Oh why does this show do these things. Nagi no Asukara is squeezing out every bit of uncertainty about Manaka’s feelings and ensuring we aren’t privy to any of it.
I personally am a supporter of the Hikari-Manaka pair. In last week’s post I mentioned how Manaka’s memory seemed to be selective – seemingly missing the parts relating to her affections. It was just a suspicion, but this episode was one of increasing dread leading to its final confirmation. “When something is found, something is lost, thus it all balances out in the end.” That was said by Uroko-sama when Hikari and the others took Manaka away from the graveyard of the Ojoshi-samas. At the time it seemed to apply well enough to Miuna’s situation: the finding of Manaka meant Miuna had possibly lost her chance with Hikari. But now, I feel it applies to Manaka herself. Hikari found Manaka and took her back to the world she wished to be in. Manaka lost the ability to love anyone, and any memories relating to that as the price to pay for leaving the Sea God.
Manaka’s emotions and her Ena seem to be strongly intertwined with each other. It was her feelings that led to her Ena peeling off and calling out to Miuna. And now I’m going to go out on a limb and say Manaka’s Ena resonated with Miuna since they both had the same strongest feelings – the love for Hikari. This is why Miuna could always hear “the sound of the flowing sand” that guided her down to the underwater village. Manaka on land currently has no Ena, and is incapable of falling in love. All memories that were associated with such feelings are missing. Of course, the show makes sure to confirm that memories related to both Hikari AND Tsumugu are missing. I’m stubbornly going to say that there are enough subtle hints to suggest Manaka finally did not fall in love with Tsumugu, but the writers sure aren’t confirming anything. The worst part is, now that Manaka has returned in such a condition, the fact that Tsumugu is five years older and Hikari is still the same age is rendered moot. There is no contest here, we’ve lost the ability for the main player to participate.
Miuna’s steadily growing importance could very well lead to her becoming a Manaka replacement. Akari is quietly supportive of her feelings, but Hikari has shown no interest. Yet she persists. Kind of like Tsumugu for Chisaki, she’s just always “there” for Hikari. With such few episodes remaining now, I personally do not think I can be convinced that Hikari may switch. However if the ending is something like, Chisaki gives up on Hikari, chooses Tsumugu, Kaname gives up on Chisaki, somehow chooses Sayu, Hikari gives up Manaka, chooses Miuna, carefree Manaka is happy for all of them, and the last scene is a flashback to old Manaka revealing to the sea slug just before the Ofunehiki that she loved Hikari I will drown in the deep depths of despair.
Well that is just one possibility, I’m not giving up on Manaka somehow retrieving her feelings yet. Clutching at every straw this show gives me, Uroko-sama did say that Hikari’s feelings MAY never reach her now. As remote as the possibility may be, I’ll be hopeful. Perhaps we’d have some sort of sacrifice from Miuna this time, for the sake of Hikari, that would lead to some sort of miracle. Whatever happens, the ending is going to have some people getting hurt, if not all of them. Depressing or not, after 26 episodes I would hope that it would be conclusive. Plus the writers better not dare to never answer the question of “what did Manaka want to say after the Ofunehiki”, I’d punch the screen in frustration if that happened.
Moving on to other points from the episode, we find out that the Sea God has already “died” and his emotions and consciousness are spread out throughout the sea in various forms. The spirit fire is one of them. Apparently, the different pieces can be linked to different emotions. According to Uroko-sama, the consciousness in the spirit fire wants to protect the world from the impending doom, but the emotions in the sea seem to be conflicting and hastening it instead. The emotions in the sea are annoyed at losing Manaka, and responsible for the extraction of her ability to love when she was taken away. The “imminent” disaster that is now spreading further inland (there are reports of salt flake snow falling in these areas), is still one that is a generation away. That leads me to believe that the people who are currently in hibernation are probably not going to be waking up any time soon if the status quo is preserved as-is.
Hikari does question Uroko-sama about the hibernation, but is almost immediately sidetracked when the topic of Manaka is broached, so we don’t get too much information. Just considering it makes me feel sorry for the parents of the sea kids. As it stands, they will be waking up after possibly decades and their kids will be, in the best case, really old, or dead. The whole “family” aspect used to get touched on in this show at times before the Ofunehiki, but seeing as it’s now been pushed aside (since most of the families are hibernating), I wonder if it’ll come up again. Whatever happened to Tsumugu’s parents? Were they never important? Why did we get to see his mother? She seemed nice, with in fact Tsumugu coming off as colder in that interaction. We still have no idea what happened between them.
Uroko-sama has a shrine on land now, supposedly because he’s bored with nothing to do underwater since everybody is hibernating. So he’s decided to come up and watch over the sea people who are awake on land (and throw the odd curse around). He also mentions something like “the more I’m in the sea, the more I’m bound…” and then gets distracted by Miuna’s “womanly” scent. His reaction to Miuna (or her Ena, not sure exactly) was nearly identical to the one he had in the very first episode to Manaka. Is this some sort of premonition? The whole gift of Ena to Miuna is still rather vague. So has it been bestowed by the Sea God? Uroko-sama? Manaka? Is it Manaka’s Ena? Is Ena more than just a breathing mechanism? Remember Manaka’s Ena talking to Hikari in his dream, are we going to see more of that sort of stuff?
The end of the episode was depressing for me. Seeing Manaka playing with Akira with those dead eyes was just too much. It seems like her emotions switch off if she is about to feel the least bit of affection for anyone. Instead I’d rather talk about the others. Sayu and Tsumugu both overhear a second confession from Kaname to Chisaki (not that we get a reaction), and I think this has something to do with the sudden decision of Tsumugu deciding to go back to the university later rather than with his professor. He admits it directly to Kaname, and we don’t get to see any more of that situation this week. I’m just glad he’s doing something. Not particularly assertive, but I guess for Tsumugu, actually doing anything probably counts as yelling out his feelings. He also gives Kaname bitter unsweetened black coffee, what did that imply? His bitterness towards someone who can reveal their feelings so easily to the one they love? As for Sayu, not sure what she is going to decide to do now, she probably should do something to at least try. The preview for next week’s episode looks like it’ll be touching on the feelings of nearly all the characters and I think specifically what it means for Miuna’s Ena to be related to Manaka in some way.