Adachitoka’s Noragami Volume 5 collects issues 16 to 19 of the adventures of the stray god Yato.
- 16. “Hell” (地獄 “Jigoku”)
- 17. “Yearning for Someone to Trust” (寄る辺を求めて “Yorube o Motomete”)
- 18. “Naked Sword” (抜き身 “Nuki Mi”)
- 19. “Prayer” (願 “Negai”)
Of all those who despise Yato, none hate him more than the war god Bishamonten. Bishamonten’s hatred blinds her. She is also blind to the dangers she incurs by her greed to recruit as many ghosts as she can, ghosts who will serve as her shinki, servants1. Both blindnesses are weapons that her enemy will use against her.
Unfortunately for Bishamonten, that enemy is not Yato, but someone she considers her closest ally.
The shinki Kugaha tends to Bishamonten’s every need. He is frustrated by her inattention (not just to him, but to any of her shinki) and by her stubborn determination to keep recruiting new shinki. As he sees it, there’s only one way out: orchestrate her death.
Bishamonten is a popular god and her worshippers’ faith will soon restore her to life, but in vastly weaker form. Kugaha will then be able to strip Bishamonten of her power and take it for his own.
Bishamonten is more likely to trust Kugaha if she has nobody else on whom to rely. Kugaha knows that her best, truest ally is her shinki Kazuma. Kazuma must be eliminated.
Kugaha uses Kazuma’s ties to Yato against him . Kugaha convinces Bishamonten that Kazuma and Yato are conspiring against her. She exiles Kazuma.
Without Kazuma, Bishamonten and her retinue are far less effective in combat. All that remains is to orchestrate her death. What better weapon than Yato, or as he used to be known, Yabuko, God of Calamity? Yato is no longer the casually homicidal figure he was in ages past, but he’s still more than a match for Bishamonten in her weakened state. The only question is how to orchestrate a battle.
Yato has a weak spot: his fondness for the human girl Hiyori. Kazuma will kidnap her and leave evidence pointing directly at the Bishamonten. What could go wrong?
I cannot help but notice that Yato keeps getting the same advice: he’s bad for Hiyori. He should break off with her already. He promises to do so, but he never actually does. Events in the series thus far suggest that he would do well to heed the advice. But Yato needs her friendship too much to give it up.
If there’s a unifying theme to this series, it may well be that “poor communication kills.” Yato failed to brief one of his shinki properly on the hazards of the shinki’s new existence, an error that nearly cost both of them their lives. Hiyori seems unaware that continued contact with Yato will only exacerbate her condition. Kazuma appears to have withheld from Bishamonten the reasoning that led him to collaborate with Yato in the past (of course, if she had known of the collaboration, she’d probably have killed him for it). Nevertheless, the whole reason the Bishamonten-Yato situation is so easy to manipulate is that neither Kazuma nor Yato explained their actions.
But then, one could also argue that “refusing to listen to reason” is a unifying theme. Yato is a rather childish god, so it’s not terribly surprising when he puts off dealing with matters he finds disagreeable, like the effect he’s having on Hiyori. But compared to Bishamonten, he’s as logical as a Vulcan. Bishamonten refuses to listen to reason on any number of matters, from gathering more shinki than she can reasonably hope to manage, to jumping to conclusions about the matter of Kazuma and Yato. It’s a sad day when Yato seems to be the reasonable one.
This collection ends on a huge cliffhanger. I have not looked at volume six to see how it was resolved but you might want to acquire both at the same time. Or you can wait steadfastly, as will I. No sneak peeks! Steadfast until the next volume comes up in my review calendar!
1: Short version: gods suffer when the shinki become corrupted. The correct response is to either purify the tainted shinki, destroy them, or eject them from the god’s service. Bishamonten has tried to power through the pain: possibly because she’s more stubborn than reasonable or possibly because she had so many shinki that she had no idea which one or ones were hurting her. Left untreated, this pain can kill gods. Kazuma, the sole uncorrupted shinki, appealed to Yato to eliminate the tainted shinki.