Nagi no Asukara Episode 1 [First Impression]
Eva’s First Impression:
EVERYTHING SO BLUEEEE!!!! EVERYTHING IS SOOOOOO PRETTY!!! DID I MENTION SHINYYY TOO?
Wow, this show is going to be full of angst, I just know it. I mean, the feels bomb had already exploded within the first episode, so can you just imagine what we’re in store for the future episodes? But it wasn’t just that, everything was beautiful, speculator, enchanting- the underwater world is just breathtaking. There’s a lot of story to tell lingering in the shadows just waiting to be surfaced, so I am thrilled to see that this will be twenty-six episodes!
Just where do I start? There is so much to talk about! I know, lets start off with the foundation. We were told of the tale about how initially, ‘Humans’ had always lived in the sea until one day, a man who marvelled the land decided to abandon the sea. He shed the raiment he needed to live in the sea which had been given to him by the sea god. The man undergone many hardships and as result some were convinced that the Sea God was angry at the man’s ingratitude and greed so they sent young girls out on little boats to sacrifice them to the sea god. The event was called the Boatdrift Ceremony. In the modern day now, they use rice and sweets instead of sacrificing people. Supposedly, the sea-people are all the offspring of the Sea God and those sacrificial maidens.
And so because of that, the Land-People are very much aware of the Sea-Villagers. It’s hard to say right now just what kind of terms they are both on, but I am under the impression that Humans and the Ocean Villagers don’t quite get along, mostly on the Sea-Villager’s side because they are pissed off and mostly concern about what would happen if they anger the Sea-God, Lord Uroko.
The second thing I wanted to address was the fact there were a lot of ominous signs this episode- not all necessarily connected (it’s way too early to tell), but each with their own unique event.
1) The Salt: The Ocean Village pays close attention to the salt and even the men of the village was complaining about it.
2) No Boatdrift Ceremony: Apparently the Land-People are planning to skip it this year or stop doing it altogether.
3) The Dead Fish: I don’t know whether this is connected to the salt, but there’s also the possibility of perhaps pollution which also kills fish/marine inhabitants. OR, it was simply used as symbolism for how Manaka was feeling.
4) A painful love triangle… box… hexagon… I’m not sure what to call it. Either way it’s going to be agonizing.
This is what we know: Hikari likes Manaka who seems to be attracted to Tsumugu (not to mention apparently she is in the heat, poor girl how embarrassing to be told that). Then we have their friend Chisaki who likes Hikari, and Kaname who probably likes either Chisaki or Manaka.
I really liked the cast so far. Hikari is… not a delinquent but a boy with a rough attitude. He dislikes Land-People, especially Tsumugu and is even more sensitive about it because Manaka has taken interest with a Land-Boy, but on top of that he likes Manaka therefore makes him extremely jealous. It’s going to be one hell of stormy ride, that’s for sure. Then there’s Tsumugu who is a very quiet boy, doesn’t say much but right now I am charmed. I am crossing my fingers that he is throughly a genuinely good guy with a precious heart. I really like his character and I’m pretty damn sure I will be boarding the Manaka x Tsumugu ship. I will give them one or two more episodes before I decide on it though.
Speaking of Manaka, poor girl she had such a rough episode. From being netted and ended up having a fateful encounter, be cursed by Lord Uroko with led her to having a fish implanted in her knee that sounds like it’s farting, and then being treated like an alien by her classmates who then proceeded to make fun of her scales AND THEN runs away and ends up passing out because she desperately needed to get back into the water.
It appears to me that Manaka is very different compared to the others. She has fins (I think??? God help I don’t know anything about fish) behind her ears (and they are really cute!). Being distinctive to the others, it’s obvious that at some point during this show, she is bound to have a vital role in the plot for whatever is going to happen in the future.
Oh yeah, then there is Kaname and holy shit. What the hell?!
“And besides, if Manaka’s ever out of the pictures, you’ll be the one by his side.”
THAT’S SOME DARK SHIT YOU’RE SPROUTING THERE MAN
HE’S FUCKING SMILING LIKE IT’S A WONDERFUL THING.
FINALLY ONTO THE ANIMATION: THE BACKGROUNDS, OMG – I need a fancy word *flips through the dictionary* – are so Aesthetic! Every. Single. Time. P.A. WORKS JUST NAILS IT. WHY HELLO NEW WALLPAPER. Seriously this is one of the things I look forward every time. The animation, stunning, the character designs are noticably slightly different to the usuals we see, but it’s the eyes that make the huge difference. Both the OP and ED Sequence was just absolutely stunning to watch (as per usual). I also adored both OP/ED songs that’s a cherry on top. The OST didn’t stand out too much this episode but it’s no big deal- better that than being annoying.
Overall damn, this is definitely hands down going to be one of the stronger titles of the season. An intense start with the emotion dynamites already in place while some already exploded within this episode alone. I expect this show to be an emotional roller coaster. Like I said, there’s a lot of plot that is lingering within the shadows and it’s only a matter of time until it’s surfaced.
Possibility of Blogging: High
Possibility of Watching: Guaranteed
And I’ll just leave this here.
What we know about the Sea-Villagers:
– Their scales glitter in the sunlight, no they are not vampires.
– They can only be on the surface for a limited time, otherwise their scale (or maybe this is the raiment as mentioned in the legend) will crumble/shed/whatever and they will die.
*DEATH TO BE DETERMINED.
Chris’s First Impression:
Ah, P.A. Works,you do know how to cater to my needs don’t you? Beautiful backdrops, fluid animation, heartwarming romance and cute girls to top it all off… I smell anime of the season potential right here folks and I’m loving every moment of it. Nagi no Asakura is a drama, fantasy, romance anime that will span twelve episodes, the series being directed by Toshiya Shinohara who has directed similar works in the past, namely Anohana and Red Data Girl. This in and of itself lead me to believe that this series would be awesome and, honestly, I wasn’t disappointed. After the (to be quite frank) travesty that was last season (the Summer 2013 Anime Season, that is), I’ve been eager to sink my teeth into some good ol’ anime and Nagi no Asakura has allowed me to do just that, it’s story being fresh, it’s art style beautiful and it’s character all unique and diverse. This first episode is exactly what all good first episodes should (usually) be, clear, concise and to the point, none of this abstract arty farty bullshit.
But I digress. Nagi no Asakura. Just how well does it fair?
Now I’m not going to elaborate on the first episodes plot too much, Eva doing that in her first impression above, but I would like to talk about the plot and discuss the finer details… It’s good. It’s interesting. It managed to keep me engaged for the full twenty three minutes and forty seconds and that’s something that not a lot of anime can do for me these days. Usually I find my mind wandering as an unnecessary piece of exposition plays out on screen, but in episode 1 of Nagi no Asakura I felt as thought they managed to keep everything to the point and relevant. Take the introduction for example, within the space of less than five minutes we knew who all of our main characters were (that is, Hikari, Manaka, Tsumugu, Chisaki and Kaname) and we had a good idea about the kinds of people that they were. I’ll discuss the characters in more detail later, but, as a final point on the plot, I can see this story going places. Little hints were dropped throughout the episode about the nature of this story, the dead fish, the sea human land human tension and the whole ‘salt issue’ to name a few, but regardless of whether or not the plot relates to any or either of the aforementioned points, I can just tell that it’ll be awesome… but that’s also probably because P.A. Works is working on this and… well… you know how those guys are… spewing quality all over the place…
But, for the second time in this post, I digress.
The soundtrack. Now in one episode it’s hard to surmise the quality of a series soundtrack, but what I can say is that, as it is now, it sounds like it’s going to be a softly melancholic OST, filled with drama, tension and generally ‘The Little Mermaid’ themed songs… I’m just waiting for the Japanese rendition of ‘Under the Sea’ to appear and my life will be complete (I suppose). The OP and ED were awesome, I’m just throwing that out there, and simply listening to them alone told me that this was going to be an awesome first episode. I feel as though the OP accurately represents the nature of the anime (for now anyway, I mean, we all know how ridiculously deceiving the Madoka Magica OP was…) and the ED does an equally enjoyable job of leading viewers out of the episode. And so, as I said, the soundtrack is pretty dope… for now.
And, on a final production note, the animation… was awesome! Now obviously I didn’t expect any less from P.A. Works, but it’s just nice to see it in action, y’know? The character designs are amazing, their eyes being a main plus point, but the overall design and feel of the episode was… appealing. Every scene was beautiful, whether it be under the sea (I feel like breaking into song… damn you Kingdom Hearts II!) or on land, everything was flawlessly designed. That said, it’s not the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen but as anime go, this was pretty damn decent.
Now let’s talk about the characters and all of the other fun stuff! Hikari… man, gotta love him. Our resident tsundere for this series, Hikari brings that typical gung ho shounen attitude into the mix, his character being the overly energetic and seemingly always angry type. As it stands, I don’t really know if I can say that I like him per say, but what I do know is that I can relate. Seeing the girl (or guy) you like falling in love with someone else and feeling totally helpless? Yeah, I’m sure we can all relate. I think it’s this relatable nature that will make his character more likable, his otherwise annoyingly aggressive tactics hindering his character’s appeal. Nevertheless, in the space of one episode, he has had his awesome moments, namely his running through the city looking for Manaka when she was whoring away with Mr. Expressionless.
Speaking of Tsumugu… I don’t like him. I think I just have a natural tendency to not like characters who express no emotion and seemingly get all the girls. It’s annoying. There’s simply no reason for Manaka to have fallen for him (other than the fact that she might just find him attractive…) and it feels rather artificial… I mean, I get the whole ‘there’s plenty more fish in the sea thing’, but literally fishing a girl out of the sea? Huh… the more I think about it, the more like fate it seems to be… That aside, his character is, for the moment, bland and generally apathetic, something that, I’m sure, all of the female viewers find extraordinarily attractive.
I’m going to combine the two girl’s paragraphs into one to streamline this whole ordeal and so… here we go! Manaka is your typical moe character, her cutesy antics luring in men far and wide. Hikari likes her, Tsumugu thinks she’s beautiful (in a, ‘I like the way you sparkle’, kind of way…) and Kaname… eh, who knows what that guy is thinking? Manaka falls in love with Tsumugu after he fishes her out of the sea and that’s where our plot really takes off, everything that occurs afterwards centering around this point. Even her mutated fish knee… I’m sorry, but when Manaka’s fish knee farts in the middle of class I couldn’t help but laugh. The music made it out to be this tense and dramatic running scene, but I couldn’t stop myself from laughing at, firstly, the face she pulled and, secondly, the reaction of those around her… I mean, what the hell? What was I supposed to do? Cry? And then there was the bathtub scene… Oh Tsumugu I hate you so. ‘I think your deformed fish knee is beautiful’, said no one ever. I mean, what the hell? Is he joking? If that’s his best pick up line then that guy needs to get out a bit more… But, before I drag this on for too long, let’s talk about Chisaki… she likes Hikari? I think that’s really all we learnt about her in this episode, other than that she’s the sensible mother type, but I’m looking forward to seeing her
kill Manaka for Hikari’s love develop as a character into Hikari’s love… yes, I prefer her over Manaka. Shoot me.
And Kaname… that guy gives me the creeps…
To conclude, I loved it and I’ll definitely be blogging about it. All of my favorite genres, wrapped up in a seemingly decent plot, good characters and animated by one of my favorite animation studios of all time?! Count me the f*ck in!
Possibility of Blogging: Guaranteed
Possibility of Watching: Guaranteed