This is what I’ve been waiting for for the last couple episodes… my God. An amalgamation of Nagi no Asukara’s most promising traits, episode 9 shows the viewer what the series is capable of and sets the scene for, what I hope will be, one of the best plot’s this season. Romance, drama, tension, mystery – yes, episode 9 has it all, but there are, of course, some issues and flaws that still remain prevalent within the series. Are they huge problems? No. Will I discuss them in this post? You bet your ass I will!
When I heard that Hikari and the gang were going to try to build the Ofunehiki for the third time, I almost cried. “Why?” I pleaded, “Why can’t we just move on with the plot?”… and then my prayers were answered. Episode 8 left a bad taste in my mouth, lacking any real substance and screaming the awful words filler, but episode 9 fixes those issues, deciding instead to focus on plot and real character development, instead of some superficial glances, stares and blushes. I’m not sure, but I’m almost certain that the Ofunehiki is going to be a recurring theme in the show, whether that be as a symbol of the land and sea humans working together to complete a goal in the end, or to show that the land and sea humans can’t work together and to even think that is futile. Honestly, the latter would be my preference, it adding a whole new layer of complexity to the series, but regardless, as long as the story retains it’s interesting qualities, I’m willing to watch.
That said, let’s just get down to business. The future of the surface is, I suppose, looking rather bleak. The way the villagers of Shioshishio reacted… you’d think it was the end of the world, you know? Huh? What’s that? It probably is the end of the world? Interesting… The fall of salt flake snow upon the land has driven a final rift between the Shioshishio and the land humans. Why? I don’t know, we can only hope that Uroko-sama reveals all in the next episode, however, it’s interesting to see how this confinement will effect our group of kids and it’ll be interesting to see to what extremes they’re willing to go to escape from Shioshishio… that is, if they even want to escape. I assume Manaka will try to leave in a desperate attempt to save Tsumugu, but, I suppose, only time will tell.
Oh Chisaki, when will you ever learn? The tale of Chisaki and Tsumugu in episode 9 was a tumultuous one, Tsumugu finally confronting Chisaki about her feelings for Hikari, and Chisaki rebuking him when he tells her not to change herself for the object of her desires and instead remain the same. Is Chisaki being a bitch? I don’t know. On one hand, you have the fact that she’s just a child trying to deal with all these emotions and once and it must be confusing, especially since she’s decided to forsake her love so as to help Hikari. That said, on the other hand, you have the fact that, if Chisaki is as grown up as she says, she shouldn’t need to be so rude to a guy who’s been helping her this entire time… that said, for a moment there I could’ve sworn that Tsumugu was going to make a move on Chisaki… that, or he was going to make her fall in love with him. And what about Kaname? Will he ever find love? Or will he… kill Tsumugu for the sake of the group?! Nah, Kaname’s a decent guy… right? I joke, but the question still stands: who will end up with who in this dilapidated love fest?
And, of course, we come to the final act of the episode, Hikari hugging Manaka… Out of curiosity, when did hugging become a crime? What? Did Hikari get a boner or something? What gave him away? Japan is Japan I suppose, and I don’t know much about social etiquette, and so I suppose a hug could constitute as a sort of confession, but I digress. I’m not sure if Manaka pushed Hikari away because she’s in love with Tsumugu (which she obviously is) or because she knows that Chisaki likes Hikari? It raises an interesting, if not probably one sided, question that will definitely change the dynamic of the series no matter the outcome. Can Hikari and Manaka ever come back from this? Or are they doomed to never speak again? Nah, they’ll definitely speak again, I just hope Tsumugu gains some emotion before Manak jumps on the Tsumugu-meister train, you know?
To conclude, episode 9 of Nagi no Asukara served as a sort of ‘return to form‘ for the series, taking what made it good in those first few episodes and applying said traits into episode 9’s plot. Were there flaws? Of course. The plot’s not as engaging as it could be, Manaka and Tsumugu still lack any real depth, Kaname is still pretty much background character, and the plot still feels rather cliche, if not slowly trying to force it’s way out of being a cliche by moving at an almost noticeably slower pace. That said, there were still a lot of amazing things about episode 9 and I can only hope that episode 10 lives up to the promise of its predecessor… not too much pressure, eh?