Nagi no Asukara – 13

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Well, that was certainly eventful.

If Golden Time’s break arrived at the perfect time for me, I can’t say the same for Nagi no Asukara.  Not only is the series firing on all cylinders and more involving than ever, but that was a hell of a cliffhanger to cap off the first cour.  “Always leave them wanting more”, as they say, and that’s the goal of many of these season-ending episode of multi-season anime – but it’s going to be a long two weeks while we await the return of Nagiasu.

It’s hard to begin at the beginning of that episode because what happened in the final sequence was so shocking and monumental, but I don’t think the first half of the episode should be glossed over.  Among other things, Okada (and it must be said, Yoshino Hiroyuki, who’s done probably his best work ever with his episode scripts for this show) delivered yet another brilliantly executed scene with the emotional amp turned up to eleven.  I loved that talk between Manaka and Hikari – I loved the way it was drawn and shot, I loved the voice work by the seiyuu, and I loved the words Okada had them saying.

It doesn’t come as any kind of a surprise to me that Hikari has turned out to be one of the best characters of the season, since I never bought into the groupthink bashing after the premiere.  He started out as a believably surly and impetuous 13 year-old, and he’s grown into a believably self-aware and empathetic one.  His telling Manaka that he’d continue to hold her as precious even if she didn’t return his feelings was his high point of the series – it was mature and wise and borderline noble – though I suspect the message she was going to deliver “after the Ofunehiki” would have rendered it a moot point.  I won’t say “we’ll never know” but clearly, at the very least it’s going to be a while.

The episode’s tone really shifted on a dime.  We had a quiet, somber mood as the residents of Shioshishio began to drift into hibernation and goodbyes were shared with loved ones.  An eerie silence settles over Shioshishio as the sea kiddos return to the surface, where a frenzy of activity is taking place to prepare for the ofunehiki.  Okada doesn’t manage to get her males into drag – yet – but she does get in a little embarrassment factor with the traditional matsuri happi and shorts.  The drums begin to pound, Hii-kun goes into Gavroche-mode with his big flag, and the party on the ocean’s surface gets started.  And then all hell breaks loose.

So what exactly did happen, anyway?  At this point it’s too early to say for certain.  Uroko-sama and Tomoru-san use holy fire to guide the boats – a “gift to Akari” – but then Uroko-sama seems to betray Tomoru, putting him to sleep before apologizing that he’s “in the end, just a scale of the Sea God”.  The sea began to roil and bubble, whirlpools formed, waves crashed into the bridge support pillar, and Akari was swept overboard.  Hikari dived in after her and Manaka after him, Tsugumu dived in after her and Chisaki and Kaname after him.  Akari seems ready to sacrifice herself to Umigami – that was really her intention all along – but it’s pretty obvious that Manaka is going to volunteer herself in her place, and that’s exactly what happens.  The bridge pillar collapses, Chisaki saves Tsugumu, Kaname sees her cradling his head on her lap and falls back into the whirlpool.  Manaka seems to slam into the sea floor at pancake velocity, and Akari eventually turns up floating on the water’s surface.

Whew – get all that?  It’s a good thing this show was two cours, because as expected Vol. 1 bombed (1144 BDs) and this would be a terrible last episode.  As a cour-ender though, it’s terrific – though it leaves me completely in the dark about where the second cour is headed.  There’s a short preview at the end featuring Miuna, but it’s inconclusive at best about whether there’s going to be the rumored timeskip – she looks and sounds the same, though her words imply at least some time has passed.  Shioshioshio seems to be covered in saltflake snow and Hikari is clearly not around, and as for Kaname and Manaka, well – Kaname probably managed to survive that chaos somehow (it’s not as though breathing underwater is a problem) but Manaka?  That collision with the sea floor was brutal, terrible – it really did feel as if she was a sacrifice, though not in the way I imagined it might play out.

My feelings on a long timeskip are unchanged – I hope it doesn’t happen, although one where the characters hibernate and emerge the same age would be preferable if it does.  Surely things are going to be very different, at least.  My feeling is that Manaka had finally figured out that what she felt for Tsugumu was infatuation (he was “the sun” to her, everything she imagined in her “Part of Your World” fantasies) but what she felt for Hikari was love, so it’ll be a real shame if we never see their relationship blossom as it would have.  This has been an excellent series, especially over the last month, so a part of me really doesn’t want to see it radically change just as it’s at its best, but at the same time Okada has earned some trust with this one.  Nagiasu has definitely been one of the pleasant surprises of a generally so-so Fall anime season – here’s hoping it proves to be not a surprise, but a stalwart of what looks to be an even weaker Winter.

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  1. F

    In a way this series has not been a surprise for me, because I somehow felt I would enjoy it the earliest I found out about it long ago… sometimes series are like that (like Dansai bunri) and sometimes not tho one is curious about it (Kamisama Nichiyoubi for me) and sometimes a series comes up that is nowhere on the map tho not rejected outright (Gingitsune), and sometimes one is completely blindsided out of left field (Kemono no Souja Erin)… These are all enjoyment angles that come to mind as opposed to disappointment.

    So I guess thus far I have not been surprised b/c I knew somewhere I would enjoy it. Strange how that works sometimes. I hope the series will continue to be as good or even better than the first half.

    I have heard it mentioned that one of the reasons people have not shown as much interest in this series is because of the slow, painstaking development of the charas – perhaps a little like the series Kimi ni Todoke's pace. For me the pace of that or this series has not been a problem, though.

  2. K

    Fridays are quickly known to me as the WTF days. A lot of ships were sunk today.

  3. t

    here are my thoughts of this episode (also posted on RC):

    well, I can't say I didn't see that coming. we were waiting for this event to happen for a couple of eps. and finally it did.

    we do must examine the different in tone between this ep 1st half and 2nd half.
    the 1st half serve quite as a reminder of what we've been through this season. how much Hikari has grown up. of course, along side the others too. and how far we reached this very point – in the micro-level (romantic complex) and macro-level.

    then comes the 2nd half. which was eventful. little by little things have become intense until the burst of climax. it was very beautiful but we didn't have much time to be impressed by this (even though we had the entire cour to be moved by the animation). things happened, a bit fast, but that is how it should be.
    Uroko turned out to be con-man. well, he was suspicious since the beginning, but scamming behind the chief (Hikari and Akari's father)? what's with him exactly? it seems like he is doing his duty as sea-god's scale. but is it really for the benefit of the sea-people?
    there is also another thing I thought about – is he really a "messenger" of the sea-god?what if he isn't?

    I wasn't surprised at all by Manaka's sacrifice. what happened to her?god knows. to be precise, the sea-god knows. but there is the question of the motive behind this. I mean..the sea-god wanted someone as a sacrifice, a living sacrifice. he didn't take the doll, and it wasn't important who will be sacrificed (after all Manaka "replaced" with Akari). so why a living sacrifice all of a sudden?and how it's connected to the hibernation?
    the god's ways are sure mysterious, but we'll have to understand a bit of what's behind this.

    and there were the other MC characters involved in this incident.
    as Hikari stated in the beginning how much everyone is precious to him, everyone demonstrated that.
    mostly I am surprised by Chisaki. screaming for Tsumugu all of a sudden and trying to save him. sure, being brave and all is fine. but it seems like there was more behind it.
    Kaname came to assist. but ends up..well I don't think he is dead. he can swim, right?
    but in the end, the whole situation between this trio (Kaname, Chisaki and Tsumugu) is kinda came to enlighten our character's mind and it came in some sort of contrast to their feeling on the 1st half of this episode (which is carry a lot of feelings from the previous 12-episode).
    I think, at that time, Chisaki finally noticed she didn't truly love Hikari. it seems like she is starting to understand that it's Tsumugu for her. with how much she cared for him and the interaction between those two. they are totally fit to each other. but then Kaname fell and the look on Chisaki also changed. I still think that Kaname is simply a very dear friend for her.
    Manaka and Hikari aren't out of the loop in that matter. Hikari came to realization sooner. and Manaka too, THO we don't know how she's really feeling. but I think her sacrifice speaks for itself.

    now the big question is what's ahead of us.
    timeskip is definitely valid next time. I believe it'll be for a short time period. a couple of months, maybe a year. no more.
    I think most viewers don't wish for a timeskip. but I'll keep myself open for this. if the timeskip is short and the events after that will justify it, I have no problem.

    speaking in general, it was beautiful to watch. moreover, I think the course of events was really good, intriguing, some of it was surprising too. so generally it was really good, THO not perfect.
    I am really looking forward next episodes.

  4. i

    I think there is a weird balance between the three good but destined to flop animes on Thursday. They're all great at times but extremely flawed at others. It's like watching a very tight league battle for top spot. Last week I thought GT had the advantage, a few weeks before that Samumenco but NnA has been making progress for a few weeks and even if it alone is playing this week it would have outdone anything the others tried.

    Very much doubt Kaname died but I think the care that Chisaki showed for Tsugumu was a lot more painful than a falling stone pillar. The stalemate between the five seems to be shifting as well from what we knew. Chisaki is moving away from Hikari and towards the other two boys. Manaka is moving away from Tsumugu and towards Hikari, or would if she doesn't also become a part of the sea god as well. I think what Manaka feels is that Tsumugu is the sun but Hikari is the sea she is from and wants to be in forever (I should sell this pun to Okada, no doubt she'd love it).

    It seems that the boys, at least Kaname and Hikari, are unlikely to change their hommei but the girls might (something the Otaku crowd hate, considering their obsession with girls being devoting). I guess the wild card that will end up in one of the sea children pairings to form a love triangle is Tsumugu. Also I think that the kids will not grow and will wake up in a few years as they are now. That way Miuna and the other kid can be in the same grade and join the holy mess that Okada intends to create. And if I remember correctly the other kid had something for Kaname so at least that way someone likes Kaname. Also there will be 4 girls and 3 boys so as usual it can be a girl that is the odd wheel out.

  5. R

    wow, this ep is… great!!!

    like the other guys, i wasn't really surprised that manaka would indeed sacrifie herself to become the real ojoshi-sama. in place of akari. we already had the ED foreshadowing that. but it certainly was a shock as it felt inevitable yet still very tragic.

    and tsumugu actually is starting to become an intriguing character in his own right. that feeling of regret he felt underwater when he wasn't able to do anything was rather telling.

    i say this will definitely open up for an interesting second half. so, hikari probably survived but is washed yp somewhere. kaname either survives or is dead. chisaki seems to be destined to live on land from hereon, since she shioshio seems to be sealed now for the hibernation. and manaka is now sadly probably frozen in time.

  6. h

    It's hilarious how we can see the same events so differently. "…I never bought into the groupthink bashing after the premiere. He started out as a believably surly and impetuous 13 year-old, and he's grown into a believably self-aware and empathetic one…." I always thought the groupthink was on your side, in favour of him, and I was the bold truth-teller, pointing out what a nasty little thing he was. Lol.

    I'll make the point I made after ep1 or so: if you don't admit he is being surly, impetuous, bossy, and self-important, then you can't appreciate whatever growth will come. And the growth I appreciated most was his ability to put himself in an inferior position to Manaka. I still think his proposal is: be with me so that I can boss you around forever. But perhaps that's my inability to let go of the past, lol.

    I'd also like to say: what do you think of that "moeblob" now? To me, she always had something like this in her. She's pure of mind.

    That being said, I didn't really believe that character would jump into the water after Akari. Hikari, maybe. Tsumugu for sure. But I never saw that special feeling for Akari.

    Chisaki's feeling for Tsumugu (and a bit of vice-versa) was signalled a couple of times. In the clothing shop, she gasped when her arm touched his. And he was observant of her state of mind, and she gave him back-handed praise ("girls don't like guys who are too intuitive") — which meant she did like him, it seemed to me. And there was another scene of the two of them together that just exuded a relaxed and mature warmth, to me.

    So I can just about see her diving in after him, because he was not a sea-person. But I have trouble with the idea that he would dive in after Manaka, since she was the sea-person, not him.

    Another thing we saw differently was who Manaka would choose. I actually don't know, but that thing about Tsumugu being the sun sounded more like a confession than anything else, to me. Not a declaration of being in different worlds. I would love to know what he said to her after that, if anything. Manaka was perhaps about to turn back down to Hikari in ep12, but was caught by Tsumugu. However, her glowing eyes speaking to Tsumugu in this ep made me think she was feeling her love for him. Time will tell. Both are possible.

  7. K

    " I always thought the groupthink was on your side, in favour of him, and I was the bold truth-teller, pointing out what a nasty little thing he was. Lol."

    Not really sure where you were going but Hikari had to be one of the most bashed characters of the season if not year. And I don't mean that he was an immature 13 year old brat but that he was pretty much kin to a sexist pig who was obviously going to grow up to be a wife beater.

    I was one of Hikari's staunchest defenders but my defense was never that he didn't have flaws. I said he had flaws that he had to overcome just like any good character but he was also a 13 year old kid and part of overcoming those flaws was also part of growing up.

    Most of Hikari's detractors weren't even willing to admit that his early immature behavior was to leave room for character growth. Although now that he has developed it was either to fast or too slow or in place of all the other characters so you can't win. lol

  8. Well, as you said yourself – we disagree on just about every point here, from Hikari to Manaka's feelings to Miuna. Not much to it except to say that our take on the show is diametrically opposed – except I think your perspective on how the massive majority of fans reacted to Hikari is provably false.

  9. B

    You know, i'm pretty sure kaname is dead, did't that stone gate fell over him? Watching this right after valvrave kinda depressed me.

  10. F

    I would like this anime a lot more if the emotional turmoil was turned down a notch or two. The series' artwork and animation is beautiful, but I have been close to dropping this show week by week. That's not to say I was put off entirely, but the moments in which I was moved I will wager were not consistent with too many others. The love pentagon is too messy and heavy-handed for me, which detracts from the overarching theme of growth and acceptance.

    I was moved almost to tears as the fleet was setting out; I enjoyed seeing the people coming together and uniting in one cause in a beautiful way.

    When Uroko-sama lit the spirit fire torches I thought it was cool, and then all hell broke lose. As I look back on it now it appears that he was deceiving Tomoru-san and was in reality setting up an ambush for the boats to drift into, which is probably his job, "a scale of the sea god". Brutal.

  11. f

    Haha, I'm with you as far as the love pentagon thing. It was almost straight out of a greek tragedy. How ironic was it that every person had so much love to give, but no one could get any lovin'?

    And miuna's tears? the size of gumballs.

    I'm sorry, I actually like this show and it is one of the few I am sticking through this season. But I am always consciously aware of when this show is trying to emotionally manipulate me.

  12. S

    I think what Manaka feels for Tsumugu is just adoration.

    Notice how at that beginning she reaches out to Tsumugu but ends up retracting her own hand. This is different with other 'fingertips that can't reach' moments that has happened in the story. In episode 10 Hikari tried to reach Manaka but she was running away. In episode 12 Chisaki tried to reach Hikari but he was running away; in his pursuit of Manaka. But this time Tsumugu isn't running away. Manaka is the one who pulls away, realizing her true feelings.

    That's just how I see it though.

  13. f

    i agree that manaka figured out her feelings for tsumugu were simply infatuation and that her feelings for hikari were those of true love. However, I'm pretty sure that when Manaka delayed the presumed confession to hikari until AFTER the ohefuneki, that was the signal for manaka's death flag to be raised. In retrospect, i think Manaka draws a lot ALOT of parallels to Menma from Ano Hana (which Mari Okada also wrote for), so I'm fairly certain that Manaka is dead, or at least a spirit of some sort moving forward.

    I think the 2nd arc of this is going to deal with how everyone deals with Manaka not being there anymore, and how the core group dynamic changes now. (Recall that Manaka, Chisaki, Kaname and even Hikari spent quite a bit of time in the previous weeks emphasizing how they wanted to keep the stability of their friendships intact, no matter what happened with the eventual timeskip or their (seemingly!) conflicting romantic feelings towards one another.

  14. T

    Man, that seriously had to be the scene (if you call the last half of the episode a single scene) of the season for me. It was absolutely beautiful in every facet. Script, voice acting, animation and music. PA Works is seriously creating one of the most visually and aurally stunning works in a long while. This episode just worked in every way and has been the great work of a whole cour.
    I really hope that the second cour can continue on in equal strength but this episode was really enough for this show to be a success in my book.

  15. F

    I'm so sad that the word misogyny is being thrown around when there really isn't any. I'm so sad this feminist nonsense is targeting this show.

  16. Yeah, pretty much confirms 2-3 year skip with Hikari and Kaname excepted. Hopefully the moeblobs are less annoying.

  17. s

    The nice and powerful timeskip is here. Again, while the show is good without it, i feel like the time skip will add to the themes that this series is trying to explore. Honestly, Im not surprised we are getting the timeskip as i expected it to happen since the first ep. It matches with what the show is trying to accomplish

  18. t

    I see nothing on the link but you're probably referring to the image in the official site

    well, I am not a fan of long-term timeskip that includes aging. I preferred short-term timeskip of months or year at most.
    but again, I'll keep an open mind. if they justify timeskip in the course of events and are able to preserve NnA style or even provide a different angle, then why not.
    we'll have to see how they do things.
    and of course after news like that, no episode this week…damn.

    as for the picture it's really interesting.
    first, we know that Kaname is definitely alive. nothing wrong with him. so why the over-drama around him as previous ep? I think it was in order to show something about Chisaki. not that she loves him, but the fact that it's made her understand better how much her friends are precious to her as stated by Hikari at the beginning of previous ep.

    second, Saoy and Miuna have grown. Miuna's look remind me of Miu in fate Illya.'s interesting since the pentagram-love-complex gonna get complicated.
    look at the picture – Miuna is looking at Hikari. Tsumugu at Chisaki, and Kaname &Sayo looks close…so the timeskip kinda approves now possible relationship with the girls who were too little for this before.
    not to mention..what's with Hikari, Kaname and Chisaki…if there is a timeskip..did they sleep for this whole time or not??one possibility is that they did. another is that they decided to live in the land after the incident…

    of course the big question is Manaka. not so surprising she isn't in the picture.
    so, Manaka,,dead or alive? there are a few thoughts for here and for there…we'll have to be patient I guess

  19. s

    I dont see miuna and hikari being pulled into this web of romance because honestly, from ive seen, it looks like they are being steered more towards a brother and sister relationship. If the story does decide to introduce a romantic element between hikari and miuna then im going to need to draw a super large diagram akin to a family tree to keep track of all this madness (surprised i havent done that already)

  20. I saw the official poster with that image in Akiba today, and there's no doubt it's a Hikari-Kaname only skip, probably 2-3 years.

  21. t

    sorry, but…what do you mean by "Hikari-kaname only skip"?what does that mean?
    isn't a timeskip applies for everyone? S:
    not to mention that in the poster we can clearly see aging on Miuna and Sayo…

  22. s

    Im with darktower in this one. Unless there is some sort of time-influx going on, i dont see how the time-skip would only apply to hikari and kaname (conisidering this what you meant when you said Hikari and Kaname only). The only way i can see that even being slightly possible is if the sea dwellers went to sleep and didnt age except for hikari and kaname, but even then there's a flaw in that reasoning because it wouldnt explain how the humans above wouldnt age if time goes by. Now i dont know if the art that's going around the net is official but from it, we can see the other characters have aged. Even if the art wasnt official, the reasoning behind a hikari-kaname only time-skip has its flaws. But my curiosity is piqued regardless and id love to know how you came to ur conclusion regarding a hikari/kaname only timeskip so until next thrusday.

  23. s

    unless you meant that the timeskip excluded Hikari and Kaname….now that would be more plausible and i could see that being the case since they dont seem to have changed much in the poster (which would only enforce the idea going around about shipping miuna with hikari and sayu with Kaname)

  24. Yes, a timeskip for them, because they wake up 2-3 years later and everyone else is older (Manaka is still an unknown).

  25. s

    see now that is what i figured you meant and after seeing the poster and the events that transpired in ep 3, i definitely agree.

  26. S

    From the picture I concluded the reason why Hikari and Kaname don't seem to age is because they hibernate/goes through whatever happened to other sea dwellers like what we've seen in episode 13. Meanwhile Chisaki stays on the land with Tsumugu and the others, hence she aged normally.

  27. T

    I believe that Hikari,Kaname, and Manaka were in hibernation while Chisaki, Tsumugu, Sayu, and Miuna all aged a couple years. If you look closely at the picture you can tell that Sayu and Miuna are in middle school because they are wearing the middle school outfit from the land and Chisaki is older that Kaname and Hiakri since she is taller. It's obvious that Tsumugu is looking at Chisaka, Kaname and Sayu are rather close to each other, and Miuna is looking at Hikari( in the picture) so what i think is that they will all be in a relationship later on in the series. It's unknown how it will be with Miuna and Hikari because we are unknown of Manaka's staus but it's obvious that Miuna will form romantic feelings for Hikari. There are 3 ways i think it will go about…..

    1. Everyone who is in hibernation in the sea will wake up at different times and Manaka (who is probably in hibernation) will wake up alot later than Hikari and Kaname and losing her memories due to the slam on the floor.

    2. Manaka is dead because she is sacraficed to the sea god (and comes as a spirit?) but it's unlikely for her to be since she is one of the main characters.

    3. Manaka isn't dead but is in hibernation and then wakes up but is married to the sea god since in episode 13 it was a wedding/ofeniki so she lives in the sea with Uroko while Chisaki, Kaname and Hikari live on the land since it's predicted they form romantic relationships with the kids on the land (assuming this because of the picture). But there is a question to this – since Manaka lives in the sea wouldn't the rest stay with her? This defies the main idea because the main idea is about change. Maybe Hikari decides to stay with Manaka? Unlikely because she is married to the sea god. The fact that Manaka is precious to him will never change but his romantic feeling could. Manaka could have also been taken by the sea god later in the series after she wakes up from hibernation as a sacrifice to save the land.

  28. T

    and if everyone wakes up at different times then it seems like Hikari woke up before Kaname because he is slightly taller unless he was always taller then Kaname in the series

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