Nagi no Asukara – Episode 13: The Fingertips That Can’t Reach
The credits rolled on Nagi no Asukara Episode 13. Chris paused for a moment, sighing slowly before bringing the palm of his hand to his mouth. He turned away for a moment, removing his headphones and sighing once more, but then he turned back, and that’s when he saw it – the final credit shot of Manaka, sitting beneath the Salt Flake snow, sand cascading through an hourglass at her side. His breath caught in his throat and he clutched at the shirt that lay upon his chest.
“I called it,” he murmured… or, at least, that’s what he would have said if saying it wouldn’t make him look like a complete and utter asshole.
Let’s just jump right in, shall we? No exposition (a part from the exposition above), no jokes (a part from the joke above) and no bullshit (a part from the bull… ahem)… what the actual fuck just happened? I said in episode 12’s post that I thought the Sea God would claim Akari but… I did not see this coming. Never in a million years did I think that this is what would happen once they finally got around to performing the Ofunehiki. I suppose I should elaborate? As the time for hibernation finally comes about, Hikari, Manaka, Chisaki and Kaname all head back up to the surface to perform their last two duties – seeing Akari married and performing that God damned ceremony. The group have finally come to terms with their feelings, Hikari has reached a new goal in his maturity and Manaka has finally put everything into perspective. So why, why, why did she have to go and fucking sacrifice herself? To save Akari, yes – maybe even for Hikari’s sake – but the way she hit the ground… that impact… there’s no way she’s alive, right? I’ll admit it, my breath caught when Manaka hit the ground… What an episode.
Allow me to put things into perspective for you. You know Tsumugu? That (seemingly) emotionless plank of wood? I actually felt sorry for him when he fell into the sea. I didn’t want him to die. And it wasn’t just that – it mattered to me that he didn’t die. Now this is a character who I didn’t give damn about merely episodes ago, but the violent and breathtaking way in which everything transgressed… wow. However fleeting they may be, episode 13 of Nagi no Asukara bonded me with all of the characters that it had built up, and that we’ve come to love, and then tore them away. Miuna, for example, and her “Mommy!” scene… hot damn they’re playing with my heart… Everything was perfectly executed. I was on the edge of my seat for the entirety of that last section – actually, no, wait: that poignant first half was great as well! Everyone saying goodbye to their parents and having one last laugh… hot damn they’re playing with my heart…
It’s that romantic tension that I’ve been lapping up for these last few weeks that made it even worse (or, “better”, if you know what I mean). Kaname going to aid Chisaki, helping her, and then seeing her embrace Tsumugu (who she may or may not have feelings for) before possibly dying… I’d saying “hot damn…” but it wouldn’t be right… I hope that Kaname’s not dead. I felt as though there was still so much to see from him, you know? That said, if he is dead, I feel as though that might actually be okay – not because he’s dead, but because of the way he ‘ended’ it with everyone. Take Chisaki, for example, he told her that, no matter the length of the time they’re a part, he’ll always love her… I mean, for God’s sake, she’s just seen the poor guy (possibly) die! And that’s not all! All of her friends might actually now be dead. Hikari? M.I.A. Manaka? Sacrificed to their God. Kaname? Died right in front of her… The emotional toll on all of these characters, alive or dead, is going to be immense – and that’s why it works. This is the pay-off we’ve been waiting to see since episode 1. The plot-twist. The focal point. Mari Okada has really outdone herself this time… P.A. Works have really outdone themselves (as usual)!
But I digress.
Uroko-sama you bastard! I can’t help but feel as though this was Uroko-sama’s plan all along… but then why did he mention, several episodes earlier, that he made a promise to protect Akari and Hikari? What, so now that Akari’s offering herself up on a plate he can’t resist? And what even was the point of the sacrifice? Everyone’s gone to sleep anyway, even Hikari and Akari’s father was put to sleep at the last moment (although, in his defense, he did try(-ish) to stop Uroko-sama)… I just don’t see what Uroko-sama has to gain? I suppose we’ll find out next episode anyway, but still…
However, it is the fate of the two Sakishima siblings that has me most worried. Hikari’s come too far to die now and if both Akari and Manaka are gone, I don’t think Hikari will be able to cope… either that, or he’ll regress back into the hotheaded child that he was before (and with good reason!). When Akari fell in, I knew it was all over. This happiness, this sense of fulfillment – it was all over- and that’s what made it so crushing. The music, the scenery, the voice acting – all of it was perfect! And it only added to the surreal sense of loss I felt at the end of the episode, gazing upon that disturbed blue sea… The tone of Nagi no Asukara is about to change. I can feel it in my
balls bones. And it’s going to be amazing.
Also, Hikari… wave that flag, bro! Wave that mother fucking flag!