It’s time for the return of Noragami! Everything you enjoyed about the show returns for season 2 and the action scenes get even more intense. Part of what made the first season a hit was the stellar soundtrack, solid animation, and it was a good time. The humor was really on point with likable characters to go around it. The only thing holding it back was how annoying Yukine was and that plot’s over now so we don’t have to worry about it. As a result what we get is a season 2 that’s devoid of any big issues like that. It may have a little less time for some of the wacky season 1 humor but it finds its moments to get that across. This one’s definitely a winner.
Season 2 starts off fairly quick with Yato and Yukine completing missions and having a good time with Hiyori. One day Yukine makes friends with Suzuha, a guy who really enjoys working on his tree. The two of them hit it off pretty well but one day Suzuha is brutally murdered and Yukine is upset at Bishamon for not spending much time with him. He feels like she has too many regalia and as a result doesn’t truly know any of them too well. Well, he may be more right than he realizes as one of her regalia, Kugaha appears and kidnaps Hiyori and Kazuma. Yato believes Bishamon ordered him to do that so he sets off with Yukine to rescue Hiyori and destroy anyone who gets in their way.
The first arc here is a full revenge arc through and through. We get to see a more serious Yato like how he was back when he was a god of calamity. Hiyori is one of his main ties to the human world so he really needs to save her but even more importantly, she’s a close friend. Yato saved Bishamon in the past even though she wouldn’t admit it but this time he may have to end her. It’s a very solid arc with a whole lot of action and character development. It also has the single best scene in the whole Noragami series when Yato does a spin move to dodge Kugaha’s attack and instantly counters.
For some reason several regalia seem to believe that the gods are powerless when they don’t have a regalia at the ready but that couldn’t be more wrong. Yato has shown time and time again that he can absolutely dish out some serious damage against any opponent even if he is by himself. He wouldn’t be a true god of calamity otherwise, but I believe the same is true for most of the gods. They tend to get underestimated quite a lot which you think wouldn’t be possible given their titles and all.
Yato is really excellent in this first arc but falters in the second one. I like that Yato doesn’t hesitate to save his friends and was really going all in here. He couldn’t afford to hold back against someone like Bishamon and also talks Yukine into helping out at full power. He’s just a dependable guy and someone that you want in your corner for any fight. Now the reason why he falters in arc 2 is because he allows himself to be easily manipulated by Nora and his father. It just feels too easy especially when he had been on such a high earlier. He should have been able to stay strong and just say no or at least get Yukine involved. Yato has a lot of powerful friends after all and while many of them may not be able to do a lot, I feel like coming clean and contacting them would have been way better.
Just vanishing like he did was really the wrong call and put him in a lot of hot water that he didn’t need to be in. Meanwhile Yukine wins the award for most improved character here and it’s not even close. He’s no longer a delinquent and has also learned to master his emotions. Even when Yato goes missing Yukine doesn’t panic in the slightest and stays calm. He knows that any negative emotions would hurt Yato and so he holds back. He does his best not to be a burden anymore and also to live up to his new position and status as a blessed vessel. He does great in that and while he suffers some self doubt, I don’t blame him. Yato just disappearing like that is still a big blow even if Yukine tries to ignore it. Then getting wrecked by Kugaha at first had to hurt.
In the end Yukine overcomes every obstacle thrown his way though and really ends up being a solid character. Meanwhile Hiyori is solid as always. She does try to fight at times which I appreciate even if the situation may be too dangerous for her to do much more than that. Either way she always proves that she has their back at all times. Whether it’s in a fight or just to say something inspirational. She keeps Yato and Yukine’s spirits up and is probably the best supporter you could ask for.
As for Bishamon, well we finally learn the truth behind the tragedy that happened to her family a while back. With Yato murdering all of her followers it’s definitely easy to see why she bares such a grudge. It’s not like she was ever given a full explanation back then and Kazuma was certainly not going to mention anything. To an extent she was in denial which she admits later on but either way that’s not something you can just let go. So I totally get her wanting to destroy Yato since he didn’t give her a chance to try and save them all. Fighting to avenge your family is a powerful motivator after all and she did well to keep fighting even after obtaining numerous blights.
Bishamon really gets to show off her stamina throughout all of this as she’s put through a ton in the arc. Ultimately she is able to get past the situation but having her family murdered twice is not something you can easily forget. I suspect she will still be struggling with this for a long time yet. At least she is trying to look on the bright side of things though and has a better setup now. She also returns for the second arc and does really well in the fight. It’s a little surprising that the new villain was so powerful that even Bishamon couldn’t do much though. I guess it goes to show that the power levels will keep on rising.
Kazuma was surprisingly really solid here. I remember not being a big fan of his in the manga but in the show he’s really been dependable. He’s a solid teacher and I was also glad with how confidently he took down one of the angel guards. At this point there aren’t many regalia who can challenge Kazuma. A big part of being a regalia is having a lot of confidence and with Bishamon trusting him completely, Kazuma’s got all the confidence he needs. Both he and Yukine get a lot of time to shine in the series and have to be the two strongest Regalia in action. The only possible competition is Nora and she seems like more of a tactical type than pure power.
Kugaha is the big villain in the first arc but I wouldn’t say that I’m a big fan of his. He also gets off wayyyyy too easily here. I get that Bishamon is a nice person but now you have someone who actually is directly murdering her family and the reaction is way milder than it should be. I don’t care that this guy thought he was a hero, Bishamon should still be taking him out right away. The guy tried every underhanded trick in the book. It’s a shame that they didn’t let Yato handle this because he would have definitely taken the guy down a peg. He wasn’t wasting any time like when he took Kugaha’s hand.
Kugaha is one of those manipulator types so he doesn’t fight on the front lines much but surprisingly he actually can fight when there is no other option. Between his summons and strong borderlines, he’s a legitimate threat to a lot of the fighters. I don’t think I’ll ever grow to like him since his motives are so petty but maybe one day he’ll rise up if he ever returns. His last scene seemed pretty open ended.
Aiha is the regalia that Kugaha tricks the whole time so I can’t say I liked her very much. She made his job very easy with how she was already bullying someone and causing blights on Bishamon. Basically Aiha was jealous because she wasn’t on the front lines anymore. Yes, she was blighting her god over jealousy, that’s just awful. Then meanwhile she was fully willing to do anything Kugaha said and would have possibly murdered Hiyori if Yato didn’t step in. So while she has her big redemption arc, I just wasn’t buyint into it here.
Suzuha was a good character, it’s just too bad that his spirit was broken so quickly. A few words from Kugaha was enough to distract him before he was taken out. Realistically he would have died anyway but maybe he could have put up a fight. That’s the only moment in the season that’s surprisingly brutal as he’s ripped apart. It’s mainly off screen but not the way you want to go out, that’s for sure.
In this first arc we also got to see Yukine’s true form which is a solid power-up for him and Yato. It’s good to see them getting stronger because while Yato is fairly high ranked, he didn’t seem to fare as well as you would expect against some of these fighters. I’d say it’s a mix of Yato holding back and Yukine just not being sharp enough yet. Yato doesn’t really want to murder people anymore and I think that ends up holding him back during a lot of the fights as well. He’s worried that he’ll end up being like his old self.
Then we jump into the final arc where Yato gets blackmailed/forced by Nora and his father into going back to his murdering ways. He murders a bunch of crooks and accepts any mission they tell him to complete. The final one is to rescue Ebisu from the Underworld and then he’ll be free again. The tricky thing is that the underworld is ruled by Izanami who is even stronger than the gods. Getting out won’t be easy particularly as Ebisu insists on stealing her brush which will let you summon demons a lot easier.
Right so I had more issues with this arc like the whole Yato thing that I already went into. I also thought the climax was a bit convenient involving the heroes having to figure out Yato’s true name. Perhaps with the kanji it makes more sense in Japan but if Hiyori just misspelled the name by mistake then that’s way too “destiny” for me. That just shouldn’t be happening. Now I do still leave the door open for this to be a kanji rule where you can break the symbol up into different word variations. Then I’d say that’s okay.
Izanami is really impressive with how powerful she is. Her vines just can’t be cut by Yato or Bishamon. I like to think that with Yukine, Yato would have been able to win though. Because the only reason he’s losing is because his blade isn’t sharp enough so that tells me that the match changes as soon as he has a sharper blade. Yukine should be able to cut just about anything right now so that would be a win. Meanwhile Bishamon did better because she had more weapons but ultimately also ran into the same issue where she just couldn’t land any cutting damage.
It’s Izanami’s domain so she gets an extra buff too. Honestly you feel bad for her by the end because she just wants a friend. The heroes ultimately did lie and betray her the whole time so it’s not like she even started the fight. From the context we have, she is just an innocent person in a bad situation. I feel like Ebisu should have stayed with her since he was dying anyway. There’s no indication that she is actually evil or would have done anything crazy to him so then he could have given the pen to Yato to hold onto for him until he reincarnated.
In this arc I thought Kofuku and Daikoku looked a lot better than usual as well. This time they did stick around to back Yato up even when the gods appeared. So there was no backing off or hiding when the going got tough. They just made sure to keep on supporting him even if they were branded as traitors as well. That’s the kind of determination and loyalty I like to see among the friends.
Meanwhile, Nora is super useful in combat of course but you can see why Yato tries to distance himself from her. She’s always acting rather sinister and the fact that she has a contract with just about everyone is a bit unnerving. You can’t really trust that she’s really on your side. I like to think she would choose Yato over the others but who wants to take that kind of a chance right? She is always quick to pull him to the side of evil too so you want to get bad influences like that out of your life.
Ebisu never hit it off for me here but at least I’m glad that he’s able to fight thanks to his regalia. Ultimately it feels like he had no plan though because imagine what would have happened if Yato didn’t show up? He wouldn’t have lasted 5 minutes down there. It’s made clear from the jump that this guy isn’t a big fighter like that so this was all very poorly thought out on his end and he should feel bad since strategy is at least something that he should be able to do.
Ultimately both arcs don’t have clear cut happy endings so you can see why this season’s vibes are a lot more serious than the first season. There’s less time for the characters to mess around because something serious is always happening. You even have some romance drama with one guy trying to get together with Hiyori. Unfortunately when he takes advantage of her she doesn’t immediately report him to the school or her friends and just starts running. I’d like to see the guy get called out one of these days for pulling a stunt like that.
The season has a bit more fanservice than the first one though. Bishamon ends up taking a lot of baths to try and wash away the blight but I wonder how effective that can really be. Seems to me like doing an absolution for everyone would still be easier. Additionally it feels low risk since Yukine’s only got dicey since he was already so far gone. When you’re in good shape I feel like the process would be fairly painless. I could be mistaken on that though I suppose.
One them during the series is that gods can’t make mistakes. Yato explains that any action a god takes is automatically the right one and I would disagree with his logic there. Of course he is a god so he would believe that and he was also mentioning this during season 1. Given what we see from Ebisu and Bishamon though, they can still make the same mistakes as anyone else. I’d say they commit sins too and they just don’t get blighted because of how the world’s logic works. I get why Yato would think this since effectively they make the rules but it’s that kind of thinking that leads to so many of the gods getting overconfident and corrupt.
They all look really shady in the climax after all as they don’t give anyone a chance to sit down and think about what’s going on. They just launch right into their attacks and trying to bump Ebisu off. They’re not exactly paragons of moral virtue. The only one I liked here was the Hawaii guy who was eager to go help Ebisu and wasn’t about to get captured. We learn that he waged war against the heavens once before and based on his confidence I’d say that it went pretty well. I like the fire behind this guy’s eyes and he’s someone to keep an eye out for.
I had some slight power level issues here at times but nothing too crazy. I just feel like Yato’s power fluctuates a lot from being able to destroy the most powerful spell of the heavens to having trouble with Ebisu. Yes, his slashing power is dependent on his regalia but his physical abilities are always on point. He was holding his own with Bishamon and had great reaction times with Kugaha. He should not be having trouble with almost anyone here. I just have to go on the theory that he’s constantly holding back but I can only use that for so long before it gets stale. I assume the whole speech Kugaha made about how strong the Nora are is pretty much fake but at the same time I want to see the regalia have more attacks beyond the single shockwave. There should be a bigger bonus to having a contract with the god that would give you an edge over a nora who knows your name. Otherwise it does feel like you’re at a disadvantage.
I suppose the reason the power levels come to the forefront more here is because of how there’s a lot more action than in season 1. At least true fight scenes so not counting quick battles against the minions. Here you have the heroes going up against enemies who can actually fight back so you get to gauge their power a lot better. The show still has its somber moments and happy scenes of course but you can usually expect a big fight scene almost every episode. The stakes are constantly high and the show gets tense. It’s also always good to see the serious Yato return for the battles since he did have quite the reputation back in the day. You know that he can slip into that persona at any time.
As mentioned earlier, the soundtrack is still excellent like in season 1. You’ve got a lot of very catchy tunes that fit all occasions. From serious themes to comedic ones, the show has great variety. The animation is also great here and doesn’t hold back. All of the fights are really good and there’s a lot of detail. It’s a show that will absolutely still hold up 5-10 years from now and well beyond that as well. The show goes by quickly at 13 episodes but the pacing is really fast so a lot happens. There’s also a good amount of setup for the future story moments as well like with Yato’s dad being around. I can’t say that I’m a big fan of the guy at all since his appearances here are pretty bad. Hopefully he’ll end up being more interesting. The one weakness to the series right now would be that the villains are fairly weak. The guy from the season 1 climax stomps all of these guys so far.
Overall, Noragami: Aragato is a very solid follow up to the first season. It does everything the first did but even better and that’s what you always want to see out of a sequel. Yato is also just a great main character. Another standout moment for him is when Tenjin tells him to avoid Hiyori and Yato just doesn’t. That promise was rigged from the start so I’m cool with Yato breaking his word there. Tenjin was just trying to take advantage of a really bad situation and proved that he wasn’t a true friend in the way that some of the other gods were. Yato may have slipped in the second arc which I still find a little hard to buy into but I like to think that was the last time he will stumble. If you haven’t seen this show yet then you’ll definitely want to jump in now!