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Noragami Vol.1

Noragami Vol.1

Written by Ross Locksley on 22 Oct 2014

Distributor Kodansha Comics • Author/Artist Adachitoka • Price £7.99

So what do you do when you're a homeless God that nobody has ever heard of? Tout for business of course! Such is the life of Yato, an ambitious lesser-God on the hunt for cases that will win him fame, recognition and a shrine of his very own. However, his difficult personality is such that even those bound to him can't stand working for him.

Enter Hiyori, an earnest girl who, trying to save Yato from an oncoming bus, gets herself run over. Her ability to see into the "middle realm" between life and death is one thing, but an unfortunate side-effect of Yato's rescue has given her the ability to "fall out" of her body and wander as a spirit.

In all honesty I wasn't enamored with the book on its first chapter. It had elements of Takahashi's Rin-Ne and Clamp's XXX-Holic, and at first glance this didn't compare well to either. Once the book hit it's stride around chapter 3, I'd settled in more happily.

This is manga-ka Adachitoka's first unsupervised manga, and the pacing is a little off in places. There's also a very clear influence from Death Note's Takeshi Obata, to the point where I had to check it wasn't actually a pen-name. However, taking a cue from such an excellent artist is no bad thing, and subsequently the book has some expressive and bold lines, interesting panels and some lovely background details that really ground the supernatural elements.

The late introduction of Yukine, Yato's new servant, is a tantalising prospect. Even more arrogant and tactless than Yato, I'm looking forward to seeing how two such abrasive characters can operate on the same team.

In conclusion, it's an uneven start for Noragami, but overall a positive one. Excellent artwork, story elements that, while unoriginal, should have legs and some interesting character interaction should provide a solid read going forward.

As an aside, I'm slightly puzzled by the publisher's decision to place reviews of the anime on the back cover. I'm not sure how a manga benefits from praise announcing that the anime is "Charming, well-animated and fun to watch", none of which apply to the product in your hands! Well, maybe the first one. Odd.

Great art, intriguing characters and interesting ideas are only hampered by uneven pacing and a lack of originality.

Ross Locksley
About Ross Locksley

Ross founded the UK Anime Network waaay back in 1995 and works in and around the anime world in his spare time. You can read his more personal articles on UKA's sister site, The Anime Independent.


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