「海のいいつたえ」 (Umi no Ītsutae)
“The Way of the Sea”

So far, I can attest that this is a really good series in the making.

It continues to amaze me how real this world feels every passing week. It’s not that I imagine such a world could exist, but rather that the characters and the situation feel real, they feel like something that, if they did exist, would more or less work in the same way as they’re portrayed. There’s a logic to the seeming un-logic of people living underwater and their various problems with the people of the land, particularly, as we’re told this week, in the truth about the prejudices between land and sea.

Of the two sides, I think the prejudices of the sea people are explored a bit more thoroughly than those of the land, but they’re not exclusive either. On the wake of Akari’s possible banishment from the underwater village, we learn that there’s a very specific reason for why people leave when they fall in love with people of the land. It would seem that the quality that allows the sea people to live, a substance called Ena that sticks to skin from birth, is not present in the children from a union between land and sea. As a result, the child of a mixed parentage would be unable to survive underwater, and thus the sea parent would be forced to leave the village in order to raise that child. Of course, necessity seems to have become tinged with prejudice and anger over time. There’s no reason to banish someone so that they lose all contact with their friends and family just because they “married out”, for instance, nor is there any reason to view such a union as “betrayal”, were it not for one somewhat understated fact. Akari, for instance, mentions that there are only “about four” marriageable guys her age in the village, and that getting married is thus somewhat difficult. We also see that Hikari, Manaka, and the others seems to have been the sole students at their old middle school, a place that held exactly four desks and a picture of a slightly younger group. That seems to speak volumes about the social situation and thus the friction between the land and the sea; the sea population is dropping. Dramatically. Even worse, when a sea person leaves to marry above the land, that lessens the reproductive potential of the village; a person who could raise a child under the sea now has to leave to raise their mixed children above the waves. That leads to uneasiness on the part of the remaining umi no hito, who are watching their community and culture slowly die away, and to understandable but misplaced resentment toward the world outside the water.

Then there’s Akari and the question of what’s the right path for her in such a situation. The relationship between Akari and Hikari is, for one thing, very caring in a sort of delicate way. Akari tried to become dependable and motherly to her younger brother once their mother was gone, but her maturity isn’t who she truly is. Like any normal person of that age, she loves and wants to be with the one she loves, but thanks to her duty to family and culture, decides to give her own desires up. But as Manaka says, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be with the person you love, though it’s scary to think of leaving everything you know and care about behind. How do you choose between two worlds, two lives, that you cherish equally for different reasons? What will Manaka choose when it comes down to Tsumugu and her life under the sea?




    1. While I certainly won’t call him likeable,we did see in this episode that he’s at least self-conscious,which is the 1st step towards improvement.It’ll probably take a while for me to like him(if ever) but then again,we got 2 whole cours.Still,the sooner the better and looks like this episode delivered a bit on the “sooner” part.

      Nagi no Asukara will probably still end up being my 3rd or 4th favorite show this season even if I won’t end up liking Hikari.

    2. he is basically a middle-school students at age of what..13-14?they are supposed to be annoying brats quite a bit at this stage.
      however, as MgMaster claimed, he is at least aware to himself..well not completely.
      moreover, it’s the step toward grown-up man. so he is kinda in the middle of maturity-process. his life changing, he doesn’t fully understand himself and the environment (which is troublesome enough)…so it’s only natural and genuine all that stuff, it reflects the true colors of that age IMO. that’s why this show isn’t only about complexity in relationships, it’s combines the problems in their society and the process of growing up. that’s what make it interesting..so many aspects combined together.

  1. I think the betrayal issue is simply because the sea people are clearly in decline (as witness Akari’s lament about eligible sea-men (sorry) and thus, every person who marries an outsider is contributing to the decline of the population.

      1. On the contrary, I think you made the point very clearly – I’m just reiterating that in my opinion this prejudice is at the very least defensible, it not justifiable. The sea kiddos are in big trouble, and desperate times call for desperate measures.

  2. so let me get this straight..in the end it’s a matter of evolution (?)
    sea people has declined (LOL like jinrui XD) ’cause one doesn’t get Ena unless he is “pure sea blood” like Kihara-kun(?).
    yet the elders somehow try to..maintain the tribe, but obviously with only 4-5 middle-school students(our MCs) and about 4-5 others in Akari’s age..it’s a problem. I can understand their fear of assimilation in the land’s population. but, if that’s the case..is exile justified?
    well the relationships is becoming more complicated from episode to episode. and I wonder how far they’ll go with the declining problem.
    I think manaka won’t be able to decide between Hikari and Kihara, though it seems the latter is favorable somehow..
    and there’s the stuff with the legend..it has to do something later on..

    and that’s not all…what’s with that ending…wow. it’s indeed one interesting show.

  3. ‘Papa’ , huh? Now that suddenly puts a whole new perspective on the way those two kids (I think their names are Saya and Miuna) were behaving , and why. I wonder how that particular issue will be dealt with.

  4. I’m gradually getting attached to this series. The immature moe characters become less grating and the well-written drama, conflicts and divisive nature between the two worlds are starting to get interesting and compelling.
    Also, characters like Akari always strike a chord with me: putting up a front to keep things at peace, yet deeply conflicted inside.

    I’m gonna ship Manaka x Tsugumu, not for the reason whether or not they deserve each other or make a cute couple, but because it will probably result to more intriguing drama with personal inner turmoil and may fuel the antagonism between the two groups.
    I certainly hope this show continues to explore the depths of its premise.

  5. I really, really love the way show builds up the connections between land and the sea. As I have speculated beforehand, children from mixed marriages dont inherit sea-breathing capability, which forces emmigration or abandonment – a sad and dramatic choice that usually leads to depopulation of the sea.
    The Akari case is now further complicated by the fact her boyfriend seems to be also a father of some kids already… and by herself going her chosen path of self-denial for the (perceived) greater good.

  6. I really like Hikari.

    13-year olds who have the wisdom of grown men in anime are really annoying to me. Nice to see a kid acting his age. On top of that, he’s doing some growing up. He finally accepted Tsumugu, that’s something.

    On the other hand, I find Tsumugu really, really boring. I can’t say I dislike him, but that’s because there’s nothing to dislike (or like) about him. He’s a cardboard cutout.

    His laugh at the end felt genuine though, hopefully that’s a sign of things to come and he starts feeling like a character the way the others do.

    1. A quiet and serious child is not mature. Tsumugu has to mature to express their emotions and feelings. I was equal at that age, I was very quiet and distant from many of my classmates. My maturity consisted of learning to express myself, to be sure of myself and what I believe. Stand firm against the opinion of the majority and seek to understand the people, good or bad.

  7. This anime really strikes hard on the matter of exclusivity vs. embracing the unknown. You can’t help but wonder what the kids would choose when they start to mature later into the series.

    You can see these kinds of stories for communities losing ethnicity and heritage here and there, and it is quite a struggle to see the minority losing their struggle against the harsh reality of the world outside.

  8. The last episode and this delivered a good picture on that cover this anime. The characters and plot are very well done for this story, I hope that everyone is pleased with the progress of this series. It is still too early to say whether this will be a great anime, but has all the potential to be memorable.

    I wonder what history will have Tsumugu’s grandfather, he had a close relationship with a person of the sea or he is a child born between sea and land?

    He has a daughter!, I see a great story for the next episode XD
    Thank you very much for your post Kairi (^o^)

  9. amusing, hikari is now growing faster then high school anime characters way older than him.

    the whole banishment issue actually mirrors how some real life communities tend to shun those who decide to marry out of their circle. and the reason often boils down to fear of the loss of cultural identity, as in shown by the series.

    i am quite intrigued by kihara’s family history. i am guessing that he is either adopted by the old man *which we are all sure by now is a sea dweller who decided to move to land) or that he is indeed 1/4 sea dweller. there is no mention yet of his parents so that one is still up in the air. as for the romance, this is likely not about hikari winning manaka over, but more about him finally learning to let her go and follow her heart’s desire.

    overall, it looks like this series is indeed turning out to be one of the darkhorses this season, though i am still weary that an okada disaster is just right around the corner waiting to happen.

  10. In the first episode, there are TV where salinity weather report appear. Is there seems other village / town of umi no hito exists. While this village of umi no hito is declining, what are the status of other village ? It seems strange that single man/woman from another village is not an option if other village of umi no hito exists.

    1. I’m also kind of curious about the larger picture. Not just if there are more sea villages, but what about the land dwellers? This takes place on Earth doesn’t it? I’m assuming that means there’s billions of land dwellers and well that just puts it in perspective.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *