“That Which Has Been Lost”
We’re traveling down heartbreak road faster than we can apply the brakes.
The only thing scarier than not knowing someone is seeing someone you know become a stranger before your eyes. That’s something most people who have had close friendships fall apart can testify to, but in the case of Nagi no Asukara, this is something much more frightening. The initial relief that Manaka has returned is beginning to wear off for Hikari as he notices that something is noticably off with her; it’s not just the dead-pan eyes that are unnerving him, but also the fact that she seems to have forgotten important parts of what constituted their relationship. It doesn’t help that Uroko-sama reveals what we’ve all been suspecting since last week; for Hikari, it doesn’t lessen the pain to realize that the girl he has always loved has lost her ability to fall in love, perhaps forever.
To me, Manaka’s cheerfulness feels a lot more painful to watch. It’s not that she’s lost all emotion; we can clearly see she cares about some things and is, in fact, happy, but is her overly peppy side a result of the fact that she’s not capable of much else? Is this why she didn’t seem alarmed at seeing Chisaki, her best friend, all grown up? Is this why she’s taking everything in stride so well and can’t seem to attune to the fact that Hikari is quite upset? Perhaps it’s not this bad, but her interactions with Akari make me think of something a little more sinister than just the loss to feel romantic love; are all her attachments gone? Is she really more Ojoshi-sama than human now?
Whether or not that’s true, however, the fact that Manaka has lost her ability to love, and that her awakening seems to have sped up the impending doom of the world, is enough to drive Hikari to despair. His love was always a hard thing to deal with, especially with Tsumugu in the picture, but even without his rival, things seem even more hopeless than before. It’s understandably painful and traumatic because no matter how stoic and resolved he was being, deep down Hikari had held on to the small hope that Manaka may have someday looked his way. Even if that wasn’t the case, seeing someone you love lose something this important must hurt.
Hikari aside, I found plenty of what Uroko-sama said to be hugely interesting. There hasn’t been enough attention on the real issue at hand (Uroko-sama says that no one is going to be affected until two generations later, but that’s hardly the point), and I find the Sea God’s lore to be fascinating, if lacking a little in terms of urgency. The Sea God, fittingly, seems to be mostly swirling emotions personified by water, which only amplifies the symbolic aspects of what’s going on. Hormones and storming feelings on the part of the sea and land kiddos are something of a duality to the Sea God’s free emotions, which seem to have no real structure and probably act on impulse. The want for a sacrifice seems to have been the Sea God’s longing for the lost Ojoshi-sama, which led to a stability on the part of the world’s situation and the Sea God’s control. Manaka now gone from the sea, things seem to be going to hell faster than ever, and I don’t for a minute buy there won’t be more stops on the road to heartbreak before we get to the destination.