there.  And if you do like it enough to pick up the anime, do so 🙂

The review from here on out will have spoilers.

noragami5

As someone who read the manga, prior to watching, I knew what the anime was missing.  The first episode was extremely rushed, especially in the very first scene regarding the bullied girl and Tomone.  They took no time to explain what was going on or fully portray the situation at all.  It just didn’t set the premise at all.

The story develops quite awkwardly, because of the fact that they skipped over the Bishamoten arc (which will apparently be the focus for Season 2).  It seems as if they didn’t plan their 12 episode cours, as they set up for the Bishamoten arc, then dropped the arc completely.  It was as if they planned to complete the arc, then realized 3 episodes wasn’t enough to complete it, and then made up an anime orignal arc to finish up the anime.

I don’t exactly mind the anime original arc.  It stays very true to the tone of Noragami and the characters, but it seems so scrambled together.  Nora really has no reason to meddle with Rabo and Hiyori.  And don’t get me started on how Nora destroyed Hiyori’s memories out and Hiyori still managed to remember everything by Yato’s smell…

noragami4The characters are, well, I hate to admit it, but mediocre.  The 12 episode premise doesn’t get to completely delve into a lot of the characters.  Hiyori, is a rather bland character, other than the fact that she’s a closet wrestling fan.  Her character doesn’t seem very grounded because of her lack of defining features.  The only character we get to see develop is Yukine, and even then, he doesn’t get the revelation that he does in the manga.  Yato, I find rather interesting.  He’s the classic two-sided character – constantly happy and comedic on the outside, but actually a really dark person.  But he’s also dedicated (despite his laziness).  Yato is the kind of person who you can trust his word when he says he is going to do something.

The characters interact well, and bounce off of each other, creating a lively atmosphere.  The characters are often motivated by one another and their actions affect one another.

The comedy is rather seamless as it goes back to back with the dramatic moments but never take away from the serious moments.  The distinction between comedy scenes and serious scenes is very clear.  There are some (for a lack of a better word) bullshit moments, where I’m really wondering-what the hell is going on right now, but they end up resulting in some hilarious scenes.

noragami2The art is rather plain, but when it has to be, it’s pretty good.  In the first few episodes, the animation wasn’t as good in certain scenes, but it wears away.  I also found the same in the voice acting.  It may just be because it is the first anime I’ve watched in a while, but I found the voice acting a little awkward in the beginning.

Speaking of sound, can we must talk about the soundtrack.  I’ve never watched an anime with an original soundtrack that has as much personality as Noragami’s soundtrack.  The Noragami soundtrack screams NORAGAMI and is so fun and quirky.

The opening and ending are great.  The opening is one of my favorites.  The ending doesn’t quite match the tone of Noragami, but is pretty good.

My only real issue with Noragami is how the story is developed.  It’s not clear which direction it wishes to go.  While the manga does take more of a “slice of life” style route, it’s arcs are clear and and focused, while the anime seems to lack direction.  I do recommend this anime as it is a very enjoyable watch.  But I suggest that you read the manga.

And yes, Season 2 of Noragami is green lit!  I’m so excited!noragami3

Thank you for reading this review!  Hope you enjoyed it 🙂

[whispers into ear: get in bed with me]

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