Umi Monogatari ~Anata ga Itekureta Koto~ – 01
When undersea dweller Marin finds a ring falling down through the water, she decides to go above water to return it to its owner. Her sister Urin goes with her, and they arrive on a nearby island during festival time. By chance, the girl Kanon who threw it away hears them calling for the ring’s owner and takes the ring back just so that she can throw it away again, though Marin stops her. It turns out that the ring was given to Kanon by her ex-boyfriend who had just earlier dumped her. What really gets her pissed off is seeing him again, and before Marin can stop her again, Kanon throws the ring somewhere into the nearby forest. Marin and Urin try their best to search for the ring and get separated in the process. Kanon finds Marin again later that evening still looking for it and while they’re together, the fireworks start. It scares Marin, but it frightens Urin even more since she’s all alone, and she ends up running blindly down a dark path through the forest. She eventually trips and crashes into a stone coffin that has a seal on it. It just so happens that the ring is stuck beside the coffin, and in trying to get it, Urin unknowingly breaks the seal. That leads to her hearing a voice that instructs her to open the coffin, so she does. A dark smoke emerges from it and surrounds not only the island, but it also imbues the ring. It soon starts raining as well, and lightning strikes a nearby turtle statue which begins to glow as a result.
I had seen the OP as part of the promo material for this series, so I knew coming into this that it would a decent song and have a fairly standard accompanying animation. What really impressed me was the ED. That’s partly because it’s a better song than the OP, but mostly because it featured a very cute story-in-a-story by having Marin and Urin watching the tale of the Little Mermaid. It’s rare to see something as short as an ED animation have such a coherent narrative done in such a nice way, so this was quite a treat.
As for the episode itself, it was decent. I know it’s still early on, but I actually found the story to be the weakest link. It looks like the series is going to be a combination of romance, friendship, and supernatural elements with a bit of comedy, and while I enjoyed some of the comedy, it wasn’t until the final few minutes that the plot got a little more interesting. I assume the great evil that Urin released is going to be the antagonist for the rest of the series. What’s holding the series up is its relatively high production quality. All of the underwater scenes were nice, and I found the drawing style of the comedy scenes to be cute. It also seemed like they turned up the animation quality slightly whenever there were opportunities for Urin fanservice. Anyway, the music was a strong point too and included several good piano pieces. The voice acting, however, was a bit of a wash. Horie Yui and Asumi Kana were fine in their respective roles, but something about how Kotobuki Minako‘s voiced Kanon didn’t click for me.
Ultimately, the most impressive part of this first episode was probably the ED. The plot has some potential, but this first episode didn’t convince me that it’ll be worth sticking around to see the rest of it. With two other promising Wednesday shows coming next week (Umineko and Aoi Hana), it’s unlikely that I’ll continue watching this unless I find out that the second episode turned out to be really good.