I think we are all forgetting the real victim in all of this; his name is Akira.
Though I haven’t said much of anything about Akira and Akari recently, I just wanted to point out how much I’ve liked them and their mother-child relationship in the background for some time before getting to the meat of things. It’s probably no secret that I adore Kaori Nazuka’s work, and while this season her character has had very little screen time, I enjoy seeing these little moments of every day life beyond the dramatic nature of Nagi. Akari and her family really are the epitome of “life goes on” when it seems otherwise to the sea kiddos, and I admire the ability of the series to portray this juxtaposition even in little glimpses like this. Akira is a pretty believable little teenybopper, mischievous and running around causing little troubles everywhere, and it’s moments like his infatuation with Manaka and Akari’s attempt to humor him that add to this pretty realistic dynamic of a family beyond all the watermelon tears of Miuna and Akari’s relationship in the first half.
But as always, drama is king in this series, and there are plenty of those tears to go around. If you’ve been watching the pretty obvious signs, it’s clear that Chisaki and Tsumugu were bound to eventually go somewhere, and it’s clear that Chisaki’s circumstances were bound to confuse her. I don’t particularly like the way Tsumugu assumed and pulled Chisaki into a hug like he did (even if she was obvious, it is a matter of respecting her wishes and confusion), but the point was made. Since before the time skip, there has been something there, and Tsumugu felt the spark even if Chisaki pretended otherwise. However, that makes things harder for her now that she is forced to face the fact that she has to move on from her childhood. She even considers running away, by becoming the new sacrifice no less; I suppose she imagines that in becoming the sacrifice she can pause her growth while the others grow to her age, eliminating the uncomfortable change. Whether or not that is foreshadowing I couldn’t say, but I could certainly see someone taking the Ojoshi’s place, and not necessarily Manaka.
In that capacity, I don’t think Hikari is wrong to be wary. As much as the other’s tell him to be more optimistic and to fight, the thing is that he already has a pretty bad experience to go off of. Yes, this time they are using a wooden Ojoshi-sama and not a live sacrifice like Akari, but even so, the fears are very much justified. This is a good example of learning from experience; after all, if you hit a stone wall with your bare fist you learn you won’t break it no matter how many times you hit it; in that case it’s smarter to think of new ways to break down the wall. It’s also true that perseverance is important, but it’s at least understandable to see why Hikari would hesitate now to repeat his experiences.
Last but not least, there is Kaname and Sayu. Shippers are probably having a field day now that at least two pairings are starting to formulate, but what I found most gratifying was seeing Kaname cry. He has always been too mature for his age, and while that’s not necessarily a fault, it’s good to see that he’s a kid like any other from time to time, and that he can show it openly. It’s good to see the kiddo catch a break, but I don’t see Sayu (or any of the characters) as “consolation prizes” for anybody. People aren’t prizes awarded for exemplary suffering or good nature on the part of others; he and everyone in this series deserves happiness, but I’m happy to see Sayu step up and claim that happiness at least a little at a time on her own. If she wasn’t there, I think Kaname would have been fine too, but the important part of this relationship, I feel, is that Sayu brought out that hidden pain of Kaname’s and forced him to face his feelings, just as all the other kiddos have been forced to do on this long road to heartbreak.
Note: Apologies for the late post, I have just finished midterms as of yesterday and have been fighting with my internet since arriving home for spring break.