The good news is that when Miuna and Manaka met underwater in the last episode, Miuna’s Ena which was essentially made of Manaka’s own feelings went back into her, so now she has her heart back, hurray! …The bad news is that Miuna was taken as the new sacrifice to the Sea God. Hikari finally realizes how Miuna had felt about him and despairs, evetually losing it and wishing that he too could lose the ability to love, suddenly finding it an awful thing that only causes people pain. Meanwhile, we get another refresher course on what exactly happened in the past with the original Ojoshi and the Sea God. It turns out that he originally took her ability to love away because he didn’t want her to feel pain on learning that the man she loved on the surface had died…however he misunderstood all this time that she loved the Sea God as well. Both Manaka’s and Miuna’s feelings, which resonated with the original Ojoshi’s, combined with Hikari’s own feelings, create a feelingsplosion so powerful that the Sea God finally realizes this after all these years, thus freeing Miuna.
All is well between the sea and the land people at last, Miuna decides to get over Hikari , and everyone lived happily ever after. Presumably.
Well, here we finally are, the end of the show after 26 whole episodes. I can’t say it was a huge surprise that it was a happy ending although it was still nice to see. Miuna was the one who ended up with nobody, and she was fine with that, which I like a lot. Kids really do make a huge deal about their first loves, unrequited or not, so it was nice to see her accept that a first love was really all it was and that it’s time to move on with her life. Even Hikari offers some (perhaps unintentional) words of wisdom on the subject – that things change, so for all we know none of these kids will still be together in a years time, and that’s also fine.
The main thing about this episode was getting some resolution to the whole Sea God story, which was interesting and beautifully presented but damn it got confusing. There are a little too many wishy-washy elements in this show that are played a little too straight as I said in the last episode (maybe I’m just too jaded for this but it was a little hard to keep my face straight at ‘all the feelings are swirling around and resonating in the sea!’, but after looking back at the whole series I can kind of see what the creators are going for; it’s like they were trying to recreate that whimsical, fantastical feeling that folk tales and myths give off. I think they even pull it off in plenty of instances, just…not all the time. Anyway, about the confusing factor – I actually had to be reminded that Uroko apparently said at one point that Manaka and Hikari were descendents of the Ojoshi’s children (?) because that scene showing Ojoshi and what clearly resembled Manaka and Hikari threw me for a total loop and for a second I thought it was trying to imply they were brother and sister. Maybe they could have reclarified this, or maybe I’m just really slow. Feel free to place bets on the latter.
But I really can’t stress how beautiful so many of the scenes in this episode were – the visuals continue to be the driving force of this show right to the end. It was also nice to see everything get wrapped up – the Shioshishio villagers coming to the surface especially -although it feels like a rather low-key kind of ending. But I think it’s rather suited to the nature of the series.
Wow, Nagi no Asukara is one of the longest series I’ve reviewed to completion on this blog for ages, so it’s kind of nice having it all finally over. Because seriously, the show was beautiful and the characters were adorable, but damn did it drag on. I feel like it could have been condensed a little more as the length of it really made a lot of the ‘will they wont they’ love polygon nonsense become almost excruciating to me after a while. It should be pretty obvious from all my review posts on this show but I am Not A Romance Fan – I have nothing against the element in stories, but I can’t help getting a bit bored when it starts becoming too much of a focus. Romances that mostly concern barely pubescent kids who really shouldnt be worrying their heads about heartbreak and the like at their ages are also not a great deal of fun for me. So to be blatantly honest it’s actually pretty amazing that Nagi no Asukara managed to hold my attention for the whole run despite this, and I guess it shows how good the other parts of the show are. And, if I were a huge fan of love-polygons and teenage romance, this show would be seriously incredible to me.
It’s a really inventive take on ‘merpeople’ too -with the first underwater world of its kind I’ve seen in any media, as well as possibly the most beautiful. There’s so many great world-building ideas in this show that it’s almost a shame that they weren’t fully explored, and that I don’t get to see more of this world beyond the story of the show itself. Because honestly, it’s fascinating, even if the physics make little to no sense.
I think in all Nagi no Asukara is a perfect example of ‘your mileage may vary’; and I feel like the tedium of the romance part of it hurts its overall score. But whether you like or hate the love stories involved, one thing’s for certain – its one of the most visually beautiful anime I’ve seen.Out of 5,