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Noragami, Vols. 2 + 3

Noragami, Vol. 2Noragami, Vols. 2 + 3
Created by Adachitoka
Kodansha Comics
Rating: Older Teen (16 +)

After the dramatic fight that closed out the previous volume, Yato’s new Shinki, the spirit of a deceased which can become a weapon, Yukine struggles to adjust to the after life and his new role and relationship with Yato. Tempers flare and patiences begin to fray, and if attempting to reign in his smart mouthed, disrespectful Shinki wasn’t enough trouble for Yato, he also has the unfortunate luck of crossing paths with the warrior god Bishamon who’s got a score to settle with our favorite down on his luck deity! Adachitoka, the creative team behind Alive continue to explore their world of working class Gods and evil spirits while also shedding some light on Yato’s history with Noragmi, Vols. 2 + 3!

Noragami’s starting to grow on me. Yato receives some much needed fleshing out, though at times he still comes off as a bit too unlikeable for my tastes. The addition of Yukine gives the a nice way to expand upon the world he’s creating, while at the same providing a look into Yato’s life prior to the series. If that wasn’t enough, Yukine’s presence creates an interesting new dynamic for the Hiyori/Yato pairing and casts the duo into an almost parental role of attempting to help him adjust to the new world he finds himself thrown into. The sense of humor that permeated the first volume is still present, but it slowly gives way to a strong sense of loss and alienation. Much of these two volumes focuses on individuals and their inability to connect with others, causing them to remain isolated and, in some cases, turning bitter and self destructive. We see this with Yukine as he acts out like a belligerent child, we see it with Yato in his role as an outcast God with a shady past and tarnished reputation, and with Hiyori as begins to realize that her place in Yato’s world comes into question. It’s a nice, solid theme that also ties in with the individual jobs Yato’s been taking on since volume one.

Page from Noragami, Vol. 2

Creeeeepy!

This shift in tone also matches Adachitoka’s slick, but dark visuals. His use of backgrounds in particular really helps drive home the sense of loss, isolation and self loathing. From dingy allies to dirty bathrooms, from empty streets to the lonely rooftops, the backgrounds reinforce these emotional elements. The new characters who pop up look good and fit right into the world that duo created, though I wish the more well regarded Gods looked a bit more respectable or had something to them did more to visually differentiate them from Yato and his crew. While Bishamon makes quite an entrance astride her lion the rest of her design is contemporary enough that she doesn’t feel all that out of place from Yato. It’s a minor quibble, but after the first volume I had just expected there to be a bigger difference visually between Yato’s homeless God routine and the more established and well off deities.

So, Noragami is starting to grow on me. Adachitoka knows when the insert some humor and makes sure it never detracts or interfere with the drama of the story they’re trying to tell. They balance the humor and the darker thematic aspects nicely, never allowing it to become too grim or oppressive. It’s used well and it’s addition really helps to up the drama and stakes Yato and his crew are faced with in these two volumes, while at the same time adding an air of mystery or sympathy to some of the characters and their situations as well. With Noragmi, Vols. 2 + 3, the series seems to be shaping up into an interesting shonen adventure tale.

Noragami, Vols. 2 + 3 are available now from Kodansha Comics. Review copy provided by the publisher.

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