The ultimate sin is…vandalism?
Right from the get go I am torn. On the one hand, the male-character-mistaken-for-peeper gag is so old, it has ceased being funny. Is it only that way because anime has trained me to find it habitual? Who knows. Whatever the reason it just stopped having even the glimmer of interest years ago.
On the other hand, watching Hiyori, specifically, beat on three boys with a broom for two minutes straight can’t be bad for you.
Wait, three? Yes, the third is Yato’s client. Hiyori is all sympathy for him, of course. Which I like, actually. Hiyori’s compassion is, quite certainly, a character flaw. And it’s always there, it’s nice that it doesn’t just exist for the sake of making Yukine look bad, and then EVERY other time it’s reeled into normal-person levels. Even when it’s with a random guy in the girl’s bathroom.
Speaking of little shits, Yukine loathes this client, who is looking to be saved from bullies. Yato only comments that Yukine hates what he sees in himself. Yato then gives the boy advice and a “something”. The sound effects used and the dialogue are meant to make you think it’s a gun, but that would be so cliche you say “No, this isn’t a PSA movie from the 1980s, this is Noragami, what is it really?”
Yukine storms out, and he will again abandon our other two heroes for the remainder of the episode.
Hiyori is freaking, asking what Yato was thinking. Yato’s response is he is merely providing a mode of action.
It is a chaotic attitude, and one the “god of calamity” would almost certainly have. It plays to that strong characterization that the kami have in this series. You or I might say, “Stand up to them,” or “tell a teacher”, or “sticks and stones, nyah nyah”, or whatever trite garbage the elementary psychologist drilled into your heads when you were younger. But Yato doesn’t have that education, nor even those values. He doesn’t even REALLY care which way this goes.
I think it goes back to what I suggested about why Yato holds out on fixing Hiyori (or stringing her along that he CAN fix her). He holds her in his pocket because he wants to make a strong impression. And to handle it so dramatically will leave an impression on the boy (his name is Manabu). One thing is for sure, if Manabu doesn’t confront them, or confronts them in an ineffectual way, it will continue, and his prayers will NOT be answered. In such a situation, by a person like Yato’s reasoning, action would be better than that, and it doesn’t matter WHAT the action is, but to do nothing is stagnation and that is almost certainly the opposite of fixing a problem. Now, is this what is in Manabu’s best interests? Probably not. Because this could have resolved in so many bad ways (we’ll get to that later), but I don’t think Yato is operating from the realm of compassion. He is rolling a gamble. He will solve it or go for broke.
Insert obligatory “god helps only those who help themselves first” nonsense.
Yato almost collapses, but waves it off that Hiyori beat him a lot. We can tell by his tone that’s a lie, it’s Yukine again.
Yukine is moping again. And this is honestly the biggest problem with the dynamic between Yato and Yukine. Yukine doesn’t outright demand to be set free. He tries to do it in sneaky ways, like push Yato away emotionally (which ends up blighting him, so good job there), or going to Tenjin. But the question is never asked directly. And we know, for a FACT, that Yato doesn’t really give two shits about breaking contracts. The last one he broke was two months ago, with his SOLE regalia. So he is a sympathetic person. Maybe there was some stuff (aka, in the source material) that didn’t make it to the screen, but that is kind of a major plot hole. He just accepts his role as Yato’s belonging and never challenges it directly. The closest was last week, where he stormed out and told Yato he didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of being a real kami.
But it is all so much passive aggressive shit, and I think that is the thing that pisses me, and many others, off about his behavior.
The only part remotely good for Yukine’s character is when he enters an empty classroom and mimes what it was like when he went to school. He misses it, clearly, and for once he isn’t complaining about something so this scene was pretty good, for a Yukine scene. Then the kids come back from lunch or wherever and he’s jealous of them. Easy come, easy go.
Manabu comes back to see his uniform in the trash can. This is where the “gasp, it’s a GUN!” nonsense is on full blast, the little clicks and phantoms telling Manabu to kill them.
My favorite scene this week comes in the form of Kofuku and Bishamonten meeting. Kofuku is all hugs and snuggles, which is just adorable. See, Kofuku knows where vents from the spirit world will open up, so Bishamonten and her regalia are going to be prepping defensive measures against the future outbursts.
Bishamonten’s regalia notice that there are a LOT of predicted vents this time. They float the suggestion that the act of Kofuku predicting them causes them to open.
Which, is a metaphysical principle. By visualizing it, a being like Kofuku gives the pressure building up spots to break through because Kofuku -believes- that’s where they will break. And since she is closely linked to the phantom vents, that seems likely.
In fact Bishamonten outright accuses Kofuku of trying to stall her by keeping her busy instead of hunting Yato.
But Kofuku reminds Bishamonten that their little squabble doesn’t concern her. And then makes the most threatening face an adorable bubbly girl can make. Which if you remember Nui, is quite terrifying.
The message is clear. Kofuku isn’t taking sides in this argument, and if “Bisha” kills Yato, Kofuku will only see it as Bishamonten killing a dear friend, and she will act out accordingly.
Well it’s time for Manabu to confront one of his bullies (weren’t there three of them?) And he challenges him to a knife fight. Well, a box cutter fight, which is a cheap way of making a knife that makes the same sounds as a gun cocking. Conveniently, the phantoms tormenting Manabu cease to tell him to kill him at the EXACT instant it becomes clear Manabu isn’t holding a gun, instead telling him to CUT them. I just find the contrivance obnoxious.
Well fortunately, this is a universe where all bullies stopped maturing at age 5 so the kid wets himself instead of taking Manabu up on his offer. Lucky break. Seriously, if these were little kids I could understand. But we are way past the age of delinquency, these kids would likely beat his ass for that sort of thing.
So, uh, how does this resolve things?
Ah well, that doesn’t matter, Yato’s blight finally consumes him as Yukine loses his composure at finally realizing he’s dead and will never have a chance at a normal life again.
Which makes some sense. Yukine didn’t have time to come to peace with his death, and didn’t give in to death, so it was probably sudden. So to his perspective, he was one place, and then suddenly he was a fucking sword. So this is good to acknowledge, but from all we’ve seen this feels several steps behind where the rest of the world is…
Either way, Yato is covered in blight. Not just a spot, either, it’s all over his face and totally over his hands. Hiyori disembodies to be able to carry him to Kofuku, and it spreads to her.
And the episode ends with Daikoku putting them behind a barrier.
The biggest flaw this episode is all of it stems from no one fucking talking to each other. Be it Yukine, Yato, or Hiyori, the lack of communication is the only thing that made things get this bad, and in any rational world someone should have said SOMETHING direct.
Of course, on the other hand, I understand the need for people who might be serving you for some time to need to be a “natural” fit and not browbeat them into behaving well *coughs and hides the Kotone-whip*
That aside we got some adorable moments. The moments that were meant to be visceral were nothing of the kind. I feel this episode is mostly saved by the fact that by end, at least, finally, some motion has been made in this Blight plot. But even then we don’t know that for sure.