Nagi no Asukara – 04

Nagi no Asukara - 04 -3 Nagi no Asukara - 04 -15 Nagi no Asukara - 04 -30

I’ve just realized – we’re four episodes in and none of the male characters has cross-dressed yet.  But don’t worry – an episode like this proves we’re solidly in Okada’s hands.

I’m still very much in Nagi no Asukara’s camp – I like the straightforward emotions at play here, which are all too rare in anime as a medium.  And I continue to believe that in crafting a story about middle schoolers in a fantasy setting, Okada Mari has found the perfect vehicle for her larger-than-life interpersonal dramas.  But this episode was definitely my least favorite of the four so far, largely because for the first time it seemed as if we were seeing drama for its own sake.

I found the best moments of this episode to be the quiet and even silly ones, of the type that Okada can brilliantly deliver but all too rarely attempts.  Two especially stand out for me, the first being the conversation between Kaname and Tsugumu – a quite serious one between too serious little boys (perhaps abnormally so for their age).  Tsugumu’s take on Hikari is a clever one – “I don’t want Hikari to be misunderstood by everyone just because he misunderstands them.”  Kaname gets a little half-smile on his face and asks, “Could you repeat that one more time?”  It was very natural and authentic, both in terms of Kaname’s reaction and the statement itself.  It’s a clever sort of thing a child would say, and Kaname’s response was exactly how another bright kid probably would, a rare moment when his facade was lowered and he acted his age.

The other moment I especially liked was a tiny blink-of-an-eye one indeed, which came when Manaka followed Hikari home after he’d been sent home for “chesting” the boys he thought had defiled their Ojoshi-sama.  As she follows him an octopus swims between them and she exclaims “Oh – an octopus!” and “Chi, chi, chi…” calls to it like a land-dweller would to a dog or cat.  What I love about this is it’s a wink at the audience, effectively saying “Yes, I know this is silly and totally unrealistic – but I bet you’re sort of buying it.”  Of course Manaka then goes on to compare Hikari to an octopus, but that mostly works too – it’s one of the less tense and dramatic moments those two have shared since the premiere.

It’s with that Ojoshi incident where the ep sort of lost me though, as I thought the whole storyline with Miuna and especially Sayu, the one who actually defiled the statue, was pretty hackneyed.  There is in general too much crying in Nagi no Asukara – though not to the point where I’m usually bothered by it – but I really don’t care about Sayu and her breakdown and apology just felt like forced theatrics.  The stuff between Hikari and the two guys he thought had trashed the idol was better, largely because it showcased both the good and bad sides of Hikari.  He was quite right to be furious at the two boys for treating Manaka’s kindness with racist scorn and pushing her to the ground, and quite wrong to assume they were guilty and to physically assault them.  Hikari continues to be driven by his passion, literally to a fault – his instincts are generally good but he never pauses long enough to give himself time to figure out the right and wrong way to pursue them.  That’s not entirely uncommon for a kid his age, and he does seem to be showing the ability to learn from his mistakes – and even more importantly, to act based on empathy rather than selfishness.

If there’s a dominant thread running through these four episodes, it’s that coming-of-age element where a child learns to see the world from the perspective of others.  In Hikari’s case it’s most profoundly through Akari’s eyes, as he’s coming to understand all she’s sacrificed for her family, especially for him, and to want what’s best for her happiness rather than his own.  This is a process she’s gone through herself, as it’s revealed that she originally knew Tooru while Miura’s mother, Miori, was still alive – and that Miori, too was a Sea Dweller who left for the surface (Tooru clearly has a bit of a complex here).  While the relationship between Hikari and Manaka is the nominal center of the series, it’s actually the one between he and Akari that’s been the most powerful so far for my money.  Chisaki still seems mostly to define herself through her unrequited love for Hikari, to the point where she compares herself (unfavorably) to Manaka and is actually unhappy in the end that Hikari manages to work things out with both Sayu and the bully boys – because she wasn’t the one who helped him to do so, Manaka was.  She, too, is still living in a child’s world where her emotions form the boundaries.

As for Kaname and Tsumugu, while there scene together was their best of the series, they both remain largely enigmas.  What we know of Tsumugu is that he has an intense curiosity and affection for the Sea Dwellers – likely because he knows the truth of his lineage – and while we don’t know whether he has feelings for Manaka as a person or just what she is, that still puts him a leg up on Kaname.  We might infer that he has feelings for Chisaki – but that’s strictly based on the formula, not on the character or anything he’s said or done.  While Hikari remains the most developed by far and Manaka had her best episode this week, the other three are still largely rough clay – and if Okada is able to mold it into something interesting, that will certainly expand the territory Nagi no Asukara can mine for dramatic gold as it continues its run.

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Nagi no Asukara - 04 -11 Nagi no Asukara - 04 -12 Nagi no Asukara - 04 -13
Nagi no Asukara - 04 -14 Nagi no Asukara - 04 -16 Nagi no Asukara - 04 -17
Nagi no Asukara - 04 -18 Nagi no Asukara - 04 -19 Nagi no Asukara - 04 -20
Nagi no Asukara - 04 -21 Nagi no Asukara - 04 -22 Nagi no Asukara - 04 -23
Nagi no Asukara - 04 -24 Nagi no Asukara - 04 -25 Nagi no Asukara - 04 -26
Nagi no Asukara - 04 -27 Nagi no Asukara - 04 -28 Nagi no Asukara - 04 -29


  1. p

    "I've just realized – we're four episodes in and none of the male characters has cross-dressed yet. But don't worry – an episode like this proves we're solidly in Okada's hands."

    Lmao xD. Don't worry it'll come soon. Also the obligatory True Tears reference. It's in every Okada/PA works show.

  2. t

    Hikari is becoming more mature and aware. not entirely, but we can see not only in his eyes, but his behavior, that he has changed a bit (even a bit more than "a bit" since the premiere)

    we've been exposed this episode to chisaki and kaname, but still we can't infer anything. Chisaki is still somehow a child, I am upset that instead of acting all she does is rely on Kaname, who is by far the most mature and clever one in the group. he is also a quite guy most of the time. I'd like him to get more screentime.
    whether he loves her(chisaki)?the formula says yes..I am not completely convinced. considering the complexity level, he might love Manaka as knows.

    A word must be said about Akari. it's a bit surprising she gave up. but I see a new issue there. did she make the right decision loving that widower with children?maybe she actually exploited the situation 'cause she was feeling lonely?

    above all that, the fantasy element will start mergeing with the soceity issues. we saw how uroko talk the fire(aka their god?) and "bang".
    so clearly this series won't be only in "drama-romance" realm, but also fantasy element will play an important role. now it's much more conclusive than before.

    some issues seems to be eased, but they haven't been solved completely, and by that I mean the 2girls (wait..they are not sisters?WTF) and the issue with the boys and the racism at school. I don't think it's high-paced, but I do hope they don't think it's simply been solved. they still must touch it more.

  3. M

    I'm glad that they're not taking a break from Hikari's development that started to show in the previous episode.He shouldn't get anymore hate for now – at least I'm cool with him,although it'll take more than that to make me like actually him but that's fine,they got plenty of time so nice & steady might be the best way to go. Thing was,for the first two episodes I was worried that they made him so unlikeable that it'd be harder & harder to accept his developments if they didn't come soon.Suffice to say,I'm very glad they did.Also,it's good to see Manaka trying to take a step out of her shell on her own initiative.

    As for Kaname & Tsugumu,they should get along pretty good since they see eye to eye.Although not the best comparison,maybe they'll earn the tittle of "the reasonable duo" of this show just like Jean & Armin did for Shingeki!Alas,since the characters contribute way more to the enjoyment of this show in comparison to Shingeki,these two need to be flashed out quite a bit more in some way or the other – whether their actions will garner them some hate or not.IMO,It's better to feel something,whatever that may be,for a character then nothing at all.

  4. K

    I gave this episode a B+. There were some very touching moments but I think that some of them was a bit too much.


  5. i

    The Miuna hack plot and her blushing at Hikari's presence were very helpful in making this quite a low quality episode. Still I agree that Manaka has started, as noted, to leave her little shell and is coming out quite nice. The love polygon isn't a match for AnoNatsu yet in terms of likability or depth but there coming along nicely and surely this series will tackle more than a simple old school romance.

    And for someone who seems to jerk in pleasure when writing sexual innuendo, there's a startling lack of actual ecchi in Okada's shows. Just something I noticed.

    At this point I suppose that the following has been set and besides some Hiroyuki Yoshino moment from Okada, well all be seeing out to the end.

    BTW are you holding out on a KlK post because of how well… awful in every imaginable way the last episode was. Animation, action, intelligence, even fanservice was at its weakest in the last episode. Trigger still has a chance but it's fair to say that theyre well behind Gainax's old legends.

  6. No, as I said in the past there are 6 Thursday shows this season and it's impossible for me to cover them all in one day. This is a one-man operation, you know.

  7. i

    My bad. I hope that your soloing doesn't change though, as hearing just one constant voice is what makes LiA great.

  8. I've been thinking of bringing in a moeblogger for the CGBC shows…

  9. Cute Girls Being Cute.

    And yes, I was kidding.

  10. p

    I have the perfect candidate for that. Stilts xD

  11. R


  12. i

    @GE well it's not like you're options are limited for a blogger of that sort.

  13. R

    i don't know about you guys, but uroko-sama is starting to become one of my favorite characters. at first, i thought that he would be the whole "i will curse you because you disobeyed our laws" thing. but he turned out to more like a voice of reason (and a likable guy to boot). though i am still a bit worried about how the whole deal about the Sea God might turn out.

    asnd just like everyone else, i like seeing how hikari is growing out quick in this series. since he is still very much a kid, i would have forgiven if he would be whiny for half of the series. but i am really surprised at how fast he is starting to grow and change his views. same thing goes for manaka, just three episodes ago, she was a crybaby who keeps on hiding behind the shadows of her friends, but now she is starting to explore the new world in front of her.

  14. R

    This is an episode when Okada's gone out of control…hope that Shinohara Toshiya is going to put a restraining order on her starting from next episode.

  15. H

    Unfortunately, this episode has a plot hole about as big as the ocean. If Itaru was already with Miori and had Miuna with her, why did he act all surprised when confronted with the fact that Akari would have been banished for being with him? Either Itaru's the world's biggest idiot, or someone didn't pay attention when writing the show.

  16. Or else Miori hid the fact from him somehow, and when she told him she was visiting her family she was actually playing pachinko or something. It's not like he was going to follow her and check.

  17. R

    i agree. considering the fact that even the kids were surprised to learn about that law, it might be possible that miori hid it from itaru so that he does not have to worry.

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