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Explore Japanese graphic novel ‘Noragami’

Adachitoka’s graphic novel, "Noragami: Stray God," has been adapted into a popular, animated TV show in Japan.

As the Park Rapids Area Library Young Adult department’s March Manga Mania event at the end of the month draws near, it is the perfect time to start reading a manga series.

Manga is the general name for Japanese graphic novels.

The manga "Noragami" follows the missions of Yato, a minor god whose dream is a shrine to himself. To achieve this dream Yato runs a call-in wish service in the Near Shore, the land of the living. He leaves his number on sides of buildings and bathroom stalls for those in need. For 5 yen, about 5 cents, Yato will solve your problem with the help of Yukine, a young spirit boy, whose soul Yato is able to use as a shinki, a weapon that kills rogue spirits.

Along the way we meet many interesting characters like Hiyori Iki, a teenage girl, whose soul starts slipping out of her body after a near-death experience trying to save Yato.

Hiyori’s spirit walking becomes more and more frequent but leaving her body asleep in the middle of a busy street is not the safest option. Can she convince Yato to return her to normal and, with new friendships being built; does she even want him to?

We also meet Bishamonten, the god of combat who is an enemy of Yato after he killed one of her shinki. Bishamonten though brave and strategic in a battle, rescues as many spirits as she can. But among her many shinki, she has a traitor. When a shinki is dishonest, sad, or malicious their thoughts harm their master. Will she be able to find out who it is or will it kill her before she does?

But there is unrest brewing in the Far Shore, the land of the afterlife. Nora the Stray, a detested shinki with more than one master, is appearing more and more frequently with vicious, masked spirits. The Stray finds Yato, one of her former masters, and tries to convince him to use her and abandon Yukine.

Meanwhile, Yukine is having his own hardships as he adjusts to his new life of poverty, boredom, and servitude as Yato’s shinki. With resentment growing in Yukine, he runs the risk of harming Yato.

Is Yukine too stubborn to be in service to Yato or is he just stubborn enough to make it?

With so many unanswered questions and adventures on every page, Noragami is definitely a series to discover.  

"Noragami" is entertaining, deep and engaging. The characters are complex, the graphics are beautiful and the plot is captivating.

Adachitoka, the team of two female authors of the series, will have you on the edge of your seat, laughing, thinking and wishing for more.   

"Noragami" is now a popular anime (animated manga), with a second season "Noragami Aragoto" featured in Otaku USA magazine.

The first eight volumes of "Noragami" manga are available now in the young adult department of the Park Rapids Library.