Otaku USA Magazine
Manga Review: Noragami vol. 1

Manga Review: Black Rose Alice vol. 1Middle schooler Mutsumi is in trouble. She’s so badly bullied by her classmates that she finds herself crying in the school bathroom. Normally she doesn’t pay much attention to the graffiti on the bathroom stalls, but today she notices graffiti where someone called Yato promises to solve all problems. She dials Yato’s number on her cell phone, and is visited by a god.

Never heard of the god Yato? You’re not the only one. Yato is a very obscure god, so obscure, in fact, that he has no shrine. He will help people solve their problems, but not out of any godly compassion. He wants money in return, and he’ll use this money to build a shrine.

First he helps the bullied girl… kind of. He believes the bullying actually comes from supernatural forces and he does some pretty badass supernatural fighting, but that doesn’t make everything all better right away. Actually, it doesn’t make things better at all. Yato is ready to wash his hands of the situation and leave, but he’s forced to come back and keep helping. Yato is aided by a shinki, but he’s got such a bad attitude that his shinki quits and he has to find another one.

The first volume shows Yato going on a couple of different missions to help people in need. While he says it’s all about the money, and while he can be sort of rude, it does seem that deep down inside he cares about others. He might be loath to admit it, but you get that sense. On the other hand, though, he doesn’t give off the airs of being a totally kindhearted person beneath his crusty exterior. He’s a little difficult to read, meaning this could be a great way to explore and bring out his personality through the series.

Things especially get more interesting when he starts to hang out with a schoolgirl whose spirit regularly leaves her body. He does eventually find himself a new shinki, but it’s not at all what he wants or has in mind.

Noragami: Stray God is off to a cute start with a nice mixture of supernatural and fun. FUNimation has licensed the anime version, so if you like the manga, there’ll be more of this franchise for you to check out.

Story & Art: Adachitoka
Publisher: Kodansha Comics