Manaka is pledging something to Hikari, but it’s not exactly what he thought it would be
Nagi no Asukara continues to bring beautiful scenery and what I still find to be a compelling story. Can Hikari overcome his firecracker personality this week?
The Other Woman?
Hikari decides to not play Miuna’s game
In case there was any doubt about who the main character of this series is, at least early on in the going, we get a lot more focus on Hikari again this week. And thanks to Miuna’s revelation about Itaru, Akari’s erstwhile boyfriend and Miuna’s father, Hikari again spends half the episode having the wrong idea, this time that Itaru is two-timing Akari, using her to fool around on his wife. This sends him into his usual state of high dudgeon, but in a show of something resembling maturity, he decides he’s not going to deal with this in an underhanded manner. And he gets his chance to confront Itaru soon enough, as the silly land person tries to come to Shioshishio to find Akari, but learns that scuba gear is not as easy as it looks. So after saving him, Hikari starts to rail about his unfaithfulness just as he notices the butsudan for Miuna’s mother…
Hikari about to boil over
Of course Akari knew about that, having been friends with both Itaru and Miori before her death. And seeing the hole that Miori’s death left in their lives, part of her wanted to fill that hole, with people who had been so welcoming to her, even if Akari had something Miori no longer had: a place in Shioshishio. I do wonder what the story was doing here, tho: If Itaru was married to someone from Shioshishio, why was he so surprised to learn from Tsumugu that a trans-surface relationship ends up banishing the person? It would be hard to imagine that Miori was living a double life to the extent that her husband wouldn’t know that she’d been banished from her hometown. Maybe they’ll come up with some sort of explanation, but it doesn’t sound right at first blush.
But Akari seems to have given up on another dream, or at least hope, and it’s yet again kind of a sad thing. After having given up her earlier hopes of becoming a manga artist after her mother’s death to take over the household, now she seems to have given up both on having a job on the surface and finding love. She gives the indication that she wants to refocus her life under the surface, but in both cases openly laments that there isn’t much opportunity there. Can someone who has been looking up and out really find happiness with their eyes turned down and in?
Is Akari ever going to try to look outward again?
Manaka strikes out, in more ways than one
But that wasn’t really enough for Hikari to be wrong about this episode, so he doubled down with hating on some of the boys from the surface. They did somewhat earn his ire when instead of accepting or even just turning down Manaka’s offer of sharing the food from cooking class, they push Manaka down, breaking the bowl and spilling the food. But Hikari also thinks that they carried that further and destroyed the wooden maiden for the boatdrift ceremony, and runs off and wallops one of them.
Hikari overdoing it, then apologizing, pretty much how he handles everything
Of course, it wasn’t the other boys, but rather Sayu, carrying her campaign of annoyance too far. And it causes a rift between her and Miuna, as well as the rift between Hikari and the other boys. But Chisaki wants to keep the truth quiet, so people won’t blame Hikari even more for flying off the handle. Thankfully, the show has the twin voices of reason, Tsumugu and Kaname, who are far more level headed. And even if Chisaki thinks that Tsumugu is just taking the land boys’ side, as he explains to Kaname, “I don’t want them to misunderstand Hikari just because Hikari misunderstands them.”
The two mature guys
As the story progresses more, it seems the one who’s left behind on adjusting the most is Chisaki, who is to this point unable to deal with Manaka becoming more outgoing, with Hikari acting more independently, and with their lives changing in general. It’s hard to know what her plan or hopes might have been, but it’s plain to see that her imagination hasn’t been adequate to deal with the reality that’s been unfolding. Can she get Hikari, the boy she’s always coveted, to look her way? Can she deal with being shuffled to the back as Manaka surges forward with seeming ever-growing confidence and Hikari flounders but gets through on pure force of will? There’s been a feeling that she always had a ‘safe’ fallback option with Kaname, but can she deal with even that?
We’re still getting the slower development of relationships through the show, and it seems like most of the character development happening is centered on Akari, Manaka and even Hikari. I know I like to dump on Hikari, because he’s still a hotheaded brat. But he did get a bit more sympathetic through the past couple episodes, even if he doesn’t actually learn any lesson from it. He tells Miuna he doesn’t like underhanded tactics, but his forceful ill-considered tactics are not really much better. You wonder if we can get a single episode in a two-cour season where he doesn’t screw his face up in rage, or explode at someone. I hope he can calm down more, but I doubt it.
There are definitely major happenings afoot, however, and I wonder what’s in the cards. The two subs that I saw translated a key part differently, when Uroko is responding to the sea god. There’s a big difference between “We can’t let the surface have the people of the sea right now” and “We can’t hand over the people of the sea to the surface just yet.” Is there the possibility that all the people of the sea will be forced onto land? Would there be the possibility of repatriating those who have left? It seems like the kind of thing that could take up the majority of the focus of the middle of this series, if there is a major shakeup in such status.