“Scrap of a Memory” (一片の記憶)
I took a page out of Kiseki-chan’s book in terms of screencap formatting (or I tried to in any case, please forgive the sliiiight sizing differences) because there were just too many scenes that deserved a screencap of their own. Also, considering this is the season finale, it seemed appropriate. I have so much to say about this episode – this painful finale – that I’ve got to warn you before hand that while I’m going to try and keep this short-ish, there’s going to be a whole lot of stuff to go through.
SO, we’ve finally arrived at this point. It’s been twelve weeks of awesomeness and we’ve reached the end of our journey together with Noragami, i.e. my favourite show this Winter season. And what a journey it has been. I’m so sad to see the end of this show because I really feel like we just connected within the first few minutes of the first episode. *sighs* It’s like letting go of a friend. Okay, dramatics are over! Let’s move on!
In a nutshell, this episode kicked off with Yato and Yukine appearing in front of Rabo’s shrine for the epic confrontation and the fight for Hiyori’s memories. With the tiny twist that Hiyori’s phantom form has tagged along for the ride with no memories of why she’s got a tail. Cue the facepalms on her companions’ parts. It’s evident from the scenes between Yato and Rabo and their dark dialogue that Rabo had, at least at one time, looked up to Yato and really respected him and possibly even admired him. They were both gods of destruction and calamity and Rabo is ashamed of the weakling he believes Yato to have become. On more than one occasion there’s something akin to obsession and hero-worship on Rabo’s part, particularly when he asks “Where is THAT Yato? With those beautiful eyes of depravity?” That was one of my favourite lines both because of the darkness as well as the fact that it is, to me, evidence of a twisted sort of love that Rabo had for Yato. As I said: obsession.
The fight scenes in this episode were absolutely fantastic. They were so cool and fluid and whomever did the graphics for them did such an incredible job in enforcing sharp dynamics without compromising the art as so many fight scenes can often do. Yato showed a completely different side to himself once given the initiative to, no thanks to Rabo targeting Hiyori and destroying her memories completely. The fact that even Yukine was shocked by Yato’s almost-bloodlust is testament to just how deeply he cares for Hiyori and that the thought of her being reduced to a mere shell of her former self drove him to igniting his intent to kill really expresses the bond between them.
That should send shivers of disgust up everyone’s spine, really, because the Hiyori without her memories and experiences with Yato and Yukine was exaggeratedly cutesy and I really doubt that she was that kind of person before she met them so I think the writers deserve a slap on the wrist for writing her that way. It was just so out of character, regardless of the intactness of her memories. That irritated me. *huffs* The damsel-in-distress-coupled-with-mischaracterisation is not a good card to play this late in the game.
Nevertheless, and I think we all knew it would work out the way that it did because Hiyori is a very emotional person and I think that they drove her to breaking Nora’s spell and kickstarting her memories again. The way this whole part was played was really beautiful because, being a phantom and all, she’s driven by scent and the fact that she could recognise Yato’s scent, calling it her favourite fragrance speaks volumes about how much Yato means to her. As cheesy as it sounds, it was love that brought her back, and that brought Yato and Yukine back from whatever path they might have turned down without her. She’s a real heroine and I won’t let anyone take that away from her.
The writers did, however, surprise me with Rabo’s characterisation and he really is such a tragic character. I’ve no knowledge of the manga to hold for comparison, but I did like the way they played out his end, even if I am still disappointed with his lack of written depth. He calls himself and Yato doomed to die because people will always forget gods of war and calamity and they’ll eventually fade away. To stop that slow, meaningless death, he made one final wish of Yato; to die with dignity at the hands of someone he admired, respected and believed in and Yato gave him that. In the end, I think that he and Nora just used each other for their own gain and despite the outcome, or rather, because of it, he came out on top.
And finally, there’s a happy ending for all. As predictable as that might have been, I still quite enjoyed the way it played out right at the end, with Yato offering to cut all ties with Hiyori in order to keep her safe, and Hiyori rejecting it because, in her own words, she wants to stay with Yato forever. If that isn’t a declaration of love, coupled with blushes from all three friends all around, I don’t know what is! And I think that’s the only wish she’ll ever make of Yato and the only one I think he’s ever truly wanted to make come true.
So! I suppose the ultimate question now is whether there’s a chance for a sequel! And I do believe there is space and more than enough background and material for a second season. The only issue now, however, is technical because of the fact that the manga sales did increase since the anime release, but not by that much, which is a shame. Whether that’s enough to redlight a potential second season, I’m not sure, but I sincerely hope not. Although the fact that the show did deviate from the manga might be an indication that there was never any intention of making a second season, which does disappoint me. While the finale was, to me, rushed and had a number of areas that fell short of the mark, overall, the show was amazing and everything from the characterisation to the music to the art and the voice actors was just so perfect and spot on. So while there’s so much potential for a second season, and I’d welcome it with open arms, I am quite satisfied with this show and it’s really been a privilege to have been able to review it week after week.
Until next time and if you’re ever in need of any wishes that require fulfilling, I think you know the trio to call!