「遠い波のささやき」 (Tōi Nami no Sasayaki)
“The Whisper of Distant Waves”
Well, looks like Miuna fans are getting their cake and eating it too.
Maybe I’m a bit more plot and world-oriented than most when it comes to dramas of this sort, but as far as what happened this episode, the part that stuck out the most (outside of Hikari’s always wonderful characterization) was not the exploration or potential for romance between Hikari and Miuna. I found it convenient that poor little devil Akira got rubella for the sake of getting these two a little date (shame, Okada, shame, first the old men and now the children?) among other little concerns, but had that not been the case, I’m still a little iffy about the focus here. It was hardly a bad episode, aside from a few more slips in animation than usual, but the fact that the end held the most interest for me says a lot about the dynamics between characters here. They don’t feel quite as natural as they did when all the other sea kiddos were around; showing Hikari and Miuna laughing and getting along didn’t really make it feel as real of a relationship as when Hikari was with the other kids. It was a particularly pushy bit of narrative device, and I didn’t really care much for it personally.
In fact, as much as I wanted to throw my own shoe at her, I understood Sayu better here; she’s definitely a selfish piece of work, throwing dramatic tantrums for no real reason but shallow jealousy and childishness, but you know what, I was fourteen once too. And boy, was I just as bad. It sucks being the third wheel, and it sucks seeing your best friend being “taken away” by a romantic interest, and at that age you’re still liable to be stupid and prone to letting your emotions take you places you wouldn’t normally go (though that doesn’t mean everyone grows out of it either), so I understand why she burst out in anger like that. It wasn’t really pleasant to watch (or even necessary to the narrative) but I can’t fault her for being realistic as far as middle schoolers go. Whether or not she’ll grow out of it is another story.
In any case, I find Miuna to be alright as far as pining heroine goes, (though I think I much preferred Chisaki), but I do miss the chemistry and development from the first cour. Naturally that’s been missing considering half our cast has gone MIA, but hopefully with Kaname’s return we’ll start seeing things set in motion. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with Miuna, really, but at this point in the narrative she almost feels like an outsider pushing in on a bubble that should only be burst at her own peril; though that’s just me. Perhaps to someone else, she looks more natural with Hikari than I give her credit for; regardless, I kind of feel like that’s still something a tad beside the point, especially when I consider the fact that Miuna, the halfling, has suddenly realized she can breathe underwater.
That’s significant, if only because of what we already know. Children born of a union between sea people and land people are not supposed to have Ena. And Miuna has in the past experienced a near-drowning incident. So the important question is, why now, and why Miuna? Is it because of the state of the sea villages? Has the sea god intervened somehow? I can’t imagine this being purely convenient for Miuna’s sake (though that’s definitely a possibility), so I can only hope this somehow ties in with the bigger story at hand.