I was having a Twitter argument over Noragami earlier regarding my problems with it and whilst I know this has been said many times, I’m going to make one thing clear. Yes, Noragami isn’t very original. Yes, my problem with it is that I feel like I’ve seen it before. But that’s not what automatically dooms the thing. Originality is overrated anyways. It just needs to stand out in some way that feels unique to this specific show.
My problem with Noragami is that none of what it’s doing to stand out is clicking with me on any level above mediocrity.
Noragami has a bunch of fun moments to it. The visuals are cool, although the tricks got old after a while due to the fact that I’ve seen so many Shaft shows that have done similar things. It’s got a decent sense of timing, although the joke material is worse than Space Dandy’s since it’s every snark-snark couple trick in existence without a single unique bone in its body. It’s got some cool action scenes. Pity they only take up two to three minutes of the episode. The character designs are cool too. Shame the characters themselves aren’t.
What I’m saying here is that none of those fun moments I described above are directly connected to the substance of the show. We’re not even getting anything on the level of how Kyoukai no Kanata took its “supernatural existing in the human world like it’s everyday life” or how Noucome took the piss out of the harem genre despite not being able to fully escape from succumbing to stupid cliches itself. What we’re getting is the equivalent of visual noise. It’s there and it looks cool, but it’s ultimately inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. There’s a reason people love the first Eureka Seven whilst finding the sequel and that movie to be a piece of shit guys. And it’s that despite everything they have going for them, Bones doesn’t always impress. Especially not me.
What exactly is making me want to continue Noragami? I know it’s just the first episode and I have seen anime that didn’t impress at first that I ended up digging after giving it more time (rare as that may be). Un-Go itself started out kind of meh, but got better really quickly, although I’d argue that that anime gave us an idea of its promise in its premiere at the very least. But the fact that so many people are digging this thing whilst I’m not is worrying me.
The main two characters are obnoxiously cliche and not the least bit interesting or stand-out in any way. The whole “I’m dead” premise isn’t exactly unique or being done in a way that feels unique, and the only thing that separates it from stuff like Ghost is that it’s attached to an action show. It hasn’t hinted at anything involving some sort of conspiracy or deeper theme or anything of the sort (although to be fair, I was nodding off around the half-way point so I might have missed that). It’s nothing but a standard boy meets girl action story that I’d randomly find whilst breezing through a manga streaming site, except with moving pictures.
Then there’s that 12-episode limit. Of an on-going manga. Yeah…
I’ll give the next episode a whirl to see if I’m proven wrong. I hope so. It would make my current complaints feel foolish in the end, but if it means I get to watch some fun cartoons, it’s a small cost in the grand scheme of things.