Noragami – 09

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As it turns out, Daikoku’s borderline was only a precautionary measure to protect Kofuku; he allows Hiyori (and only Hiyori) to enter the shrine and shower in the spring water. But there are only two ways to cure Yato: if he himself slays the increasingly corrupted Yukine (something he won’t do) or if three regalias combine their powers and initiate an ablution—the confinement and punishment of Yukine until he confesses to his sins and repents. It’s a neat concept: only regalias can fairly judge other regalias, since they were both human at one point.

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But first, three regalias are needed. Daikoku, setting aside his dislike of Yato for Kofuku and Hiyori’s sakes, visits every shrine in the area begging for volunteers. Mayu is the first who agrees to help, an interesting gesture that almost suggests a smidgen of guilt harbored due to making Yato release her from his service—or maybe just because her distance from Yato in Lord Tenjin’s employ has led to a gradual dissipation of the hatred she felt for him when they parted ways. Even regalias need a cooling-off period. That leaves one more regalia required, and while Hiyori’s pleas for Kurama were initially ignored, the debt he still owes Yato moves him to volunteer as well.

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That’s a good thing, because we were worried for a moment there that Hiyori would seek the help of Nora, which was bound to cause more trouble than it solved. So with the three unlikely regalias joined, the final piece of the puzzle is Yukine, who is steadfastly unrepentant and believes himself unworthy of the punishment they start to dole out. It’s an uphill battle, as he nearly transforms into a phantom, nearly wiping away the mark of the name Yato gave him. Yukine isn’t guilty so much as angry and resentful that he can’t interact with people of the near shore anymore. Yato knows he has to call out to him, but is weak and needs time to gather himself to say the proper words.

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He gets that time thanks to the person without whom he and Yukine (and possibly others) would have died long ago: the tough, resolute, dependable Iki Hiyori, who throws herself into danger yet again to make a personal appeal to Yukine. She snaps him out of his near-calamitous tantrum with the threat that they’ll no longer be friends if he completes his betrayal of Yato. That threat assumes Hiyori is his friend, something he’d never considered. Now that he knows he has friends, he repents and is purified. The final scene is replete with raw emotion appropriate for the aftermath of such an ordeal. When Yato and Yukine bow their heads to Hiyori in apology and gratitude, all she can do is gather them in a big ol’ hug.

9_superiorRating: 9 (Superior)

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Tamayura: More Aggressive – 07

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Sayomi, Kaoru, Norie, Maon and Potte take a road trip to Shioiri in Yokozuka, where Potte grew up. They meet up with her childhood friend Miyoshi Chihiro, who introduces them to her friend Tomo. They tour the city along the way to a festival to watch fireworks. Potte enters a sparkler contest, and remembers doing the same thing when she was younger as her dad watched. Just like then, she reaches the quarterfinals. When the fireworks start, she snaps a picture of her friends admiring them, starting a new page in her book of Shioiri memories.

An overarching theme of Tamayura’s OVAs and two TV series has been Potte’s healing process after the loss of someone irreplaceable in her life, both through photography and through making and having fun with her friends. This week, that process finally takes her back to the place where everything began; Shioiri. Getting there is no mean feat: roughly 500 miles and over nine hours of driving with Sayomi at the wheel of her recently-repaired Mazda Premacy (Kanae can’t come because let’s face it, that would be way too many characters in one place). Such a trek would’ve been an adventure in and of itself, but in a bold but ultimately logical move, Potte and the others sleep through most of it. For once, this was about the destination, not the journey.

Once they reach Yokozuka and Shioiri (and Sayomi nearly runs poor Chihiro over and drives into a wall), there’s this nice sense, that Potte has come home, and that it is indeed quite possible to have more than one home (she’s young, so she’s just realizing this). Then there’s Chihiro’s friend Tomo who everyone’s been waiting to meet. She’s terribly shy and quiet at first, but it doesn’t take long for Potte to trigger her obsessive “interrogation mode” (Touyama Nao is up to the task of expressing Tomo’s bubbly exuberance). Tomo and Chihiro owe their friendship to Potte & Co, who encouraged Chihiro last season, so this episode was a nice follow-up to that, as well as another link in Potte’s chain of healing.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)