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 started out by focusing on four middle school students who live in the ocean named Hikari, Manaka, Chisaki, and Kaname. Because their middle school shut down, they had 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 beginning of episode 14, five years have passed and a lot of things have changed.
Hikari and Kaname keep returning to Shioshishio to try to find Uroko-sama in the hopes of getting an answer as to how to wake Manaka, since she’s already been asleep for a week since being brought to the surface. Chisaki joins them in the search, but they can’t seem to find him. Hikari is so driven toward this task that he pushes homework back and talks about skipping school. Miuna admonishes him, but also slips out the question of what if Manaka never wakes up. This upsets Hikari, and Miuna regrets blurting that out.
Miuna tries working with Sayu on coming up with a way to wake Manaka, and Sayu suggests doing things to stimulate her five senses. Before either one of them come up with any ideas, Hikari talks to Itaru about trying to find as many people who participated in the Ofunehiki five years ago as he can and record the song that was sung during it. The recording is made, but it ultimately doesn’t help Manaka to awaken.
As Miuna and Sayu do more on their own, Sayu gets to a point where she questions Miuna as to whether or not she really wants Manaka to wake up. This questions ends up haunting Miuna for the remainder of the episode.
Due to how much Hikari has been pushing himself, he ends up catching a fever and having to stay home from school. Miuna pretends to have a fever, too, in order to stay home with him. Near the end of the episode, Hikari and Miuna get into an argument, and it results in something unexpected happening…
This episode has a strong focus on both Hikari and Miuna and their feelings and actions concerning waking Manaka up. Poor Miuna feels so torn, because on the one hand, she likes Manaka and got along with her well five years ago. But on the other, though, she knows that Hikari likes Manaka, and if Manaka wakes up, there’s no chance that Hikari will notice her. When she comes to realize that she’s subconsciously been wishing for Manaka to stay asleep, Miuna is racked with a bit of guilt.
Near the end of the episode, Miuna has an important conversation with Tsumugu. He admits that he had thought it’d be better if the others didn’t wake up because he felt like Chisaki would disappear from in front of him if they did, and this thought scared him. But when they did awaken, he admits that this made him happy. Miuna wonders if she’ll be happy too if Manaka wakes up and can say it from the bottom of her heart. Tsumugu says he believes that she can.
I’m really glad to see that the series has not only focused on the confusion of those who woke up after being asleep for five years, but it also focused on the confusion of the ones who remained awake and lived through all the time that took place during the timeskip. It’s easy to portray the confusion for the ones who were asleep for five years, but it isn’t as easy to portray it for the others. I think that Nagi no Asukara has been able to portray the confusion of both groups of characters effectively and it feels rather believable.
I can’t believe there’s only four more episodes left for Nagi no Asukara. At this point, they still have to figure out what the temperature of the water keeps getting colder, and why Manaka has been losing her Ena. Also, we still need to learn whether the other inhabitants of Shioshishio will awaken or not. I believe that Uroko-sama is going to be the key to answering the remaining questions, so I suspect he’ll have to make another appearance at some point.
With the unexpected happening that takes place at the end of episode 20, I’m looking forward to seeing episode 21 in order to find out how this unexpected happening will affect the overarching story for the remaining episodes of the series.
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