Nagi no Asukara: Episode 9 – “Unknown Warmth”

Nagi no Asukara is set in a world where long ago, human civilization lived on the ocean floor. However, there were humans who wanted to live above the surface and moved to land, and this created a separation between the humans. The series focuses on four middle school students who live in the ocean named Hikari, Manaka, Chisaki, and Kaname. Because their middle school shut down, they must attend a school on land. During the first episode, Manaka met Tsumugu, one of their new classmates. He’s from a family of fishermen and has an interest in the underwater village.

At the end of episode eight, saltflake snow fell on the surface. Word of this gets to the sea village, and Uroko-sama calls a meeting to talk to the adults of the village about the calamity that is approaching.

Meanwhile, Hikari and Manaka convince their classmates to go ahead and do the Ofunehiki as just themselves. Tsumugu talks to his grandfather about borrowing a boat, and the kids get together to repair the Ojoshi-sama and to get the boat ready.

A couple of very important plot points take place while they’re getting ready for the Ofunehiki. The first concerns Chisaki. She suddenly collapses, and Tsugumu realizes that her Ena must have dried up. He takes her to the sea so she can replenish herself. While she’s doing this, the two of them talk, and it deteriorates into an argument about whether or not Chisaki has really abandoned her feelings for Hikari; it ends with Tsumugu telling her that she’s neglecting her feelings. Chisaki becomes upset and heads back to the sea village, and Kaname accompanies her. There’s a surprise waiting for them when they get there.

There’s also a scene that takes place between Manaka and Hikari, where Manaka tries to give encouragement to Hikari because she knows he’s worried about his father. By the end of this scene, Hikari comes to realize that even though he said he’d support Manaka going to the surface to be with Tsumugu, he still has feelings for her.

And through a conversation between Manaka and Tsumugu’s grandfather, we started to get a little more of an idea of how Tsumugu came to live with his grandfather.

The next day, Hikari is the only member of his group to appear at school. The teacher mentions that he can’t reach the others from the sea village, and Hikari believes it’s the adults trying to interfere with the Ofunehiki. He runs out of the classroom in order to return to the village. Hikari is shocked by what he finds when he returns.

When I saw the saltflake snow fall on the surface at the end of episode eight, I realized that something wasn’t quite right; we learn early on in the episode that the temperature in the sea village is dropping because of it. Throughout the episode, it’s hinted that some kind of catastrophe is coming, but we’re not told what. All we know at this point is that the three kids from the village who still live there are told that they can no longer go back to the surface and that they need to stay inside. From seeing how episode nine ended, I suspect that we’ll get the answer to what the calamity is over the course of episode 10.

The series is starting to move some of these character relationships along, and so far, I like the pacing of the story. However, I’m seeing reports that this series is supposed to last for 26 episodes, and I’m very curious to see if this is accurate or not. From what I’ve seen at this point, it feels like we’re getting closer to a climax and a potential resolution to the series. If we’re already at this point in episode nine, how could the story be expanded out to 26 episodes without having to slow down the pacing dramatically and potentially weakening the story?

When I reached the end of this episode, I found myself wanting to know what exactly is going on in the sea village, and being a little frustrated that I’ll have to wait a week to find out. I’m looking forward to watching episode 10 to see how the story will progress, both for the situation with the sea village and for the various character relationships.

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