Nagi no Asukara – 04
「友達なんだから」 (Tomodachi Nanda Kara)
“Because We’re Friends”
Every week I can’t help but be smugly happy I picked this show out from the mire of titles available this season.
There are some days that I feel so tired out, so fairly miserable with schoolwork and stress, that the last thing I want to do is write a post. But for those days, I’m glad I have shows like Nagi to really make me care enough about anime and writing again. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: this is a damn good show we have on our hands so far.
In some ways, this episode deals more with the microcosm of the larger problem between the sea and land, and focuses most on the kids’ imminent drama than anything. But even when we’re talking about semi-petty grudges between kids, there’s still a lot of dark undertones lurking beneath the waves. Nor are all the small problems without links to one another. The land kids in the school hate the sea kiddos (and vice versa) based on societal prejudice that they’ve likely learned from their parents and families, for one, and that learned hate is then shown through the way both sides interact. It’s not just childish arguments and pranks these kids are doing; they’re acting out those very real social tensions though in very destructive and painful ways. To call the problems black and white though, would be misleading. Miuna, after all, has been pranking Akari and Hikari with her friend because she is afraid to see her father stolen away by another woman. It’s not the sea people she hates, seeing as she too has a mother from Shioshishio, but rather the specific situation her family is in.
To add to that, it’s not just societal pressure that is forcing Akari to choose to leave her landed lover behind. Part of it is the threat of banishment, yes, but she’s also facing the pressure from Miuna herself, who absolutely does not want Akari joining her family and replacing her mother. The relationship between a step parent and a step child can be very difficult and rocky no matter how much they like one another, and often times that leads to a lot of tension. It’s not that Miuna hates Akari, or that Akari hates Miuna. It’s just a difficult situation for everyone.
Then there’s Uroku-sama’s comment that “the land cannot have the people of the sea”. What exactly is he implying? Is this because of the falling population, or is he alluding to something else entirely?