Nagi no Asukara 21 – Hello Old Friend

As a reaction to Manaka waking up from hibernation last week, this week we get a slightly modified opening. In case there were any doubts that there’s something more to Miuna as well, I think they should be laid to rest now.

I suppose the opening is a good place to start. I think I can safely say that both Manaka and Miuna are going to hold the key to the major plot involving the Sea God. They both are depicted together as Ojoshi-samas, cradling in their hands, the blue flame that we know is considered as the power (and self?) of the Sea God. We also have confirmation that it was Manaka that caught the umbrella that flew out of Miuna’s hand towards the end, and I believe the Ofunehiki flag seen in the previous openings was just a placeholder for this, and doesn’t really hold any significance. Oh well, guess I was overthinking that.

Moving on, the episode itself revolved around Manaka waking up and the reactions and thoughts of pretty much everyone. Outwardly, Manaka seems to be extremely cheerful and energetic, to the slight surprise of Kaname and Hikari, both of whom confessed to being scared at seeing all the changes that had taken place. Manaka thinks of it more of as a “spot the difference” game, though the only difference she points out all the time is the prevalence of the salt-flake snow everywhere. Now, I said that this is how we see it, but something definitely seems amiss. For one thing, Hikari states that Manaka has indeed lost her Ena. Another undercurrent theme seems to be that Manaka hasn’t managed to retrieve all her memories properly, or she’s lost them, or she doesn’t want to recall them (specifically things dealing with her affections?). Add to this the dead look on her face when everyone was distracted by Akira at dinner, and you can understand being apprehensive about this whole affair, just like Hikari.

Miuna seems to be completing her conversion to full sea person now. We see her replenishing her Ena for the first time at the pond in the school. According to her this is the first time her Ena has dried up. Understandably, she isn’t the happiest person right now and so doesn’t want to be around Hikari and the others as they meet up. When Hikari and the others bring Manaka to the school, and Kaname notices Sayu hiding, the ensuing conversation surely must have taken Chisaki, Miuna, and Sayu all back to how it was five years ago. The four of them doing something, and the two of them caught “spying” on them. For some reason, the topic of studies and tests came up multiple times this episode. While most of the cast is in middle school, that’s generally not been the major point of this show so I wondered why it came up so much. Is it just a way to show that all of them have to start moving on now and thinking about their future?

Turning towards Chisaki now, I’ve started to get the feeling that she’s being more reserved than normal around the others. Or maybe just having the excessive energy in Manaka made it look like that. When she left the others at school, one could almost see her think “While I’m always in the same group, I don’t think I’m truly in the same group anymore.” It felt like a parent walking away after giving the kids some snacks to enjoy. She does meet Tsumugu at the hospital, and he explains his reasoning for not yet seeing Manaka. After seeing how Hikari reacted (about being tired of seeing so many changes) just after he woke up, he believed it would be better to hold off meeting Manaka for now. That part was fine, but I was really disappointed in Tsumugu and the fact that he’s still not willing to face up to his feelings and actually talk to Chisaki about them. I really thought he’d be more assertive now when he brought up that he’d be moving out for a while and he saw that she had a reaction to the news. Agreed, he’s probably spot on about her probably feeling she’s going to be alone again (by that I mean, at least Tsumugu is someone she can count on as a person who, like her, has aged five years, and is someone she can talk to), but come on, I really wanted that relationship to move in some direction a bit. Subsequently, when both of them are invited to dinner later on, both of them decline. What are these two doing.

The conversation between Chisaki and Tsumugu about how we still don’t know anything about the bigger picture tells me that this show is keeping its secrets really well hidden for now. As much as has happened so far, what do we really know about the Sea God and his decisions? Nothing really. Tsumugu thinks they might learn more if they could ask Uroko-sama, Chisaki reveals that he’d probably be evasive and not really say anything – and that he’s a perverted person. So Tsumugu proposes to bribe him with porn magazines.

At this point we see a fragment of something, it looked like the salt-flake snow crystals but slightly larger, seemingly evaporate after being stepped on by Tsumugu, or from under his shoe. For once, this mystery was clarified in the same episode. That fragment is somehow linked to Uroko-sama. I feel it is possible that Uroko-sama has been watching Tsumugu closely, and this is his method of eavesdropping on whatever is going on. We have confirmation of this, and of the fact that Uroko-sama can get petulant on being accused of being a pervert, because at the end of the episode we welcome back an old friend. The cursed fish makes a comeback on Tsumugu’s arm.

I have no idea what sort of affect this new development is going to have, but according to the preview, we should be meeting Uroko-sama again next week. Perhaps the time has now come for some major revelations? I’m also worried about Manaka, and whether there is an issue with her memory. But there’s nothing I can do but wait for another long week…

This entry was posted in Episodic Commentary, Fall 2013, Nagi no Asukara and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Nagi no Asukara 21 – Hello Old Friend

  1. John Samuel says:

    Did you also notice that the frosting/dimmer effect has been removed from the closing animation? Happened last episode and brightens it up a LOT.

  2. Boundless says:

    I can see why you would find Tsumugu’s inaction to be frustrating, but I really liked him in this episode. We already know he is very perceptive and considerate about the people around him, he proved it again by not seeing Manaka to avoid shocking her.
    During the silence, after he told Chisaki that he would be moving out next month, in my head I heard him longing to ask her to come with him. But I think the screen composition of the shot actually speaks volumes about what he was thinking.

    Chisaki is pictured here in the middle of the frozen ocean in the background, with Tsumugu outside of the ring looking in. I interpreted this as Tsumugu still feeling like an outsider in regards to the children from the sea. He wants to ask her to come with him, but knows that her life and identity are here and an outsider like him should not tear her away.
    Maybe I am reading into this too much, but it was quite powerful to me.

    I think you are exactly right about Chisaki feeling more distant that usual from the group. I thought the choice of snacks was actually a good metaphor for this as well. She gave the younger kids the five cream puffs, while she and Tsumugu had coffee jelly as their treat instead. (This might be just me, but I personally feel coffee candies are a more grownup sweet. Not sure if this is what they were going for.) Chisaki calls out this metaphor pretty explicitly actually:

    The last thing I wanted to mention was Hikari asking Manaka about what she wanted to say before the boat festival. I actually found this part quite jarring. They had spent alot of time this episode saying how when Hikari and Kaname had woken up they were scared and confused while Manaka seemed happy as always. When I saw the dead look in Manaka’s eyes when while everyone was distracted by Akari taking care of Akira I thought this meant Manaka was putting up a front. That she actually was very scared and upset, but was acting happy because that’s how she thought she would be expected to act.
    So when Hikari pulled her outside, I was completely expecting him to say something like “I was scared too when I woke up, you don’t need to hide it from us.” Then suddenly he asked about before Ofuneki and Tsumugu and I did not see why. You may be right about the memory loss thing though, since she seemed very similar to her self at the start of the show, but I found it jarring.
    Note that I have not seen the new episode coming out this evening, so we may just wait and see.

    • I like your point about Tsumugu “longing to ask her to come with him”, I definitely know he is doing what he is doing because he is Tsumugu, I just wish he’d give a little push.

      As for the question Hikari asked Manaka, I can’t deny it was the question that is burning the depths of my mind so I didn’t consider what you pointed out. Right, it would have been a better question to ask her if she was trying to hide her fear of all that had happened. I think the writers were trying to squeeze in a point they wanted to make.

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