A longstanding storyline wrapped up in the last volume of Noragami, which leaves us at a bit of a crossroads with volume 7 (which comes out this week). What will serve as the conflict, how will relationships change and more importantly will this series continue being one of the best mangas today?
Noragami: Stray God Vol. 7 (Kodansha Comics)
Yato, the god of calamity (one hardly known to most humans), recently beat Bishoman, a god of war, after the latter kind of lost it. Bishoman has some serious issues with her shinki, AKA lost souls adopted by a god to do their bidding, but that’s all cleared up now. This story was brewing and building for a few volumes now so it’s fitting that this volume spends some time seeing Yato and Bishoman interact. Needless to say two gods who warred and hurt one another aren’t best friends, but it’s nice to see Bishoman is still being used after getting so much time in this series even if she’s not a main character. This issue deals with that fallout and an offer for Yato’s shinki.
Why does this comic book matter?
We here at AiPT! have loved if not liked every volume so far. There’s a hit anime being produced as we speak following this manga and it feels very original. You can’t say there are many stories set in modern times focused on gods. The entire god structure and types of gods in this series are completely unknown to myself too as they are all Japanese. That makes this series feel a bit like a history lesson, or at least a slice of culture you might not get anywhere else. Also it looks damn good to boot!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This volume nails a few side stories as it appears to be getting its footing for the next big storyline. The first deals with Yato possessing Hiyori’s body and having some fun at her school. It’s a bit inappropriate – I think she’s only 15 – as he/she hits on boys and teachers. He wants to make Hiroyi popular and does so by making her a bit of a crazy person. It’s a fun and slapstick portion of this volume and it’s fun — something this series is low on as a lot of the stories are darker in tone.
This volume delves even more deeply into the power struggle that is going on with the gods. We learn of a possible reason as to why Yato has survived so long with no followers (because gods without followers die off essentially) and a possible culprit to the number of evil demons running around.
This volume also tackles an interesting topic when it comes to gods and being given their tithe. Money is a major focus as someone offers Yato a lot of cash for Yukine as he has some special abilities. Since everything Yato does is towards creating a shrine it’s a hard choice. Creators Adachitoka solidify their relationship even further with this story and it’s nice to see Yato and Yukine bond (and also struggle with the idea of parting ways).
The art continues to have some great splash pages to convey the big action set pieces. This volume has fewer of them, but it’s pumping in a lot of energy for the fun and wacky moments. This volume is largely character driven though so it can be afforded more tight close ups of characters talking and emoting to their hearts content.
So they aren’t friends.
It can’t be perfect can it?
I’m not sure I’m following the the heck is going on between Yato and Hiyori. These two had a big cliffhanger last volume, but seem to be unchanged here. When you factor in how much attention was given to them being forced to split up it’s confusing they’re still hanging out and doing the same old thing. Maybe Adachitoka changed their minds on this story element, but it’s confusing to the reader.
One can argue this volume takes a long time to get us to the next big conflict. There’s a lot of housecleaning essentially which isn’t bad necessarily, but weaving in the new threat sooner with some confrontation spread throughout would have made this volume stronger.
This is not going to help her reputation.
Is It Good?
This is another great read due to its character driven storylines. The characters are thoroughly developed here and the new threat that ends the volume is going to make you wish volume 8 was here already!