Noragami deals with matters of temptation and sin, there’s also a woman riding a lion, but her appearance is misplaced – the anime again fails to impress and barely satisfies, a blow also to anime and manga fans.
Like usual, much of the episode relies on comedic situations, only this time, they are less focused on humor and more on young bishounen blushing and a god that steals food. Though the first part of the episode is not devoid of interesting bits like visual humor, it feels empty because it simply does not bring anything worthwhile, since the comedy is not strong enough and the attempt at drama is just as weak.
A sudden unnecessary shift of tone takes place in the second half, a mysterious woman riding the king of the jungle while fighting some phantoms looks cool enough, but the scene goes away as fast as it came without expanding on what exactly happened, or why it happened to begin with. That way it seems more like that scene was thrown in the middle just to fill the required time length than to actually show something interesting, which may as well have been the case.
This scene could very well have been saved for another more appropriated moment where it would have been truly relevant, as right now, it is just out of place.
The focus then quickly returns to actually relevant characters, only revealing more of its weaknesses through its own dialogue. Yato explains to Hiyori how the connection between a Shinki and its master works, mentioning that Yukine’s misdeeds affect him and that they will have consequences, and it sounds interesting and ominous unless someone stops to think about the events so far.
Yato makes it sound like Yukine is capable of misdeeds that will bring retribution in a way that would make anyone believe Yukine already committed such offenses. However, this Yukine did nothing noteworthy thus far, all that could be blamed against the boy are simple matters of lust and jealousy, but the boy did not commit any notorious sin.
This is more evident if one has the will to compare adaptation and source material, in this case the manga. To briefly explain, the manga Yukine is much more prone to misdeeds than his animated counterpart, like downright shameless stealing , not just “borrowing”. This is relevant because one of the main plot points is Yato being directly damaged by Yukine’s corruption process, but the problem in the anime is that Yukine was toned down to seem more innocent and kind than he actually should be, hence making the central point of the situation weaker and less reasonable.
The following events are to no surprise altered as well. Fortunately even so, it is enough to convey the central idea, Yukine is clearly feeling guilty for not being able to save the little girl spirit and let her become corrupted, which was triggered by himself.
Just before the ending, the anime reminds the viewer that the lion riding woman actually exists and will be present in future events. It is shame she could not be introduced properly, seeing more of her would be intriguing if she were properly bestowed with purpose.
Noragami keeps moving forward the same way it started, slowly but surely. Unfortunately, the edits become evident and start to damage the adaptation that already wasn’t compelling enough to withstand many blows. If one can believe the preview, it seems that finally things will start to move faster with the series having more than enough episodes to make something impressive, hope still lives that in that the anime will reward its followers when all is through.