Nagi no Asukara 25 – Deja-vu… Almost

When a show decides to skip the opening sequence, you know the gloves are off and plot critical events will be exposed to all. Even so I was taken aback that it took barely two minutes in this episode for the question that I cared about most to be answered.

And so there you have it. From that conveniently sighted jewel in the sea that just happened to be from Manaka’s sea slug confession five years ago, we are informed that she did eventually fall in love with Hikari before the previous Ofunehiki. Predictable it may be, but I can’t deny I was relieved to finally have that uncovered. And happy, yes, very happy. In case you haven’t been following my posts, the Hikari-Manaka pair and Chisaki-Tsumugu pair are my personal favourites in this show. Unfortunately, the Chisaki story, while going in the correct direction, hasn’t filled me with enthusiasm since the writers decided to keep Chisaki stuck with the same character as she had in middle school. How about some character growth after five years? But forget about that, you can read my previous post if you are so inclined to hear me rant about her. While this episode does involve everyone, frankly it’s all about Manaka, love, and sacrifices.

The whole “love is like the sea” seems to apply to everyone. I found it amusing that Manaka said she loved Hikari because he was the sea and then five years down the line, Tsumugu decided that was how he should go about confessing to Chisaki. Everybody loves the unpredictable and temperamental sea. Speaking of which, really, why were so many people so enthusiastic about going through another potentially cataclysmic Ofunehiki. I wish I could say “I told you so”. This one didn’t do any better than the previous one at first glance. The Sea God’s emotions are still wild as ever. All of this is just for the final push of the true plot of this show – the resolution of love polygons.

Miuna as a main character never really worked for me. I always view her as she was before the time skip and Hikari’s younger sister (well, step-niece, but whatever). Regrettably, that also meant that a lot of the emotional trauma from this episode lacked impact for me personally. This was one of my complaints last week. If the show had planned to do this, I think I needed some more time spent on Miuna growing up so that my mental image wouldn’t be stuck on chibi-Miuna. For those of you who were able to look past that and view Miuna as a legitimate partner for Hikari, this episode was quite heart-breaking. The scene where Miuna forces Hikari to confess his feelings for Manaka out loud reminded me of a similar tactic employed in a recent episode of Chunnibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren. Hearing the words “I love (someone else)” from the person you love’s own mouth is quite a harsh technique to try and force yourself to give up on that person.

Anyway, we also now know that Tsumugu already knew Manaka’s true feelings. He really is a sea slug. Both Chisaki and Manaka told him their true feelings (at the time), and also told him never to tell anyone. With events playing out just as needed, Tsumugu realizes the time has come for everyone to be honest with each other. Kaname tells him about Chisaki’s attitude. I think this was probably about how she felt guilty about Manaka – or to be exact was using her as an excuse to avoid changing the current relationship dynamics by admitting to herself she was in love with Tsumugu. It doesn’t take long for Tsumugu to shatter that defense, yet Chisaki is still being pretty stubborn. She’s going to be dragged kicking and screaming into a relationship she wants to be in at this rate. She passively accepts and yet denies what is happening; such turmoil. I think she’s improving though, a little bit more honest with herself. She probably needs that next episode to finally let go of her irrational fear of change which I thought she was rid of 13 episodes ago.

Then we have that side story about the end of the world as we know it. Plus, the whole hibernation mystery. I wonder if we’ll ever find out more about that. The fate of the surface is just mentioned in passing by Hikari, with the Ofunehiki supposedly maybe perhaps helping out with that too. Such confidence in the ritual. Of course, Miuna wastes no time in correcting Hikari’s priorities. All that stuff about possibly saving the world is not important, let’s hope that Manaka gets her feelings back. I can’t help but think that the show missed out on some potential – I don’t mean it should have focussed on the end of the world or anything like that, I think the writers handle emotions and relationship drama much better – but I feel some of the family aspects of the show which I also found really interesting have fallen by the wayside. Hikari and his Dad, Tsumugu’s parents, and even more could have been done with Manaka and Chisaki’s families as well. But with all of them hibernating (or completely ignored), it feels like the writers just threw them out of the story. Wasn’t there supposed to be more to the Sakishima family?

One family member does come back though, Tsumugu’s grandfather is discharged from the hospital just in time for the Ofunehiki. He’s an enigma. There’s only one episode left, and I’m still struggling to figure out if there’s more to him than just an experienced and tired old man of the sea. Him, and Miuna’s real mother are two characters that I’m really suspicious about having more to do with the Sea God than meets the eye. Now that Miuna’s been sucked in as the sacrifice this time around, with the Sea God’s emotions ensuring an actual barrier keeping her down there, I wouldn’t be surprised at some last minute revelations. Was Miuna’s mother the original Ojoshi-sama, or a descendant? The Sea God’s emotions are rather unpleasant in a way, they seem to always crave girls who are already in love with someone else. Perhaps it is because the original Ojoshi-sama was in love with someone else, but still. Misuse of divinity right here.

The surface weather seemed to have improved drastically even without having started the Ofunehiki. The sky was clearing, and the snow was no longer falling. Clearly even a hint of preparation for a sacrifice distracts the emotions of the Sea God from ending the world. But once the Ofunehiki was underway, well it was almost deja-vu. Except this time, I think the ceremony went ahead further than last time, and Uroko-sama was more of a bystander. The previous time he was party to the sudden upheaval of the Sea God’s emotions – not so much now. Instead of Manaka saving Akari and sacrificing herself, we have Miuna saving Manaka and sacrificing herself. I can’t say this was surprising, I’ve expected something like this since the change in the opening. Ena continues to haphazardly leave and return to people, I think Miuna either transferred or assisted in re-creating Manaka’s Ena. With that, I hope Manaka has regained her feelings, even though her confession was still locked away in the pendant. Also shouldn’t some oceanography researchers like Tsumugu’s Professor have been here, whatever happened to that whole “there are people saying the Sea God isn’t real and the underwater villages never existed” arc?

Next week is the last episode, let’s see what the writers do with it. I’m cautiously optimistic. Seeing as this episode gave me everything I wanted from the past of Hikari and Manaka, I really hope their present and future will not be crushed somehow.

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4 Responses to Nagi no Asukara 25 – Deja-vu… Almost

  1. flamerounin says:

    while i did find the major events interesting, it was the smaller ones happening around these that caught my attention more. and i think those actually carried these bigger events across quite well. (i might be reading the series completely wrong, since i don’t understand why people are complaining that it has gone bad just because Okada cranked the drama up).

    one of these amusing little moments was how kaname played a not so small role in helping tsumugu and chisaki resolve their issues. his talk to both of them feels like him saying “hey, you guys, stop acting like lovestruck teenagers. you’re both adults now,” which actually put chisaki more at ease (except for that minor “I can’t be the only one to be this happy” moment of hers, which personally i think is more of her being concerned for the others, than her being outright stubborn). kaname definitely found a new lease, highlighted by him making sure that sayu won’t fall (not that he did that out of any romantic notion).

    and then there’s that little talk hikari had with Uroko-sama (plus the fact that Uroko decides to ride in a car like a VIP than just teleport there) is quite interesting. his words certainly sums up the whole point of the new ofunehiki storywise. that the characters tried to show that they learned from their mistakes (which is ofc ourse up for debate).

    tsumugu also followed kaname’s example for hikari by basically calling him out “hey, kid! you’re too dense. they are both in love with you.” when they were all underwater. this actually makes miuna’s insistence in an earlier episode (another one of those small moments) that it was hikari whom manaka had feelings for (which he denied) a lot more heartbreaking.

    and speaking of miuna, i actually find her an interesting character (not that i ship her with hikari. i never did join the shipping wars on this series).

    “Miuna as a main character never really worked for me. I always view her as she was before the time skip and Hikari’s younger sister (well, step-niece, but whatever).”

    that’s definitely where a lot of her pains come from. everyone (both in and out of the show) will always view her as the little sister. that scene of her finally breaking down after forcing herself to hear hikari’s words, while not making me me want to cry with her, definitely feels (for me at least) like the proper emotional high point in her character development.

    ” but I feel some of the family aspects of the show which I also found really interesting have fallen by the wayside.”

    Hikari’s and his dad’s issues were completely resolved by the first season. the old man also seemed to accept the fact that it might be the last time he sees his kids and actually gave his blessings to both of them to be happy living on the surface.

    as for tsumugu’s family history, i agree. wish they could have presented his family more. that one could have helped a lot in solving the particular problems in how they presented his relationship with chisaki.

    “whatever happened to that whole “there are people saying the Sea God isn’t real and the underwater villages never existed” arc?”

    actually, what the prof was saying was it was as if the the sea villages don’t exist anymore. he wasn’t denying the fact that the sea villages are there, it’s just that these were locked in hibernation such that land dwellers weren’t sure if the villages are indeed standing. actually, i think the writers intentionally left this to the viewers’ imagination. like i said, considering that there are so many villages, it is likely that it wasn’t only manaka who decided to sacrifice herself, but there could be many who also did it. so this story is one of many others like it in this world (hey, that could make an interesting sequel OVA. a story set on the same ‘verse, but focusing on a different set of characters altogether).

    “Was Miuna’s mother the original Ojoshi-sama, or a descendant? ”

    unlikely. the way they talk about the Ojoshi-sama myth, it has clearly existed probably for a couple thousand years or so. so there is no way that Miori (miuna’s mother was a descendant. or you could also say that everyone is technically a descendant of the Ojoshi-sama (i actually like the blurring of lines between myth and reality that the show did).

    if they do pull of that twist, i am certainly going to take it against the show big time (to the point that i will agree that it has definitely gone bad). cause really, that twist is unnecessary and will totally ruin Miuna’s interesting character development by turning her into the “chosen one” (which manaka also never was, in my eyes)

    Sorry for dumping a lengthy comment here.

    • Well I don’t think the show’s gone bad, I still enjoy it as well. But I think it’s back in generic territory where the plot is built towards what viewers would expect as an end to a teenage love polygon anime. Sure the characters seemed to have some development, but I found it much more stronger in the first half which focussed on Hikari and his various issues. Like you mentioned Hikari’s issues with his father were resolved satisfactorily according to you, but I had hoped Okada would really pull something magical out which would interweave all the events and relationships we’ve seen. Instead it’s come across now as just a means to finally return to the comfort zone of “pair everyone up now some way or the other just to end this show”.

      See consider something like Gin no Saji, there the plot goes on unforgivingly and the characters are forced to deal with the issues it throws up, and more often than not it’s not to their benefit, but they learn and are forced to grow from it and ultimately become better people. There are no convenient “escape events” provided (well written or not) and it makes for a more relatable and different show. I thought Nagi was well on track with that as well, so its decision to step back and let the character’s goals decide the plot is not something I call “bad”, nor is it upsetting, but it does feel like a more standard show. I’m just trying to say, I think there was potential for Okada to take this into its own niche. But then I’m not a writer, maybe this was what she was aiming for after all, and I was just taking in the wrong focus points.

      • flamerounin says:

        considering that Gin no Saji’s source material is extremely brilliant, i expected nothing less from the adaptation.

        “But I think it’s back in generic territory where the plot is built towards what viewers would expect as an end to a teenage love polygon anime. ”

        Oddly enough, I had always been under the impression that Nagi no Asukara has been about the teenage love polygon from beginning to the end. what i see as Okada’s brilliance is that she was able to present it against a backdrop that made it very interesting to see how everything develops.

        ” But then I’m not a writer, maybe this was what she was aiming for after all, and I was just taking in the wrong focus points.”

        i guess being one myself helped me better appreciate Okada’s work here (not to brag. though my works are more on scifi and Urobuchi-esque. i rarely do straight romance, ironically).

        actually, it is both a boon and a bane for me. a bane because i can get particularly annoyed when i see a good work go bad because of poor writing. Golden Time is a particularly infuriating case in my part because its promise was marred by the writer’s indecisiveness on how to use the Ghost Banri character, not to mentioned how confusing the resolution to the love story was (considering that it had a much simpler one than Nagi), and how the college setting was never actually used effectively.

        on the other hand, Nagi is a boon to me. i do see the “escape events” (in particular, i am not all that enthusiastic how some parts of the chisaki-tsumugu storyline unfolded), but Okada has provided plenty of interesting little moments that contributed to make me better appreciate the love polygon despite those missteps., Akari’s continuing presence and her mother-daughter interactions with Miuna, for one, has carried over the family themes that has been touched upon in the first season to the second season.

        i also like how she provided plenty of cues to exercise my imagination on, which in turn gave me a different perspective on the central story (the love polygon). like i already said, i see this not as Okada presenting social and family themes at one time then switching to teen romance the next, but of her intricately weaving these themes into how the polygon will develop right from the start, and her encouraging the audience to also do the same.

        i guess that’s how odd my heads works at times 🙂

  2. james woudenberg says:

    Did u guys notice that in the last episode at about 16 minutes in when they are eating rice it pans to the t.v. Low and behold the lady doing the weather looks exactly the same as the ojoshi.

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