Nagi No Asukara

December 7, 2014

Kana Hanazawa as a cry-baby?! Oh Wow! I want to hear! And thus with this paltry and pathetic reason I decided to try Nagi No Asukara (A Lull In The Sea). Scorn me if you will. Despite my initial stereotype of her best voicing retarded characters (she still does from time to time), but I think after coming from such a long way, she has one of the best and versatile voices in the anime industry after voicing a myriad of roles especially recently it’s like almost every anime that I have seen, there is her. It’s like she is almost everywhere and I can’t escape from her grasp so to speak. So Kana Hanazawa will be my next favourite seiyuu? Not really. Despite not hearing much of Mamiko Noto these days, my love for her (voice) hasn’t waned a bit.

Anyway before I get distracted about comparing voice actresses and anything else, let us get back to this original anime. I don’t know where I heard it before but there is a theory that all life forms and everything else comes from the sea. Well, the Earth is about 70% covered in water, right? In this tale, we have normal people who live on the land as well as those who live in the sea. No, the sea people won’t be something like Aquaman or Atlantis thingy. They look, sound and behave like your typical land dwellers except that they can breathe underwater. That is just the setting. The story? Four kids from the ocean transfer to a school on land since theirs closed. They have to adjust to their new surroundings while dealing with not only the awkward relationship with the land people but also their own feelings for each other. Yeah. Sounds like another friendship, drama, love romance genre. Let’s see whether this one will sink or swim.

Episode 1
The fish people kids of Shioshishio are going to a school on land for the first time since theirs closed. Not enough students? Well, there are only 4 of them. The very angst Hikari Sakishima, the cry-baby Manaka Mukaido and their friends Chisaki Hiradaira and Kaname Isaki. Manaka already makes a blunder by being caught in a trawler’s fishing net. That’s the first time her eyes meet with Tsumugu Kihara. The quartet are introduced to their class but many of them tease them about their fishy smell. To add to Hikari’s angst, Tsumugu is in the same class. Later he visits his sister, Akari who works in a sundry shop on land, Saya Mart. A couple of lolis, Miuna Shidome and Sayu Hisanuma are seen trying to make a chewing gum graffiti on the wall. Hikari is dragged into a meeting with the other fish men as they are abuzz about humans not wanting to do the Boatdrift Ceremony this year. That’s where we learn that humans once came from the sea but there are those who were awed by the land and left. But the land dwellers experienced many hardships and were convinced the Sea God was angry at their ingratitude so they sent a young girl out on a boat as sacrifice. That’s how the tradition came to be. Manaka visits Lord Uroko to give her offerings. Because he starts sniffing her skin, she throws the food at him. He curses her. Because of that, the next day she is reluctant to leave her room. Hikari finds out that there is a fish on her knee! It’s farting?! No wonder she is so embarrassed and can’t let anyone see. Maybe except Hikari. He ties a handkerchief around it so no one can see it. In class, the girls are touching all over Manaka over her beautiful Ena (the fish people’s skin). She tries to get away but accidentally bangs her knee on the table. The fish farts. Uh huh. WTF. So embarrassed that she runs away and who knows where she fell. Her friends look for her. Hikari never gives up looking for her so Chisaki has this worried look that hints to us she likes Hikari. And with Kaname calming her down, it is also a hint that tells us he likes her. Even fish people have their love woes. Manaka is picked up by Tsumugu and placed in his bathtub since her Ena is cracking. She is disheartened and expects the worst when he sees the fish. However he exclaims it is beautiful. He is not lying. He also comments the fish’s scales are unique. So is her. Can she get any more embarrassed than this? Night fall, Manaka reunites with Hikari who isn’t so happy to see Tsumugu and accuses him of doing something to her and wants to beat him up. He felt the shock when he was told he rescued her. Worse, he notices her handkerchief off and realizes Tsumugu have seen the fish. What’s the problem?

Episode 2
The fish suddenly says goodbye and swims away! But guess what? Manaka goes to Uroko and tries to throw food at him! Uh huh. Trying to get cursed? Not a chance. Now Hikari is acting like Manaka’s bodyguard, telling her to stay away from Tsumugu and that the way she calls him sounds perverted. Hikari is confronted by Sayu and Miuna who start insulting him. They couldn’t believe Akari is his sister. Sayu even tries to get violent! But those short limbs won’t reach him… In the end, Miuna kicks his heel and they escape. The teacher seeks volunteers for the Boatdrift Ceremony and to make the Wooden Maiden (the school is doing it voluntary). Because Tsumugu volunteers, so does Manaka. Eventually the rest of the fish kids too. While gathering wood, they find Tsumugu quite knowledgeable about Shioshishio. When he is out on the boat and on very clear days, he could sometimes see the reflection and the ocean city below. He loves it. On their way back, the kids are shocked to see Akari being dropped off by a guy, Itaru near the pier. To their shock, they exchange kisses before she dives down! Hikari is positive that their relationship will not work out but as Kaname puts it if they do get married, sea dwellers will be banished from Shioshishio forever. Then Hikari gets so angry and starts scolding everybody that it made the girls cry. Kaname can only advise him to control his anger. Back with his family, he observes Akari acting like normal. He has a lot to think. He wants to protect her and Manaka like Ena but couldn’t understand why she wants to discard away all that and go to the surface. Manaka sees Uroko again and wants him to put the curse back. He tells her she has always been protected by somebody but now she is about to go where they can’t protect her. They hear a commotion outside. Several guys have Akari in custody because they heard she has been seeing some guy on land. Akari and Hikari’s father, Tomoru who is the head priest will talk to her himself. They know if a family member of theirs leaves for the surface, it’s going to look bad.

Episode 3
The friends discuss about this and Hikari is going to find this guy and punch him! Since this is a guy’s business, he shoos away the girls. They talk among themselves about some sea slug with a red belly. If you tell it your most private feelings, it will tell you what will come of them. Manaka is not sure if she likes Tsumugu because so also likes her friends. When Hikari sleeps, he could hear Akari’s weep. The only time he heard this was when their mom passed away. Hikari was inconsolable but Akari never cried. He couldn’t understand why she was acting like an adult when she is just a kid. She even took over mom’s place to take care of her family and didn’t want to become a manga artist which was her dream. Hikari argued she should just do it since he doesn’t want to go to college but she hugs him and cries she loves him. Although Hikari still blames her boyfriend, in a way he is relieved because she started thinking about herself. The friends tail Itaru to Tsumugu’s house. Hikari let his anger get the better of him and charges in to punch. Tsumugu’s grandpa easily subdues him. Grandpa asks Itaru if he is trying to have babies. As explained, Ena is a special skin that sea dwellers have that allows them to breath underwater. When a child is born from a union between a sea and land dweller, the child loses the Ena and cannot survive underwater. This is the reason why sea dwellers are banished. Itaru assures he is not fooling around with her but since he is not sure about marrying her, Hikari blows his top. He starts punching him and couldn’t remember what happened after that because grandpa took him out. He goes to thank grandpa for that and he is surprised he might have seen this old dude having Ena. Now he goes back and he tells sister to give up on that guy. She agrees. Wait, now he doesn’t agree to her giving up so easily? The friends are surprised that Tsumugu has dug a pond for them since it would be inconvenient for them to go back down the sea when their Ena dries up. Manaka comes clean about the fish curse and even tries to impersonate it! This makes Tsumugu laugh! That night Hikari sees Itaru going somewhere so he tails him to where Akari works. He didn’t expect to see Miuna and Sayu but Miuna wants him to do a favour. Help break up her dad and that woman. WHAT?!

Episode 4
Despite Hikari not liking all this, he will not play dirty like them and won’t do it. During cooking class, nobody wants to try the fish kids’ dish. Manaka tries to persuade a couple of boys to do so but they find her annoying and push her away, spilling her dish. Hikari wants to give them a piece of his mind but it is Tsumugu who steps in first and tells them to apologize. More woes for them because somebody has destroyed their Wooden Maiden! Hikari believes it’s those jerks and with lots of raging fury, goes to tackle them! Wow. The tackle must have been so hard that the locker became crooked! While Chisaki and Kaname are cleaning up, they see a doodle on the Wooden Maiden that says “Sayu was here!”. That is sure a dead giveaway. Chisaki doesn’t want anybody to know this because if they do, Hikari will become the bad guy. But Tsumugu says it is not the case of who is the villain, it is the truth that was misunderstood. Chisaki feels disappointed in him and thought he was different. Tsumugu doesn’t want everyone to misunderstand Hikari just because he misunderstands everyone. When Miuna finds Sayu has trashed the Wooden Maiden, she scolds her best friend for playing dirty. Manaka and Hikari see Itaru drowning and save him. Back in his home, he explains Akari won’t see him so he borrowed some diving gear from his friend and thought of going to see her. Before Hikari can get mad, he sees the altar of Itaru’s dead wife, Miori. Flashback reveals they were a perfect family when Akari got to know them and Miuna was a happy child. But Miori’s sudden death shook the little girl and it reminded her how similar she was to Hikari. She wanted to stay by their side and thought she could fill the gap Miori left behind and take her place. Uroko offers to put a curse for her to forget this man but she will handle this herself. Next day, Hikari gets down on his knees to apologize to those guys. Manaka joins in. The guy tackles him to make it even and they become friends. Sort of. Kaname confronts Sayu and tells her it is her fault that made Hikari do that and as his best friend, he can’t forgive her. So the loli starts crying and explains Miuna is her best friend too. She was always picked on except her. So when people started picking on Miuna, they ignored Sayu. But Miuna also ignored them. How can she be fine with this? Why should she care about those she doesn’t care? They are people whom she doesn’t care and have nothing to do with her. Sayu goes to apologize to Hikari. Everything seems to end well except that Chisaki feels sad that she wanted to defend him.

Episode 5
Uroko reads the spirit fire’s words that the boundaries between land and sea must be permanent. Uroko leaves Akari’s matter to Tomoru. Since Chisaki is down, Tsumugu could guess she likes Hikari. She admits she likes him more than a friend but is afraid she may end up becoming someone she doesn’t like. Tsumugu stops her not because he doesn’t want to hear her love woes but rather Manaka is around and heard it. So pleads to her to pretend that she did not hear any of this. Akari sees Itaru and wants to break up as she doesn’t want to hurt Miuna anymore. She was wrong to think she could fill Miori’s shoes. After she died and the adults plan to tell Miuna about Akari being her replacement mom, she didn’t like it and stormed out. She then goes to see Miuna and apologizes for everything. She doesn’t need to worry anymore because she will leave. But that night Hikari gets a call from frantic Akari that Miuna has gone missing. Because she didn’t fall into the ocean, the friends start searching for her over land. They finally find her hanging out in some abandoned place. She ran away from home. Akari is so relieved when she finds out Miuna is okay. She realizes she is still in love with Itaru and everyone else. Hikari was right when he told her she was a like a child. She is possessive of the things she loves and she doesn’t want to give them up. Itaru agrees that he doesn’t want to give up on their happiness too. After the friends cook and eat dinner with Miura, I’m not sure why they leave her with Hikari and head back first. Hikari talks to her that there are people who love her but she denies and goes to drown herself! She can’t swim. Hikari pulls her up and she smells him just the same like Miori and Akari. She explains she was really sad when mom died. But when she heard Akari would be her replacement mom, she became afraid. Because if she goes away, she would be sad again and wouldn’t know what to do. Therefore she concluded if she doesn’t love anyone, she won’t be sad. Hikari agrees with her to some degree and although he is not one to say, he doesn’t want to believe there is no hope to love somebody. Wondering if he has anyone he loves, he says he does and now he likes her. She accuses him a dollicon. Lolicon, she means? She has him help out with something. I guess they spend the whole night chewing the gums and complete the graffiti which eventually reads “Don’t go away”. Akari finds them at that wall and after scolding Miuna for making her worry, she promises she won’t go anywhere and will always be by her side. Miuna sees her eyes so blue and tears like the waves. She loves the sea. Akari breaks down further and it makes you think which one is the child.

Episode 6
The class is having a pool session. Hikari challenges Tsumugu to a swim. Surprisingly, the fish boy is lagging behind! Well, not used to swim on the surface and fish people don’t do the freestyle, right? Hikari hurts his toe and it’s bleeding bad. Manaka who is on duty is to take him to the infirmary. She wanted to be considerate and let Chisaki do it but she ignores her. Hikari feels lousy and pathetic. Manaka feels lousy and helpless. Hikari probably isn’t in his best condition since he keeps bumping his toe into furniture. Everyone including Miuna and Sayu help in rebuilding the Wooden Maiden. Chisaki ignores Manaka again and leaves on pretence that her mom asked her to stopped by the post office. Chisaki is not pleased that Manaka was ‘trying to be considerate’ because they agreed to drop this. She doesn’t want to talk to her. Sad Manaka strolls along till Tsumugu sees her. He follows grandpa’s advice to take her to the wharf. They talk about Tomoebi (some light refracting phenomenon) that she didn’t get to see and missed out and also Tsumugu’s comment on her way of talking which feels hesitating. When Manaka bums around back at Shioshishio, the phenomenon starts forming before her eyes. She quickly calls Chisaki to witness this beautiful occurrence. It made them remember that Manaka was late that she missed seeing this, Chisaki scolded her. All that doesn’t matter now. The girls made up. Chisaki always wished things stayed the same and never wanted to change. Although it is still difficult and impossible, she still doesn’t want them to change and wants to be with her friends forever. They wish the guys were here too. They are. Just watching this and eavesdropping at a hidden spot closer than you think.

Episode 7
The Wooden Maiden is completed. Because Tsumugu and Manaka say in perfect sync that they want to see the real Boatdrift Ceremony, the rest tease them as a couple. On the serious side, everybody really wants to see the real ceremony so they agree to work hard on both sides to get it up and running. This includes handing out flyers on the event and obtaining their signatures. Despite getting a bunch of them, Tomoru will not have a talk with the fishing association since the land people were the one who wanted to cancel it. Not even Hikaru’s plea could sway him. He too once thought the land dwellers were pigs and likewise the sea people were just fish. They were wrong. Now he realizes they are all people and can communicate. Eventually Tomoru and his men attend a meeting with the fishing association but he just sat there quietly. When both sides have agreed to go ahead with the ceremony, then the fish people start asking their land counterparts for an apology for calling it off. That’s when the war erupted and the kids have no say. They start throwing accusations at each other and blaming the other at fault. This is what civil and being an adult is all about? Didn’t they say let bygones be bygones? Itaru and Akari walk in at the wrong time and the guys drag them in. When one of them pushes away Hikari, he falls back and accidentally breaks the Wooden Maiden. Tomoru talks to Akari and wants her to break up with Itaru. Taking that communication line from Hikari, it is because they can communicate, the reason why they cannot get along due to the differences they can never get over. Akari mentions each time she talks to him, he always twisted it into some sea and land thingy. She once asked mom why she married him. Simply because she loved him. What if he was a land dweller? That won’t make a difference. She has decided to be Miuna’s mom. She decides to leave her home and Hikari is coming with her since differences with Tomoru cannot be swept under the carpet. But Uroko won’t let them leave and engulfs them in some icy whirlpool. It is because he made a promise to protect them because they are his descendants. But Tomoru begs to show mercy so Uroko lets them leave.

Episode 8
The siblings live at Itaru and Miuna’s place. Itaru thought of going down to the sea with her but Akari doesn’t care if she cannot go back there or no one accepts her. As long as they’re together, she is fine. However Itaru notes Miori used to look at the sea and doesn’t want Akari to go through the same thing. He wants them to go get Uroko’s forgiveness and blessing. Then they can properly get married. The kids heard it and Miuna feels the need to give some sort of present to her. Hikari likes the idea and they can go shopping with their friends in town tomorrow. They have to be careful not to dry up because there is not much salt water around to replenish their Ena. Miuna sees a poster of a shell shaped pendant she wants. As they ride the elevator, the buzzer goes off after too many people got onboard. Since Chisaki was the last one… Was she that fat? Just kidding. Hikari goes out with her and will meet the rest at the top. Time to have a heart to heart talk. Hikari vows to support Manaka if she ever decides to go to the surface. Chisaki couldn’t understand why he would do that. He always tried to protect her. Doesn’t he like her? Hikari realizes then he wasn’t thinking about Manaka’s feelings but his own. Chisaki doesn’t want him to change and hints she will support him if the need ever arises. Miuna finally finds the pendant but it is too expensive. She even calls daddy for advance on her allowance and is willing to work hard for it. However the pendant is sold out. Since it has to be this, they run all over town to look for it. Miuna thought Hikari’s Ena dried up so she splashes her bottled sea water on him. Turns out that his sandals broke. After everyone revitalizes by splashing Ena with each other, they get motivated to do what it takes to find the pendant. Unfortunately they go back empty handed. Tsumugu hints he made something out of fish scales and gave it to grandpa. So it doesn’t matter what it is. The most important thing to Akari is the fact that she chose it. This gives them the idea to go look around the beach. Needle in a haystack? Thankfully it only took them till night fall to get back home and Miuna presenting Akari with the most beautiful pendant she made. Perfect. She wouldn’t have imagined anything better. Suddenly it starts snowing. Not just any ordinary snow but salt flake snow.

Episode 9
Despite the phenomenon only lasting a short while, the fish people are worried if this is the Sea God’s wrath. It’s been getting colder lately too. Uroko needs to tell them something about the upcoming calamity. The kids decide to redo the Boatdrift Ceremony again and this time they seek Tsumugu’s grandpa’s help for a boat. The net that Manaka was caught in the first place, she accidentally drops it. This has grandpa revealing Tsumugu was also this clumsy when he first came here by himself when he was 9 years old since his parents are too busy in the city. Manaka believes Tsumugu found his love for the sea when he was young and he is good at finding things others cannot sea. He came here because he knows what is precious to him. Chisaki still feels down. Tsumugu talks to her. Seems she plans on giving up on Hikari because everybody has changed and moved forward so she should too. But she gets irked when Tsumugu replies she is neglecting her feelings. But he thinks she is fine the way she is now. She doesn’t feel well and goes back down to Shioshishio with Kaname accompanying her. However they see all the adults waiting for them with lamps. Manaka thanks Hikari for being by her side and has learnt a lot. So if he feels hard to go back down, she’ll come with him. She thinks his father would think the same thing and he could be stronger if he tells him he cares. Hikari pats her head and leave (because he felt nervous and had to calm himself down). When Manaka goes back to Shioshishio, her parents are waiting to pick her up and tells her she cannot go up to the surface anymore. Next day, Hikari thought he was late for class but apparently his fish friends didn’t turn up. He senses those guys are trying to interrupt again and goes back down to settle things. Shioshishio is void of people. It’s like a ghost town. A man finds him and wants him to go see Uroko. He won’t. With Manaka surprising here, Hikari takes her and runs away inside a building. She told him what happened but no reason was given why the adults told them they couldn’t go up or out anymore. She left herself because she feels the need to tell him. Hikari realizes her feelings are different than his. He hugs her but she pushes him away. Is this some sort of rejection? Tomoru comes by and he wants Hikari to come home.

Episode 10
Uroko narrates the legend during a time when some humans left for the surface. The Sea God felt sad and went into hiding. Salt flakes slowly fall and accumulated on both sea and land, turning the world into a cold place. A girl dived into the sea to plead to the Sea God and he was moved that he joined the people once again. However now it is not the Sea God who has abandoned the people. Without prayers, the Sea God loses its power. A calamity will occur in the next 50 to 100 years and the only way to survive this freezing death is via hibernation. The people will sleep and wait till the Sea God recharges his power and allow the calamity to pass. Of course those with Ena can only do so. This means surface dwellers will die. The fish people will have a last feast soon to replenish their Ena. Fasting will make their Ena thicker and prepare them for hibernation. Hikari still wants to go up to the surface to warn them. He also wants to do the Boatdrift Ceremony seriously in hopes of preventing this and will go talk to Uroko to try convince him. But he rejects it and even suggests it is better for the sea and land to drift apart. He also knows what it is like to be in love as he was born out of a scale of the Sea God. Hikari tells this to Akari but she isn’t pressing the panicking button. She isn’t a bit alarmed. But Miuna is scared though Akari promises they’ll always be together. Hikari talks to his classmates and Tsumugu believes him because grandpa has been saying something like this. Manaka is in a dilemma. She has been thinking a lot lately especially about the fate of the land dwellers. Then there is the possibility that they may not wake up together or even wake up at all. How long are they going to sleep? How long will the calamity last? Not even the fish people could think this far or even be bothered about it since they’re feasting hard. So much so thinking too much causes Manaka to cry. I think her roll sushi is going to be salty. I suppose it is now or never so Kaname goes up to Chisaki to confess he has always been in love with her.

Episode 11
Kaname doesn’t expect an answer. He felt this sort of thing couldn’t be left unsaid. The salt flakes continue to fall until Shioshishio is like a snow town. It is predicted that the fish people will go into hibernation on the Boatdrift Ceremony day. Akari and Itaru are ready to marry to each other and plan a ceremony that will fit them. The fish kids are allowed to leave school early because the instructions came from Shioshishio and they want to respect that for their hibernation. Hikari also has this same thinking that they may wake up at a different time so Kaname says that things will be different when they wake up. Even the surface too. There is no guarantee. The only time they can be together is now. Hikari plans to continue eating so as not to fall asleep as he doesn’t want to sleep while the world changes. Manaka agrees with him. Akari sees Miuna and Sayu making another chewing gum graffiti. Miuna gets very emotional and runs away. Akari is called by the fishing cooperative guys since they got a request from Hikari. He pleads to them to continue the ceremony. The older guys lament the last time things went and agree to do it. Akari although notes that because they have noticed their fishing haul is lesser due to the impact of environmental changes, Hikari has the right not to take up their selfish request. However the surface dwellers are important to her too and speaking on their side, she too hopes Hikari to accept their plea. Hikari tells this good news to Uroko but he mentions that even if the ceremony does go ahead, things will not change. It has no power in the first place. As he is a scale of the Sea God, his powers cannot reach beyond the sea. So the humans cannot be saved? Hikari doesn’t know how to break it to the rest. Akari thinks he has done his best. She summons everyone to let them know that she and Itaru are getting married. They want the Boatdrift Ceremony to be their wedding as well and she will take the place of the Wooden Maiden. Even if it doesn’t change anything, it would be not right to give up now after working so hard. Besides, they need to try just in case. Akari hopes Miuna could forgive her. Miuna and Itaru are very important people to her so living in a world without them is meaningless. She wants to live her life at the same time and place with them. Miuna starts bawling her tears enough to fill a pond. Everyone gets motivated to continue with the ceremony. Chisaki admires Akari as well as Hikari and Manaka. They are trying hard to change and in the process changed others. Thus she is going to try and confess her feelings to Hikari and not leave it unsaid. After all, she is like them.

Episode 12
Miuna and Sayu are picking flowers for the wedding. Those are weeds, right? They get into a little fight when they think the other is not as evil as herself. When Tomoru comes up to them looking for Miuna, they think he is some sort of pervert and attack him with the weeds! Imagine how much they have to apologize when they realize he is Akari’s father. Miuna hopes he could persuade Akari and Hikari to hibernate. He replies no one will know what will happen if that happens and that the duo might feel safer on the surface despite the danger is still far away. Manaka and Chisaki follow Tsumugu shopping at town. Tsumugu had to use the girls as excuse he is out with his friends because he doesn’t want to talk to his mom. When they return, they see Hikari, Kaname and the lolis trying to lift the heavy flags for the Boatdrift Ceremony. Tomoru and Akari talk. Now that they have calmed down, Akari apologizes and never knew her dad had it tough ever since mom died. She is sorry for being a difficult and selfish daughter to the very end. When the fish kids return to Shioshishio, they see several unconscious kids being taken away. Hibernation for them starts early as their Ena thickens quicker. The quartet then bum around in their old school and Chisaki couldn’t summon her courage to confess to Hikari. Hikari fools around impersonating as one of the teachers. Then Kaname asks the forbidden question. Does Hikari like Manaka? Because they won’t know if they’ll ever wake up at the same time or even wake up at all. Hikari didn’t hesitate to say he likes Manaka. He will always like her even if she likes Tsumugu. This causes her to be confused as she runs away. Hikari goes after her. Chisaki goes after him. Bit Kaname stays put. Yeah, we know. He’s the worst, right? Chisaki manages to get Hikari’s attention when she trips. She wants him to go after Manaka because she is in love with the person he is now, the one who loves Manaka. I think it’s getting a little complicating… He sits with her and admits he is just like her. He was afraid of destroying their relationship. But telling how he felt was enough. Manaka continues to run and run. Or swim. Then it’s like déjà vu again because she gets caught in Tsumugu’s net. Night fishing?

Episode 13
Manaka views Tsumugu like the sun. When she was little, she wasn’t allowed to go up to the surface but always looked up to the sky. The bright sun always made her heart race. When Manaka goes back down and meets Hikari, he continues his confession he loves her. Everyone else is precious to him too. Whether or not she loves him back, she will always be precious to him no matter what. She will tell him her feelings once the Boatdrift Ceremony is over. The fish kids are heading up to the surface on the day of the ceremony. Kaname reminds Chisaki that he will still love her even if they go to sleep and wake up at different times. The quartet see Uroko for his blessing before going up. Tomoru has nothing else to say to them except that since they set this in motion, be sure to see it through. Also, he hopes Akari to lead a happy life. Preparations of the ceremony are underway. Akari is transformed into a beautiful bride-cum-Wooden-Maiden. Miuna tries to practice calling Akari her mom. She has something to say after the ceremony. That night, the ceremony begins. Uroko lights up the spirit fire to guide the boats. Suddenly the waves get rough and violent whirlpools appear. Does the Sea God really intend to take Akari? She is thrown off the boat as Hikari and Manaka dive down to save her. The wave topples Tsumugu’s boat. He is going to drown as Chisaki dives in to save him. She doesn’t have enough strength to swim up but with Kaname’s help they manage to bring him to a boat. Because the waves are strong, one of the pier pillars breaks off and is going to crush the boat. The driver has to make a swift turn and this causes Kaname to fall off and back into the sea. His heart aches when he sees Chisaki holding on to unconscious Tsumugu. Manaka catches Akari and pleads to the Sea God not to take people from their loved ones. If a sacrifice is needed, she will be it. Manaka crashes down to the sea floor. Hikari couldn’t reach her as the current pushes him up. Shortly, the whirlpools dissipate. The black sea is calm again. Everyone sees Akari floating on the surface and go rescue her.

Episode 14
Some time skip must have occurred. We see Chisaki visiting Tsumugu’s grandpa at hospital before heading to Saya Mart. Akari has a little son named Akira and his special skill is kanchou!!! OMG! Naughty boy just did a kanchou on Chisaki’s ass! Akari remembers after that tragic Boatdrift Ceremony, she became depressed and it got complicated when she is pregnant. But Miuna cheered her up and thanked her because she is happy she is going to have a brother. Miuna and Sayu are middle school students now. They are taller but still have that loli look? Today is also the Tomoebi event. Some moonlight phenomenon that projects the image of the night sky on the frozen water during a certain hour. Sayu warns Miuna a guy is going to confess to her on Tomoebi. Miuna vows after that tragedy, she won’t cry because she believed Hikari and the rest are somewhere happy and safe in the sea. It is just out of her reach. She hints she likes Hikari but that guy likes Manaka. Tsumugu and his professor are oceanography researcher researching the frozen spot for Tomoebi. They are researching about sea villages and its connection with the surface. Chisaki doesn’t want to go to Tomoebi as she feels it is useless unless all of them are here. Flashback after that tragedy, she had no relatives on land and Akari would love to take her in but Tsumugu’s grandpa offers to let her live at his place since Akari’s little apartment is so cramped. Besides, grandpa was from the sea too. Happy days pass and Chisaki and Tsumugu are high school students. Then grandpa collapsed and admitted to hospital. Chisaki was the most frantic one because she is afraid her loved ones will be taken away again. Then Tsumugu left for the city to study to become an oceanography researcher in hopes he will learn what actually happened on that day. On Tomoebi night, the phenomenon is about to begin. The sea has been calm ever since that day. A boy wants to confess to Miuna but she guessed his intentions first and then apologizes-cum-rejects him because she loves another person. Want to bet who that guy is? This kid won’t give up. She won’t give up. When the phenomenon begins, Tsumugu detects strange currents and there is light coming out from the sea. Suddenly before Miuna and Tsumugu is naked and unconscious Hikari! He looks the same and has not aged. Miuna gives him CPR. Seriously. CPR to a fish people? But it did the trick. First thing Hikari is worried is Manaka. He didn’t recognize Miuna initially (she looks sad). He is in a state of shock and Miuna notices his eyes were frozen in sadness like the calm of the sea.

Episode 15
Tsumugu tells Chisaki about Hikari’s awakening. He is exactly the same 5 years ago. Even if he has been sleeping for some time, he is still exhausted. Maybe he has to absorb all the sudden changes. I mean, suddenly Miuna is the same age as him and almost as tall as he is. What’s more, Akari has got a kanchou loving son (in which later Hikari is trying to teach him finer points of it???!!!). Oddly, Chisaki didn’t go see Hikari and went to see grandpa instead. His old classmate, Sayama picks him up to go around town. He sees Sayu for the first time. The fishing association guys are happy to see him and even saved the flag he was waving on that day. Hikari just felt sick looking at it. Tsumugu didn’t realize Chisaki was back and entered her room to accidentally see her changing. She was looking at herself and asks if she has changed. He notes she used to talk a lot of this back then. She explains all she wanted was Hikari to remain the same and feels sad that she was the one who changed. Tsumugu agrees. She did change. She is much more beautiful now. Tears of happiness? Miuna then confronts Tsumugu why the childhood friends haven’t seen each other. Just like Miuna, he too doesn’t understand why. Because Hikari and Chisaki have been together for so long, it may only be something they understand. So Tsumugu asks Hikari this when he resurfaces from yet another failed descent to Shioshishio (some current keeps pushing him away). He blows his top. Never has he yelled like that before. It’s because he just woke up the other day and everything has changed. He can’t take anymore if he sees these drastic changes. He doesn’t want to think or know about them. And then those guys had to give him that flag. It just brings back bad memories. He was so loud that hiding Miuna could hear him. She rushes back to find her flag that she had packed (Akira trying to distract her with some underwear?! Maybe he thinks this is what she is searching for). While wandering, Hikari and Chisaki finally accidentally meet. She apologizes for changing. But Hikari has realized after seeing all the change. It is indeed scary. But he is relieved to see her haven’t changed one bit. Really? She is taller than him and has a nice body. He is back to his cheeky self and this brings tears to her eyes. Hikari vows he is not going to be surprised anymore. He sees Miuna waving her flag. He takes a closer look at her slightly modified flag (hearts and butterflies added) and gives out a good laugh. Miuna is happy to see him smile like that and wants to protect it. When Chisaki returns home, Tsumugu can tell she has already met Hikari.

Episode 16
Hikari returns to school. Back in the same class? Repeating his grade? Yeah. He is quite the popular guy. Everyone has this thought: Isn’t Hikari now Miuna’s uncle? Mind boggling… The boy Miuna rejected, I guess he has to let go of her now. Hikari misinterprets they like each other. Because Akari came down with rubella, Hikari and Miuna are to head to town themselves to get new tailored uniforms for Hikari since he is back to school (Tsumugu’s are too big). As Hikari is flustering this looks like some sort of date (which I think Miuna is hoping for), Miuna calls Sayu to join them. But they’re so ‘close’ to each other that Sayu feels like she is the third wheel. I mean, Hikari nonstops teasing Miuna especially with her squeaky boots that sound like a pig’s fart. Really. The tailor gets Hikari’s measurements and Miuna insists he makes Hikari’s old school in Shioshishio. Outside, Sayu talks to Miuna and hints that because Hikari is her uncle, they can’t enter a relationship even though he is just a step-uncle. Miuna thinks she is being mean by bringing that up but Sayu tells her off the need of calling her to come in the first place. It’s like trying to show off her flirting because she is happy the guy she likes is back. The tailor worked so hard to get the measurements and now Hikari says he doesn’t need it? Well, he goes out only to see the girls fighting and Miuna runs away. Sayu is in tears. Luckily Sayama is passing by so they hitch a ride home. Because of what Sayama said, Hikari has an idea where Miuna ran to. It’s that abandoned place where she once ran away and tried to drown herself. In addition to cheer her up, he is back to his cheeky teasing self. Miuna can’t stand him anymore and throws her shoes. I guess everything in this place is falling apart so the crane starts falling down! Thankfully it misses but Miuna slips and falls into the sea. Suddenly she realizes she could breathe underwater and swim! How the?! She could see the ocean’s beauty as well as Hikari coming to get her. She is excited and wants to tell Akari when Miuna finds them. She is glad she is okay. Safe to say, they made up. And Hikari’s teasing continues… This guy just doesn’t give up, doesn’t he? Meanwhile, a pleasant surprise (or shock) for us because here is… Kaname!!! He’s back. In his birthday suit asking the bar master what day it is.

Episode 17
Hikari and Miuna go to the fishing association to see Kaname. Tsumugu and Chisaki too. Hasn’t change a bit. Tsumugu’s professor takes down his statements but it seems Kaname cannot remember much. When he came to, he was being carried by the current. He also heard sounds of shifting sands (Hikari didn’t hear anything on his awakening). Miuna mentions she also heard something like that when she fell and everyone finds out she can now breathe underwater. Her birth mom was originally from Shioshishio. The professor thanks them for the data and believes everyone else in Shioshishio will wake up too. Kaname stays at Tsumugu’s place as he observes Tsumugu and Chisaki working together. It’s like everything just flows smoothly. The class is all abuzz that Kaname is awake. The girls are excited. Because he is more handsome than Hikari. That effective ends his popularity streak. But for Sayu, looks like she is undergoing what Miuna felt. Her childhood crush has revived. So when she first accidentally sees him, he couldn’t recognize her. She felt heartbroken and ran away. Kaname talks to Chisaki that he was going around to see what has changed and what hasn’t. He wonders if she has changed. Even so, he says he likes older woman. Eh? What? The professor comes back with a report that Miuna has a skin membrane that resembles closely to Ena. This is a first case since we all know that if a parent is a surface dweller, the child definitely will not have Ena. Kaname now talks to Hikari about the changes. Hikari says he won’t change because if Manaka wakes up, everything might be too shocking for her. Even if she still likes Tsumugu, he won’t change. Miuna heard that so she joins the depression club with Sayu. Sayu feels pathetic with these feelings but Miuna views otherwise and won’t change. Sayu is surprised when Kaname calls to her. He’s cool. She’s flustering. Cat caught her tongue? Tsumugu and the professor have analyzed the data from the currents and all and believe the power protecting Shioshishio is weakening. They think they have pinpoint where the current originates which is of course Shioshishio. They want Hikari and Kaname to help locate it. Miuna also wants to help since she has Ena. As they dive into the sea, Hikari and Kaname couldn’t hear any sand sound. Only Miuna could so she follows it and guides the guys deep below.

Episode 18
They enter some sort of wall mirage and here it is, Shioshishio! Everything is covered in salt flake. This is the first time Miuna sees this place and finds it beautiful. Kaname plants some sensor for Tsumugu. They walk around to see the denizens sleeping. Like as though time stopped for them. Because Hikari thinks Miuna thinks they’re all dead, he gets a little angry and requests some time off to go home and cool himself down. So they’re going to make her wait here while Hikari goes to see his dad sleeping peacefully and tells him about what happened? Yeah well, he should thank Miuna in the face rather than him because without her they couldn’t have got here. Miuna wanders to the middle school and could see visions of Hikari and friends during their days here. When the guys meet up, they realize Miuna is missing. Just follow the footsteps. As Miuna leaves, she sees Uroko. Thinking he is some god, she hopes he could tell her where Manaka is. He believes she is lying and wonders if that is what she is truly looking for. Once the guys find her, Uroko disappears. Miuna thinks she knows where Manaka is. It leads them to a huge ruin where all the Wooden Maiden lay in rest. It’s like a freaking huge graveyard for Wooden Maiden. Yeah, a little horror show too. In the middle is sleeping Manaka. They notice something. Manaka’s Ena is slowing coming off. This is the sound that Miuna heard. At this rate she will die. Hikari tries to talk to wake her up. Although she is slightly moving but it’s not enough to wake her to her senses. Kaname warns of waking her up abruptly as it may have some negative effect. But if they don’t bring her to the surface she’ll die. So screw it. Once Hikari takes Manaka, the place starts to rumble. Wrath of the Sea God? They swim up towards the surface and Miuna caught glimpse of Uroko’s disappointed face.

Episode 19
Chisaki narrates she and Manaka once got lost in a sea forest but Hikari came to their rescue like a man. That’s why when he found Manaka, it wasn’t any surprise to her. If there was somebody who could find her, it would be Hikari. Manaka is still sleeping although the doctor diagnoses her progress as stable and steady. As though Hikari couldn’t wait so he asks and talks to her in her sleep. He vows never again to let her go. Chisaki talks to Tsumugu’s grandpa about what happened. When she mentions that Manaka is oddly losing her Ena, he adds that there is more to the legend of the Wooden Maiden. People don’t talk about it because it is a sad ending. Tsumugu mentions his professor won’t publish their findings soon and will compile everything and officially present it as an academic journal. Kaname is not impressed because it’s like they’re doing this for reputation. Tsumugu explains if the paper isn’t acknowledged, they will lose research grants and all that they have worked on will be wasted. Then the media will get involved and may cause problem for Miuna. Chisaki hopes Kaname would let this go since a lot happened. Probably he’s being sarcastic when he notes she is acting like an adult. And maybe this brings back some nostalgic memories as she goes to try on her old school uniform. Too small. Too tight. So when she trips and the guys rush in to see what’s going on, imagine her embarrassment… Later Chisaki wonders if being an adult is to lose something. But Tsumugu says that she found new things to replace that. Tsumugu finally gets to thank Kaname for saving him that day although the latter had thoughts not to and could have got Chisaki all for himself. Even if that happened, Tsumugu will never allow him to be with Chisaki. Nevertheless he is glad they came back. Chisaki thinks of going to Shioshishio alone. A map and compass enough? Yeah, then the current is too strong. Compass going wild. Thankfully Hikari is there to help her as they enter Shioshishio safely. So they still talk about change and Hikari mentions his restlessness because he wants to figure out why Manaka’s Ena is disappearing. Chisaki tells grandpa’s story. After the Sea God and Wooden Maiden married, they had descendants and they flourished. However the Wooden Maiden still missed her land people and became depressed. The Sea God did all he could to make her happy but the only way was to let her return to the land. In exchange, he took something from her. That something could be her Ena. This gives Hikari the much needed boost. Now he knows what to do. He is going to find Uroko and learn the truth. Once he gets Manaka’s Ena back, he will help Tsumugu with the surface. Chisaki understands that she still likes Hikari. She thought their frozen time will start moving again after 5 years. But after a week, Manaka still remains asleep.

Episode 20
Hikari has been diving frequently to Shioshishio to find Uroko for help but he is nowhere to be seen. Also, the sea feels colder ever since they took Manaka. Because the town always play that song at 5pm in memory for that Boatdrift Ceremony, they get this idea to play a tape of the people singing it in hopes she would wake up. Since Hikari has been ditching school just to find ways Manaka to wake up, he gets into a little argument with Miuna. Hikari dreams of Manaka losing her Ena. Miuna and Sayu have spent 3 hours trying to find a way to wake up Manaka. I don’t know if those heavy stuffs are related. Sayu is bored and unfocused. I mean, it’s like finding a needle in a haystack. So could you blame Sayu for suggesting his wild method since she is reading Snow White? Maybe Hikari should just kiss Manaka to wake her up. So crazy it might work. But since Miuna is sceptic, Sayu thinks she doesn’t want Manaka to wake up. Playing the tape doesn’t work and then Hikari gets high fever. Diving too much? Tsumugu contacts Miuna and hopes to meet. Because of some theory that her development of Ena might be due to survival instincts and thus her body changed and dormant abilities awakened. Tsumugu thinks he is hard to read because everyone here is overflowing with emotions. He was somewhat envious. Miuna isn’t sure about that. When Hikari saw her Ena, he said she was just like him. Now how come Manaka is losing her Ena while she is gaining it? She thinks she is the only one with different feelings towards Manaka. Maybe she doesn’t want her to wake up. Tsumugu shares he initially didn’t want them to wake up because he feared Chisaki would disappear on him. But when they did, he felt very happy. Miuna gets the courage to tell Hikari Sayu’s idea of kissing her. Not Miuna, but Manaka lah! Either way, he feels embarrassed and they end up in some shouting contest. So loud that they could wake up the dead. See? Even Manaka is telling him off that he shouldn’t yell at girls. Oh, wait! MANAKA HAS AWAKENED???!!! Just like that?! After 7 episodes…

Episode 21
The quartet reunite for the first time in 5 years. Manaka is still your lively and cheerful girl. Like it was just yesterday. For her, that is. She’s pretty amazed with the town covered in salt flakes. Hikari couldn’t understand why she could laugh this much because she has already completely lost her Ena and cannot go back to Shioshishio. So he asks her what happened right after the Boatdrift Ceremony. She cannot remember much but she heard somebody’s voice. It wasn’t Uroko by the way. It could be the Sea God maybe. Also something about that voice wanting to give her something or she has to give him something. Chisaki and Tsumugu are at the hospital, attending to grandpa as usual. Tsumugu says that by the end of the month he needs to go back to his university campus because the university has instructor the professor to compile all the data and put together their conclusion. During dinner, Hikari whisks Manaka away just to ask her about that promise. Remember the one she said she will tell him after the Boatdrift Ceremony? Maybe he’s being too pushy and his face a little scary for her to say it. He jumps the gun thinking it is about Tsumugu. Next morning, Tsumugu suddenly rushes to Akari’s home. He needs to see Manaka. Once everybody gathers, he shows his elbow. It’s that fish! OMG! Behold! Shocking? He feels Uroko has cursed him. Hikari takes it as a positive sign that Uroko is somewhere close by.

Episode 22
So they’re putting a porn magazine and Uroko’s favourite food to lure him out? You’ll never know if you don’t try. The salt flake snow is getting worse and Tsumugu’s professor is being called back as the research is being delayed by the bad weather. So when they discover the porn magazine is gone, they think Uroko must have taken the bait and is nearby. Because Manaka couldn’t remember about Hikari’s confession at their old school before they went into hibernation, he becomes upset. Too emo. So Miuna chases after him and unexpectedly they reach Uroko. So what is he doing here? I guess he got bored watching over the fish people and wanted to come to the surface. That took time, the reason he didn’t pop up immediately when the fish kids start waking up. He could smell Miuna’s Ena has developed quite nicely and is ovulating. Say, what? Hikari bombards him with questions and the all-important what happened to Manaka. So Uroko mentions about the legend and the part we know that ended in tragedy. There’s more. After she returned to the surface, the Sea God lost his life and his scales scattered through the sea. Uroko is one of those scales. Till this day, his raw emotions drift through the sea. The spirit fire which is a more structured feeling seeks to prevent what is to befall the sea and surface. But because those emotions remain in the sea, the sometimes imbue the dangers of the sea with semi-sentient purpose. On the Boatdrift Ceremony, those emotions dragged Manaka to the bottom of the sea and made her the sacrifice. Manaka was then covered in a sheet of thick Ena and thanks to her the sea became calmer and the impending demise on the surface stopped. The spirit fire and fragments of emotions became one. There was balance. Manaka couldn’t let go of her feelings and fully accept her fate so those feelings tried to free her. It also began destroying the Ena and sending bits of it towards the surface. So what Miuna heard was Miuna’s feelings from her Ena. When they started looking for Manaka, the Sea God feared the Wooden Maiden would be taken away again and decided to take something else from her. That was when she lost the rest of her Ena. In short, the sea was calm when Manaka was the sacrifice but since they rescued her, the impending doom may arrive sooner. Hikari is as usual his mad self so Uroko asks him if he loves Manaka. This is not a joke. He knows his feelings will never reach her or as of anybody’s. Because the other thing the Sea God took from her is her ability to fall in love. So she’s playing happily with Akira… That’s good, right? Not good for Hikari of course.

Episode 23
Hikari tells Miuna about the probably thing Manaka wanted to tell him. It was probably her love for Tsumugu. Miuna thinks it’s Hikari but he knows he can’t be the one (that outburst in the revisited old school classroom). She suggests talking to everyone else. The camp is split especially Kaname and Chisaki who think Manaka’s inability to love isn’t so bad because she seems like having fun now. Sayu is most upset because she thinks they’re being self centred and haven’t even asked Manaka and storms off. Later, Manaka sees something shiny in the sea. Hikari picks it up to be a shiny white rock from the sea slug. White indicates true feelings but black indicates it is misplaced. Manaka doesn’t remember what she wished for but Hikari wants her to hold on to it. Hikari thinks she must have talked to the sea slug about her feelings. He needs to ask Tsumugu. If her feelings were so strong about it, he believes she will remember if she has help from the person she loves. Miuna talks to Manaka who says she keeps hearing sounds of waves in her head. Miuna borrows the rock and promises to make it better. Next day Sayu talks to Miuna about what she said. She feels it is not right to lose your ability to fall in love even if that person doesn’t love you back. It might be easier for her but she wouldn’t be who she was now as for those 5 years it was thoughts of Kaname that kept her going. That’s why she is going to confess to Kaname.

Miuna made the rock into a pendant. Manaka is grateful and this causes Miuna to lose control of her emotions. Hikari tells Tsumugu that Manaka is in love with him and wants him to do whatever it takes to get those feelings back like dating her. What about hugging and kissing? That allowed? Tsumugu asks how sure is he that Manaka likes him. Despite her reactions to him, can that be considered proof? Hikari filled with angst tries to beat him up but Tsumugu has developed a lot in these past 5 years. You can’t touch him. Tsumugu says he won’t lie even if Manaka loves him, it is not good to toy with other people’s feelings. Because he loves Chisaki. Guess what? Chisaki heard it! She dives into the sea to hide her embarrassment and Tsumugu goes after her. Hey wait. He can’t breathe! Too late… He could hear the sounds of the Ena and feel all its emotions. I don’t know how, the Ena envelops him and he is now able to breathe underwater and swim! WTF?! The fish separates from him. He meets Chisaki at Shioshishio and explains how his parents hated the sea. That’s why they left grandpa who wants to be near it for the city. Tsumugu loves the sea and wants to be close to it. He has her remember when Hikari mistook those bullies for destroying the Wooden Maiden and she discovered the truth and tried to cover him. He couldn’t understand why she did that because it’s like she’s making a fool of herself. She’s always quiet and calm and yet she became so fierce that she can’t handle her. He thought she was just like the sea. Get what he is saying?

Episode 24
Tsumugu has been with her for 5 years so he can sense she has the same feelings for him. He hugs her but she breaks free and asserts she doesn’t love him. So when she goes back up, Kaname offers to listen. He already accepted that she will never look at him and if it’s not Hikari, it would be Tsumugu. Anyhow it won’t be him. Chisaki’s reason that she can’t love anyone else is because it would be like betraying everyone whose time stopped 5 years ago. She was the only one who didn’t change and felt scared. She was sure her feelings didn’t change and still loved him. Kaname says none of that matters now because all of them are here and she doesn’t need to hide anymore. Akari shows Manaka a kiddie love letter Akira wrote for Manaka! Manaka runs away and this may send signals that the poor little kid got rejected. Actually she couldn’t understand what it means despite starting to cry. When Chisaki attends to Tsumugu’s grandpa, she asks about the Wooden Maiden legend that he didn’t manage to finish. When the Wooden Maiden went back to the surface, no one was waiting for her because the guy she loved died as he drowned while he searched for her. The end. Tsumugu takes Hikari and Kaname to have a guy to guy talk. Apparently he beings them along to Uroko and requests to place a curse on him again. Is this a joke? Tsumugu wants to do the Boatdrift Ceremony again. Detritus are dead cells and planktons floating all over the sea. He felt a multitude of emotions when he got his Ena. It wasn’t the Sea God’s emotions but everyone in town and the fish. He is sure among them are Manaka’s. Tsumugu’s theory is that if Manaka’s true feelings are encased in that pendant and they put it on the Wooden Maiden, they may lead the Sea God to believe Manaka has returned and thus returning her feelings. It sounds crazy but it’s better than not doing anything.

Apart from Uroko’s help, everyone also chips in to make this Boatdrift Ceremony a success. It’s like nobody had trauma or anything since more and more people even from those during their time gladly chip in. Chisaki is in that guilty mode again, thinking she should be the sacrifice this time. Kaname just tells her to stop it. I didn’t know that Sayu doesn’t know Kaname likes Chisaki and boy she sounds slightly upset. I don’t know why she’s being so emotionally upset about him trying to shrug his feelings off like a joke or something. So when Kaname starts his usual preaching that he is the outsider, blah, blah, blah, this is the perfect time for Sayu to build up her confession that she managed to get through these 5 years thanks to him. He was always in her heart. So please look at her not as a kid but a woman. Then surprise! Kaname starts crying too. When he woke up, he feared he would be alone and that no one was waiting for him. Hikari had Akari’s family and Chisaki had Tsumugu’s family. Knowing someone is thinking of him makes him happy. Sayu expects to be rejected but here’s another surprise! Kaname is willing to start anew from here. Just the 2 of them. He’ll only look at her. So that’s the end for him for Chisaki? I guess he knows when to give up. Time to move forward. Hikari talks to Manaka and hints that there is someone he likes. Being the retard she is, she would love for him to tell her more and everything about that! Not going to be easy… Especially to say the name of the person he loves. But would Manaka still understand? The important thing now is to make the Boatdrift Ceremony a success.

Episode 25
Cheeky Akira snatches the pendant but trips and it falls into the sea. Miuna dives in to save it but could see it dissolving. That is when she heard the voice of Manaka echoing she loves Hikari. Flashback when Tsumugu fished up Manaka the second time. She was talking about the sun and the sea and how she loved Hikari. She didn’t want Tsumugu to tell others because she knew how Chisaki felt as she too didn’t want others to know. Just like Hikari said, to get Manaka’s feelings back, the person she loves must work hard. If that is the case, Hikari has already done a lot. He adds love is like the sea. You have to embrace everything including the sadness. That’s when new feelings are born. Manaka couldn’t sleep because she still keeps hearing sound of waves but when Miuna puts her hand over her, it stops. Tsumugu talks to Chisaki to talk about her feelings. She doesn’t have to lie anymore. Chisaki always wanted to believe Hikari and Manaka love each other because that way things between then will never change. Tsumugu believes she loves him. Is he being confident? No, really. This isn’t about keeping the quartet together anymore. So admit it that she’s in love with him. Yup. He’s pretty sure about it and is trying to think of a way to make her admit! He’s serious! He even asks permission to hug her but why does he do it even if she says no? Funny guy… Similarly, Miuna talks to Hikari and tells him she knows he loves Manaka. If acknowledging it isn’t enough, she makes him admit it! Not only that, say he loves Manaka a few times! What the heck?! Well, this is her way of hurting herself so that she’ll be able to throw her feelings for him away as loving him would hurt. Some logic. Well, a bit of crying helps ease the heart pain…

The day of the Boatdrift Ceremony is here. Uroko the big shot is chauffeured to a makeshift altar. He thinks the Wooden Maiden doesn’t look like the original. Not to say the original was pretty. He puts it that it was a convenient way for surface dwellers to get rid of people they don’t want. Hikari asks if he loves the original Wooden Maiden and if it is okay to let her return to the surface. Uroko believes he is the scale of Sea God’s shoulder blade. If he were his hands, he would have felt her. That night, the ceremony proceeds as usual. Everything goes smoothly till a storm kicks up. Déjà vu again. Uh huh. Manaka gets thrown into the sea. Again. All the kids dive in to try and save her (remember, she has no Ena). Kaname prevents Sayu from falling off. Tsumugu could see Miuna’s Ena glowing and believes the sea is responding to her feelings. He reveals Manaka loves Hikari and Miuna’s feelings are very similar. Miuna catches Manaka and transfer some Ena over to her. Miuna can sense her feelings. They felt at ease together because their Ena is shouting it loves Hikari. The whirlpool spits out Manaka and takes Miuna instead. Hikari and Tsumugu swim further to chase after her. They arrive in the Wooden Maiden’s graveyard. Hikari can’t get close to Miuna as a barrier is forming around her. Hikari is furiously trying to break it but his attempt is futile. Miuna is losing consciousness fast and all she could think of is how much she loves Hikari.

Episode 26
Although Manaka is brought to the surface, she is unconscious as she remembers she could feel all the feelings from everyone past and present in the sea. Among them are the maiden’s feelings. Continuing from the legend, the Sea God as much as he loved her, this also caused him pain as she had her own love on the surface. He was the one who tore them apart. It is even more painful to see her cry in secret as she is unable to forget him. The Sea God knew her lover had killed himself out of grief of losing her so before sending her back up, she took her ability to love to prevent her from falling to the same fate. When her heart is calm, the sea is also calm. A big glow is emitting from the sea. Hikari is still trying to break through. Like as though he became the harem guy, he talks about always wanting Manaka to love him but realized Miuna is the one closest and never realized her feelings and hurt her. If love has him end up in pain like this, he didn’t want it in the first place. Falling in love is terrible. So he pleads to the Sea God take his ability to fall in love instead. His feelings resonate through the ocean. Miuna had always wanted to tell the Sea God and Hikari this. If the painful feelings of love can cause that person to cry this much for you, then it makes her the happiest person ever. The spirit fire suddenly acts up. It lights all of Shioshishio and makes its way to the graveyard. Hikari’s determination has him break the barrier and bring Miuna to safety before the flames burn the entire graveyard. They could feel the maiden’s feelings dissolving in the sea. They could also hear her true feelings. Despite the memories of her beloved was precious, what was even more precious was the time she spent with the Sea God. Uroko gives out a laugh that the Sea God took away her ability to love without even knowing the one whom her feelings were for. And it took him this long to realize.

Surprisingly appearing from the horizon towards them is Tomoru. He is glad to see Miuna big. He mentions about the child losing the Ena as a result of the union between land and sea people. This was to make sure they had a chance of survival and ensure descendants and thus their hibernation. Now that Miuna has Ena, it proves that there is still hope even if they wake up. Tomoru knows what is happening because Hikari had been talking to him while he was asleep. His feelings reached him. On the surface, the sea stops being calm and there are now waves. The fish people of Shioshishio awake and head to the surface for the first time. Akari reunites with her father. Cheeky Akira pulls his beard… And so our paired couples also reunite except for Manaka who goes straight for Miuna instead of Hikari. Because that guy is tough, right? Don’t tell me he needs a hug from her too? Here are the few things that happened in the aftermath. Seems the fish people have the choice of waking up themselves. Those who remain sceptical continue to sleep. Akira now has Ena and is cheekier than ever with this newfound ability. Manaka flusters when Tsugumu mentions Hikari’s name. The duo also try imitating the fish (Akira too). Chisaki continues to live at grandpa’s place because she is worried the soup he makes is too salty for his blood pressure. Tsumugu leaves for his college but will be back every vacation. Uroko notes to the Sea God that humans are interesting because they continue to chase their dreams even after so much suffering and without finding any answer. The salt flakes have stopped and the sea is warmer now. Manaka talks to Hikari about the thing she wants to say before the Boatdrift Ceremony. Hikari already knows.

A Lol In The Sea. Something Feels Fishy…
Overall I feel that this little anime is quite an okay watch despite some things that I don’t get. What are the things that I don’t get? There are a few but the main one is the part whereby Miuna and Tsumugu suddenly get their Ena somehow makes it feel so cheap and it is out of convenience that they obtain it. I mean, having Ena is a big thing. It allows you to talk and breathe underwater while continue to be warm (you don’t know how cold the sea is, don’t you?). And finally when they put Akira having Ena too, it just made it all the more confusing. So in short, everybody can get Ena, right? From the youngest newborn and the oldest granny, if they soak themselves long enough and use their feelings, they’ll get Ena. Is that what they are saying? Heck, the world doesn’t need to die a slow death because eventually everybody will get Ena and hibernate and the world will be saved. If this is so, then it is true that everything really originates from the sea. I guess human evolution will eventually bring us back to where we came from, huh? It makes the warnings like the union between a sea and surface dweller feel like old wives’ tale.

The slow pacing drama in the first half of the series might turn some off. It seems more like fun stuffs and some light-hearted drama. It gets a little darker with the drama in the second half after that tragic Boatdrift Ceremony. It also gets complicated with the melodrama of romance and unrequited love and this drags out the drama, which may be unpalatable to some. I mean, the fish kids have been friends for so long and it’s not like they don’t understand each other, right? So a simple argument could, well, drag on for some time when everything could be settled in a simple manner. But then again, what would you do if you were in their shoes (or fins – oh heck, they don’t even have gills)? Therefore if you are not into this kind of drama and the likes, you’ll find it hard to keep your focus in this series and might not even reach the end.

There is a lot of character development and you could see how each one grows, changes (or not) and the bond they develop among each other within the over 2 dozen episodes. They play a part that affects everything like a chain reaction. Things may start off with cliche characters because when you have a group of friends, there is one that is bound to be the hot-headed kid who lets his emotions rule his heart. So much so, you think that anger management might not help Hikari at all but if it doesn’t get this in check by the time he is in adult, you can imagine how violent he gets. But luckily enough for Hikari despite still being a hot-headed kid overall, he doesn’t scream his head off as often as he used to after he starts to understand things. Then there’s the cry-baby but cheerful Manaka, the kind and beautiful Chisaki and the laid back Kaname to complete the quartet. Mostly they worry if they would still remain the same after the hibernation. Change is something scary and naturally for all humans (and fish people alike too) we feel more secure when we are in familiar territory. In a way you could say that the events changed them but generally still remain the same.

Tsumugu is the calmest and most rational among the main characters. He parts good advice and is a considerate person. Only if he would smile more often because from his robotic expression and monotonous voice, it’s like as though his expression section is jammed up. Then there are Sayu and Miuna who have grown up and less brattier. They’ve come a long way. For little girls, that is. Then there is Uroko, a scale of the Sea God who doesn’t really do much except bum around and keep watch. What else can a mere scale do? I wonder if there are many more of him in other parts of the ocean. The ‘best’ character goes to cheeky Akira. This little kid steals every scene he appears in because of his innocently cheeky antics. You’ll definitely break into a smile each time he does something ‘funny’. It’s like a much welcome relief after all that drama and tension.

Romance plays a big part for driving the plot and direction of the series but somehow I feel it spoils some part of the series. Well, nobody said love was easy. Even fish people can fall in love, right? That is the problem when you are being very close friends since childhood. When you hit your teenage years and those hormones start kicking in, you get confuse between love and just want to be good friends. So initially the love chart flow is like this as we thought: Kaname -> Chisaki -> Hikari -> Manaka -> Tsumugu. Especially with Chisaki trying to protect her friends and being too emo about this topic, I guess that is where all the love problems come out. Basically she is trying to hold back her love and deny it because she thinks it wouldn’t be nice loving someone if her friend loves the same person. Nice girl as always. But the world doesn’t work that way.

And when the series is beginning to come to an end, this long outstanding love polygon is resolved ‘nicely’ and that somebody ends up with somebody. Almost. Too convenient. Like for Kaname who has loved Chisaki for ages suddenly can let go and go for Sayu. It’s a good thing to move forward but I just can’t help feel it is just too sudden and convenient. Same case with Chisaki who gives up Hikari to settle with Tsumugu. They didn’t really say it but that last episode of them hugging each other must be a big indicator, right? So this means Hikari and Manaka are back together like they always should. Like we always knew it would. Yeah. So can you say that because of the duo who can’t make their feelings clear early are the cause of this love mess? Oh yeah, Akira’s love for Manaka could be just brushed off as a kiddie love and you bet it will go away when he grows up. Will it? Only poor Miuna is the one ended up as the ‘loser’. But hey, that guy who tried to confess to her… Maybe she’ll settle for him? I mean, in the last episode he still admires her from afar although there is no reaction whatsoever from Miuna. Pair them off and we’ve got the greatest happy ending of couples. And you can count Akari and Itaru’s love, still going strong after 5 years. Heck, even the Sea God isn’t spared. Only his misinterpreted love on his maiden started out all this and dragged our friends into it. So people, when it comes to love, not even gods are spared. Humans and gods would act and feel the same. Yeah. Love is painful if it doesn’t go your way, isn’t it? That’s why it is also beautiful if you see it from Miuna’s point of view.

The most excellent part of this series is its drawing and art. They really put very high quality into the animation and it is no wonder that I was in awe watching the spectacular visuals in every episode. Whether they are scenes of Shioshishio underwater or the town itself, even the phenomena like rain and salt flake snow are very impressive. Even when salt flakes are falling or the Ena dispersing. It feels magic. So if there is a reason why you want to watch this series, watch it for the art style. It is quite breathtaking. The characters also look good but they have this moe cuteness look in them especially the girls. So cute you might want to cuddle them. Just kidding. It’s not surprising if you find the character design very similar to Tari Tari, Hanasaku Iroha and recently Glasslip. All of these animes are produced by P.A. Works. Consistent quality, I’d say. But of course all of their works aren’t just confined to this style as they have produced other animes such as Another, Angel Beats and Uchouten Kazoku which have different art styles than this one.

This brings me to another topic. Because of the gorgeous art, something trivial bugs me. The underwater part. At times when the scene moves down to Shioshishio or somewhere underwater, the way the fish people interact is like as though they are on land. What do I mean? You know when you dive underwater, your vision isn’t that clear? That’s because you have all those particles floating and the sunlight is being refracted and you can see those wavy water shadows on the sea bed or something. However in most scenes, you don’t see these ‘water effects’ thus making it look like as though they are doing things on land and with air. I know the Ena makes them able to breathe, talk, communicate and do other stuffs like other humans do but it makes it so unreal that it doesn’t feel like they are naturally underwater at all. I mean, they can swim, right? So why the heck is there a need for them to ‘walk’ underwater despite Shioshishio having paths and walkways?

And yeah, even if they do swim, it seems like as though they are ‘flying’. That means some of the fish and other creatures swimming in the sea, it feels like as though they are just floating through space. A bit unnatural I feel. And even if you can talk properly underwater, sounds travels differently in water medium unlike air so it isn’t going to sound that all clear and good. Muffled. What about that ‘underwater echo humming noise’? You know, like as though some big generator going on because of how water transmits sounds. At least that is how it sounds to me. I suppose there is a reason why they make it so clear instead of putting characteristics of water. If everything looks murky and sounds blur, you wouldn’t be able to enjoy the sceneries, drama and conversation since we’ll be too busy squinting our eyes trying to make sense of what we are watching and hearing. That would be too annoying. But some things still doesn’t feel right. Like the final episode whereby fire is burning underwater… Fire in the water! Not lava or magma, dude! I thought I was watching Spongebob Squarepants. It just doesn’t feel real.

Subtly I think they are trying to promote to love your ocean and sea because as far as I can see, all the characters here love the ocean and have great things to say about it. Also, everything and anything that affects this world has got to do with the sea. You can tell or feel things just by the sea (or in it). Everything originates from the sea. And that last episode spam how beautiful and brilliant the sea is, I think that nails it. Of course not forgetting the all-important power of friendship that is the glue and key that has our friends stick around think and thin. Oh yeah. Never give up. Always chase your dreams. You know those stuffs. And because there is some legendary prophecy, it doesn’t mean doom is set to befall. Don’t let some legend dictate your future state. You determine your fate! Wow. I sound like a motivational speaker.

As said, Manaka’s cry-baby character makes Kana Hanazawa the perfect person to voice her. However Manaka isn’t really a cry-baby all the time (although she is prone to it) so you won’t really be hearing her weep every episode. Aside this, with her other various emotions, another reason why I believe Kana Hanazawa is the best person to play her. Natsuki Hanae is also good as Hikari especially when he goes into his angst and outburst mode. I don’t think I can ever get this mad and blow the top of my voice like this. He is the voice of Kal-el in Toaru Hikuushi E No Koiuta and Shinichi in Outbreak Company. Other casts include Ryota Ohsaka as Kaname (Haruto in Valvrave The Liberator), Ai Kayano as Chisaki (Inori in Guilty Crown), Kaito Ishikawa as Tsumugu (Logy in Atelier Escha & Logy), Mikako Komatsu as Minua (Marika in Mouretsu Pirates), Kaori Ishihara as Sayu (Aladdin in Magi), Kaori Nazuka as Akari (Nunally in Code Geass), Kousuke Toriumi as Uroko (Kiba in Naruto) and Junji Majima as Itaru (Ayumu in Kore Wa Zombie Desu Ka). Oh, on a trivial note, Mamiko Noto did make a cameo appearance albeit it is only for 1 episode as a clothes store clerk. Thank God I could still catch her…

The first opening theme is Lull ~Soshite Bokura Wa~ by Ray. Though it sounds like your generic anime pop, something about the tune reminds me of Ano Natsu De Matteru’s ending theme, Vidro Moyou sung by Nagi Yanagi. By the way, ironically she sings the first ending theme, Aqua Terrarium which is not bad actually. I can’t help want to sing along to this slow and calming song sometimes. But the thing that makes it a little funny is that the background vocals sometimes go “Hee hee, hee hee”. Cute or weird? I don’t know but as long as I’m enjoying the song, I guess it works. Ray sings the second opening theme, Ebb And Flow. Although it feels a bit slower this time but generally still anime pop. The second ending theme is a moderate slow pop piece, Mitsuba No Musubime by Nagi Yanagi. Although it isn’t that bad but I still prefer Aqua Terrarium.

In a nutshell, for those without patience and would prefer their shows fast and furious, this isn’t for you. But I would still recommend you Speedy Gonzales to take a look because of its awesome and breathtaking art on the landscapes as well as the satisfactory drama and romance. Since sometimes in life it is all not just about fast speed (like the internet…) and you need to slow down and take a look around you. Admire the little beauties around you. Five years can pass by you in a flash. You don’t even need to hibernate to know what I’m saying. So take some time out. Smell the flowers. Grab a bite. Fall in love. Don’t be afraid if you start to love mermaids. Because even fish people are human beings too.

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