After watching the first season, I decided to try out Aragoto, as I’d heard so many good things about it. I can say this: Aragoto was way better than season 1 in every way possible. It was so much better!
I am also going to try to integrate more images into my reviews to spice things up and possibly make my reviews more appealing. And I’m trying to add more detai; that’s why this review took longer than most. I am also changing the ‘soundtrack’ section to become the ‘sound’ section, where I talk about not only the music and openings and endings, but voice acting too.
Summary: Yato and Yukine have finally mended their relationship as god and Regalia, and everyone has returned to their daily life. Yato remains a minor and unknown deity who continues taking odd jobs for five yen apiece in the hopes of one day having millions of worshippers and his own grand shrine. Hiyori Iki has yet to have her loose soul fixed by Yato, but she enjoys life and prepares to attend high school nonetheless. Taking place immediately after the first season, Noragami Aragoto delves into the complicated past between Yato and the god of war Bishamon. The female god holds a mysterious grudge against Yato, which often results in violent clashes between them. It doesn’t help that Bishamon’s most trusted and beloved Regalia, Kazuma, appears to be indebted to Yato. When lives are on the line, unraveling these mysteries and others may be the only way to correct past mistakes. (Credit: MAL)
Story: 4/5: The story this season was much more creative and fleshed out than last’s. It delved into character’s motivations and emotions, and was able to create a detailed story. One of the central themes would have to be consequence, which is a topic that isn’t handled well in a lot of medias of fiction, but both seasons of Noragami handled it beautifully. In season 1, something I forgot to mention I really liked was how Yukine “stinging” Yato with his bad impulses started off as something humorous, but became something much more dangerous. Rather like real life, the smallest things can snowball into something big in a bad way. But besides that, it also deals with consequences in an emotional and even psychological way. After losing nearly all of the “Ma” clan of her Regalia, Bishamon collected more Regalia than ever before, which is contradictory and yet makes total sense, as her consequence is the emotion, guilt. She feels guilty for “failing” her Regalia, and so she vows to not make that mistake again, even though collecting more Regalia makes her even more vulnerable and could repeat history.
Kazuma also deals with his own guilt from the consequences of his actions in the past, which is a major twist and adds even more depth and layers to the series.
Despite the summary, Aragoto doesn’t revolve entirely around the past between Yato and Bishamon; the second part is able to create an emotionally strong, detailed story too. It focuses on Yato and his role as “the god of calamity” and his relationship with the main antagonist, a Regalia who is called Nora, or a stray. Another character who appears is Ebisu, who is another God of Fortune. I feel as though this is the area that suffers a little and needed to be a little longer; I couldn’t get as attached to the Ebisu arc as the Bishamon arc. Overall, this season was more twisty, emotionally investing, and creative than the last season.
Characters: 5/5: One of my gripes last season was that the supporting characters whom I liked didn’t get enough attention. This season, that is not the problem! Except for the Ebisu arc. He needed more focus, and I didn’t get as emotionally invested with that character as I should’ve.
First off, the character who gets the most exploration is once again Yato. He’s already been proven to be an incredibly complex character, but this season made him all the more intriguing. I can’t get too into the details because of MAJOR spoilers, but his rivalry with Bishamon is shown to be one of the most complex relationships in the show. And his past is even more shrouded in mystery as some questions are answered, which is equally intriguing and frustrating, as there is no Season 3 yet. In fact,our answered questions just added more mystery around him. And on a random tangent: in some ways, I found Yato to be similar to the 10th and 11th Doctors from Doctor Who. They’re all fun, funny, and kind, yet have a dark side that appears on occasion, but especially whenever someone they love is in danger.
Hiyori, the secondary main character, had similar issues to last season: she’s a good character, but sometimes just feels like a supporting character. Don’t ask me why; she just does. But I feel as though it did improve this season; she seemed to have as big a role, but her presence was stronger in a way. I’m not sure how to explain it, but her characterization improved. Yet there are still too many unanswered questions about her as well; how did she see Yato in the first episode in the first place? How did she know his real name? However, despite these problems, I still like her; she’s that “normal” character who actually acts normal. She’s surprisingly strong, uses her mind at times, and has a big heart. I saw how important she was to the trio even more so than last season.
Yukine’s character development truly shines in this season. Just compare him to the way he was last season, and…dang. That kid has had some of the best development, if not the best, on this show. While he’s still sassy and sarcastic, he isn’t embittered or indulgent anymore. He’s incredibly brave and selfless, and he goes to great lengths for those he cares about. Again, most of his character development involves spoilers, so I can’t say a whole lot about him, but his development is very much like a coming of age story, and you can now see just how much Yato and Hiyori mean to him, and how far he’s willing to go for them.
One of my favorite parts of this series was the development of Bishamon, one of the gods of fortune, and her Regalia Kazuma. They are both incredibly complex characters. Bishamon’s hatred towards Yato is fully explained and explored, and she becomes sympathetic. She’s a warrior, but motherly towards her Regalia. Yet her journey is also about consequence and accepting responsibility for her actions. After losing all but one of the “Ma” clan hundreds of years ago, she devotes herself to saving any soul she feels she needs to, which comes at a heavy price, not just for her, but for the souls she saved. And Kazuma is also shown to be a much deeper character than we thought; I thought he was pretty cool and fairly interesting last season, but Aragoto reveals his own story and emotions surrounding that.
My only complaints about the characters would be: I wish they would’ve taken more time with Ebisu. He clearly made an impact on each of the characters, but very little on me. I dunno why. And I wish they explored Kofuku and Daikoku’s characters too. It may just be me, but I feel as if there’s more to them than meets the eye.
The animation was amazing! It may not have been the most unique out there, but it was crisp and smooth. I love the character designs, and the backgrounds were stunning too. I love the art style, and the fight scenes in particular were clear and easy to follow.
However, Noragami is able to have a more serious, introspective vibe. These sequences tugged at my heart, and were incredibly powerful. Those were the scenes that gave me chills, as the artists used coloring, shadows, and composition to have a brilliant effect.
The opening (Hey Kids!) was so incredibly catchy, I’m humming it as I write down this part. Visually, I think I might prefer the first opening just a smidge, but then I still liked the black and white theme with splotches of color throughout. The layout was a little more typical than the last opening, but the choreography was still really good. But that song…definitely my favorite Noragami opening. And the end song (Nirvana), was sweet and fun as well, definitely brighter and cheerier than Hey Kids!.
The soundtrack is pretty good. Not my favorite ever, but still pretty unique. The composer mixes a modern beat with older, fantasy sounding rythms, creating a sound that somehow sounds new and fresh, yet oriental and mythical. It’s a different mix, but it works and sounds incredibly unique.
The voice acting was top notch! I only watched the sub for Aragoto, as that was all I could find, but if last season was any indication, both the dub and sub are good. Each voice matched the character, and all the voice actors carried their roles well.
World Building: 4.5/5:
The world building was brilliant. The incorporation of Japanese mythology is always interesting to see, and they kept up a steady world with laws, powers, and monsters.
- Character development+ personal relatability: there was plenty of development last season, but Aragoto shows off just how much each character has changed. Each character gets their time to shine, which helps with emotional investment. Overall, Aragoto was much more investing than last season, which is a good thing. I remember I had some moments where I thought, “Oh, screw sleep! I need to see what happens!” And this is just me, but I could personally relate to some aspects of the series, especially with Yato’s desire to be remembered. While his need to be remembered is much more of a necessity than for me, I can still relate. You may not glean this about me from my online personality, but I have problems with making close friends. Often enough, when we’re supposed to hang out, they either forget that or remember that they’re busy. So this season brought up a worry I have that I wasn’t even truly conscious of, so it resounded with me a little more than usual.
- Complex: Aragoto deals with heavier themes and topics than last season, which offers up room for even more development both plot wise and character wise, as well as having more intriguing stories and viewer immersion. Plus, the antagonists were even more interesting and unique this season, which helped bring more tension to the story. The themes of friendship, love, being remembered, and consequence added more depth to this season. Noragami may appear to be a typical action-fantasy-supernatural series at first glance, but it has much more depth and layers to it.
- Character relationships: Every relationship, whether it be platonic, implied to be romantic, or familial, was treated with equal importance. One of my gripes with plenty of media is that it downplays one type of relationship to bolster another, usually romantic. But Noragami doesn’t have that problem; each relationship is treated as equally important, whether it be Yato’s parental relationship with Yukine, Hiyori’s friendship with Yukine, the implied romance between Yato and Hiyori, the main trio in general, the subtext between Bishamon and Kazuma, or Kofuku and Daikoku (and even more).
- Too many unanswered questions: There needed to be more episodes, as Noragami kind of left us hanging with too many questions even while answering some previous questions we all had. It was frustrating. But hey, at least there’s the manga. But still…How did Hiyori see Yato in the first episode of the series in general? How did she know his real name? How did Yato and Nora know each other as kids? There are just too many questions, and not enough answers.
- The Ebisu arc: Noragami proved they could make us care about a character in two episodes. (Remember Suzuha? I’m still mad over what happened to him). So why didn’t I feel as involved with Ebisu’s character? I can’t even answer that question, but I could not care about him as much as everyone else did. Everything that happened to him was meant to be as impactful to the viewers as to the characters, but I wasn’t that impacted. I wish I was, but I couldn’t see why Yato and Bishamon got so upset over everything that happened with Ebisu.
- The last 47 seconds: Yes, I counted how long it took for me to be okay without having a season 3 and how long it took for me to freak out and demand a season 3 (sound familiar, Dr. Frost fans?). But really, why would they give us such a cliffhanger and them make no announcements on whether a season 3 is in the works or not? Ugh, they’re learning from Attack on Titan… I need to know what happens!
Grade: 4.5/5: The unanswered questions and overly short run helped dock this down a bit, but overall, Aragoto is better than the first season in every way. It’s an emotionally investing, complex experience that gets you thinking and gives you plenty of feels and chills. If you want a fantasy/action/supernatural series that has great animation and pulls at your heartstrings, check out both Noragami and Aragoto!
Oof, that was exhausting! Who knew a review could take so long to write? Anyway, did you like me putting more detail in this than usual? Please let me know in the comments.
And as I still need more votes for my next To Be watched list for anime, please vote! I would appreciate it. Here’s the link: What Anime Should I Check Out Next? Even if you don’t know any of them, just vote for the title with the coolest name, or the ones you’ve heard of.