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Noragami: Stray Stories

Noragami: Stray Stories
By Adachitoka, Translated by Alethea and Athena Nibley.
Kodansha Comics, 192 pp.
Rating: Older Teens (16 +)

From Adachitoka comes the first spin-off to the hit Noragami series, Noragami: Stray Stories! This single volume contains several short stand alone tales of Yato, Yukine, Hiyori and the rest of the cast. Throughout the volume Yato and co. find themselves sucked into weird, awkward, and downright silly situations. These range from answering a prayer from a suicidal office worker, Yato getting a stalker, and an encounter with a serial killer. Don’t let the set ups fool you, Adachitoka manages to take each one in a surprisingly light and engaging direction, making for a surprisingly enjoyable comedic read!

Free from the constraints of the ongoing saga, Adachitoka uses Noragami: Stray Stories to plop Yato and company into situations that don’t really have a place in the main series. Each tale in the volume feels like they could be taking place between the major story arcs or story beats, with a “normal day at the office” feel to them. While they do usually start from a slightly darker premise, Adachitoka steers each story into the comedic realm through crazy resolutions, bizarre happenstance, goofy coincidence, and similar silly story turns. The aforementioned tale of a office worker kicks things off, and features Yato listening to the man’s story while they both plummet from the top of an office building for a ridiculously long time. Similarly, Yato’s encounter with a serial killer takes a hard left into silly due to Yato’s divine immortality, leading to some hilarious failed murder attempts on the killer’s part. Other stories include Yato’s attempt to join the Seven Gods of Fortune, and his attempt to keep Yukine from filling out a census like survey regarding his job satisfaction.

A page from Noragami: Stray Stories

In fairness, he clearly put a lot of time and effort into that.

The strong comedic leanings of the volume readily lend themselves to something I usually despise, namely exaggerated reactions. While this occasionally plagues the main series and can detract from the drama at times, its presence in Stray Stories feels right at home, as everything about the stories is goofy and over the top. That said, it also features Adachitoka’s normally solid and enjoyable stylings, not to mention the clear story telling. The artwork, which always has something of a darker edge to it, seems to lend itself to the black humor of some of these short stories.

Noragami: Stray Stories isn’t a must have and is definitely not a good starting place for folks interested in Noragami, but it is a fun little break from the regular series, and is a surprisingly quick read as well. Long time fans will probably get a kick of these little vignettes, which really feel like a glimpse into the normal day-to-day life of Yato and his companions.

Noragami: Stray Stories is available now from Kodansha Comics. Review copy provided by the publisher.

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