Thursday, May 7, 2015

Manga and Anime Review: Noragami

Author| Adachitoka
Edition| American Paperbacks
Publisher| Kodansha Comics
Genre| Mythology
Rating| Overall 4.25 stars (5 stars anime; 4 stars for first two manga volumes)

So, where to begin with this series?  I feel like there's so much I could talk about, and I plan to, so stay with me.

Noragami is about the god Yato, who's a bit down on his luck since he doesn't have even one believer.  But he makes do, advertising everywhere and charging five yen for his service.  The thing about gods is that they're not something regular people see.  But then Hiyori, a regular girl, sees him and "saves" him from being hit by a truck.  Instead, she's hit, and the even knocks her halfway to the grave, tethered to reality and life by a "tail".  She gets Yato to promise he'll help her, but he's lazy and looking for a friend, so he takes his time and she pals around.

Anime Review
I came across the anime by accident.  It's on Netflix, and it's amazing!  The story had me before the first episode was over.  Each character that was introduced had me in love, and the story continued to build naturally.  Noragami single handidly brought me into the world of anime full-heartedly.  When I saw that the manga was being adapted into English, I heartily jumped at the chance and ordered the first two volumes.

Dub vs Sub thoughts
Let me digress for a moment.  Recently the trailer for the anime with English dubs was released.  I couldn't stand it.  The voices were all wrong and nothing matched up.  I've seen anime in the past and have been fine with it before.  However, Noragami showed me what I was missing.  There's something so much better in listening to the characters speak in Japanese.  I thought maybe this preference came from the fact that I watched Noragami in Japanese first, reading the English subs.  But then I gave another show a try, with dubs instead of subs.  Still couldn't stand it.  I can, from this day, no longer watch dubs unless I have to.

Manga Review
I've read the first two volumes of the series so far and I enjoy it.  So far it hasn't strayed from the story laid out in the anime.  However, it expands on the universe and the mythology a great deal, and also adds important character development that was missed in the show.  I liked these things about it, but I'm glad I saw the show before I read the books because then I didn't feel like I was missing anything.

What didn't I like?  The manga moves much slower than the anime.  I suppose this makes sense, but I feel like it stays focused on minor things for a little too long.  I also didn't get as strong personality out of some of the characters.  Kofuku, for example, was a little flat on the page whereas she pops on the screen.

Neither the story nor the art are bad.  In fact, art wise, it's probably my favorite manga style I've seen.  I feel like the fact that the story is slower gives it, and me, more time to breathe.  And, hopefully, will allow it to develop the relationship between Yato and Hiyori more.  In the anime, what feels like it could be a romance is rather cut off and short.

So would I recommend it?  Certainly!  Particularly if you're new to manga/anime.  It's not a long series so you won't feel swamped by its size, and the anime is readily accessible.

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