Noragami – Stray God Volume 2 by Adachitoka continues the adventures of Yato, the Japanese god without a shrine. He is a character filled with conflicting traits—both noble and base, both serious and foolish. The more we learn about Yato in his struggle to gain followers by doing odds and ends for people, the more we see that the clown persona is a cover for something much darker and serious. With his new shinki, Yukiné, and reluctant companion, high schooler Hiyori Iki, tagging along for a cure for her condition, Yato is well on his way to obtaining greater godhood.
This volume’s stories didn’t stand on their own quite as well as the tales in volume 1. Now that the premise and setting have been established, the author has begun the groundwork for a longer story arc—a tale that is not resolved in Noragami – Stray God Volume 2.
The first story is uneventful dealing with an area made spiritually weak due to excessive suicides. It mostly focuses on how much of a difference there is between Yato and the gods who have shrines and power. The author also attempts to show deep reasons for why Yato disapproves of suicides, but instead Yato simply comes across as heartless.
The next two stories begin the dark shinki arc. As those who read the previous volume know, a shinki is a disembodied entity that now serves as a tool for a god. In this case, Yukiné transforms into Yato’s sword during confrontations with evil. Yukiné has a body, but, like Yato, cannot usually be seen by mortal eyes.
Yukiné is an immature, dishonest boy prone to theft. Hiyori takes pity on him, but having her wallet emptied and being taken advantage of wears on her quickly. It also wears on Yato, who experiences the price of sin for his shinki. This lack of purity compromises Yato in the final story in Noragami – Stray God Volume 2, where he confronts another warrior god who has a grudge to settle. Yato, it seems, was a warrior god in the past and not above slaying shinki’s as well as evil.
As in the first volume, Adachitoka’s newness to scripting is still a weakness. Noragami – Stray God Volume 2 contains the fourth to eighth stories that Adachitoka has ever published. They aren’t bad by any means, but there are places here and there that lack clarity.
The art, on the other hand, is confident and capable. The characters are pleasant to look at, the action is clear, and the over all package is excellent. I’ll probably read the third volume when it is published, but I won’t likely reread Noragami – Stray God Volume 2 as I do with other series that impress me. I don’t enjoy Yato and Yukiné as characters, but I have hope that they will improve along with the author/illustrator over time.
Release Date: November 18, 2014 (USA)
ISBNs: 1612629075 (9781612629070)
Original Title: ノラガミ
Original Language: Japanese
Original Release Date: October 17, 2011 (Japan)
Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (occasional background smoking)
Sexuality: 0 (outside of the cover)
Violence: 2 (some fighting, peril, discussion of suicide)