My experience with anime has been that it’s usually far easier to drop shows earlier than later, at least from a blogging perspective. Once shows have an established fanbase and viewers feel pot-committed, they often get very hostile towards anyone who criticizes that series – we certainly saw it with Gatchaman Crowds and Samumenco, for example, and we’re seeing it now with Nagi no Asukara. But the flipside is that I don’t like being bullied into dropping shows I still think are interesting, and Nagiasu is a show that stayed interesting for a very long time. So I stuck it out, and it got to the point where I was committed myself – you certainly aren’t going to cover 90% of a show and then drop it.
So – here we are. I can’t say I’m sorry I stuck with this series, because it has indeed been interesting and occasionally brilliant for most of its run. But to my way of thinking it’s hovering on the precipice between uneven and outright disaster at this stage, and that leaves me squarely in the “nobody wins” position when it comes to covering it. Nagiasu is a mess right now, plain and simple, and I’m not going to lie and say I think otherwise. But I have no interest in getting into a pissing contest with the commenters who disagree.
There’s really one moment in this episode that rang true, and it was the revelation of what Manaka said to that sea slug. Does it come as a surprise? No – though some viewers somehow convinced themselves otherwise it never seemed remotely possible to me that Manaka was going to tell Hikari anything except “I love you, too” after that Ofunehiki, and who knows, maybe it was supposed to be suspenseful. And of course, there were seemingly endless gorgeous visual moments in the episode – the art in this series is astonishingly beautiful even by P.A. Works’ standards.
But Lord, the rest of it… So much crying – and it’s getting louder. So much navel-gazing. So much plot contrivance. I mean, honestly- after last time did it occur to no one that holding an Ofunehiki might, you know, be a little dangerous? Seriously? And Ena once again proves itself to be the ultimate asspull writing crutch – it can be used to facilitate any plot development that needs a little push. There’s so much good stuff that could have been focused on here – the stuff with Uroko-sama talking about how he was part of the shoulder blade of the Sea God was actually pretty compelling. But it was one minute of an episode where we got probably ten of Chisaki and Miuna wallowing in self-pity and self-deception.
It’s all such a shame, really – there was so much potential in Nagiasu, but Okada seems once again to be her own worst enemy. To completely recycle the Ofunehiki storyline and to have completely abandoned so many of the seeds that were planted in the first cour is just plain bad writing. Kaname is royally shafted, that’s a given, and Chisaki’s character has pretty much been decimated by the last three episodes. At this point about all I can hope for is an ending that doesn’t feel like a complete Deux ex Machina (recycling the timeskip as well as the Ofunehiki seems a given), and a conclusion to Hikari and Manaka’s arc that doesn’t leave them both utterly miserable or dead. There’s just not enough time for anything mote than that, and the credibility of the story has taken too much damage. It really is too bad – I was on-board for a long time here and I really wanted this series to finish in a blaze of glory. Okada is certainly adept at supplying the pyrotechnics, but it’s not the sort of fire I was hoping for.