Happy Blimp watches over the city
Every one of these Nagi no Asukara posts, I sit for minutes trying to think of an intro. This may be the hardest series to write intros for (not that I’m good at them anyway). And as you can see, I completely punted on this one.
Winding Things Down
It does look a little too much like death
The time of the hibernation is drawing closer, and so is the ofunehiki and the wedding. And as the preparations for both are coming to a close, everyone’s reflecting a lot more on what it will mean. The net effect for us is that we get some nice conversations and relationship progress.
First up is Akari and her father, both of whom are starting to understand the other one more, with a little help from Miuna. And I thought this was really touching for the two of them to essentially make up, and not have Akari’s flight from Shioshishio as their last communication, maybe ever. Akari has really put things together in her mind, and realizes more the full nature of her father, his coarse but kind nature, and how much he loved his children even if he didn’t outwardly express it much. And for his part, Dad admits how much losing his wife hurt, through saying that if there had been any way to not have her leave forever, he would have done it. It was a nice shared moment, made more sweet by Dad’s reflection on Miuna and Sayu’s change from “oji-san” (older man) to “ojii-san” (grandfather).
A nicely composed shot
And Dad has another sweet moment, in telling Miuna and Sayu that he won’t force them to go into hibernation, since the future is uncertain, the danger is likely decades off, and both of them may be happier staying awake and living on the surface. To me this shows that he wasn’t just thinking about saving them from pain as he implored Uroko to let them go, but really wanting them to live their lives the way they think it would make them the most happy. And Akari’s definitely determined that what makes her most happy is Itaru and Miuna (and maybe future aka-chans?). But what does Hikari want?
Follow the Flag
Hikari needs to figure where to go
It’s pretty evident he still doesn’t know. Is that part of why the idea of the flag-waving appeals to him so much? Guiding towards the place you need to go, does he wish he could see someone waving a flag in front of him? Hikari seems to want everything for everyone else, but can’t sit down and unpack his own feelings enough to decide what to do for himself. And that’s really the common theme among half the characters.
A mother’s pain
But some have made decisions, like Akari, Kaname, and Chisaki… and maybe Tsumugu. We saw the first crack in the facade of near perfection in Tsumugu with his quick dismissal of his mother. Why does he not want to talk to her? It clarifies that he moved to live with his grandfather because of some problem with his parents, and the brusqueness with which he treats his mother is obviously painful for her (and the cut from that scene to Akari and her father making amends was well done). Even the circumstances of their meeting – at the town square, meeting like mere acquaintances – point to there being something to their relationship that’s not very happy.
Kaname pushes it
And even among those who have made decisions, there’s still uncertainty about how to move ahead. This comes to a head with Kaname pushing the issue of “What does Hikari feel about Manaka,” putting him on the spot in front of Chisaki. And while Hikari’s confession of liking Manaka pushes her to run away, Chisaki manages to confess to Hikari and stop him running after her. And maybe there’s more hope for Chisaki than she thought, since Hikari’s maybe not in love with Manaka, but is maybe in love with thinking about being in love with Manaka. Could that refocus to Chisaki in the future, and would Chisaki want that? If she loves the Hikari that’s in love with Manaka, would she love a Hikari that’s in love with her?
Chisaki finally confesses
The final wild card is what is Manaka thinking? I think the message has been that Manaka can’t really make up her mind, or even sort things out in her own head. Yes, she’s done better at moving forward, standing up for herself, and finishing her own thoughts, but every time she’s confronted with conflict, especially of the heart, she shouts “I don’t know!” and runs away. And while this time Hikari was chasing her but gave up at Chisaki’s urging (yet didn’t resume the chase even when she urged him to), the person who caught her, again, was Tsumugu.
I may not be able to write introductions for this series, but in discussing the episode, there’s a lot that happens. I like that they’re keeping the uncertainty of the hibernation, whether anyone will even wake up or not, in play. But that uncertainty is what’s really putting Manaka through the ringer, as she sees people like her mother fallen asleep in a style too reminiscent of death.
Something that they keep hinting at is how will the hibernation effect the sea people who stay on the surface? They’re not immune, which leads Tsumugu to wonder about the cause. Will they be able to resist its effect completely? Will Akari lose her family after all? Would Tsumugu have to go back with his parents, with all the apparent mismatch there?