The conflict between Yato and Bishamon has come to a conclusion, and now Yato must pick up the pieces.

After successfully defeating Bishamon’s rogue shinki Kugaha, Yato’s centuries-long conflict with the warrior goddess has finally more or less come to a conclusion. However, he now faces another important decision: should he cut ties with Hiyori to protect her from his conflicts? And even more importantly, who is behind the masked ayakashi?

Noragami is a series that will likely hold appeal for a wide range of potential readers as it draws on fantasy elements to create a story both suspenseful and comedic.

Following the tumultuous events of the previous volume, I assumed that Noragami would take a step back and have things quiet down for a bit at the beginning of this next arc. However, while it is true that a major conflict isn’t directly a primary concern, saying that Noragami decided to relax a bit as a series would be doing a major disservice to the seventh volume as if anything things have heated up following Yato’s fight with Bishamon.

The beginning of the volume starts by explaining what happened between Hiyori and Yato at the end of the previous book, and although there is kind of a reversal of expectations, the relationship between Yato and Hiyori is set up from the beginning of the volume to be interesting, and interesting it is. Yato’s reliance on Hiyori is revealed to be even deeper than previously imagined. On one hand, he is reliant on her for her belief in him as he needs believers in order to continue to exist, but Yato’s own psyche has become fairly dependent as well. This is due to the fact that for the first time ever, he has an actual believer who won’t forget about him after a period of time, and his self-perceived importance to Hiyori is the reason he more or less stalks her so much.

Yato as a character has always had an appeal to me because of how charming he is despite basically being a scam artist. His new found bond with Hiyori is a primary focus in the first half of the volume, and he discovers that he is now able to take over her body while she is in her spirit form. This, of course, allows for Yato to finally make his high school debut, and it is about as hilarious as it sounds. I always enjoy a series that is able to be both serious and dramatic, and Noragami has this in spades. While this volume does have serious moments, the comedic ones are absolutely hysterical, even when compared to previous bits in the series.

As I mentioned earlier, I thought that this volume would take a step back and break from the action, but while comedy and comedic character interactions took a front seat, the drama and implications of the previous arc of story are immediately brought into the narrative. Of course, Yato and Bishamon have to speak on equal terms following their previous battle, and their interactions with each other are both comedic and dramatic when you take into account what they have been through. However, it isn’t just Bishamon’s time with Yato that puts her in the spotlight this time around, as she attends the council of the gods.

Noragami hasn’t tried its hand too much at world building in the recent arc, primarily focusing on the major conflict. This time around however, we are finally given insight into the wider world of the Japanese gods beyond those directly involved with Yato, including Ebisu, one of the seven gods of fortune. It was particularly interesting not only to see how another god handles his affairs and shinki but also to see how the leadership within the ranks of the gods maintains control through the council. If Noragami hadn’t hinted at larger forces making moves previously, it most definitely does now. Even Yato’s far past is beginning to come into play as the end sets up nicely for volume eight.

Noragami continues to somehow shatter my expectations with each volume. Even though it is supposedly at the beginning of a new arc, the series continues at a rapid pace as the world is expanded and other gods begin to come into play. Somehow the comedy was even more on point than before, and it accentuated the continually evolving relationships between the characters, especially Yato and Hiyori, extraordinarily well. Even the translation, which already is of a high caliber, seems to have even more fascinating notes than usual on the grammatical choices made in bringing the series into the English language, and that’s saying something. As always, I highly recommend this series to anyone even remotely considering picking it up.

What do our scores mean?

Noragami Vol. 7 was published by Kodansha Comics USA on October 13th, 2015. The series is currently ongoing in Kodansha’s Monthly Shonen Magazine, and had an anime adaption by Bones which aired from January 2014 - March 2014 with a second season currently airing. The eighth volume will be released on November 17, 2015, and the series will begin to serialize monthly in English starting this fall.

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