I think a good thing to remember as an anime character is that anybody can have vast magical powers, can be a demon in human form, or (in regard to this review) a god of calamity. Who knew, right?
So a friend of mine recommended this show to me based on the premise that I enjoy horror anime. After watching it, the first thing that comes to mind is the saying, “close only works with horseshoes and hand grenades”. I still enjoyed it as a comedy though.
• Episodes: 25 (2 Seasons)
• Aired: JAN 2014 – MAR 2014 & OCT 2015 – DEC 2015
• Genres: Action, Supernatural, Adventure
• Studio: Bones
So yea, gods of calamity running around in human form; not a typical occurrence. A fateful encounter with Yato, a god of calamity, leaves Hiyori, a mortal girl who pushes Yato out from in front of a truck as he chases a cat, with a brand new condition. She now will periodically fall out of her mortal body and roam the spirit world as well as be able to see other spirits. Naturally, she doesn’t enjoy this, so she pays Yato in advance to fix her body. Now, I know what you are thinking: “A god of calamity taking on jobs for a mortal? Unheard of.” But that’s what makes Yato different. He wants to build a shrine with blackjack and hookers and is doing freelance jobs to earn the money. The story takes us through the day to day misadventures that come about from their fateful meeting.
So, there is a lot going on at once when we get into the thick of it. So if you don’t want to be bored, there are no worries here. A lot of the situations that come up are more or less brought about by Yato and his carefree personality is a perfect fit for it all. There is definitely a depressing undertone to all the carefree-ness. The plot itself may be about Yato and his attempts to earn money, but there is a story about identity hidden away; both coming to terms with one’s self and the idea of making a name for yourself. And that goes for both seasons. There is also a lot about loss sprinkled in as well but that’s more season 2. Season 1 focuses on coming to terms then, strangely enough, a plot about rivalry for some reason. I didn’t enjoy that section of season 1 as much.
A lot of what I hear is that season 1 isn’t as interesting to watch because not a lot happens. While I’m not going to disagree, I will say that if you are going to watch this show, you want to watch season 1 and 2 back to back. Season 1 for the lack of action it has, sets up a lot of relevant plot needed to understand season 2 more. But at the end of the day, the real verdict is based on if this is an interesting plot and it is. I laughed more than I honestly should have for an anime that professes to not be a comedy but then again that could just be a sign I’ve become cynical. But I’m not going to admit one way or another so let’s move on.
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Art and Sound: 7 and 8
This show looks good but isn’t too groundbreaking when it comes to visuals. Fights are well animated and smooth. The creatures that are fought don’t feel like a copy of one another and they have an other-worldly feel to their design. The best part for me, visually, is when Yato is prepping for a kill. The screen lights up and there are golden wording scattered in the background. It just looks really cool. This show honestly wasn’t trying to sell itself by their look which is always good.
But the sound department apparently didn’t catch the memo because they sold themselves like it was a fire sale. Starting with the voice actors, they each sounded really interesting and diverse to listen to. To say I heard personality is one way of stating it. Sound effects weren’t over the top but every slice sang and every roar bellowed. But the real reason we talk about sound is to speak in terms of opening and ending (admit it, it is). So for season 1, the opening is really good, playing like a movie shoot and containing a beat that is fast pace and lively. The ending is nice, acting more as a mellower but I binged the seasons because that how I roll nowadays so, unfortunately, I skipped over it a lot. Then we swing right into season 2 where they made an even better intro by making it more of a funky jam than a fast pace racing song. It really got me more into the spirit of the show then the first opening did. Unfortunately, the ending had suffered in the process and now really only works when you make it to the end of the show. It’s a nice song but very situational considering the tone of season 2. All in all, the entire sound department showed off and would have had the spotlight, had it not been for…….
Yea, I loved these guys. So let’s start with our money-obsessed god of calamity, Yato. Like I said before, Yato is motivated by his dream to have a shrine with Blackjack and hookers and is out to make it a reality. Sounds like the perfect setup for a douche bag character but that’s just it; he isn’t a pain in the ass. He may be a bit annoying at times but behind all of the smiles, he actually holds a lot of sorrow for a person with limited immortality. Hiyori acts as your typical mother figure character by being the one to straighten out Yato or his partner Yukine. Although, she has more interests than just being a mother to two spirits. She also has a deep passion for MMA fighting and will actually replicate some of their moves in combat. She also has an interesting capability to accept incoming info relatively fast. A good example is when Yato introduces her to a good friend of his and it is revealed she is a god of bad luck and poverty, notorious for large-scale famines and the like by her very presence. It’s so bad that gods of fortune don’t like being near her. Hiyori is merely shocked at first then starts talking to her like good friends by the end of the episode. I would think somebody like that would be given a wider birth of space so that they wouldn’t affect me as well. But I guess if it’s civil then I guess it’s cool.
The only characters I didn’t like were minor antagonist characters since they simply acted as bad guys instead of having a reason for being bad. One example of this is from a certain partner to a certain god of war and victory who tries to get her other partners killed all because he doesn’t get used as much as the others. Really? That’s your reason? Ever come forward and talk about it or maybe could it be the fact that you are a fucking scale? Combat isn’t your thing, to begin with.
Overall, there is a great bunch of characters here.
So maybe my friend wasn’t on the mark about the horror aspect but that doesn’t mean I regret watching this show. If anything, this review says otherwise and that I fully enjoyed it. The story was so enthralling that I found myself getting caught off guard when it decided to get dark. The art decides to play it safe but the sound wouldn’t leave without the lead role but got outshined by the characters themselves. And now that I’m laying the categories out like this, the first opening acting more like a movie set up starts to make more sense. The cool thing is that early viewings will be cheap; only costing five yen.
God, that’s a joke nobody will get until they watch the show and even then it’s not that funny.