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Why Did Yukine Become a Stray In Noragami? A Complete Analysis!

Hagusa and Yato

Yukine was a problem child from the very beginning. Not long after Yato named him, he had to go through an ablution. Still, Yato puts up with him and tries his best to give him a better life in the Far Shore. But what could have happened that tipped off Yukine to become a stray? Let us look into it!

Haruki Tajima or Yukine was killed in a gruesome way by his own father. When Yato made him his Shinki, he promised to “temper” the kid and treat him like family. Yukine in return expected Yato to choose him over anything. After all, he had forsaken his name to protect his master, turning into a blessed vessel. But, a couple of misgivings would eventually lead to Yukine’s and Yato’s relationship deteriorating.

To answer in short, Yukine became a nora because he couldn’t bear watching Yato choose Kazuma over him. The young shinki gave in to his dark side and turned into an ayakashi. This paved the way for Father, who offered to give him answers. Thus, Yukine changed sides.

While the answer appears to be an easy one, it really is not. Jealousy might be the driving factor here, but there’s also a couple of other things that we need to consider in this particular scenario.

Seeds of discontent

Yato should have made more of an effort to quell the doubts in Yukine’s mind. Not that Yukine was a saint, he was (and is) a snotty little brat. However, Yato erred on the side of caution and this might have cost him dearly when it comes to his blessed vessel.

The seeds of discontent were first sowed in Yukine’s mind when Yato chose Hiiro to do Father’s bidding. It might have been his way of keeping Yukine out of trouble. But clearly, there was a lack of communication regarding that. This overprotective nature was a ticking bomb.

Yukine’s feelings were assauged when Yato released Hiiro and decided to be a God of Happiness. He chose Yukine to be his guide. And even though he was a novice, Yukine tried his best to point Yato in the right direction. He vowed to protect the God who had given him a name.

However, Yato and Yukine’s relationship was clearly different from that of others. As noted by Kiun and even Ebisu, both of them were closer and transcended the bonds of a normal God-Shinki relationship. Yukine was clearly attached to his master. The same could be said for Yato (probably).

So it goes without saying that Yukine’s heart shattered when Yato gave Kazuma a name and made him a stray. Being a naive kid, he couldn’t digest Yato’s reason for having chosen Kazuma. Once again, Yato was trying to be protective. But, as we said, these very feelings might have led to Yukine becoming a stray.

Yukine wanted all of Yato’s attention. Yato’s actions only pushed him to the edge. Did he feel worthless? Abandoned? Had his efforts had gone to waste? Maybe it was mixture of all of them. And knowing what happened to him in the past, this situation felt all too similar. Poor kid…

After all, Gods can never be able to give love and care like real parents. They can only play house at the most, nothing more.

Things only get worse when Yukine realised the real reason why Yato was upto.

A duty to protect

After releasing Hiiro, Yato revealed that Father was his lifeline. If Father dies, Yato dies. However, he still decides to gamble it all on Hiyori and go up against Fujisaki. Yukine on the other hand had pledged to protect Yato. And deep down he was against Yato’s idea of going up against Father. These conflicting ideas that were presented on the canvas were set to clash one day.

This was evident from Yukine’s actions in the Bishamon vs Heavens arc. Yukine almost killed Bishamon when he realised she was about to finish Fujisaki. Killing Father will be the same as killing Yato. He was not going to let that happen. He invokes Yato’s God of Calamity side and ends up rendering the heavens.

Yukine lashes out on Bishamon

But, this is also where he starts to break down, bit by bit, mentally. The God he had struck down was Bishamon. She was not an enemy. He knew Father was no good, but he couldn’t let him die either. There’s no way a kid can handle these complex thoughts. There was an immense struggle going on in Yukine’s mind. A struggle that showed no signs of easing.

When Yato decides to kill Father, Yukine realizes that he is gambling with his life. As if he has forgotten about Yukine and was acting solely based on self-interest. As a Guide and as a Shinki what Yukine learnt from Kazuma had become absolute to him. He promised himself to protect Yato from disappearing. And he was going to keep that promise at any cost.

What led to this misunderstanding was of course was Yukine failing to understand Yato’s real reason for choosing Kazuma. Yukine believed it was his aversion to killing Father that made Yato choose Kazuma. He feared that Yato would abandon him. The feeling of worthlessness and his insecurities were compounded. The conflicting ideas had surfaced again and this time, the clash was inevitable.

Yato only wanted to keep Yukine from turning into an Ayakashi at Father’s hands. That said, he also could not reveal his reasons because he didn’t want Yukine to be affected by the Gods greatest secret. But, Yato’s caution would add up to nothing as Yukine eventually does become obsessed with his past.

The overprotective nature sure turned out to be smoking gun! I wonder what would have happened if Yato had planned to go ahead with Yukine, just like he planned to use Kazuma? Would the situation have been any different?

Yukine’s obsession with the past

As if there weren’t enough things to worry about, Fujisaki again plays dirty as he uses Mizuchi (Nora, Hiiro) to push Yukine into transgressing the God’s greatest secret.

When Yukine starts asking around about his mortal life, the other Gods abandon him. How is this related to him turning into a Nora you wonder? Well, with no one there around him, there was nothing stoppinig him from going into a downward spiral. And with Yato staying busy hunting Father, there wasn’t anyone Yukine could look up to.

All the confusion and the struggle of coping eventually made him play into Fujisaki’s plans. He placed his trust in Mizuchi, who then delivers him to Father. His flames of self-doubt and discontent are only fanned further after this. Eventually, all of these pent-up emotions break out in the worst way possible!

The messed up culmination:

When the boiling pot spilled over, there was nothing the cook could do. Why? Because it was too late(cringy analogies are my style, you may laugh now). So, when Yukine drew a borderline against Yato as he tried to kill Father, all Yato could do was gape at the situation. Things did not end well. But this action seemed to have an equally detrimental effect on Yukine’s psyche and was the final nail in the coffin!

The guilt of raising his hand against Yato and thinking about being left alone again made him fall into despair. He turned him into an ayakashi. He has a relapse and turns back to the old Yukine who wanted a family, a school life and a dream like every mortal teenager.

At this crucial juncture, Father reached out to him. Lured by the God’s secret Yukine becomes obsessed with his past self. He drowns in the slow poison and becomes dependent on Father. Yukine becomes Father’s stray Shinki Hagusa because he wanted to know about his past life and a place to feel purposeful.

Yukine submits to Father

In Japanese, Yuu(莠) also read as “Hagusa” literally means “what appears good but is bad”. Naming him Hagusa can bring in a lot of speculations. One of which is the berserk mode he enters at the thought of his murderer Father living peacefully in the Far shore. Another one is connected to his past life. When Haru chose to stay with his dad and saved his sister, he knew this good act of selflessness will only bring sadness to him. A contrast to what seems good can sometimes end up horrifying.

While Yukine’s slow descent into despair was an interesting thing to analyse, let’s not forget how brilliant Father’s plan was. A wily manipulator down to his bones, Father dropped information that was bound to affect Yukine negatively. The meticulously set up plan’s grand finale was the face-off between Yato and Yukine. The naive shinki failed to grasp Father’s intentions and fell prey to his grand scheme. BUT….

Is Yukine still trying to save Yato as a Nora?

It seems a bit farfetched, still I cannot throw away the fact that Yukine actually doesn’t see Yato as his enemy. As Kofuku once said, a child shinki never grows but transforms into a matured child. Yukine might be such an example. He wants to gamble on Yato to stop trying to kill Fujisaki. I say this because with Chiki gone, to kill Father Yato has to cross swords with Yukine. And Yato hates it with every fiber of his body!

Yukine will take advantage of the fact that Yato still holds the name Yuki with him. Yukine’s past nature retains even after he is dead. Like a Camelia, he grew under a tough situation and spread warmth but died so soon. His kind nature is what makes him so special.

Even as Yuuki, he gains a power to reach people’s hearts and influence them to take a positive course of action. Yukine became a blessed vessel while covering Yato. I am sure, the Yatogami will never forget that. He seems determined to hunt down the Crafter but he will never willingly try to hurt Yukine.

So, what do you think of Yukine being a Nora? Will Yato and Yukine get back together? Let us know your opinions in the comments down below!

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