DVD Review: Noragami Aragoto – The Complete Series

The delivery god Yato makes a welcome return to the UK through FUNimation; but what can one expect to receive from the DVD release? Well let’s take a look!

Synopsis:

Life for minor god Yato isn’t getting any easier. He’s still broke, shrineless, and his partner-slash-sword-regalia has zero respect for him. Worse yet, Bishamon, one of the deadliest war gods, is after his life. Blaming him for the death of her past regalia, she won’t stop until she kills him. But there’s more to that story than she could ever realize. And as if that’s not bad enough, there’s someone working against her behind the scenes!

Can Yato take on a god as powerful as Bishamon Or will things take a more dangerous turn Right when he thinks things have settled down, Yato is forced into working with Nora and must brave the underworld in order to help a fellow god. The catch He may end up stuck there if he can’t figure out how to escape Izanami, queen of the underworld. Between all of his godly drama, Yato still needs to figure out how to help Hiyori. But all options lead to losing her, and he’s not willing to make that choice-no matter what.

Our View:

Back in 2015 Manga Entertainment UK released the anime series Noragami, a show which introduced an unlikely friendship between human and god and the daily activities gods most overcome in order to stay meaningful within the human realm. Fast-forward two years and FUNimation UK, through UK distributor Anime Limited, are now bringing us its sequel season, Noragami Aragoto, to the UK.

It is a series which continues the unlikely friendship and provides some much needed back-story to the characters featured within the first season. Does this make Noragami Aragoto a rather pointless venture? Far from it as instead it manages to provide an insightful experience in to some of the most beloved characters of the franchise, namely Yato, Yukine and Bishamon; while providing a new series of events to follow that’s worth watching to the end.

Taking place shortly after the events of the first season Noragami Aragoto continues to explore the daily activities of the ‘self-proclaimed’ delivery god Yato; with his regalia Yukine and human-come-spirit friend Hiyori as support. Interestingly the daily activities of our ‘delivery god’ are not entirely the focal point of this second season; as instead this season manages to separate into two distinctive storylines with each lasting around six or seven episodes.

Depsite the ‘focus’ of the story shifting from Yato (and in turn Hiyori) the direction of the story still manages to find time to dissect, discuss and evolve the characters on screen; especially in regards to Yato and has true origins. For instance; the first arc focuses on Bishamon, known as the god of war, and the troubles within her own clan which as a result we find out the truth behind Bishamon’s hatred towards Yato and the reasons why Yato did what he did. It’s an element that plagued the entire first season but was never explained; until now.

Personally I found this to be the highlight of this second season; not because of the insightful adventure it brings, as well as the bond between Yato and Yukine becoming stronger; but because it introduces a new threat from within the clan and the prospect of Regalias having their own twisted desires. The second arc meanwhile opts to focus on the poverty god Ebisu as well as the ties that bond spirits, humans and gods together. In this half of the series Yato finds himself held captive (so-to-speak) by his father and his old reglia Nora to which his only option of escape is to rescue Ebisu who has ventured in to the underworld.

On the other hand Ebisu is being hunted by the higher-gods for breaking their rules to which a battle between gods, phantoms, regalias and humans ensues with no real victor in sight. In some aspects this second segment isn’t as good as the first half, as it is unclear as to why Yato is being used as he is; but it does provide that much broader look in to the world of the gods which was absent in the previous season.

Because of these storylines, Noragami Aragoto offers a much more entertaining experience than the previous season. Naturally this may be because we have already become accustomed to the characters, their personalities and the world they inhabit from the first season but alas that is to be expected. Interestingly enough though the events which brought Hiyori to Yato still remain wide open and unsolved, even at the end of this second season; but this is for good reason.

Throughout the events of each arc of this series the bond between Yato, Hiyori and Yukine are all tested – with Hiyori even momentarily forgetting the existence of them – and it gets quite emotional when it is the god who doesn’t want to let go of the one person who believes. It may not be the ending you expect, as it leaves itself wide open for another series or – in some aspects at least – an indication to read the source material; but regardless; Noragami Aragoto is a great series that’s worth watching if you enjoyed the previous season.

Extras:

Most FUNimation releases opt to feature a wide-variety of content ranging from English Cast Commentaries and Japanese Promotional material to textless songs; however on this UK DVD (and presumably Blu-ray) release of the series we have a rather barebones release with only a selection of trailers and textless songs included.

It’s not entirely a great selection, especially for a FUNimation authored product; but it is the bare esstentials we would expect to receive from a release. In this case all of the bonus features can be found on the second DVD disc, with different variations of the ending and closing songs included (although I couldn’t tell the difference between them) alongside a selection of trailers for other FUNimation products.

In this case the trailers included are for Wolf Children, Unbreakable Machine Doll and Fairy Tail with the Fairy Tail trailer being the ‘last’ instalment into the series (so best avoided if you do not want spoilers). It’s not a great selection; but its better than nothing.

Specs:

Media: DVD 9 x2
Region: 2
Running Time: 2:49:24 (Disc 1), 2:24:57 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-2
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 448kbps (English) & Dolby Digital 2.0 192kbps (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (White)
Resolution: 720 x 480 (480p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 30 fps

Overall:

Noragami Aragoto was an unexpected delight to watch and it manages to surpass my expectations that were set by its previous season release. Gone are the days of watching the ‘delivery god’ accept requests for 5 Yen (although this is occasionally mentioned) instead we have a two-arc-series that explores the origins of Bishamon’s hatred for Yato – which sees a new enemy threat emerge in the form of her own reglia – and a trip to the underworld for Yato in order to save another god known as Ebisu. Although these are the focal point of each half of the series there is an underlining story being told; and that is the bond between Yato, Yukine and Hiyori and the objective of becoming a better god for the people.

From my perspective it is an underlining story as while the events doe present itself on screen they are quickly overshadowed by the events of Bishamon and Ebisu. This aside the stories all wove into each other naturally as to do not disrupt the experience of any of the stories being told. From Yato and Yukine’s perspective it is about being a better master and servant, with Yukine becoming stronger so that Yato doesn’t revert back to Nora; while in the case of Yato & Yukine’s bond with Hiyroi her originally wish of being cured of her ‘spirit slipping out of her body’ still remains in check.

This however even comes in to question as with Hiyori constantly put in harms way Yato is given the choice to cut bonds with her for her own good; a choice which – once Nora steps in at least – makes Hiyori begin to forget about the god and his reglia (but thankfully not for very long). Its an entertaining thrill ride but those expecting Hiyori’s troubles to be resolved won’t find it here and alas the story ends on a rather stale ending with no real ending to speak so; but its still fun to watch.

Noragami Argato may have a story different to what I initially expected but this DVD release via FUNimation UK is as expected; even if the bonus materials are not. The thirteen episodes are spread across two DVD discs with the majority on the first disc and the remaining on the second disc all of which are presented in English and Japanese with English Subtitles.

Once again the original voice cast (from both English and Japanese sides) return to reprise their roles and it doesn’t matter which audio option you decide to watch as both are superb – although personally I enjoyed the English Dub more due to its 5.1 Surround Audio track which benefits from the sound effects and music styles within this show. Bonus features on the other hand are restricted to textless songs and trailers; a shame but better than nothing.

Overall Noragami Aragoto offers a great story that provides a much-needed look at the origins of important characters and although this season doesn’t resolve the issues troubling Hiyori it does provide the character development, background information and action that most series tend to leave out and its only made better with the animation quality and character design. This DVD release on the other hand is expected and although the quality isn’t as strong as the Blu-ray variation it is a nice addition to anyone’s collection.

Score: review-stars-4

Noragami Aragoto – The Complete Series will be available on DVD and Collector’s Edition Blu-ray (which includes an art box that will hold Manga Entertainment UK’s release of Noragami) will be available from the 19th June 2017 within the UK.

Advertisements

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked on ZOMGPlay and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita or Xbox One.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: