Noragami, Volume Four collects issues 12 to 15 of Adachitoka’s on-going series about the stray god Yato and his peers:
“To Kill, or Not To Kill” (きる、きらない “Kiru, Kiranai”),
“Omen” (兆し “Kizashi”),
“Her Memories” (彼女の思い出 “Kanojo no Omoide”),
“That Which Withers” (枯れゆくもの “Kare Yuku Mono”).
Having survived his servant Yukini’s flirtation with corruption, Yato must now figure out how to help his human friend Hiyori.
To date, Yato has done squat to help Hiyori with her frequent out-of-body experiences, a condition Hiyori correctly feels can be attributed to her past adventures with Yato. As he admits to a fellow god, this is not because he is lazy or indifferent to her plight. It’s because he has no idea how to help her. He has been hoping the problem would go away on its own. That hasn’t worked.
His colleague suggests that Yato’s ongoing relationship with Hiyori is exacerbating her condition. Mortals who spend time directly interacting with gods are drawn to the supernatural world. In an attempt to cure Hiyori, Yato cuts off all contact with her. Being Yato, he does not bother to explain why he’s suddenly ghosting her. As a result, she sees no reason to stop tutoring Yukini (who in addition to being Yato’s servant is the ghost of a young, uneducated boy), which in turn means she is still in contact with the supernatural.
Meanwhile, warrior god Bishamonten (previously seen trying to mince Yato into bits for past transgressions that are never explained, only hinted) has her own problems. Bishamonten has never seen a wandering ghost without wanting to recruit it into her retinue. Each servant can transform into a different item of regalia, which means Bishamonten is well-equipped. But acquiring so many servants means that Bishamonten loses track of individuals. This isn’t good for the neglected servants. Moreover, their suffering can injure Bishamonten herself thanks to the psychic link between god and servant.
It’s a situation Bishamonten’s enemies are exploiting. One enemy is particularly effective. Bishamonten believes this person to be her closest ally.
Gods: they’re powerful but not necessarily all that bright. Thus Yato’s attempted cure sabotaged by poor communication. Thus Bishamonten’s embrace of far more lost souls than any one god can possibly manage. Not helping: an anarchistic approach to godhood in which each god is free to carve out their own domains, without regard to consequences1.
Previous volumes worked well as standalone adventures; this volume demonstrates that they were building toward a greater arc. The Stray (a ghost Yato ejected from his service) is working with Bishamonten’s enemies. Their goal is not clear, but it seems to involve Yato in some way.
The plot against Bishamonten is not resolved in this volume.
The zany adventures of a lazy god were fun. I’m not sure how I’ll feel about this more expansive story, but I’m curious enough to read on.
1: Forgivable for Kofuku, god of misfortune, since her niche is essentially the god of unfortunate consequences. As flashy as Yato and Bishamonten are in combat, Kofuku is a divine WMD; it’s very bad idea to see what exactly it would take to provoke a hostile reaction from her.