Noragami Might Just Be The Best TV Series From Bones Studio

[FFF] Noragami - 01 [3B59E3E2].mkv_snapshot_11.41_[2014.02.25_02.15.35]Noragami was, very nearly, the best series that aired this winter 2014 season and that includes the carryover series. The only series that were able to beat Noragami were Silver Spoon 2 and Hunter x Hunter.

I was thinking about how good this season turned out when the thought came, unbidden, that in all my years of watching series from Bones that I’d never seen one of theirs that was as strong and perfect as Noragami. I felt the gears in my brain grind to a halt. I thought to myself – That cannot be! Surely there has to be something better. However, I checked their list of works out and couldn’t find that something better. Now, because of my past rocky relationship with Bones there are a number of earlier works I never watched; so I inserted that degree of uncertainty in the title to reflect this. 🙂

In the last 10 years, which is an eternity in anime fandom, the only major Bones work that I’ve not yet seen and could impact this discussion is Darker than Black. (Which tempts me to change the title to narrow the time frame down and increase the certainty shown.) Based on opinions of people I’ve read and heard, earlier Bones works that I’ve yet to see and could change my assessment of Noragami include: RahXephon, Wolf’s Rain, and Scrapped Princess.

I’m assuming there will be disagreements to this assertion; so, setting those titles I just mentioned aside, lets run through the list to see where I’m coming from.

The first group I’m going to remove are those series that are complete failures, these are:

  • Heroman
  • Gosick

The next group that gets removed are those series that fall apart at the end (the most common problem of series done by Bones), they include:

  • Fullmetal Alchemist
  • Eureka Seven
  • Chiko, Heiress of the Phantom Thief
  • Xam’d: Lost Memories
  • Tokyo Magnitude 8.0
  • No. 6

I realize the love Eureka Seven has by many fans which might one day get me to try it again but, for now, I really disliked how weird the story of the second half of the series became.

The next group are those series that have other pacing issues:

  • Soul Eater
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
  • Un-Go

Soul Eater started really slow, taking about 20 episodes to really get good, and the anime original ending was rather wobbly. Not as bad as the prior group but still a detraction to the series. FMA: Brotherhood starts off with the story horrendously compressed as it attempts to get through the material already covered in the first Full Metal Alchemist series with extreme haste. A good series, much less a superior one, shouldn’t require one to watch something else to fill in the story it doesn’t want to spend time on. Un-Go is probably my second favorite Bones series. To reach that point, however, it required watching the OVA – which was released well after the series – to explain just what was happening in the series. And, once again, a good series should not leave important back-story to a separate OVA (and releasing it after the fact was a double whammy). Even with the OVA, Un-Go cannot beat Noragami because the mysteries that are the center of Un-Go are rather lame. A decision to spend more time on fewer mysteries or to add more episodes could have made the mysteries more compelling.

The series of the next group suffer from other types of issues, they include:

  • Eureka Seven: Astral Ocean
  • Blast of Tempest
  • Space Dandy

[Commie] Space Dandy - 08 [F1A2DF6A].mkv_snapshot_15.31_[2014.03.11_01.57.30]Eureka Seven: Astral Ocean told it’s story much better then the first series but the main characters weren’t that interesting or likeable which weighed the series down, as did the couple of plot turns that could have been handled better. Blast of Tempest displayed streaks of brilliance but was overall a bit too uneven. Space Dandy has been even more uneven. Each episode could be anywhere from unwatchable to pretty awesome and it’s hard to really like a series that is that unpredictable. The second half of Space Dandy might be a completely different experience and it could challenge Noragami, check back in the summer to find out.

This leaves one series – Star Driver – and Noragami was an all-around better series then Star Driver.

Now, there are a few series that I did not account for yet. My impression of those are they, most likely, are not good enough to rate a mention. If fans of these series think I’ve done a disservice to these series then, please, leave a comment explaining why I’m wrong. I don’t mind if it means I discover a good series. 🙂

So, that leaves Noragami at the top of a rather sizable heap. The question could be asked, why Noragami? What makes it the best.

[FFF] Noragami - 01 [3B59E3E2].mkv_snapshot_19.08_[2014.02.25_02.21.18]For starters, Noragami has the quality animation one would expect from Bones. The series is plotted perfectly to fit in it’s run length. It has a good ending which is even more impressive for a series that is ongoing. The ending is anime original and it’s as good as the rest of the series. The music is stellar. The characters are compelling and full of depth and drive the story. The setting is interesting. The story is interesting. The seiyuu did top quality work.

Basically, Noragami did everything right about as perfect as possible and that’s why I can say that it might just be the best TV series from Bones.

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14 thoughts on “Noragami Might Just Be The Best TV Series From Bones Studio”

  1. I both agree and disagree with some of what you’ve said. I really enjoyed Noragami; I don’t think it makes anime of the year or anything, but after season two of Gin no Saji, it was absolutely my favourite series of the winter season (I don’t watch Hunter x Hunter, so I can’t really comment on that one). It had good pacing, gorgeous visuals, a rocking soundtrack, and managed to be consistently entertaining.

    On the other hand, I think the original Eureka 7 series (I try not to think about the sequel), Blast of Tempest, and FMA: Brotherhood both win out for me personally – especially the latter, which is still one of my favourite anime titles of all time. I just don’t feel that it rushes things, and I maintain that even someone who didn’t watch any of the first series would still be able to enjoy it and comprehend all of what’s going on in Brotherhood. However, I’ll fully admit that I’m biased, since I DID watch the first series and therefore can’t fully grasp what Brotherhood would be like for someone who hasn’t – it’s just an unproven opinion on my part.

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  2. You caught me off-guard. I didn’t know this show was made by BONES, which is surprising, but also says a lot. I have always recognized their style and their shows from 1-2 episodes (that is, if I didn’t know beforehand). I watched this and instead felt completely nothing.

    You might call Noragami perfect (not for me though), but it’s both its blessing and its curse. Curse, because it was the most unoriginal good show I’ve seen in the last few years. There was nothing new, execution wasn’t exceptional, nothing. Nada. There was no mysterious factor X present. Every single part from this show was used in many shows, often with better results. If I compare it to a drink, sure, maybe the blend was perfect, but I could still recognize every single beverage from my bar. Ten years ago it would become classic, five – maybe something worth remembering, but not today. I don’t even care if it gets a sequel.

    As for the list of other BONES shows – many were flawed, but these flaws contrasted with overall fabulousnes. I won’t argue with your perception of them because my opinion is completely, utterly different and it would make no sense whatsoever.

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  3. Nah, I’ve got to disagree. I’d rather not be mostly bored through an anime. Noragami had good ideas and production, but the plot was basic and executed with very little spice and uniqueness when all’s said and done. It basically squandered its potential in just a different way than usual for Bones.

    I mean that entire final arc felt entirely as slapped together to me as any other Bones’ series. The villains were uninspired, the amnesia thing was horribly tacky (especially it’s resolution) and the rest was just kind of there. I also never really connected with any of the characters, despite some strong attempts at melodrama.

    It was a good anime, but I’ll take a noble failure or an entertaining trainwreck over “merely competent throughout”. It’s nice to see Bones is capable of that, though.

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  4. Thanks for the comments,

    @Artemis: It would be interesting to find some people who hadn’t seen the original and get their feedback on structuring of the series.

    What makes me wonder about Brotherhood needing the first series is that the death of a certain character in ep,25 of the original series – trying not to spoil here 🙂 – left me an emotional wreck, tears, snot, the whole 9 yards. I was dreading this point when Brotherhood got to that part but when it finally did I felt very little and then I felt shock at feeling so little since he is one of my favorite characters of the show.

    @Kinza Datteri: All anyone has, even the most acclaimed and respected critics, is their opinion. Some people forget this but I don’t. I’d like to hear which flawed but fabulous Bones work is your favorite.

    @Hogart: Disagree away 🙂

    Which Bones “noble failure” or “entertaining trainwreck” was your favorite?

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  5. @ymarsakar: After being disappointed so many times by them, with nothing to counterbalance it, I stopped trying to watch anything from Bones. Fast forward a few years and I began to watch the newer stuff, as it airs, because I try to watch everything (or close to it) for this blog.

    Now that some of Bones’ newer shows are sometimes worthwhile to watch, I’m thinking that I might try the older ones – when the opportunity presents itself.

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  6. Ouran High School Host Club is constantly ignored due to it’s Shojo status, but really. It is probably the most hillarious anime I’ve seen to date. We showed it at my anime society back in 2006 and EVERYONE (male and female) agreed it was by far the best show. I might be a bit too old for shounen action shows, but I still find that series to be the most impressive.

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  7. Noragami is a bit too aimless as is to be the best. It has some endearing characters, but the plot feels like a string of standalones and arcs with with nothing overarching going on. It feels like someone made a 12 episode series out of the earliest episodes of Bleach and left it at that. The last arc in particular felt tacked just so that theseason could end in a somewhat exciting way (which didn’t really).I feel that most of Bones’ other titles (FMA, FMAB, Eureka 7, Rahxephon, Wolf’s Rain) had more purpose. This isn’t my final assessment of Noragami by a long shot though, this is really only the beginning and I’d be happy to see more season to see where these characters are headed.

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  8. Scrapped Princess was good up until the last 2 episodes. The ending didn’t make much sense. So if you just watch up until then and then read the ending spoiler, it should work. The part before the end was so good that if I forget the last 2 episodes, it’s still good.

    But truly there are other series like Heroic Age and Legend of the Galactic Heroes you should start on.

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  9. Since there’s a new season out, but no new posts here, I’ll just comment here with my recommendations.

    Irregular at Magic High School is very well constructed. It has a powerful male lead (Alpha Game) with a well constructed world and student life battle plot.

    Knights of Sidonia also looks promising, very gritty, a different cgi based animation style, and a combination of science fiction with mecha artwork. Space Brothers like, in a way.

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  10. @ymarsakar: Thanks for the comment and sorry about the delay in responding.

    Outside of a couple sequels, I wasn’t really looking forward to the slate of shows this Spring season and I’ve yet to come across that’s really fired me up; so, as a result, my attention has wandered towards catching up on the new Doctor Who seasons I’d only partially seen, the first four. Yesterday I finished season 4 with David Tennant’s regeneration scene and will turn my attention to finishing my survey of this season’s shows.

    I’ve been moderately impressed with Irregular at Magic High School so far but am holding off any real praise until I see if the story gets interesting – there has been some hints that it will.

    I’ve only seen one episode of Knights of Sidonia so far and hate, hate, hate that CG animation style for the people but Arpeggio of Blue Steel has made me willing to tolerate that animation style if the rest of the show is worth it and I think Knights of Sidonia might just be.

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  11. Cgi and hand anime are both abstractions. Thus it takes about as long for me to see them as human as the other.

    I think the strong of Magickal High school is the strength of the lead character and the detail of the world building. If the anime can pull those two off, it won’t really matter what happens in the plot work. For example, Titan has great plot work, but its character types are different as a result.

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