OP2: 「ebb and flow」 by Ray
「約束の日」 (Yakusoku no Hi)
“The Promised Day”
Well that preview was a red herring if I ever saw one.
After our eventful halfway point, I was definitely expecting a time skip of sorts, but when the preview flashed showing a still-young Miuna, I think most of us were fooled into thinking it was a pretty short one, maybe a few months to a couple of years. I’m sure there were plenty of people who predicted the time skip would be into the kids’ high school years, but even in that case, I think much fewer of us considered the effects of hibernation and the actual tragedy in and of itself into the timeskip. What we’re left with is essentially a surface world five years in the future that’s lost contact with everyone from the sea who didn’t manage to leave or escape the hibernation; that includes people like Akari, who chose to stay behind, and people like Chisaki, who had no choice.
Five years is a long time, so long in fact, that Chisaki and Tsumugu have graduated from high school and Akari’s had a baby-grown-toddler-devil. But five years is not enough to heal scars or to forget the painful events of the past, even if you’re moving along to some degree or another. Chisaki has it particularly bad; not only has she lost her family, but she’s also lost her precious friends and Hikari along with them. She’s been left behind, not abandoned but still lost to time, and she’s had to adjust to living with a new family and a new life with Tsumugu and his grandfather. Her already brittle state of being is further threatened by Ojii-chan’s hospitalization and the fact that the world seems to be racing on without her. She’s become a “lonely housewife,” forever waiting the return of something she has no guarantee ever will return. Her relationship with Tsumugu has certainly changed; she’s turned off the possibilities of being with him while Hikari takes up all the space in her heart, but for Tsumugu himself, he’s essentially grown up under the same roof with her now. He definitely cares about her, and it’s very likely that caring has developed towards romance since the incident.
Then there’s Miuna, another leading lady in her own right now that she’s grown to middle school age and another similarly affected individual. Like Chisaki, Miuna was left behind by her friends, less known but by no means less beloved, especially when it comes to Hikari. She’s grown enough to understand that she’s been in love with him the whole time, but that makes it no easier for her to forget and move on. She’s tied to the past, moored like Chisaki to her feelings, but somewhat less prepared to deal with what Chisaki has always known about Hikari and his feelings.
That is pretty straightforward writing as far as timeskips go, but it’s not until the final few minutes, during the Tomoebi, that things get even stranger and answer a question I put forward three episodes ago with respect to the hibernation; “would the sea kiddos have aged?”
The answer is, apparently not.
Hikari, magically arriving on the scene naked and disoriented, is exactly the same age he was when he and the others disappeared into the impenetrable depths of Shioshishio and the fourteen other sea villages of Japan. In fact, he thinks it’s the moment after Manaka disappeared, and much to Miuna’s horror, he has no idea who she is. In fact, all he’s worried about for a minute is Manaka before realizing that something is very very wrong.
That leaves us in a very sticky situation indeed. If the sea kiddos have not aged a bit, then Hikari, Kaname, and presumably Manaka (wherever she is) are now the same age as Miuna and Sayu, whereas Chisaki and Tsumugu have outgrown them all by five years. That complicates everything about our love relationship shape things (there’s way too many, it’s not even a pentagon anymore) as the kids come to terms with this new age discrepancy. Not only that, but considering the sea is still frozen over despite the sea god taking his sacrifice, something is still afoot on the global catastrophe scale, and something must be done. After all, I very much doubt Hikari managed to get out of the sea on his own.
Note: Apologies for the short delay, I’ve been battling with internet connection issues for a few days. It is possible some of the series I’m introducing for the new season may be a bit late while I try to fix things, but I’ll try to minimize the damage.
ED2: 「三つ葉の結びめ」 (Mitsuba no Musubime) by やなぎ なぎ (Yanagi Nagi)