Nagi no Asukara – Episode 23: To Whom Do These Feelings Belong
Is it necessarily bad not to be able to love?
After watching episode 23 of Nagi no Asukara this question has been plaguing my mind: who said falling in love was necessary to lead a full and ‘good‘ life? Asexuality – it’s a thing. Nagi no Asukara logic would dictate that asexual’s aren’t living properly, that they’re inability to love is somehow a hindrance. There are many types of love: romantic, platonic, storge (and so on and so forth), and yet Hikari seems to think that because Manaka is unable to feel romantic love, her life is now, for some reason, ‘less’ – she’s now no longer Manaka in his eyes and the only way to get ‘his’ Manaka back is to somehow find a way for her to love again. But Hikari is being selfish. Don’t misunderstand, it’s very easy to see that Hikari genuinely wishes for Manaka to be able to love and be loved, but love is, ultimately (and arguably), a human construct – we as humans seem to overvalue the importance of love and that, in my eyes, has weakened Nagi no Asukara to some extent. Yes, it is a series about love and the importance of love, but Sayu and Hikari calling Chisaki, Kaname and Tsumugu selfish because they’re simply being realistic just isn’t right. Hikari has, from day one, screamed ‘typical shounen character’, all gung-ho and bravado atop deep, indescribable emotions. But his outburst in this episode was childish – I wish Hikari would think logically for once. I mean, he had all of the cast come together to think about the predicament, and then the moment it didn’t go his way he and Sayu threw a strop. Poor.
As I was saying, Hikari is being selfish. Okay he’s asking for Tsumugu to help him restore Manaka’s lost feelings, but, deep down, we all know that Hikari is secretly hoping Manaka will fall in love with him (Hikari) because he’s her savior and he’s given her the ability to love again. And, if that does indeed and up happening, I won’t feel satisfied – no one will. It’d be the most cliched end to the series imaginable and I can’t believe that it’s even a feasible option at the moment. But we’ve still got three episodes to go – a lot can happen in three episodes (hence the ‘Three Episode Rule’). Honestly, now I’m just waiting for the Deus Ex Machina that’ll save everyone to appear and then I can finally flip the table. Who knows, maybe they’ll pull a plot twist out of the bag and do something interesting?
The reason I mention doing “something interesting” is because of the repetitive nature of this, episode 23. In summation, the episode went a bit like this: Manaka has feelings! I wish senpai would notice me… Manaka really does have feelings! How rude, Manaka does have feelings! I need to do something to help Manaka! Tsumugu, please help Manaka. Chisaki. Oh – no – wait – Manaka, Manaka, Manaka, mother f*cking MANAKA! I’ve come to dislike Manaka. She is the epitome of derp – a combination of idiocy and moe so potent I’m repulsed every time she appears on screen. She’s effectively a child and every time she opens her mouth I find it harder and harder to believe that Hikari has actually fallen in love with her. She lacks substance.
Finally, I’m glad they’re finally making progress in the Tsumugu/Chisaki romance, Tsumugu having inadvertently made a confession in this episode. Will Chisaki finally admits that she’s never gonna get with Hikari and find love in the arms of Tsumugu, the man she’s effectively ‘been with’ for five years now. Or will Kaname get in the way and ruin everything for everyone, leaving no one happy and the series on an odd note. Who knows? Only episode 24 can tell. Probably.