But let's shift our focus to happier things! It's Review Rednesday! And! AND! this week, we're reviewing our beloved favorite series, Noragami! Volume 19! Spoilers ahead!
Wow, I can't believe it's finally time to write a review for this volume of Noragami. This is the book that...okay, so it was September, and our schedule was just right so that we could get everything done, meet our deadlines, and go to Disneyland all three times our friends and family wanted to go, without having to work overtime or lose sleep or anything! And then this volume of Noragami hit, and on the one hand, it was like, "YAY NORAGAMI!" and on the other hand it was like, "KABOOM. we're gonna die." And that's pretty much what translating this volume was like, too. So much awesome Noragami-ness, which also meant so much difficulty in translating. I mean, the challenge is part of what we like about it, but when we're tired and overworked and thiiiiiiiis close to being completely burnt out...well, anyway, it's a good thing it was Noragami. On the other hand, lys caught something that we missed, and it's a very good thing she did, but on the other hand it's like, "We're slipping! Oh no! We're going to ruin this super awesome series because we're too dead to do our job properly! Noooooooooo!" ...What I'm saying is, this volume had a lot of emotional baggage for us.
And what even happened in it? We took so long catching up on everything and getting to a point where we had time to write reviews that my brain was jam-packed with other things and all thoughts of Noragami were forced into the recesses of my mind, because there's very little room in there right now. I think that's improving now that we're taking time off to just watch anime.
Anyway, yes. Daikoku. He lived! HA! We knew he would! (Don't be so arrogant; you'll jinx it!) We pretty much knew he'd be fine, though, because like we said in our review of the last volume, if he was going to die, he'd do it before they cut to a commercial break. Especially because if he died, that means they lost the Trial by Pledge which means they're going to have to figure a way out of Certain Doom, and that would be a pretty intense cliffhanger, too. But the curious thing about it, to me, is that we didn't actually get to see what happened. Yato was all, "It's too much! I can't look!" and while the audience is looking at him, the trial happens, and suddenly we know everything is okay. It seems just a little fishy to me, but maybe it's just because I watch too many mysteries.
But the important thing is that Daikoku's okay, and oh it was so bittersweet to see Tenjin looking on the happy reunion between all the gods and their guides. But then! Tsuyu came back! Huzzah! She's alive, too! I didn't even know I cared about her so much until she died, but I did care, so I'm very happy that she's back. And we only just recently realized that she's played by Saori Hayami, who also plays the Snow White with the red hair. And it's all over so quickly, that the whole rest of the chapter is spent on everybody recovering mentally. And they visit Bishamon, which I mostly only wanted to point out because of the whole business with Yukine almost getting locked up in the dark again. First of all, dang, that poor kid. And second of all, oh my goodness, we took forever trying to figure out if there was any significance to the particular breed of bird that caught Yukine's attention. Why? Because it had a very specific birdcall or song or whichever it was, and when that happens, it seems like the author is trying to call attention to it. So we looked up the birdcall and finally figured out it was, we think, a house martin. As far as we know, there's not a lot of symbolism in the bird, but! it is sort of significant, because it's specifically a breed of bird that's likely to build its nest around human habitats, as opposed to in a tree somewhere. So it makes sense for it to be flying around in the mansion. And that's good, because otherwise it wouldn't make sense for it to be trapping Yukine in a random room, as opposed to it being some random woodland creature flying into Bishamon's house for no other reason than to traumatize Yukine. The point is, Adachitoka does their research. And the scene with Yato and Yukine and Hiyori all hugging at the end was very sweet.
Moving on, oh my goodness, this next chapter almost seemed like something from Stray Stories. I mean, what? Yato randomly gets a call from Ebisu informing him that he's been kidnapped? How did the kidnappers even get to him? It doesn't quite make sense, which is exactly the kind of thing that would be right at home in Stray Stories, using the convenient storytelling method of "we just won't tell them how it happened." But it was just the kind of lighthearted silliness we all needed after the super intense aaaaaaaahhhhh!!! of volume eighteen. But let me tell you, all that talk about transferring money and foreign exchange and blah blah BLAH, we wanted to kill it. It was the worst! We just have a very difficult time wrapping our minds around financial concepts; our brains seem to have a visceral rejection to that sort of thing. I'm sure we get it from our Dad's side, because our Mom's a CPA. But little Ebisu was so cute, as he always is.
We also got some very interesting backstory about Ebisu, and we even learned about Kunimi! He pointed out that there are a lot of gods who exist very briefly and then fade away, so they don't really have much choice but to be strays... You'd think their names would fade away with the deity they serve, but I guess not. Still, in the brief moments of free time we had during the last several weeks (by which we mean "the times we were incapable of anything but watching anime after trekking across Disneyland with toddlers"), we watched Noragami Aragoto and were reminded that when Yato was kidnapped by his dad and forced to do his mercenary work, the shinki he had employed would go to Kofuku to ask if she'd seen him around. We never found out what happened to those shinki, so I'm curious about how many of them ended up on borderline duty for Ebisu. Now they're just stationed somewhere in Japan, drawing borderlines night and day, going crazy from lack of sleep... I must say, when Kunimi talked about the dangers from all of Ebisu's shinki being so overworked, it definitely struck a chord.
But the point is, we got a reminder of Ebisu's vaguely suicidal tendencies, and the significance of when the previous Ebisu said he didn't want to die soon before Take-chan killed him. Aww, poor Ebisu. But then Kunimi rescued him! Huzzah! And they lived happily ever after. The whole thing also makes me wonder what Iwami's vessel form is...
And then! THEN!!! I mean, I don't know if it's possible to top the Capyper Land chapters, but if any chapter were to succeed at that, it would be this one. It's Yukine's birthday!!! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!! It was actually a little tough, because the whole chapter is about Yukine, but he's not really in it that much. But it's Noragami, so it's loads of fun anyway. But first, I want to point out that, thanks to Hiyori's diary, we know that Yukine's "birthday" is on the 29th! But we're not sure if it's in October or November. We know that October is the Month of No Gods, so that's when the Divine Council was, but if it's not a month-long gig, it's possible that Yukine's birthday is in October. And time moves differently in Takamagahara, so they could have been there the whole month and then come back before the month was over in the real world, or been there the whole month and come back in the middle of November. How will we ever know? Maybe we won't! [ETA: It only kinda matters, because we want to know if he has the same birthday as our nephew, or as our sister. Or if he has the same birthday as Athrun Zala and Sailor Pluto, or Genjyo Sanzo and Mwu La Flaga. Come to think of it, Yukine is not entirely unlike Sanzo, and we have reason to believe Adachitoka are fans of Saiyuki.]
But it doesn't really matter that much, the point is Yato and Hiyori want to celebrate, and Yato already has the perfect, most Yato idea ever--a flash mob! Oh my gosh, you guys, this was the best. I mean, what is there to say about it? It's just the best. You have to read it. Of course, Hiyori tried to talk him out of it at first, and it was tough, because I could definitely see her point about yeah, Yukine may not really be the type to enjoy a flash mob, but on the other hand, I was totally with Yato with the "but I waaaaaaant to!" And this was one of the great moments where we know we're on the same wavelength as the characters, because Yato was like, "We'll invite everyone!" and Hiyori was like, "What?" and I was like, "Well, you can't have a flash mob without a mob," and that's pretty much exactly what Yato said! And we already knew how to word it, because I'd just said the same thing!
And everything about it was amazing and perfect. There was some boring stuff during the rehearsal break about blah blah blah the crafter's still out there blah blah blah our shinki are in danger blah blah can't tell them why blah blah whatever. I guess it was important, though, because Take-chan overhearing them triggered another important (and perhaps dire, considering what it led to) piece of the puzzle. And Take-chan standing in for Bishamon was the best. I'm not sure if we noted this part exactly in the notes, so I'll just make sure to point out here that the Noh mask he was wearing was specifically a female mask. It was a shame that Hiyori wouldn't let Yato invite Shiigun. That would have been an impressive flash mob. But we would have had to deal with Bucky's dialect more.
Speaking of Bucky! First of all, we love the nickname. Technically it's bakkii, but that's just the Japanese pronunciation of Bucky, so we figured it would be okay to use it. Second of all, he had a whole speech!? Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!
So the flash mob was the very best ever, and I'm not going to tell you any more about it, because you just have to see it for yourself. But I will say that we desperately want to see the cast of the stage play perform it. Oh, and the song! Yato wrote a song! Since we love Noragami so much, we didn't want to phone it in on the translation, so we tried to make it rhyme and stuff, too, but there were a couple of places where it just worked better not to. It was really hard, though, because we had no idea what the melody was, and now I'm worried that they might animate it and our lyrics will be worthless. We tried to match the rhythm anyway, though. What really helped was when we thought, "You know, some kind of a melody would really help us with this," so we thought about it, and Athena was going over the English meaning of the first line in her head and realized that it sounded a heck of a lot like the first line in "You'll Be in My Heart"...okay, so she's telling me it was more like the vibe of the whole song was a lot like the one from Tarzan, so that's what we used for a starting point. We also read the Japanese lyrics to Yato's song to the tune of You'll Be in My Heart, and they fit the melody, at least at first, so we were like, "We have a winner!" So you should be able to sing at least the first half of the English version to the introductory lyrics of You'll Be in My Heart.
And then we got to what the dirty rotten pirate we talked to at Anime Expo told us was the even worse stopping point that the pirates were stuck at while Adachitoka recovered, and it was when the stray kissed Yukine. What.
First of all, I don't think it's really a worse cliffhanger. It's definitely more of a "Eeeeehhhhhhhh!?", but I wouldn't say it's anywhere near as suspenseful. I mean, we're already 90% sure she's playing him. Koto's always getting on her case for hating Yukine so much. And I suppose you could say it's a case of hate just being love with its back turned, and I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if the stray ends up genuinely liking Yukine by the end of the series, but for now, I don't think she means it. Athena's with Yato: Anyone but her! I'm just sitting back with the popcorn.
Oh, but Yukine is so cute and so sad about the whole thing. Since he died at thirteen and it's been about a year, we can be sure that mentally he's not much older than fourteen, and I'm pretty sure that no matter how much he hated the stray before, that kiss is going to throw him way off. So I think that he is starting to think he likes her back, and oh my goodness, that reminds me of the stinging and the ablution and the whole thing was just so classic Noragami. The whole, "I don't wanna turn into an ayakashi over this!" I wonder if he would have had such a hard time if it was Daikoku, Mayu, and Kazuma, as opposed to three random shinki he barely knew. And I love how everybody there was like, "Man, this hurts." Except for the one girl shinki, who...I admit, I kind of shared her reaction. Not that I didn't feel bad for Yukine. And the way Yato screamed "Dauto!" every time Yukine lied. I think we went with "baloney" in English? Because that's one of the names for the card game that comes from. We learned it as BS, but since we were playing it at a church gathering, the name was soon changed to YL for "you're lying." We wanted something that had the same impact as "dauto!", so it was between "baloney" and simply "liar," and I think baloney won because it was a funnier word. Of course, when we accuse people of spouting nonsense, we prefer "balogna," pronounced phonetically (ba-log-na), but that wouldn't come across in text.
So anyway, our analysis is that Yukine hated the stray, but then she kissed him, which got his hormones running in addition to alerting him to the possibility of romance, and at his age he had a hard time resisting it, but then because he hates her and sees her as an enemy, and more especially as an enemy to Yato, he feels super bad about fraternizing with the enemy, and that's why he's stinging Yato. Meanwhile, the fact that Takemikazuchi walked in on the whole business and immediately jumped in to help only added to all the painful hilarity. And then when he ordered Kiun to give Yukine love advice...ah, classic.
The other important thing about this chapter is when Takemikazuchi reveals his history with Eyami. Since we were also watching Aragoto, we were reminded of the Divine Council when an anonymous god suddenly had all this information on Crafter Ebisu. In Aragoto, the silhouette did look remarkably like Take-chan. So we can be pretty sure the stray was the one who gave Takemikazuchi the information that led to the previous Ebisu's demise, and now we see that Takemikazuchi has realized he was being played and he feels bad about it. He was a super jerk at first, but I just can't hate the guy. He's kind of adorable, actually.
And now that Take-chan is all feeling bad in front of Yato, Yato's all, "Dangit, I'm making everybody feel bad!" so what does he do? He decides it's time to go off alone (why don't they see that this pattern isn't working?) to fight his dad. Oh goodness, this is kind of scary, especially because he gives Hiyori his shrine and says, "Don't worry. As long as this is around, you'll remember me, and I can be replaced." Why ya gotta go be all heroic, Yato? Dang. He also hints that he made a promise to Amaterasu, so there's another indication that there's more to Amaterasu than meets the eye. I definitely think the first time we saw her (when she came to help get Yato out of Yomi) was when she was really being herself.
There was some talk in the Ebisu kidnapping chapter about how death is the end of memories, and I don't remember exactly what it was about that, but it put the idea of a super crazy theory into my head that maybe they'll figure out a way to connect all of Ebisu's memories. Of course, since Yato is the protagonist of this story, the greatest motivation for that would be to have Yato get replaced, too. That would be pretty tragic, but also super dramatic, so I kind of want to see it, but only if it fits with the way the story is really going. I mean, Adachitoka draws the most adorable children, and can't you just imagine Mini Ebi and Mini Yato together? It would be the cutest thing ever! But I think this theory might be just a little too far out there to hold any water. I guess we'll find out in volume twenty.
Ahh, Noragami, you make everything better. You know, when you're not making it a million times worse. The relationship we have with this series... Oh, but we do love it so.
Anyway, for this week's releases, we have...nothing! But tune in next week, for our review of My Monster Secret 14!
Today I'm thankful for having a good time at Disneyland with everybody (maybe someday I'll have time to tell you all about it), getting to look back on the amazing volume of Noragami that came out in English most recently, getting to watch an episode of Anonymous Noise (our tiny act of rebellion after spending all day working), getting to work on Edens Zero again, and it being an easy chapter so we could quickly get back to the other thing we're working on.