Noragami: Episode 5

Why do you want my tears?

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Yato has a new trick for Yukine. How to create a barrier.  It seems Yukine’s on the fast track for his student stuff, and even his very first barrier is more powerful than Yato anticipated.  I think it’s interesting to note that the emotions of a barrier here are fear and hatred, specifically.  So does the fact Yukine can create a professional-seeming barrier line indicate the innate fear and hatred inside him? Or is it just another facet of his apparent status as prodigy?  Or maybe ALL Regalia powers are based off what we would deem “negative” emotions, and Yukine is full of them (this episode doesn’t seem to disprove that).

On being questioned about Nora, Yato deflects it by saying she’s a “friend with benefits”.  …The OP doesn’t disagree with you, exactly, Yato. But I think you’re just doing your Zatoichi thing again.

Well this is the last straw. Hiyori will be looking after Yukine, unable to leave such an innocent boy with a pervert like Yato.

Well Yukine has impure thoughts being smooshed into Hiyori’s breasts (can you REALLY blame him?) and this sends Yato into fits of pain.  He can feel every impure thought Yukine has, and he isn’t about to let himself be turned into the human…um…kami pin-cushion just for Hiyori’s peace of mind.  It’s a cute way of reminding us about this connection, while doing so in a way that isn’t just a re-hashed infodump.

However, Hiyori is convinced that Yukine is a “good boy”, and this praise, unlike Yato who praises his skills and talent, seems to make Yukine uncomfortable.  It’s very subtle to note the change between both compliments (hard to track them on opposite sides of the OP), and I love it.

Well they eventually decide to let Yukine choose. And he doesn’t need more than three seconds to decide he’d rather be in a normal house with Hiyori than sleeping in a shrine that doesn’t even belong to him like Yato.

Well she brings him home, and her house is enormous. Even by American standards.

And when Hiyori’s parents return home…

nora5a

…oh. My. God. That face. That fucking face. I am going to die.  HE JUST KEEPS MOVING WITH IT ON! Jesus, dial it down like ten notches, Stalker-kun.

…Just because no one can see you is no excuse to be a trollface.

…MY EYES! Why can’t they take it!

So…yeah. That happened.

Fuck….dude, reel it in a bit…and yet this scene has made me laugh more than anything this entire week.

But Yato is here to do more than freeload. Though he’s certainly here to do that, too. Yukine seems to be vulnerable because he isn’t sleeping at a shrine. Yato says it’s because he’s afraid of the dark. Yeah right, Yato. You’re just covering for your concern for Yukine. We know he’s a tough kid!

Yukine isn’t exactly so charitable about Yato, though.  He suspects Yato might replace him with Nora, or any other regalia he comes across.  So among all of Yukine’s failings, it seems low self esteem is among them.  But really he’s still just thinking like a Human. We saw Tenjin with at least five regalia. Maybe he even has more.

Well, Yukine wants to spend the night in Hiyori’s company because he can’t stand the dark.  Huh.  Clever, Noragami, clever.  Masking your truth with audience expectations. Hiyori invites him to her bed, where she promptly falls asleep.  Well Yukine, having a pretty girl inches away, can’t help himself.  He reaches…reaches…to be cock-blocked by Stalker-kun.  Outright abducting Yukine from the bedroom. …Stop living up to your sarcastic nickname so well, Yato.

When Yukine leaves, Yato grabs at the back of his neck.  I like to imagine he is feeling Yukine’s jealousy right now, but unlike his previous hammy acting, right now, without prying eyes, he can sit and endure it like it’s nothing.

And then…phantoms exploding? Yes, the scantily clad blonde lady from the OP is finally here, turns out she’s a god as well.  Oh you know the one, that Yato is clashing with? I’m sure that won’t be important.  I’ll touch on her at the end.

Yukine and Hiyori go to the mall, where Yukine seems very hesitant to accept Hiyori’s offers of buying him some warm gloves for the cold, since he is going to be with Yato and without shelter for long periods of time, even if she is offering him a bed from time to time. …Giggity.

And to demonstrate why he doesn’t need help, he takes a skateboard off the rack and rides it out of the store. But Hiyori immediately makes him put it back.

It is my suspicion, based on Yukine’s actions and words this episode, and some of the flashes of memory we saw back in episode 2, that Yukine was likely from a neglectful, poor family.  He is proud of talents, but has no view of self-worth.  He can DO things, and accepts praise accordingly. But he has trouble accepting compliments that he IS things, other than a burden.  He also comments much on how lucky Hiyori has it with her fancy house and family that can afford a maid. And here, what sends him spiraling out of the conversation is the idea that Hiyori would spend REAL money. On HIM. So he tries to dissuade her as quickly as possible.

Maybe Yukine was a practiced shoplifter in life. I don’t think we have the evidence to say such just yet. But the majority of the time? You shoplift because you are poor. Most kids will tell themselves it’s because they’re cool. But really? They’re just hungry. Or cold. Or whatever. Stealing isn’t because you don’t -feel- like paying for it (though those types of thieves do exist, don’t misunderstand), it’s because you otherwise -wouldn’t- have it.

Either way, much like with Yato, Hiyori’s slight criticism triggers all of Yukine’s deeply held suspicions that he isn’t wanted or needed, and he runs off.  But Yato’s been tailing him.  Subtle detail: Yato makes small children cry.

And now Yato tries to set the record straight with Hiyori.  See, Hiyori suspects the connection goes two ways.  That Yato’s sins would cause Yukine pain.  But that’s not true.

And it makes perfect sense.

Allow me to pose a question.  What is the difference between what is sinful, and what is immoral?

…Go on. Take your time. I know it’s hard.

Answer: Morality is a code of ethics.  It is what is wrong because it is decided by your peers, or yourself.  A sin, on the other hand, is a crime against the gods, or God, or wherever you feel spiritual autonomy is derived.  They are not degrees of separation: they are functionally different ideas.

Can God sin? Can a kami sin? The answer is no (unless you feel one to be agent to the other).

Kami learn about morality through their regalia. And it’s quite a unique spin on the concept of sin. Because each one, directly, harms a god.  It is literally “a crime which hurts the gods”.

Yato says it is his right and duty to cast out divine punishment.  That he, as an entity, is above the fray of temptation.  Which again makes sense in the animist ideal that Noragami is centered around.  We see the evidence in myth, and here in front of us with Yato transforming from War god to Delivery god, that the kami can adopt various hats as their situation demands.  As such, Yato needs to be functional enough to FULFILL that niche.  Look at Kofuku. She is a god of poverty.  A being cast in the same mold of Tenjin, a god of learning. Cast in the same mold as Yato, a god of war.  To be able to shift and take on each other’s duties is what makes them kami, and in order to do that, they must have beings which are not set on a straight and narrow path.  Because, as described, they are ultimately made up of people’s wishes.  Human values guide them, but only in the form of confirmation bias.  After all, there is bound to BE a “god of temptation”, right? So how could such a being exist with such a code?  It like how Death NEEDS to exist, how people need to be allowed to die, even though it is pain and, sometimes considered evil. It is necessary.

Perhaps the step too far for Hiyori is that Yato says he will one day judge Yukine.

And this brings to light an interesting, but thus far really unexplained detail: Why do regalia have two names?  Because the one that can sin is Yukine.  He is attached to Yato.  But as Sekki, he is a PART of Yato, and immune from whatever things, good or evil, Yato would do with him in that form.

Or at least I think.  There may be missing pieces but this is how the picture looks to me right now.

And then it gets dark.  No, not the daylight. The show.  Damn. Just…damn.

Yukine sees a young girl crying.  She says her mother is late, but will be here soon. But Yukine can see across the street and a fresh marker for the victim of a hit and run.  Yeah, it’s the little girl.  But Yukine offers to stay with her, despite his fear of the dark.

But ultimately his nerves wear on him and he lets slip that he doesn’t think her mother will be coming.  This sets her off into a fit of tears and despair.  And even children are not immune to despair.  The phantoms have found her.

Hiyori arrives just in time. She reminds him of the barrier spell, and he uses it to block the phantoms from the girl.  And in arguably the creepiest scene all season, the phantoms begin chanting “Smells nice”.  And the little girl says it, too.

Ergh…*shudder*

Yato arrives, and Yukine begs him to save the little girl, who is now completely phantom.  And he will. By killing her.  Just to rub salt in the wound, Yukine seems to make contact with the whatever uncorrupted remnant of the girl are left right before killing her.

…Fuck you, show.  Full contact on that one.

Yato drops Sekki on the ground, clutching his neck.  I admit I’m having trouble piecing this one.  Self hatred from Yukine? Unsure.

And we see blonde lady in a waterfall bath.  She’s being informed by an attendant about Yato’s activities.  They mention he has a new regalia AND is slaying phantoms. And she doesn’t look too happy.

I suspect the implication is that both points are bad news to her.

So I’m going to posit a theory, and this is as someone who is not doing research on the story. So it’s probably total bullshit but this was my first thought and I like the idea so I’m posing it.

I’m probably missing subtle clues as, while I have some knowledge about Shinto-Buddhist myths, I am no expert.  So much like many people could identify Hermes by his winged shoes, but probably not by the caduceus, I might have also missed something hinted at here.

But.

Our blonde lady rides a lion.  And uses a gun as a regalia (among other things it seems).  Now I know Yukine has blonde hair, so that’s not automatically a foreign trait, but as a complete picture, let’s just assume that as a half-point of evidence. This is turning to be a very “foreign” deity.

There are many goddesses in western mythology who ride lions, and almost all of them are war gods (the big ones being Ishtar, Kali, Bast). War gods like Yato. Could the scope of the spirit realm be ever changing? With foreign kami filling in the roles that were abandoned by the ones forgotten?  Or maybe just all war gods keeping eyes on their department, so to speak, and this speaks to Yato’s old “stories” that Kofuku refused to elaborate on?

I know it’s definitely a stretch, but I kind of want it to be true. It would make the world so much richer by the simple implication that, even though there are myths, times change (as Yato has changed), and just the politics of the kami have changed over time as well. We just haven’t caught up to them with our mythos yet.

I just love that idea, and would adore seeing it played out.  But I know I’m REALLY reaching here.  Still.  I can’t wait to actually find out.

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One thought on “Noragami: Episode 5

  1. Pingback: Noragami: Episode 9 | Dataport Doll's Anime Reviews

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