Just to make it very clear: spoiler warning level: HIGH
Noragami Volume 5
...Okay, just had to get that out of our systems. I mean oh my goodness, what a terrible place to end a volume of manga! On the one hand, if anybody cares a whit for the characters, they're probably guaranteed to buy volume six, so in a sense it's not the worst place to end a volume of manga. But on the other hand, if there's a touching death scene, it will happen so far after the fatal blow that when we finally get to volume six, we'll be like, "Oh, yeah. I guess he was dying." And then we may or may not take a moment to be all, "Noooooooooooooo!!! Yukineeeeeee!!!" and maybe the touching death scene will lose its impact. But if it's a good enough scene, that won't be a problem.
Anyway, we're still in denial about it, mostly because we think we saw him on the cover of a future volume, and because hello, he has way too much unrevealed backstory to be dead (again) yet. He hasn't sent up any death flags. So we're pretty sure he'll be okay. We're not sure how, because ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Maybe because he was in sword form when it happened, they can literally forge him back together. Or maybe this will be what triggers the readers' discovery of his backstory--like maybe they need to go investigate Yukine's life to get whatever it is they need to bring him back. I don't know, but the point is, we're optimistic.
Speaking of Yukine and him being a sword and his backstory and everything. We hinted at this in a note in volume one, but we never mentioned it on LJ so we don't know if anyone made the connection. Let us quote our note (from the note about the five yen coin, including stuff about en and ties and stuff):
As a point of interest, the Chinese character for en can also be pronounced fuchi, which refers to the hilt of a sword.
Hiyori pointed out as soon as she saw Sekki that he had no hilt. In other words, no fuchi, no en, no ties. He's a very sad and lonely ghost, poor kid.
So he can't be dead, because he didn't get his hilt yet! And conveniently, Kazuma's backstory in this volume proved to us that shinki can evolve. So we're looking forward to seeing how that happens, because we're pretty well convinced that we haven't seen the last of Yukine.
Okay, now that we've discussed that very last page of this volume in depth, there was some other cool stuff going on in this volume! The first chapter alone, we were like, "Well, that was pretty awesome; it's probably going to be less exciting for a little while now." But boy were we wrong. That scene in Chapter 16 when Bishamon was about to kill Yukine and Kazuma defended him! Oh snap! And the look on Kazuma's face after he did it, he was all, "What have I DONE!?" So intense.
Another thing that stands out, in our minds, from this volume is Kazuma and Hiyori's game of shiritori. Oh man, that was tough to deal with. ...Actually it wasn't all that tough; just time-consuming. After we turned the translation in, we saw people on Facebook talking about one of those little memes where your friend gives you a letter and then you have to say something you like, something you don't like, etc. that starts with that letter. Our Facebook friends were all, "I give you X! ...Ha ha, just kidding." And, "Yeah, even though I live in China, favorite movie and stuff would be hard." And we were like, "No, it's totally easy. You just Google 'words/places/movies/etc. that start with X,' and people have already made lists." We knew this from experience. You can also Google "words that end in x." The internet can be a very helpful place. Anyway, Kazuma looked so proud of himself in that last panel.
This was also the volume that had us worried for a little while that we wouldn't have enough notes. The second half of the volume came through though, and we ended up with plenty. We had no idea so much thought was put into Bishamon's shinki naming pattern. And the thing about ma and flax and Matachi. We knew that Matachi was related to Yato-no-kami from when we looked up Yatogami after seeing the K anime, but we didn't know that flax was a sacred plant in Shintoism. And there are so many parallels to the Yato-no-kami legend in the Bishamon/Ma backstory. It's like...so we just read a whole list of little things in Harry Potter that "prove it's super clever" or something like that, and we're like, "Adachitoka totally puts that much thought into Noragami!"
As for Kugaha, the scum. My current theory is that he was part of the Ma clan--the part that stung Bishamon and then disappeared. He was spared when Yato killed everyone because he wasn't around when Yato showed up (Bishamon has enough shinki that no one would have noticed, especially if they're all paranoid...although come to think of it, Bishamon should have known...hmm...the theory has a hole in it...), and then he came back later and became Kugaha. Maybe he's Kugaha and Kugama, and that's why he only had one character. And if anyone can make sure Bishamon doesn't notice that she still has a living shinki, it's Kugaha, so that hole might not be such a big one.
...I think that covers it, but as always, we're happy to discuss anything that stood out to anyone else.
Oh my goodness, that was a fun review to read. For us, anyway. At least we know we're adept at amusing ourselves. But, as Athena points out, we always knew that.
Today I'm thankful for laundry machines (how much harder would it be to do laundry if you had to wash everything by hand?), finishing our Type-0 translation today, being all set to start on a new translation tomorrow, hope that that translation will not take very much time, and getting to read a fun Noragami review even if we did write it ourselves.