Manga Review: Noragami Stray Stories Vol. #01

The Noragami Universe includes a manga series and anime. Now a spinoff manga  Noragami: Stray Stories has been released in English!

Back Cover Blurb

In a tale as epic as Noragami, sometimes details get overlooked, like how do shinki normally find employment? Is Yato ever useful? What happens when a god is targeted by a serial killer? Find the answers to these questions and more in this collection of short stories from Noragami creator Adachitoka!

The Review

According to the author’s afterword, Noragami Stray Stories are “diversions” from the main Noragami story. Indeed, the seven stories, each about 20 pages long, are the sort of short, fun works often included as a bonus in a volume of manga. However, as Adachitoka-sensei puts it, it was supposed to be a one-time thing and somehow turned into a series. Thus, these stories make up their own collection instead of being tacked on as extras in another book.

But even though Adachitoka-sensei refers to the stories as “a series,” they are standalone works. The only element connecting them is that they make fun of Yato. Readers unfamiliar with the Noragami Universe will probably get some jokes, like the ridiculously long fall in “A Story of a Fallen Man,” but this collection will be best enjoyed and appreciated by Noragami fans.

As mentioned above, the collection pokes fun at Yato. He might be a warrior god, but he’s not taking on malevolent spirits here. He only wields his sword twice, once to cut ties with a stalker office lady in “A Story of the Other Side of the Screen” and later to cut another idiot’s ties with bad luck in “A Story of a Fallen Man.” He gets roasted by his current and former shinki in “A Story of Exploring the Mind of a Shinki” and fails in an idol-style audition to become one of the Seven Gods of Fortune in “A Story of a Nameless God Making His Way Up In The World.” He also falls victim to a mortal swindler in “A Story of Mutual Deception” and the repeated murder attempts of a wannabe serial killer in “A Story of Conforming to Temporary Stereotypes.” Yato has a lot of weaknesses and quirks for a main character, and the mangaka doesn’t hesitate to capitalize on them in the name of comedy.

Other characters that figure largely in the stories are Yukine and Hiyori and the warrior god Bishamonten and her shinki Kazuma. Yukine and Hiyori serve mainly to call out Yato’s idiocy for what it is. As for the Kazuma/Bishamonten appearances, they mainly highlight Kazuma’s obsession for his god and provide blatant fanservice.

Extras include a character lineup, early sketches of Noragami characters, and translation notes.

In Summary

If you’re not familiar with the Noragami Universe, Stray Stories probably isn’t the best place to start. However, if you’re an existing fan, this collection will be a lighthearted addition to your library. There’s no overarching quest or storyline; these are just a bunch of silly one shots portraying Yato at his least dignified and most desperate.

First published at the Fandom Post.

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