Noragami, Vols. 10 – 12
Yato’s trapped in the underworld and is at the mercy of the nightmarish, Izanami! Can his friends rescue him from the land of the dead? And if they do, what will the revelations of Yato’s family mean to the world of Noragami? All this and more in Noragami, Vols. 10 – 12 from Adachitoka.
After several volumes away, it was nice to return to Noragami, a series which took me by surprise and has been one of the more consistent and enjoyable shonen series I’ve come across. Despite a slight gap in the volumes I’ve read, it wasn’t difficult to slide back into the world and story of Noragami. Adachitoka has done a fantastic job at weaving together world building elements that also grow and develop the characters. This is most obvious in these volumes with the exploration of Yato’s past which helps fill out the world, while also shedding light on his personality and motivations. It all happens smoothly and feels like a natural outgrowth of the events and the character’s decision rather than something that’s occurring because of the plot requires it to.
The artwork continues to be moody, favoring the slightly darker and grimmer aspects of the story, but Adachitoka also shows that they’re capable of silliness and goofiness. Sometimes this happens with the typical exaggerated over reactions which plague many a manga, but in Noragami they somehow don’t feel forced or out of place. This is clearly because Adachitoka has a strong sense of when humor’s appropriate and when it’s not. Adachitoka also delivers one of the most horrifying character designs in the series with an absolutely nightmarish rendering of Izanami. The long hair and corpse like design continues the series trend of having some wonderfully creepy looking antagonists.
I have to admit, that one of the things that really draws me to Noragami is the large amount of wordplay, something that’s emphasized and always a treat to read about in the translation notes from Alethea and Athena Nibley. Their notes provide an interesting look into the sometimes ridiculous complex process of translation, while also helping to flesh out some of the surrounding myths, folklore or religious beliefs that might confuse some Western readers. The notes about the character’s names have been fascinating throughout the series’ run and I still enjoy reading them in these volumes.
From the get go I’ve been charmed by Noragami and with volumes 10 – 12, the spell that Adachitoka has weaved with Yato’s adventures continues to entice and entertain. With interesting characters, ace world building, creepy antagonists and solid action scenes, Noragami is that horror/adventure shonen manga I never knew I wanted.
Noragami, Vols. 10 – 12 are available now from Kodansha Comics. Review copies provided by the publisher.