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Noragami, Vol. 5

Not sure if it can be called a midweek review when it’s coming on Friday, but whatever it’s called, this is it! Before we get to this week’s review of Noragami, Vol. 5, some news.

And now, onto this week’s review of Noragami, Vol. 5!

Noragami, Vol. 5Noragami, Vol. 5
by Adachitoka
Kodansha Comics, 200 pgs
Rating: Older Teen (16 +)

Intrigue, betrayal and tragedy abound in Noragami, Vol. 5 from Adachitoka! Kugaha, a resentful servent of Bishamon, continues to scheme against his mistress, spinning his web and luring other servants of Bishamon into doing his dirty work. However, even this master planner is surprised when Yato shows up on Bishamon’s doorstep!

Noragami is a fairly entertaining shonen series, with interesting and engaging characters who seem to have much more going on under their surface than you might expect at first glance. The current story of an angry and jealous shinki working against his master is a fine and solid idea for a story, utilizing the mechanics of the world that Adachitoka has spent the last few volumes detailing. The ins and outs of blighting and how a shinki’s negative emotions adversely affect their master are of particular note, making the subtext of how neglected relationships and the lack of communication can sour and become painful into blatant text. That said, it all feels unneeded. The relationship between Yato and Bishamon, the intrigue surrounding Kugaha, neglected shinki and more all provide material for a compelling story on their own. The addition of complex rules that govern shinki and their relationships to their respective gods/masters and to the rest of the supernatural world of the series just feels… excessive? The same story could be told without them and they end up feeling like a concession made due to the manga being a shonen series.

Page from Noragami, Vol. 5

Yato slicing up bullets with Yukine like a boss.

While the story may suffer from a bit of shonen over explanatory syndrome, the action scenes manage to avoid falling into the stereotypical shonen mold consisting of lots of talking and in depth explanations into every little move a fighter makes. This allows the action to be exciting and fast paced, free from the expository drag that plagues many titles. Beyond the action scenes, the visuals continue to be solid, though always a little dark and grim, reinforcing the shadowy nature of the world which the gods, ayakasha and shinki inhabit. This visual tone does clash a bit with the lighter moments, particularly with the comedic over reactions and even with the odd story moment where someone may talk about it being a beautiful day or such.

I don’t usually spend time talking about translations or editing, but the end notes of Noragami continue to be an enjoyable and interesting bonus. The detailed notes from Alethea and Athena Nibley are fantastic and gives a glimpse into hardwork that goes into translating manga. The past volumes have gone in depth in to the many layered meanings of names and terms present in the original Japanese text, and this volume continues to be an enlightening read with an interesting look into some of the puns and wordplay which may be a bit difficult to convey and translate into English. I look forward to reading the notes in each volume, something that’s only ever happened before with Carl Horn’s copious notes at the end of every Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service volume.

While I certainly have some issues with Noragami, they’re mostly surface. Beneath the complex web of rules that govern god and shinki interactions is a story about human relationships, honesty and how having too big of a heart can sometimes cause one to over stretch to their own detriment.

Noragami, Vol. 5 is available now from Kodansha Comics. Review copy provided by the publisher.

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  1. September 14, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    Heya! I’ve Nominated you for a Creative Blogger Award! 😀 You can find the details here https://fiddletwix.wordpress.com/2015/09/14/creative-blogger-quadra-kill/

    • September 14, 2015 at 3:49 pm

      Er, thanks! 😀

  2. September 28, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    Going against a god who rides a lion sounds like a bad idea.

    • September 28, 2015 at 3:23 pm

      You’d think that’d be a big neon “AVOID” sign, buuuuut….

  1. September 7, 2015 at 6:57 pm

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