Nagi no Asukara – 22

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Dear me, this emotional morass is just getting deeper and deeper.

Uroko-sama may have detected the scent of a woman in the air this week (Hoo-ah!) but what I’m catching more than a whiff of is impending heartbreak.  As we crawl inch by inch towards the conclusion of Nagi no Asukara, my sense is growing that we could be looking at a really depressing ending.  It just doesn’t seem like anyone is destined to be with anybody else.  And if by some freak Okada allows any two cast members to get on the same page romantically, it’s a good bet that one of them is going to be a sacrifice, be it willing or otherwise.

And then there’s that whole end of the world thing.

The hunt for Uroko-sama provided what little comedy this episode had on offer, but with the story as emotionally constipated as it was, finding him was rather a serious matter.  In the end, of course, he didn’t provide much of a laxative but at least now everyone can begin to process the way their life sucks knowing the reasons why.  I did enjoy Manaka’s approach to luring Uroko-sama out – porn and some of her Grandma’s cooking, left in a playground no less.  Whether that was what finally prompted Uroko-sama to reveal himself is left up to the viewer.

In many ways the Chisaki-Tsumugu-Kaname triangle has been the less frustrating subplot, because at least there’s movement there and everyone’s feelings are more or less on the table.  Unfortunately Nagiasu really doesn’t seem to be able to balance both romantic dramas in one episode, and with the focus on the bobby-soxers this week the other trio gets the short end of the stick.  We know Tsumugu is staying behind when his professor goes back to university, and Kaname correctly guesses it’s for Chisaki’s sake.  Kaname effectively re-confesses to Chisaki, though he knows it’s hopeless.  Tsumugu (at least this is how I read it) effectively acknowledges Kaname as being his equal maturity-wise with a can of black coffee (no sweetener whatsoever!).  But nothing fundamentally changes between or is revealed about the three of them.

I like that trio more and more because unlike the 14 year-olds (yes, I know Kaname is still 14) there’s more pathos to their situation than just being in love.  Each of them is for related but different reasons in an agonizing and difficult position, dealing full-force with the pain it brings.  Hikari is still the best character in the cast but comparatively speaking, his group dymanic is driven mostly by romantic frustration.  Miuna is exactly where and what she was as an eight year-old, pretty-much, and the trio as a whole – even Hikari – are effectively frozen until Manaka acts in such a way as to cause them to lurch forward.  As a result their arc has become less satisfying all-around.

Sadly, while Uroko-sama’s infodump was a fascinating addition to the mythology, it doesn’t appear to be the impetus to change that dynamic.  Manaka, it seems (Hikari has noticed in general terms) has forgotten a lot – and it turns out what she’s forgotten is everything connected to the feeling of being in-love with someone.  The sacred fire, Uroko himself, the raw emotions of the Sea God – all are remnants of the dissolution of the God’s body into the sea.  His “consciousness” wishes to save the world, but those raw emotions seem to act on their own (as they would).  They took Manaka’s Ena because part of her was longing to be on the surface with the person she loved.  And when she was taken from the sea, what was taken from her was the ability to love.

So where does that leave us, with four episodes to go?  Manaka is apparently stuck in a childlike state – whether she’s able to love someone non-romantically I have no idea.  Hikari is mired in helpless rage at the unfairness of it all.  Uroko says the destruction of the surface may come around sooner because she was taken from the sea, but not until after Hikari and his children are dead (as if that makes it all OK).  As for who the person on the surface Manaka was in love with might be, well – both Hikari and Tsumugu were on the surface at the time, so in itself this is no kind of hint.  I don’t think we need any, because it’s pretty clear what Manaka was going to tell Hikari that night – but whether that even matters, who knows.  I just don’t the feeling anybody’s going to end up with anybody here, and I don’t think we’re getting out of this story without one (or maybe even two) of the main characters taking one for the team.

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16 comments

  1. R

    excuse me for a minute while i smash my monitor to pieces, as promised *HWABISH!!*

    there. at least, the good news is the end of the world would not be coming for a good one hundred or so years.

    but seriously, this is definitely a lot crueler than simply letting manaka have amnesia. poor hikari, even if he does get to know what was it that manaka was supposed to say to him (poor us, we already know it), it would really be futile, since she herself won't be able to comprehend it anymore. now i wonder how miuna's heavily hinted sacrifice his going to come into play here, that one in itself is also going to be very cruel to itaru, and especially akari,, losing their beloved daughter just like that.

    yep, looks like there will be no completely happy ending in sight here.

    at least, tsumugu and chisaki will probably end together.

    ahh, four more episodes

    BTW, Golden Time has just completely went of the rails.

  2. t

    amnesia…taking her soul or Ena or emotions or the the ability to love…all the same for me as they bear the same effect (more or less yeah..but for the story it's kinda same effect). more or less with the Ojoshi in the story…so not much surprises here. but yeah, cruel indeed. that's angry sea-god for you πŸ˜›

    interesting point that it's gonna happen to Miuna as well. Okada is certainly capable of doing that. but I still doubt it will happen (more like hope?LOL).

    yeah Golden time is….I am not sure what to say. what's with this show? for several weeks this show is more and more pain and tiring to watch. the 1st was OK despite its problems and all…but this show lost it….

    it's a few weeks like they are it's pain and tiring to watch, the 1st half was OK despite its problems..but the 2nd half?

  3. R

    GT and Nagi are just a huge contrast with each other. GT was the one that i was expecting to be more somber and restrained, but it has turned into an annoying soap opera with all those twists. on the other hand, i was already going to forgive Nagi in case it turned overly melodramatic, but it never really did. in fact, it had a lot more control over its emotional aspects than GT.

    the thing why i consider manaka's situation now a lot harsher than her simply having amnesia is that she feels so near yet so far for hikari. unlike in amnesia where he knows that she cant remember him at all, here he gets to interact with her normally, except that there is a big missing piece and that piece is what he is longing to see.

  4. t

    Uroko's story didn't bring something really new. he made the points (that we already theorized more or less) more clear and added here and there few new things (like the fire and its past, which is a nice addition to the whole. although it isn't a big change, it fits the new stuff in the OP sequence and give some clues toward what may come next).
    we still didn't get a concrete answer as to what's behind Manaka's love and emotions that made her "reject her sacrifice". from the story told by Uroko, it doesn't imply that Tsumugu is behind Manaka's "resistance" (unlike the myth of Ojoshi) because Uroko say she didn't accept her being the sacrifice and he didn't state that something/someone on the surface is "responsible" (of course it's not a definite evidence). so, is it because of her love to Hikari or just her love to the sea and surface, in other words her lively nature that wanted to keep on living?maybe it's a little of both that made her reject the sacrifice. I guess Miuna shared similar emotions and that's why she was able to hear the emotions and maybe even getting the Ena. this will probably be the key in the remaining episodes.

    "It just doesn't seem like anyone is destined to be with anybody else"
    I agree with that. I always had that thought. it's Okada we're talking about. like in Hanasaku, we didn't get a full resolution to the love-complex (maybe a little to the Ohana, but never a full resolution. applies to other characters in HanaIro) so yeah..I don't expect love polygon will truly be solved, but she will ease the characters after climax (of course if no one get killed in the process πŸ˜› )

    I don't really feel that the "emotional morass" (LOL funny description) is actually getting deeper. it just..doesn't feel deeper.
    the trio around Chisaki is just stand still. nothing really move on.
    Tsumugu is..well Tsumugu. it's true he and Kaname are kinda same silent-type. but I don't feel nothing from him, even when he chose to stay "for" Chisaki…
    I kinda blame Chisaki as she knows Kaname feels "like yesterday" (well more like a few weeks/months ago but still) and no wonder it hurts him. the old joke in the book "just kidding"…is she really 5 years older?? moreover, a few eps ago she said she still feels something(aka love) to Hikari and what we've seen related to it?nothing. it was dissolved in the air. and even if it will back later on, when Chisaki will somehow move on somehow..still, I feel they didn't bring it out as it should have been.

    the other trio around Hikari is kinda repetitive. Miuna supports and always watching Hikari who is troubled over Manaka condition. yeah, this cycle always repeats itself whether it's now or 3 or 5 or 8 eps ago..but as for me, I at least feel something behind it. it feels alive and moving, even though it's not really mature (like the other trio).
    yeah, we can say it's because Hikari is the best character in the cast. but also because the Miuna-Manaka hidden emotion connection I stated above. I don't know exactly why but it's much more interesting and make sense for me. for example, the appearance of the surface kid who love Miuna, giving another aspect to Miuna's feelings (it kinda reminded me Manaka when she met Tsumugu).

    as for Sayo, well she is kinda stuck in the middle of all. in fact both Miuna and Sayo kinda back to their state of 1st half. but at least Miuna is more relevant….

  5. t

    all in all…this episode didn't bring something really new. but we can say it on a lot of Nagiasu episodes. I feel like the "vortex" has started to form. this is what the episode was for me. and the climax is upon us (probably somewhat around the ending of next episode or after that). I am afraid it's gonna be over melodramatic (especially with the silent-types).
    I guess we can all agree that the surface destruction/apocalypse won't happen but I wanna see the execution of this. and I doubt it will resolve the problem of the "sea-people-humanity has declined" problem…

  6. C

    Manaka made her decision to sacrificed herself for the benefit of her family, friends and of mankind. It's a decision nobody forced or coerced her to do. It's an act of free will, even if Hikari doesn't like it, that decision is hers alone. Be that it may, the act of taking her ena and her ability to love is an equal bargain she needs to pay in order to live on the surface. You have to give something back because life is not fair, that's how everything is, you can't have the best of everything. And I agree with Guardian Enzo here, I feel that nobody is going to end up with anybody, not the way the story is turning out right now. It's purely Okada Mari here; just like AnoHana, there is no definite conclusion in terms of its romantic aspect and it would be wrong to do so just for the sake of pleasing its audiences. As for the sacrifice, I don't think Miuna replacing Manaka as the Ojoshi would be a good option. What the hell, it would be a joke to let someone take the responsibility just so a whining adolescent can have his way. As I've said, Manaka made the decision to sacrifice herself, nobody told her to do it. One of the lessons I'm getting at from this series (just like from this week's Gin no Saji), is the ability to l accept that sometimes things don't always go your way and you have to learn to let things go even if that happens to be your dream, something you want or love.

  7. R

    great point. even if miuna does willingly sacrifice herself in exchange for manaka's emotions, that is just going to be so unfair and cruel to itaru and akari. this is definitely one hard lesson that hikari must learn to complete his growth.

    but who knows, this might be where it is going. the sea god might finally understand the selflessness of these characters and no one actually gets taken away and everyone is given the happy ending they deserve.

  8. m

    I def see your point about Okada not seeming likely to give us pairings, but AnoHana wasn't as much about being in love, as the fact of who each character happened to love was preventing them from moving on. And that show was more about accepting loss and moving forward. This show has had a lot more emphasis on the romantic reltionships and growing up, not in response to tragedy, but just as children reaching their teens. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see some of these characters paired up, or at least accepting the end of their first love with hints to their future moving forward.

  9. K

    I thought the whole coffee thing was his way to mock Kaname for trying to be an adult. That's what I think. Heh, both of them can be such children.

    I'm off the view that the porn did work- Uroko was just trying to keep up appearances that's all.

    Yes, Hikari it sucks to be you. Manaka loved you but NOT just you. And all of that is in the past and what you have now is a broken human being- poor Manaka…

    This is just me Enzo but I think that this episode is one of those soar to the skies episode where everything was going all up. I felt it rushing to me and it felt good and this anime is just awesome!

  10. m

    I liked this episode a lot, and the direction the show is going in overall. Yeah it's likely a sad ending, but when done correctly those can make for some of the most impactful ones. It doesn't have that feel of "tragedy for the sake of emotional impact" that you get often when a show/movie can't get it to come across naturally or in any meaningful way. And those are arguably the worst type of shows, where it has a Soviet Russian sense of everything is misery and life is suffering with no meaning or lesson to be learned other than the fact that to live equals pain. NnA has done a great job, imo, of using the painful things happening to be a catalyst for the character's growth, not just to attempt to pull at your heartstrings. And mainly with Hikari do you really get to see how endearing a character can be when they rise above their limitations and handle their problems with dignity. It has also done a great job of showing the other end of that spectrum with Miuna/Sayu/younger Chisaki. They might have been whiney and annoying and that aspect may have received too much screen time, but they also were very realistic portrayals of 14 year old girls. Kaname fits that role as well, though with more of a stereotypical 14 year old boys "gotta act tough around others and can't show too much emotion" while still pitying himself and pouting at times. Yes it's always been a better show when Hikari is the focus, but I don't think that's bc the other characters are bad/unrealistic, but instead bc Hikari is just that rare example of a kid who does everything the right way. So much so that even when he acts childish, runs away, and lets his emotions get the better of him these only serve to endear him more to the viewer and make him seem more human.

    I also wondered what exactly was meant by Manaka being unable to love when I first watched the ep, but I don't think he took away any familial love she had. That would make her unable to function within her family and society as a whole. She'd be a borderline psychopath being unable to truly care about anyone other than herself. It seems far more likely that the bitter leftover emotions of the Sea God pulled a version of the psycho ex "if I can't have you no one can", but without all the creepy stalker murdering (bc he has the powers to do it in a less gruesome way). Getting Uroko-sama back into the fold is a good way to bring the end of the world storyline to the forefront, (hopefully it doesn''t end with "sooner still means after you and your children are dead") and keep Hikari/Manaka as the main focus for here on out. Every other relationship storyline seems as if it will have to wait for their story's resolution like a domino effect. Until Hikari settles what will be with Manaka Miuna/Chisaki won't have any chance or reason to make their feelings clear. That inevitably leaves Kaname/Tsumugu in that same boat, and then that one leads to Sayu. The few lines of the preview made it seem like Miuna was about to confess her feelings to Hikari, but I could've caught that wrong.

  11. H

    There was one thing about this episode that left me wondering that I haven't seen anyone else mention yet, the idea was that the sea people were going to hibernate through the disaster/end of the world right? Yet Uroko says that's still not going to come for a hundred, if not multiple hundreds, years, does this mean the sea kiddos will never be reunited with the rest of their family? I suspect I'm reading that wrong, and that they will wake up one way or another before the end since we still have a few loose ends there, but if it's true that geeze that's really tragic here. Also, wish that Uroko had explained why Hikari/Kaname already woke up, is it because they were outside the village or something else?

  12. m

    I don't remember them mentioning when the sea people would wake up. I must have missed it bc all I remember is Uroko saying he got bored of watching over sleeping people. Still no timetable to everyone else's awakening, but it would seem super weird for them all to go into hibernation for just 5 years. What's the point of that? Hopefully they'll mention that soon and also why the kids managed to wake up.

  13. H

    I was extrapolating a bit there, if the hibernation was supposed to keep them safe from the end of the world, which is what I thought it was, then that would mean that everyone's families could be asleep for a long time.

  14. I didn't take a strong interpretation either way from what Uroko said. You could definitely be right, but that would raise a whole bunch of other questions that would need to be answered.

  15. R

    well, if you think of it, hikari and the other were supposed to sleep in shishioi. i am guessing that that weird dome thing covering the town is meant not only to protect it, but also to ensure that everyone sleeps for the intended period of a hundred or so years. going with that, hikari and kaname probably woke up simply because they were send out of the town, beyond the effects of the dome.

  16. F

    Hikari for Sea God replacement 2014

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