And so Pandora’s box is opened.

It’s no coincidence that as Manaka loses her Ena, Miuna gains it, and in fact I’d hazard a guess and say that Uroko-sama has even bigger plans for Miuna – part human, part sea-human that she is. If  I were to describe this episode in two words they’d be “haunting” and “hollow” because that’s how Shioshishio felt. From Miuna’s perspective, the residents of the town all appeared dead. Even Hikari had a hard time trying to convince Miuna, and possibly even himself, that they were not. Shioshishio is visibly dimmer, almost adding to the “graveyard effect” – highlighting it’s vacant nature and that eerie sense of horror felt upon discovering the Ofunehiki pit (of despair!). If the statuesque depictions of the Shioshishio residents didn’t hint at it already, something is very wrong below the sea, and it would appear that only Uroko-sama knows what’s really going on.

Nagi no Asukara Episode 18 Image 0010

Speaking of Uroko-sama…he’s been a bit of a background character for most of the series so far – an observer to the lives of our main cast. Everyone’s favorite “scale” is back once again as a means of warning us that there are things we don’t know and that, by interfering, something bad shall surely happen. His particular interest in Miuna may be nothing more than just that – an interest in her reasoning for being with the group – but I can’t help but feel as though there’s more to it than that. Now that Manaka has been taken away, it only makes sense that – if we are to believe that the sacrifice of a maiden is the only way to appease the Sea God – Miuna, or some other girl, should be her replacement. But that’s mere speculation on my behalf. It just feels as though Miuna, a continuing presence in the series, still has something left to do, you know?

Miuna. As the love triangle/square/some variance of polygon becomes more and more convoluted, and as more of the original Shioshishio crew return, Miuna is, once again, becoming a side character – at least, from where she’s standing she is. She wants to be a part of Hikari’s life. She want’s to be a part of the “Shioshishio crew”. And yet, as usual, she’s forced to watch from the sidelines as Hikari and Kaname rush towards Manaka. In episode 18, Miuna attempted to finally understand the “Shioshishio crew”, be guided to their old school so as to see where there bond was formed and how important Shioshishio was, and is, to them. Uroko-sama knew that she wasn’t really there to save Manaka, per say – not entirely anyway – but I feel as though Miuna has gained a greater understand of our main quartet and her placing her height mark amongst there’s is almost symbolic of her integration into the group.

Finally, Manaka. Just why does she have to lose her Ena and die? What is the point of the maiden sacrifice? Only Uroko-sama really knows at the moment, and I’m sure we’ll find out, but what will be the cost of removing Manaka from the Sea Gods clutches and how will the group fix it? Also…let the romantic warfare begin!

Nagi no Asukara Episode 18 Image 0021