OP Sequence

OP: 「lull ~そして僕らは~」 (lull ~Soshite Bokura wa~) by Ray

「海と大地のまんなかに」 (Umi to Daichi no Mannaka ni)
“Between the Land and Sea”

Always trust P.A. Works to bring in the glorious, glorious scenery porn.

Welcome to the world of Nagi no Asukara, where two types of people exist: those who live beneath the sea, and those, like us, who breathe above the waves. This is a world where neither side quite likes the other, where discontent lies broiling just beneath the surface, where quiet, peaceful, beauty seems all too likely to break at any moment, just like a storm at sea. Prepare your drama and art appreciation glasses; you’re gonna need them.

I’ve been anticipating this premiere since I first heard about the premise and the forces behind it. In one show, you have the likes of P.A. Works, the studio behind the recent wonderful Uchouten Kazoku; you have the prolific Okada Mari writing an original story, and a great cast featuring HanaKana and a personal favorite, Ohsaka Ryouta. There’s the benefit of two cours, as well as the fact that this isn’t an adaptation, which always helps open things up for how a studio chooses to execute its work. It’s no wonder then that I’ve been looking forward to finally getting to blog Nagi, and after this first episode, I’m happy to say I like it quite a lot already.

There are a few facets to this story that I can already pull apart, even though one of them is so far taking precedence. First and foremost, this is a character drama, the story of a small group of middle school students from the sea who are forced to attend school on land and the resulting relationships among them and to their new classmates. The leading drama surrounds hot-tempered Sakishima Hikari (Hanae Natsuki), a possessive and jealous boy who is in love with his childhood friend, the meek and adorable Mukaido Manaka (Hanazawa Kana). Things grow more complex, however, when Manaka is accidentally fished out by a young fisherman, Kihara Tsumugu (Ishikawa Kaito) and she begins to fall in love with him. There is also a fourth addition to the love square, another childhood friend by the name of Hiradaira Chisaki (Kayano Ai), who is in unrequited love with Hikari, as well as her supposed supporter, Isaki Kaname (Ohsaka Ryouta). These relationships so far are all rather turbulent; Hikari is somewhat violent and incredibly dominating toward Manaka in that angry, young teenage way, and Manaka herself is oblivious to his feelings, though she trusts him as her closest friend and protector. Chisaki is pining for Hikari but not at all unsupportive of Manaka, while all along a spark is building between the latter and her landed love interest, something Hikari can see at a glance and which has already begun to tear his world apart just a little.

However, teenage drama is not all that is afloat; there is a broader social problem here, which manifests itself in the tensions between the sea and land people. The sea people are a minority hated by those who live out of water, disliked even by young children and classmates of the same age, while the land people aggravate the sea people by violating fishing boundaries. These divisions are visible in the children’s every day life, where they’re seen as oddities, people with gills and sparkling skin that cracks when dry, as out of place as if they were true mermaids with fins for legs. But not everyone considers those of the sea to be freakish, and Tsumugu definitely instigates an almost fairytale relationship with Manaka when he compliments her otherworldly qualities (including a very embarrassing fish bestowed on her as a curse by her town’s representative deity), much to Hikari’s chagrin.

A third point of interest is the state of the underwater world, something that has only been hinted at through background conversations and comments. It seems that the sea people are facing an environmental crisis, where the sea is becoming hypersaline and threatening their way of life, if not their very health. Perhaps this part of the story will come into play further into the season, but it’s something I wouldn’t recommend forgetting for now.

That’s all well and good for a story about two worlds clashing, but is it worth watching? I certainly think so, though it depends on what you want to get out of the experience. I do think the character designs are a tad too moe for my usual taste, but when I consider the fact that these are actual children we’re looking at, middle school students instead of the usual high school offering, the art style feels somewhat more natural. The way the characters act also feels right for this age group; being a teen is never easy, and when the horrors of puberty first set in, children can be an utter nightmare of hormones and unreasonable anger. I think Hikari in particular, while a little grating, is a fairly perfect depiction of a typical young teen, full of jealousies, possessiveness, insecurities, and a bad temper. The other kids too aren’t far from what I’d expect of the age group, and I find that realism in personality to work well here. In addition, while the characters look (mostly accurately) juvenile, P.A. Works doesn’t skimp out when it comes to creating the world and atmosphere. The art is gorgeous, breathtaking even, and there are plenty of beautiful shots of both the underwater world and the seaside town. As to the story itself, I see a lot of potential in all three points of possible drama, and I can’t wait to see how the series develops from here.

I definitely recommend giving Nagi no Asukara a try before making any prejudgements, so come on and dip your feet in, maybe the water is just right. Or perhaps I should stop making all these terrible ocean puns, eh?


ED Sequence

ED: 「アクアテラリウム」 (Aqua Terrarium) by やなぎ なぎ (Yanagi Nagi)



  1. Another Ano Natsu…

    And don’t get me wrong, I liked Ano Natsu. But this show has so much going on with it that we could just focus on the love TRIANGLE and have a well enough story. We could go into the fantasy of the sea people while learning the cultural divides between them from that triangle…but we also have these two OTHER childhood friends that are also in love with someone and will take attention away from the important stuff.

    That said, this series has a fantastic starting lore and brilliant scenery pr0n. And the characters are all well defined and relatable. I just think the love square drags it down. Let’s hope it doesn’t sink it.

      1. I’m sure that they’ll have enough time for all of the love chain, but I’m saying the two other kids just seem like dead weight. They’ll probably be fine parts of the story, but…it’s enough to just have the triangle as a metaphor for a sea person being conflicted between her underwater roots and accepting surface people, but then we’ve got these other two random sea-kids.

        Just seems unnecessary is all.

  2. Ano Natsu Part 2!..
    I really realy love Ano Natsu, and if this series is giving me the same vibe like Ano Natsu, then probably i’m gonna love this too!.. Great first episode!.. I just hope the bullying part doesn’t go any further, I just hate those part and feel sorry for the victim..

    Faint Smile
    1. The show feels heavier than Ano Natsu though. The racial boundary between one of the key-characters and the racist views of the main male lead doesn’t make it any easier to watch.

      1. Lets see, we are introduced to the main heroine Manako who has a significant person in her life in the form of Hikari, whether she sees him as a love interest does not matter since Hikari is the main protagonist and he clearly loves her and there fore as an audience we should identify with him. So enter the other male character that with a single action sweeps her off her feet, or should I say, literally fishes her up and she starts to starts to fall for him. Leaving our protagonist filled with jealousy and rage, his girl is being taken away right in front of him. I think that defines ntr pretty well.

      2. “whether she sees him as a love interest does not matter since Hikari is the main protagonist and he clearly loves her and there fore as an audience we should identify with him”

        What kind of logic requires to overlook a character’s integrity for the sake of self-inserting?

  3. Wow, only first episode in and we already have a load of drama. This 26 episodes is going to be quite a ride.

    For those people who are not comfortable of Manaka getting deredere with Tsumugu instead of Hikari, please don’t despair too much. It’s just a matter of perspective, because this could easily turn out to be story where Tsugumu is the main male lead, plus he doesn’t seemed to be jerk from what we saw so far.

  4. I don’t particularly like Tsumugu yet. Within 48 hours, he catches a girl in a fish net, saves said girl in the forest, discovers a living fish on the girl’s knee, and gets yelled at by a jealous Ocean Boy yet he maintains a catatonic gaze the entire time. Come on, raise an eyebrow, twitch, do something! Maybe I’ll change my mind in a few episodes but right now he is positively boring.
    Lord Ukoro on the other hand is delightful.

  5. MANAKA NO KAWAII~~~~!!! <3

    I'm also getting the feeling that this show will be somewhat similar to AnoNatsu, in terms of romance, and not only that, but i'm expecting this show to be better with that long 2-cour run :3

    Red HeartGold ZX
  6. As a Greek myself, I can easily see the art inspiration of the underwater town by Greek island villages. The white and blue colors, the architecture; even the windmills! It’s a superb eyesight to behold. As usual, P.A. Works are at the top of their game. The story is also full of possible ways to produce drama and as long as it is genuine and not just for the sake of it, I think we are in for a good ride.

  7. “I had witnessed it…”
    “The moment when two people have…”
    “their special first meeting.”

    Maybe Hii-kun is narrator guy,narrow love story across two races,Tsumugu & Manaka?

  8. I’m so happy that the show I’ve been curious about the most, turned out to be the best offer this season, at least as far as we’ve watched already. I’ve expected romance story and I’m very positively surprised that Nagi no Asukara seems to deliver much more than that. It would be a real pain if it was to finish in 12 episodes, but hopefully we can see a really good story. I also think that Manaka’s destiny can be a really dark one, especially with all this foreshadowing about the upcoming ritual and Hikari’s story about girls being sacrificed to Gods – this way or another. The curse guy seems to be really interested in her.

  9. PA’s second long project after Hanasaku, and they are back to their regular stuff they like to do.
    the visuals were eyegasm, always trust PA in the matter.

    still, it was good episode but not that great.
    a lot of drama-romance complex which was too much directly toward the viewer in first episode, and by that I mean to Chisaki. it’s obvious indeed, but why say that out loud so early in episode 1?
    it’s a bit early for me to chose a favourite couple in all that complex (but I think i’ll stick to Hikari X Manaka)

    I love the touch of the politics and social problems between land and sea.
    I don’t think it’ll be developed to much to the dark side as shinsekai yori or gargantia, but it’ll play an important role and not just in school.
    I also like the touch of the fantasy element whether it’s salty bath, the cursed fish or the bizarre fire. clearly it’s not gonna be the main element, but I’d like to see more stuff (but please make it rational not idiotic like the fire LOL).

    so. it was a good episode, but I still felt something was missing or amiss. yet, I know and trust PA to do a great job and make something good with that, it does have potential.

    after I watch the episode I was like…part of this is familiar to me, then it hit me – the stuff with manaka and kihara are like the little mermaid LOL.
    now all that left is a good addictive song like “under the sea”

  10. Great animation. Good voice acting and somewhat interesting characters (the two supporting ones). I’ve grown jaded against the ‘helpless heroine’ characters and the primary male protagonist reminds me all too much of a childhood bully – which he essentially is, despite his ‘good intentions.’

  11. The art is fantastic, but that’s the only thing that hooked me so far.

    Hikari is a controlling, obnoxious jerk. Manaka is constantly whiny. Not to mention all the latent drama for the sake of drama just waiting to explode. I’m really not sure if I want to do this to myself, but for now I’ll keep watching.

    I hope the characters, and especially Hikari, get lots and lots and LOTS of character development, because right now I cannot stand the bastard and I hope Manaka runs off with Land-kun just to spite him.

  12. Well, this is definitely not your average school romance drama. Themes of cultures coexistence and (in)tolerance, ecology, competition for shared resources (mentioned overfishing), I will be sure to give it a try.
    Also, (underwater) scenery porn(T!).

  13. I really liked this anime’s pilot episode. In a way it hurt my feelings whenever it comes to you watching your love fall in love with someone right in front of you, that was like a knife into my chest that made me want to watch more of it. I like the animation of this anime, and I found the knee fish funny.

    I’m looking forward forward to next episode, can’t wait:)!!!!!

    1. These stories happen all the time, is natural. Love is not a game, but when more than one person interested in someone’s love, one wins and the other loses. Love is not only your feelings, the feelings of the person you love are also important. You have to accept when she can not love you.

  14. I really like the approach they are taking with this series. I love that there is social problems between the sea and land dwellers. It makes the world seem more alive to me. This first episode was a lot to take in and it gave you so much in twenty minutes or so. Though I wonder how they will execute this anime since I feel this will be key. I’ve never really seen anime take the stance where the main male protagonist is not the object of affection for the female protagonist. This may be very interesting. This anime is already telling me that they want to take me into an emotional journey of love and heartbreak, but not only that. Friendships between two different cultures, and the acceptance of each other. A message that tells friendship goes beyond race, class or culture. I have a feeling that the friendship the students from the sea have with Kihara Tsumugu will be a key concept based off the OP, but I may be completely wrong.

    Is it just me, or does it seem this anime is receiving a lot of hate just based off the first episode? I was a little turned off in the beginning for reasons I don’t know myself, but once I finished the episode, I liked it. This show seems like it has the potential to bring forth a truly magnificent love story. I’m a big sucker for romance stories.

    1. Well, the freaky moment, of this Fish head on her Knee, have trigged some Instincts on mine of “Alien! Stay Away!”. I will Try 2 more Episodes, and see if my Mind can keep this Instinct in check

      But, yeah. Young Generations maybe the Future for living together. Because old Ones still have to many “Hurting” Memories that they cannot put aside. So in their Hearts, they hope the Young Ones will make it.

      Or did you see some sort of Inquisition?

      1. or they begin to Look up or avoid the Boys of their on Side, because they are Traitors.

        This ones are very thin Lines. I just want to see more, before i begin to Watch this Anime. In Core this is a very Serious matter

  15. Hmm, I sense NTR here. Even the representative deity was saying how Manaka was entering the “mating” phase. LOL

    And with Okada Mari in charge of the script, this… will not end well. :p (To elaborate, I meant not ending well for the characters involved, particularly poor Hikari, not for Okada’s writing, which no one doubts. )

    I think I’m going to treat Tsumugu as the male protagonist here, to prevent myself from too much grief and rage from poor Hikari’s viewpoint here. It’s been a very long time since I last saw childhood friends win in a shipping war. If Hikari manages to overcome the odds, then good for all of our nerves. If he doesn’t, at least I can say I’ve banked my money on Tsumugu to begin with, albeit reluctantly.

  16. what, friendzoned right at the first episode? poor hikari.

    am not really familiar with okada’s writing (only watched HanaIro and BRS). but this does look promsing. definitely adding this to my weekly downloads. oh, and i got to say that i love that scenery porn and beautiful animation.

  17. A little more drama than I would have liked to bit off in a first episode. I understand they’re in character, but it felt very excessive for 21 minutes and it was hard to watch at times. Also… Creepy Pedodemigod…

  18. The NTR is strong with this one >:3! Good thing I didn’t take the bait, the anime wants the audience to not like Hikari because he’s a jerk to Manaka and is trying to subtly get us to like the mysterious Tsumugu. Well I won’t be taking any sides and joining a ship muhahaha.

    Great art as always PA Works ;p

    1. I’m definitely not taking any sides because the characters haven’t done much for me in this 1st episode.Hikari is pretty much a brat and Tsugumu seems too out of it.Need more reasons to like Manaka as well,other than the fact that she’s cute(aren’t they all…).But I’m being too harsh here,they are middle schoolers after all and it just started(although I usually get attached to a character right away if I like him/her).

      At any rate,looking forward for some good tear-jerking drama but seeing as it’s a 2-cour,they can take their time to with slice-of-life elements to let us get attached to the characters.Drama won’t work if one’s not invested in them.

      1. Agreed

        I usually automatically like the girl that’s the object of the boys affection (with this fantastic art it’s just so easy to do lol), but I might be forced to choose a side depending on further developments.

  19. Art & story are decent…

    Though as for the logic, eg when underwater, a pot of food is cooked with FIRE,
    and that pot actually BOILS.
    Yeah, I know we later learn that its “spirit flame” or some sort,
    but thanks to that I’ll be keeping an eye out for how many logic-breakers they could make like a certain series starring a sponge and a starfish. :p

    1. Except for someone occasionally swimming and the “fire”, it looks like a normal town with fish in the air. Food doesn’t float out of pots, drinks stay in cups, hair and clothing stays put. No real attempt to deal with the realities of living underwater. Sure it’s a fantasy, but this is lazy story telling. They could have just made the underwater city just another town with a different racial makeup and told the same story.

  20. Better not speak about gravity here…

    The show looks reaaally good but I’m not so sure about the plot devices. That thing about having a time limit outside the water is only useful to make spectators worry and get angsty.
    Besides, why they don’t have bathtubs in school or somewhere in the village which can be filled with salad water in school to avoid unnecessary drama?
    Take a bath or salty shower before heading home should be an ironclad rule :3

    The show seems stupidly designed to make you angsty instead of being enjoyable -.-

      1. I think, this hole Under Water are not good thinking through. They avoid the Law of Physics. They go there and add just Fish that flew trough Air.. they are not Underwater, they just on other Layer of Heavy Air, where Fish can Flew!!!

        Perhaps a side hint, of be careful with Nature? We pollute the Sea and their Fauna? So many secret Hints, in this Anime. Hope it dont squished on their own

  21. Ugh, too many emotions riding with this one. It’s the usual PA Works magic of sight, sound and feel.

    But a love triangle this time? Curious, but seeing there will be plenty of bad feelings around(the main character can’t express his feelings well so there will be a lot of misunderstandings too, probably) I’m a bit reluctant to take this up. I’m not really fond of love troubles after all.

    Still it’s a fantasy love story so maybe I’ll take a bait.

  22. This is a fantastic start. Many people already Hikari side for being the childhood friend and because he tells us his point of view in this history.

    I of teenager I was never aggressive or violent with my female friends and love interests. I was not perfect, I was very immature, because I began to know about love.

    At the moment Hikari said “just follow me and stay close forever” I said, “Get lost far Hikari” >:(. I hate guys who abuse girls. I do not care how long he has been in love, That does not give him any right over Manaka. She has all the right to fall in love with who she wants.

    This anime has a lot of potential. Good animation, great story, this episode had a good progress. I agree that the design of the characters is overly moe, but not bad, I have no problems. Mainly because I’m dying for the cute Manaka XD, and to me if I like Tsumugu 🙂
    Your post is great Kairi. Already I look forward to you next week. \(^o^)/

    1. This is like a story of maturity. Hikari is a teenager who needs to learn to behave and not be ashamed to express their feelings, in short is an immature boy. We’ve all been through that stage.

  23. That was completely , and utterly captivating. Hikari’s character is a lot like how Satoru from Shin Sekai Yori was when he was 12 , so I do not doubt that he will grow into a fine person.Tsumugu is harder to pin down – he seems as though he isn’t really part of his world either , but I like him already. Either way , I’m not making any assumptions about who Manaka will end up with.
    The scenery was very beautiful , and the world of Nagi no Asukara has thoroughly enchanted me , so I’ll be looking forward to the next episodes.

  24. I love the studio doing this but the dialogue just makes me feel awkward unless the translating is just really off or troll like but it’s really sexually driven considering how young they are, anyone?

  25. Love this show already! I feel like Hikari is gonna get a lot of flak for his personality, but I think he is really just a male tsundere. People love female tsundere that act similar to like this towards their male love interest, but for some reason there’s a double standard when it’s a male character that acts like this.

    That said, I’m rooting for a Manaka and Tsumugu ending, though it’s probably unlikely. :/

  26. OOooh. This was almost too much. I have these dreams where I’m in the water and it’s just like this show. Never mind that most of that stuff makes no sense (how can they drink?). You definitely need to just go with the flow with this one and try not to get too creeped out from those dreams you have…

  27. Kairi, you choose the best shows! Totally following this.

    This one’s holding as my favorite this season, even over Little Busters and IS. Still, a lot to drop in the coming week…

    Atalla Wanderer
  28. Oh wow, I finally manged to watch it and… just wow.

    As far as character relations go, this feels like almost a gender swapped copy paste of Ano Natsu de Matteiru. We have Manaka (Kaito) and Hikari (Kanna) the childhood friend clearly in love with her. Then we have the strange new guy Tsumugu (Ichika) who Manaka (Kaito) instantly crushes on. We also have Chisaki (Tetsurou) who’s in love with Hikari (Kanna) but can’t tell him and instead cheers him on. And finally we have Kaname (Mio) who cheers on Chisaki (Tetsurou). It all pretty much depends on if Kaname turns out like Mio and is in love with Chisaki.

    Feels lazy at first glance unfortunately… Hopefully it manages to separate itself from those comparisons fairly quickly. Dengeki’s 20th anniversary work deserves to be good.

    One thing I’ll say is the visuals were amazing, as expected of PA Works. The seiyuu were really good as well. I’ll be watching this one closely and hope for the best.


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