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Nagi no Asukara – 22 »« Nagi no Asukara – 20

Nagi no Asukara – 21

OP3 Sequence

Episode 21

「水底よりの使い」 (Minasoko Yori no Tsukai)
“The Messenger From the Bottom of the Sea”

Welcome back, Manaka.

As much as I’ve enjoyed the show, regardless of quirks here and there, it was more obvious to me today than ever just how much I’ve missed Manaka and what her presence does to the series as a whole. It’s not a question of shipping, but more one about group dynamic; Manaka is always the most childish presence, the happy, bright center of everything. That doesn’t mean she’s always happy, but without her, the sea kiddos do feel a little more somber and a lot more lost. She is important, not just in her role in the greater plot, but also because of the way she affects the others. There are a lot more interesting and complex threads of characterization and development when Manaka is around, and a much greater contrast between her glee and the actual state of everyone else’s psyche (as well as Manaka’s own situation, much as she seems to be oblivious to it).

First and foremost, there is Hikari. Undoubtedly happy to have Manaka back, her return has also caused him grief in terms of his uncertainty about her feelings. It’s probably been killing him, wanting to know what Manaka was going to say to him after the Ofunehiki, and even more so now that she’s back and seems to have forgotten about it. Even more worrying is the fact that she seems to have forgotten most of what she experienced, and that she seems completely unfazed by the fact that her Ena is gone. Perhaps she knows more than she’d like to tell, or perhaps she really has forgotten (the blank eyes she had when Akira got hurt seem to imply something’s wrong at the very least), but regardless, Hikari is definitely still more than a little worried.

On the other hand, it’s looking more and more like Hikari has less to worry about on the Tsumugu front. Not only do we already know that he’s in love with Chisaki, but Manaka didn’t seem to care very much to see her old crush, which is strange to say the least. I could see her feelings being the thing the Sea God took, to throw one theory out there, but it’s also possible Manaka was possibly awake/aware at some point in the last five years and overcame/lost those feelings there; personally I still think it’s likely she became the Sea God’s Bride, whatever that really entails in the long run.

Chisaki too is affected by Manaka’s return, but more subtly. She’s now truly the odd one out among her childhood friends, and as much as she smiles and probably feels thankful for Manaka’s tact and kindness, I’m sure she’s hurting at seeing her friends around her as unchanged as ever while she’s been left behind in a sense. You can argue that Miuna is feeling similarly, though for vastly different reasons (there’s not too much of a barrier there except for those self imposed and need to make up for lost time), but in my opinion Chisaki must be in quite a lot of inner turmoil, though I’m sure that’s true of everyone to some extent.

As to Manaka herself, I have to say that she’s still an enigma right now. For what reason do she and Miuna seem to share a connection? What did the Sea God do to her, and what is his “plan,” so to speak? Why was she allowed to be taken from Shioshishio (even if it seems the God was angry, I think he could have put up more of a resistance), and what role do her friends have in the distant storm we seem to be forming in the not-so-far future?

 

Preview

February 28, 2014 at 9:21 pm
45 comments »
  • February 28, 2014 at 9:46 pmStealth

    even during the happy moments this show feels sad. I feel like it’s only a matter of time before they’re all separated again.

    • March 1, 2014 at 12:47 amtitus

      The saddest moment for me was seeing Chisaki stand next to her friends and look so out of place. She looked like Dorothy with the munchkins.

  • February 28, 2014 at 9:52 pmTre

    Akira’s ADHD increases with every episode.

    • March 2, 2014 at 7:26 amAki-Chan

      Akira has ADHD? Since when? Unless you’re just joking…
      Anyway , ADHD or not , he’s adorable!! ‘Namaka’ LOL :)

  • February 28, 2014 at 9:54 pmAndrew

    I 100% support the Tsumugu X Fish shipping

    • February 28, 2014 at 10:08 pmechykr

      Well, Tsugumu does look kind of happy to be cursed by the fish, the fish being his first love after all. :)
      https://i.na.cx/nL853.jpg

      But in all seriousness, he’s probably glad because it means for Uroko to get peeved at Tsugumu’s suggestion that he read porn mags, Uroko is actually lurking in the surface rather than undersea.

    • March 1, 2014 at 1:23 amCerulean

      Is it the True OTP.

    • March 1, 2014 at 4:47 amechykr

      Mods, can you please unlock my post, it somehow triggered your ultra-sensitive spam filter even though I placed no spam links whatsoever.

  • February 28, 2014 at 10:06 pmechykr

    Like the ED last week, the OP colour scheme quickly took on a more vivid hue, as well as inserting new shots of Manaka seamlessly.

  • February 28, 2014 at 10:10 pmqwert

    Uroko-sama is pissed… that Tsumugu never followed up on that porn mag plan…

  • February 28, 2014 at 10:42 pmMeldoy

    The OP now shows the ice slowly melting away. Guess (hopefully) the hibernating people will all wake up soon?

    • March 1, 2014 at 2:40 pmjn99y4

      Interesting observation. I didn’t notice that, and when I looked at again, it’s really subtle. Nice observation.

  • February 28, 2014 at 11:34 pmMina

    Hmmm it’s nice to see Manaka’s energetic self but i really thought it’s weird that she doesnt show any shock in her surrounding until at the part where Miuna’s lil bro spilled the hot soup and Manaka’s eyes were blank she’s just staring into darkness kinda creepy i don’t know why but she looked like she’s hiding something maybe she’s the scale god and pretending to be Manaka and unexpectedly the Manaka ala Fish Curse accured on Tsumugu hmmmmmm fishyyyyy~~

  • March 1, 2014 at 12:09 amFoxandWolf13

    I feel stupid that it took me THIS long to realize how much shouting “Manaka” sounds like someone trying to shout out the English name “Monica” with an accent.

    • March 2, 2014 at 7:16 amAki-Chan

      Well , I didn’t notice that at all =P

  • March 1, 2014 at 12:19 amTrippwire

    Man, the anticipation of the Miuna-Manaka connection is killing me. Manaka losing Ena, Miuna gaining Ena, them looking uncannily similar (though it could just be coincidental, I think the writers and PA Works are too smart for that), Miuna being able to find the way to the sea village, etc. Like Kairi said, the show has “quirks here and there,” but I can barely contain my excitement right now.

    Looking forward to the next episode and reading another great review!

  • March 1, 2014 at 12:44 amKF

    Something is going on, something BIG. For a brief moment, Manaka had that dead eye looked- it is both scary and unnerving. To think that Manaka could pull that off – what is this world coming to?

    • March 2, 2014 at 7:27 amAki-Chan

      Somehow , I don’t think the dead-eyes was intentional…

  • March 1, 2014 at 12:44 amCerulean

    Manaka’s dead eyes scared the living shit out of me.

  • March 1, 2014 at 12:48 amflamerounin

    just some overthinking on my part.

    in his own review (written in his blog), Enzo asks why, despite opening it as an important plotline, nagiasu doesn’t seem to be all concerned about tackling the whole “saving the wolrd from global catastrophe” scenario. well, the obvious reason is simply because it isn’t the central plot.

    but if we extend our imaginations a bit, we can assume that the sea god presents this “question” not only to shioshishio, but to entire world. remember that it has been mentioned there are 14 sea villages in japan. there could be thousands of villages around the world this means that manaka’s actions during the ofuneheiki wasn’t, in a sense, the only one. it is possible that many other people around the world provided similar “answers” at the same time. so, you could also assume that manaka and miuna will not be the only ones who will again sacrifice themselves at the end.

  • March 1, 2014 at 2:36 amthedarktower

    welcome back Manakana :P

    the return of Manaka affected what’s going on the screen. this isn’t mostly Miuna’s feelings or Hikari’s worries..there is much more balance so we got a fine share of all characters, even a little, convey their feelings and thoughts. it’s a good thing.

    it seems like everything is back to where we started from. Manaka is so happy and her usual self, Miuna and Sayo once again follow the sea-kids, Hikari and Kaname overlook the girls..and the old-days are starting to return. but it’s not really like that. things change and people too. Chisaki and Tsumugu are the proof for it. THO I still feel nothing from Tsumugu..but he is there.

    we have so much new clues and developments: new scenes in the OP sequence, Ena’s lost (now official?), Manaka’s eyes near the table and her memory loss (if it is a memory loss), the flashbacks Hikari is having and all related to the urban legend along with the graveyard discovery. this is all serve as an indication that something has happened and we are now to get into the big picture finally. obviously Miuna and Manaka share a connection and a lot in common, more than meets the eyes, and it’s probably related to the Ena and the fact that Uroko show himself so far to Miuna only. it’s back to what being discussed in the podcast that we still haven’t fully understand her true importance in the story.

    I didn’t mention it above, but in the end of the episode Tsumugu got curse (once again – the same curse from the beginning, showing we are back to where we started but not really). and I ask myself why. why Tsumugu got curse and was it directly by uroko or as a result of some..global curse to the surface people?did Tsumugu made uroko angry?maybe the fact that Chisaki is living in his side on the surface made Uroko dislike this situation?or is it something global showing the dominance of sea (we know it was the problem of 1st half).
    this isn’t the only question – why the people of Shioshishio still asleep while the sea-kids have waken up (maybe it’s time..but it sounds too long, Manaka was asleep for over a week and it took time to get her..so why at least not even one person in the village is awake?).

    there are lots of mysteries and unanswered question that have started to scratch the surface with Manaka’s return . this episode gives signs that plot will enter high-gear soon and the climax is coming.

  • March 1, 2014 at 5:07 amewok40k

    Oh well, Manaka seems to have even more ADHD than Akira.
    Compensating for the loss of Ena? Who knows?
    Tsumugu X Chisaki is definitely gaining wind in the sails! Both of them are for all intents and purposes, young adults stranded in a cast of teenagers, a difficult position to be in.
    For a second I thought Tsumugu started gaining Ena, only to be fooled by Uroko-sama’s mischief.
    BTW, bribing him with porn… that made me LOL. And that it probably would work all too well…

  • March 1, 2014 at 5:13 amlauncelot

    Welcome back cursed fish. I mean Manaka.

  • March 1, 2014 at 5:34 amMoss

    Hmm…. Manaka’s definitely hiding something important. That’s really all I have to say at the moment.

  • March 1, 2014 at 6:35 amricz

    Loved the new added scene in the OP

    Manaka is acting really weird that she’s creeping me out lol

    Tsumugu is starting to make a move…. (super) slowly but surely

    Chisaki is starting to feel left out since she’s the only one who didn’t hibernate… and that’s a plus to Tsumugu…. But I think Chisaki will still choose to be 4ever single

    Tsumugu is really happy to see his first love again…. the cursed fish

  • March 1, 2014 at 8:45 amLaughingMan

    So great to see Manaka awake again! I missed Kana Hanazawa’s adorable voice from her so much. Although, while she seems to be in a happy, go lucky mood, it seems as though it’s all a front to disguise her true feelings http://i.imgur.com/EgXym8s.jpg. I pray that this is just an animation error, because the very thought of what the sea god could’ve done to her terrifies me. Whatever the case, it seems as though the only ones who can set everything right are Manaka and Miuna by working together: http://randomc.net/image/Nagi%20no%20Asukara/Nagi%20no%20Asukara%20-%20OP3%20-%20Large%2002.jpg

    Also, KNEEFISH IS BACK!

  • March 1, 2014 at 8:46 amkabayongtao

    I think Chisaki’s bit stressed out when Tsumugu told her that he’s leaving for a while. She ate the jelly and peeled that tangerine a bit fast.

  • March 1, 2014 at 9:51 amDollar

    I said this on Enzo’s review but if you look at the food metaphors, you can kind of guess that one way or another, Chisaki’s going to end up with Tsumugu – she gives the cream puffs away to the kid bunch (and there are five of them, just enough for all of them) and says that she likes coffee jelly better – so it’s sort of subtly saying that she’s choosing Tsumugu. Or maybe it just shows that both Chisaki and Tsumugu have matured in tastes too and started liking coffee (aah, adulthood), widening the gap between the two 18 year olds and the 14 year olds even more. :(

    • March 1, 2014 at 11:18 ambrajt

      I think it’s reading too much into it. People often say they enjoy what they got better, if they’re jealous that they didn’t get something else. Just to trick themselves that they’re not as jealous.

      • March 2, 2014 at 7:21 amAki-Chan

        I think it might be a combination-sure , she’s jealous of not eating the cream puffs , but perhaps the fact she gave them to the other 5 is a subtle symbolism of the fact that she knows that they can never be the original 5 again? After all , until Miuna and Sayu appeared , it could be assumed that the puffs were meant for Chisaki , Tsumugu , Hikari , Manaka and Kaname-the original 5. Then , Chisaki gave them away , and Tsumugu didn’t know of their existence in the first place , and they happen to be the only older two out of the 7 main kids , as the other 5 are all the same age…
        I think I’m rambling now. Time for me to stop =P

    • March 1, 2014 at 2:45 pmjn99y4

      I guess you can also argue that Chisaki is realizing that as the odd one out, as the adult in their group, she has to be the mature one and give up on her childish whims (is that what you were saying?)

    • March 2, 2014 at 5:04 amricz

      “and says she likes coffee jelly better”
      Chisaki is obviously just frustrated and/or jealous that she’s not the same age(body) as Hikari and the gang anymore

      The same thing can be said on her eating tangerine really fast after Tsumugu says that he will be gone for the meantime…. She’s just basically using Tsumugu….(It’s a plus for Tsumugu IMO)
      Bec. she and Tsumugu are the only person that grew up to be an adult(Miuna and Sayu did grow up…. But at the same age as Hikari) in Hikari’s group

      Poor Chisaki.. If only she can noticed that Hikari and Kaname thinks that she is hot :C

    • March 2, 2014 at 8:11 amDollar

      LOL cognitive dissonance at work, then? XD Maybe she really is just trying to make herself feel less jealous. I’m probably just reading too much into the food.

  • March 1, 2014 at 1:26 pmmike

    even if manaka is back it still doesn’t show that its gonna be manakaXhikari its like adding spice to the drama but it will always be the same ingredients just different taste.

    chisakiXhikari is even more hopeless

    not to mention kaname is just the same as before, neutral, confesses but doesn’t make a move on chisaki, at least tsumugu shows small hints of caring and interest to chisaki even though he didn’t confess(i can’t predict tusmugu but i get the feeling he has more chances than kaname). But then kaname is in a corner since chisaki likes hikari and tsumugu is a rival in w/c tsumugu is more calm minded than kaname(the battle of the cools lol). Kaname has charm but it seems to only affect other girls including sayu but not chisaki, miuna, and manaka

    So here’s my guess:
    hikariXmiuna
    kanameXsayu
    chisakiXtsumugu
    ManakaX uroko/seagod or probably none (like disappears in the end or something to make us all cry).

    I know a lot or gonna hate this pair up but like i said its just a guess, based on my understanding and experiences when watching anime dramas like this (been trying to apply it in real life, obviously a fail, this world is waaaaaaaaaaaaay to awesome and sometimes fucked up, forgive my french)

  • March 1, 2014 at 2:22 pmmagoiichi

    I’m waiting for that Squeeler moment, I know it’s going to happen, it’s only a matter of time. It’s going to be such a good twist that M Night would have stopped making movies after Sixth Sense and Unbreakable.

  • March 1, 2014 at 2:48 pmjn99y4

    Again, great review as always. All your reviews of Nagi no Asukara have been so thought provoking, making me really think about the characters and their relationships as a whole and how they change over time. It’s great.

    A thing though…Tsumugu having the cursed fish…seems that Uroko can also manipulate land dwellers too, or is it because Tsumugu is also related to the sea (through his grandfather)…and I always thought that you’d need to have Ena to have the cursed fish (unless he developed Ena and then got cursed…) else what’d happen when the curse goes away?

    • March 1, 2014 at 3:11 pmKairi

      Thank you so much, I’m very happy you’re enjoying the show and the reviews! -^-^-

      I think it’s probably because he’s the descendant of a sea dweller, but maybe Uroko-sama does have domain over everyone.

    • March 1, 2014 at 8:49 pmMina

      I agree i love this person’s work love his/her writing.

      • March 1, 2014 at 9:55 pmKairi

        Awww thank you so much! ^////^ For future reference, I am a woman. :) One of two employed here (the other being the lovely Cherrie).

    • March 2, 2014 at 7:25 amAki-Chan

      I don’t know if anyone remembers , but when the fish left Manaka’s knee , it said something like “See you later” or “We’ll meet again”. And now , there is a fish (which looks exactly the same) in Tsumugu’s arm…maybe there is some connection? Considering how Manaka and Tsumugu met…and the fact he was one of two (not counting Uroko) people who had actually seen Manaka’s fish.

  • March 1, 2014 at 7:23 pmberrish17

    OMG,amazing how they included Manaka in the OP~!!!!!!! <3 <3
    I just love this anime.

  • March 2, 2014 at 7:31 amAki-Chan

    Uroko-sama is definitely a child.

    • March 2, 2014 at 9:19 pmpetitorenji

      I almost wrote the exact same comment verbatim. Yeah, childish men are unappetizing.

  • March 3, 2014 at 3:25 pmShadowDarumia

    Every time I watch this anime… it’s an eery and uncanny feeling that something isn’t right or something big is going to happen. Ever since the Ofunehiki every episode has been more intense than the other. Here I’m thinking I’m supposed to be happy Manaka is back and yet I’m not convinced she’s behaving like herself.

  • March 4, 2014 at 1:17 amonion warrior

    Waaaahhh~ okaeri Manaka-chan! Its happy to see her back in the show…though i kinda feel shes forcing herself to be all hyped and happy while playing with the salt flakes…

    And as for Chisaki, poor gal feeling shes out of the loop already. She now prefers bitter stuff rather than sweet food like the cream puff. Consider everyones situations right now, Chisaki fits Tsumugu the best when you consider their conversations…though i may be overly interpreted it, i find it lol when Tsumugu and Chisaki talk about porn magazine…its like man how those two already grown up XDD

    Personally i dont think Manaka and Hikari or Miuna will ended up pairing with anyone, esp Hikari…he’s like one of those MC that: its her or no one…and Manaka, she belongs to something greater like the sea or stays mysterious forever. Miuna, she either becomes the savior of the Shioshisio(did i get that right?) or the narrator and writes their stories and busy living her days in the city. Kaname and Sayu can have my blessings though ^^ cuz i pretty much love TsumuguXChisaki right now~