Nagi no Asukara – Episode 3: The Tradition of the Sea
I don’t want to be the guy who claims he’s found the best anime this season only three episodes into it but… Yeah, Nagi no Asukara looks like it’s going to be my favourite anime this season. However, I suppose it’s entirely subjective, Nagi no Asukara is one of those shows that some people just aren’t going to like – whether that be because they find the characters annoying or whether it’s just too slow paced for them to enjoy. But, in my opinion, Nagi no Asukara is perfectly paced, it’s the perfect example of why shows of this genre should be more than 12 episodes long (I’m looking at you, Angel Beats) and, whilst the ‘true plot’ hasn’t been made overtly obvious yet, I can almost taste the potential. I’m telling you, this show is f**king pregnant!
Crass colloquialisms aside, let’s get down to business. At the end of episode 2 we’re presented with a situation in which Akari, who has been seen in a relationship with a boy on the land (Tooru(?) I think his name is), is being taken to see Uroko-sama to discuss her future under the sea. When episode 3 begins, we see Akari, Tomori (Akari’s father) and Uroko-sama discussing jsut that; Akari’s future. That said, Hikari couldn’t actually hear anything (how cliche) and so we were left in the dark… I think the general gist of things was that Akari is now forbidden to see Tooru and must instead find a man from the village? At least, that’s the way it came across. Although we haven’t seen much of Akari yet, I like her, her character is compelling and will almost certainly play a larger role later on in the series. She’s selfless, she’s caring and, perhaps most importantly, she’s hot. That is all. Hikari, upon hearing that his sister must once again give up something that she wants, goes after her boyfriend, confronting him and finding out about the effects of ‘cross-breeding’ (is it cross-breeding? They’re technically both human after all?) between land and sea humans. It’s an interesting and well explained concept, that is, the loss of Ena during the ‘cross-breeding’ and, whilst I can’t see it playing an important role in the series at the moment (unless they time skip), I imagine it’s going to act as an obstable and an issue for the story yet to come, especially in Manaka and Tsumugu’s case where Manaka is still unsure about her feelings pertaining to the boy. It’s a tricky one all right, and I can’t wait to see how it plays into the story.
I feel as though Hikari has grown up the most in the space of these three episodes, the poor boy constantly being confronted by obstacle after obstacle in an attempt to retain the nature of his old life. In the case of Akari, he feels guilty because his existence is holding her back. She can’t go to university (or, ‘college’ as they call it in Japan… and America…) because he might want to go to university. She can’t cry infront of him because she needs to be strong for his sake in the absence of his mother. Hikari’s and Akari’s is perhaps the most visceral reltionship, their issues being raw and unyeilding, their respective futures still uncertain. Hikari is being forced to mature because he’s finally realizing that, for the longest time, he’s been relying too much on everyone else and it needs to stop. He needs to stand on his own two feet and the first step in that process is realizing that not everything is perfect and not everything can be changed with a quick moan and a punch; as was evidenced by his fight with Akari’s boyfriend and Manaka’s verbal acceptance of her love for Tsumugu. Not everything is going Hikari’s way and he accepts that. He’s grown up and I like that. One thing that this show he almost perfected is it’s characters; within the space of three episodes I’ve fallen in love with them all – even bland ol’ Tsumugu (but I’ll get back to that later). Let’s just hope that Hikari also finds someone else to love… preferably Chisaki, mind you, and not his sister…
Oh I do love a good bromance, and the flourishing bromance between Tsumugu and Hikari is beautiful. I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t like Tsumugu when the first episode aired, he came across as bland and underdeveloped, his unexplained love for the sea and fish throwing me off somewhat. Episode 2 went someway to convincing me that he wasn’t such a bad character and now episode 3’s gone all the way, Tsumugu himself being depicted in a much better light this episode. After Hikari is ‘beaten up’ by Tsumugu’s dad, Tsumugu nurses him back to health (with sea water), the now maturing Hikari finally seeing Tsumugu as a kind and caring guy; perhaps even worthy of Manaka’s affections. This episode, if nothing else, was about Hikari accepting Tsumugu and Tsumugu’s integration into their group, as was evidenced by the distasteful glares when he (Tsumugu, that is) appears alongside Hikari and the group at school. I find it odd that the children are discriminatory towards the sea children, but, then again, I might be misinterpreting sheer curiosity and uncertainty as a form of vicious prejudice. Oh! And how could I forget… Tsumugu’s dead is one of the sea people! I suppose it would explain Tsumugu’s vast knowledge and innate interest, but it certainly does pose two interesting questions… firstly, why did he leave the village and, secondly, just how will he play into the story? So many new key points were introduced into the show in episode 3 and there’s still a way to go before we start receiving answers. Let’s just hope they can tie up all the loose ends (what am I even worrying about, it’s only episode 3 of 26!
Speaking of Tsumugu integrating himself into the group… I loved that scene at the end; I really did. Nagi no Asukara is the perfect blend of melancholic drama laced with comedic undertones and unadulterated fun. Seeing the group playing in the sea water brought a smile to my face (and Tsumugu’s apparently!) and that worries me. It worries me because it means I’m becoming attached to these characters and, if anything bad does happen to them (as is so common in this genre), it means that i’ll be affected more than I would if this show was just plain depressing. Hell, even Kaname was having fun! Like I said in my episode 2 review, I still don’t know what to think of Kaname. He blows hot and he blows cold, as they say. I couldn’t help but laugh though at his witty comments about Chisaki falling for the ‘wrong guy’… gotta love a sarcastic psychopath!
Tooru has a daughter! I was right! In my episode 2 review I mentioned that at least one of the little brats was probably Tooru’s daughter and I was right. How clever am I! My genius aside, this is definitely an interesting turn of events, however I fail to see how it has any affect on the story now that Tooru and Akari have broken up? Have they not actually broken up? Will they get back together? Does Akari not know about this little girl? And is it normal for teachers to buy their students ramen in Japan? Because you know, here in England we call that ‘grooming’… call me crazy.
Ah, Nagi no Asukara, I do love you so. Episode 3 is definitely the best episode thus fur and I can’t wait to see where the story will go next. I only hope that they don’t loose their way when dealing with this story because there are so many elements and plot points that need to be addressed before the end of the show and I just don’t want to see it all f**cked up. But, as I said, this is only episode 3 of 26… we’ve still got a long way to go.