English: Nagi-Asu: A Lull in the Sea
Synonyms: Nagi no Asu Kara, Earth color of a calm
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Oct 3, 2013 to Apr 3, 2014
Duration: 23 min. per episode
Rating: PG-13 - Teens 13 or olderL represents licensing company
Score: 8.421 (scored by 59530 users)
1 indicates a weighted score. Please note that 'Not yet aired' titles are excluded.
2 based on the top anime page. Please not that 'Not yet aired' and 'R18+' titles are excluded.
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Apr 8, 2014 3:32 AM
Nagi no Asukara (or Nagi-Asu for short) takes place in a fantasy world where there exist two different subspecies of humans. In this story, people originally came from the ocean, however over time there were ones who started crawling up on land as well to see what lay above the surface of the water. Now, ages later, the population has been split completely into land people and sea people, and they generally live quite isolated from each other.
The story follows a circle of childhood friends from the sea, living in an underwater village called Shioshishio. For various reasons their local middle school closed down, and they had no choice but to transfer schools… to one above the surface. Trying to adapt to a life on land is not an easy thing, as they constantly have to keep themselves wet in order to not dry out their Ena; the protective shell given to the sea people by the Sea God, which is what enables them to live and breathe underwater in the first place. Furthermore, there is substantial discrimination and tension between the land people and the sea people which keeps raising new hurdles for the group of friends.
There are numerous areas that the plot revolves around over the course of time. There is the diplomatic relationship between the two groups of people, the mysterious supernatural aspects concerning the Sea God and Ena, and last but not least Nagi-Asu has some of the most complicated love drama I've ever come across in anime. However fear not, because Nagi no Asukara is an exceedingly rare case of romance done right.
You see, unlike 99% of all romance anime out there, Nagi-Asu is actually unpredictable. Normally you barely have to watch five minutes of the first episode of an anime TV-series in order to know with almost complete certainty which couplings will end up taking place before the end (unless there turns out to be no development at all, which is even worse), but not this time.
For one, the main character cast of Nagi-Asu is rather large as well as evenly divided in gender. There is also no one that really can be called a protagonist in this series; Hikari probably gets the most screen time but I wouldn't really go as far as to call him a “lead" character. Point being that it never really feels like anyone has any innate “advantage" when it comes to love rivalry simply due to the concept of plot armour, because they all appear to be on fairly even grounds from start to finish. Above all though, if you would draw up all the characters and their various crushes in a relationship graph, you would very quickly realize that there are just way too many arrows… and there is no obvious nor optimal solution in sight. Hence, I honestly didn't know how any of this would turn out until very close to the end of the entire series, and that is something extraordinarily rare in anime (which in itself is a pretty sad realization for the sake of the anime industry).
Anyway, all the love drama aside, the character development in Nagi no Asukara is fantastic. Each and every character feels like he/she actually serves a purpose, and adds something crucial to the bigger picture. The anime covers a quite large timespan and there is plenty of opportunity to see how everyone matures and changes over the course of the story. All the members of the main character cast have very specific and detailed personalities and depth behind them, and you never get the feeling that any of them are any less important than the other. I guess the best way to explain it is that the supernatural aspects aside, there is a constant sense of realism when it comes to the characterization in Nagi-Asu and it just kept getting better and better the longer it went because of it.
Oh the burden of not having an 11/10 rating.
If there is one thing you will realize within the first few minutes of the very first episode, it is that the visuals of Nagi-Asu are simply out of this world phenomenal. I'm not talking as much about the facial expressions etcetera although those are certainly very good as well, but this category is all about the environments. Everything involving the sea in this anime is breathtaking. Absolutely stunning. The underwater world and its submerged town has all kinds of marine creatures swimming around everywhere in perfect detail, and the lighting coming through the ocean surface (which works sort of like the sky in this case) and how it refracts with the water looked almost futuristic at times. P.A. Works really outdid themselves this time around.
That is not to say that the surface world is that much less impressively looking in any way, as the animation quality of this show is just all-round top notch. I don't really have much to say about it however other than the fact that it is really solid throughout; it's just that it kind of gets outshined simply by how gorgeous the water world of Nagi no Asukara is. I really cannot praise it enough.
Anything starring Hanazawa Kana is always an immediate potential winner in my book, but she's not exactly the only factor to take into account regarding the audio of Nagi no Asukara. As far as the voice acting goes, I think pretty much everyone really lived out their characters' roles as good as you could possibly ask for. While there was no one character that really stood out for me as being above the others in this regard, the amount of feeling that was put into the voice acting should definitely not be understated, and consequently I think it was a really good performance by the seiyuu cast in general.
Regarding the soundtrack… this part is actually pretty hard to comment on. The reason for this is that the music of Nagi-Asu is generally pretty quiet. It doesn't have any sort of epic OST or catchy/emotional music; rather it goes with a generally ambient theme that tries to up-play the atmosphere of the anime in general as well as its key scenes. As far as that goal goes, I think it does its job very well, but on the flipside it also results in the individual tracks not being very memorable as they're pretty much only good alongside the show itself and not as something you would ever listen to on its own in a music playlist. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing, but it's simply the way it works.
The various OP/ED themes would probably all fall into the category of “good, not great" to me; originally I wasn't too fond of them but they kind of grew on me over time as the show kept getting more and more emotional.
Overall I feel that the music of Nagi-Asu was mostly intended as a supporting aspect for other categories of the show rather than something intended to be great on its own. It's not the most common way of approach but if that was indeed the producers' goal then I think it was executed fairly satisfactory.
This show took up almost all the spare time I had available over the course of the three days it took me to marathon it. Normally that is not something I manage to do quite as much anymore, at least not for anime of this type of genre, but in the case of Nagi no Asukara I really could not stop watching it. It has this constant drive of making you want to know more, both regarding what is going to happen to the characters in focus, but also regarding the entire population of the two human subspecies and the world itself. It is extremely immersive and has a huge sense of realism to it that makes it really hard to not get absorbed by it. Also, like I mentioned earlier, it is less predictable than most anime series out there so you can never take what is going to happen next for granted.
Nagi no Asukara is a series for people seeking feels and beautiful landscapes. It utilizes environments you normally never get to see in anime and it does so in style. It once again showcases that a seemingly stereotypical concept can be extremely successful when you add one or two twists to it on a very basic level, as well as boost it with very high production values. It also makes you care, not just for the main characters but for everyone and everything in it as the scope of Nagi no Asukara is unusually large.
This anime made me bask in its beauty as well as sob silently. It went above and beyond all my expectations and now I have to consider it as one of the best I've seen in ages. A gem not quite like any other. read more
May 22, 2014 7:09 PM
A long time ago people lived and flourished in the sea. But one day some of the sea people wanted to live in the land, and thus they moved to the land and away from the sea. The story revolves around 4 middle school students who are forced to attend a school on land after their school in the sea village closes. Many problems such as adapting to new environments and dificulties making friends follow.
The story presents itself as a slice of life in the beginning with the main focus on problems the main characters have on the surface. Now for some people the pacing in the first half might be a bit slow, but There is good reason for that. As a character driven anime, Nagi No Asukara has to focus on its characters a lot and flesh them out properly, and Nagi No Asukara does just that. The show uses a lot of its time developing its characters and making sure they feel more like actual people rather than flat characters that you care little about. Was it worth it? Definitely.
But don't be fooled. Nagi No Asukara doesn't always stay a fun, light slice of life. The mood changes dramatically darker in the second half. The show takes a turn from slice of life to being more dramatic, and this is where Nagi No Asukara falls short on. Many slice of life romances that try to implement drama in their plot tend to be overly melodramatic, and this also seems to be the problem with Nagi No Asukara. Nagi No Asukara's second half is chocked full of drama. From unrequited love to arguing. The show sometimes becomes quite frustrating in the dramatic parts. Many parts felt uncomfortably lengthened because of the melodrama and how the characters are so unwilling to talk and make up after an argument. Now although to me this wasn't a major problem. It still dampened from the experience as a whole.
Story isn't the only thing Nagi No Asukara focuses on.The animation of Nagi No Asukara is top-notch, with animation that rivals even The big studios like Kyoto animation The show looks absolutely gorgeous. The backgrounds were created with such detail that it felt like I was watching an art gallery. Character designs were also very appealing and detailed. Seriously, Nagi No Asukara's art is definitely some of the best I've ever seen in the anime industry. I'm not exaggerating at all.
The sound of Nagi no Asukara is also paid much attention on. "lull ~Soshite Bokura wa~" by Ray is a great first opening that fits the slice of life aspect of the show perfectly. The second opening "ebb and flow" also by Ray has a more serious tone to it and is also a great song to listen to. ( I have already listened to it 20 times). The soundtrack also doesn't disappoint. Pretty much every track and tune fits the mood well. Nagi no Yanagi also does a great job on the ending song.The first ending song "Aqua Terrarium", is a calming song that fits the show very well. The second ending song "Mitsuba no Musubime" is also a very good song that fits with the second half very well.
As a character driven show, the characters are the aspects that make or break the series, and I can honestly say that Nagi No Asukara has quite the cast. The main cast consists of 5 characters. The crybaby Manaka Mukaido, the hotheaded Hikari Sakishima, the calm and collected Kihara Tsumugu, beautiful and caring Hiradaira Chisaki, and the handsome Isaki Kaname. Now at first the characters felt very stereotypical. Hikari is the main character that gets mad at many things and gets the viewers pissed off because of how much a jerk he can be. Manaka felt like those characters that were made to be cute and cater to the audience. Tsumugu was the smart one in the show that would preach life lessons to the other characters. Kaname was the handsome guy, and Chisaki is that kind girl who also joins in on the love triangle. As you can see. The cast doesn't seem to be very likable or original in the beginning. What P.A works does an extraordinary job on though, is putting a serious amount of depth to the characters and developing them immensely over the course of the show.The characters develop dramatically and feel way more alive throughout the show. As you get to learn more about the characters through the show. You end up feeling way more connected to the characters.They turn into characters that you actually care about. Not second dimensional characters that you forget about in a few weeks, but characters that really make an impression on you.But that's not the end. There are two more main characters added through the show. Shiodome Miuna and Sayu Hisanuma. Although they only receive development in later parts of the show. They recieve a lot of development through the series and although they might not get as much depth as the other characters. I ended up caring for them just as much as the main cast.Another very interesting part of the show is that Nagi No Asukara has one of the biggest and most complicated love webs I have seen in a while. Almost every important character in the show loves someone else. And watching this web unfold was truly an enjoyable experience. As I watched the characters grow up and see how they coped with their unrequited love. I began to root for their happiness from the bottoms of my heart. The characters truly made an impact to me, and it was a bit sad for me to finish the show.
Nagi No Asukara isn't for everyone. It's slow pacing in the beginning and it's focus on the characters are enough to scare off people who have little patience and want immediate action . But for people who are patient enough. Nagi no Asukara is a show that will deliver. With its beautiful atmosphere, great characters, and a very interesting story. Nagi No Asukara is that gem in the rough that should definitely be watched by fans of romance and slice of life. read more
Jan 8, 5:07 AM
To explore the diverse set of ranges this anime goes over, you'll need to understand the story behind it all: Humans originated from the sea and lived there, but after awhile, some wished to explore the land and settled there. After the separation people still live in the sea and the land, but difference in thinking can go a long way after the change of life style. You have conflict between the two, each party becoming fed up with other causing a feud between the two. From there you begin the anime, opening with a group of kids who come from the sea, but their school being shut down has made them resort to going to school on land. The problem here is that the circle of friends are at the same time showing they don't want to be there, that the land is no oasis.
From the very first day of their first taste on land, they're faced with stereotypes and negative characteristics by the the class, all except one person not joining in this. This person would be Tsumugu. The only main character from the land and one of the few who accept them personally. The friends aren't treated as they wish to be during their stay on the land and get humiliated at any chance they're given. While this is going on Manaka and Tsumugu are having interactions that change her perspective, and ultimately the groups perspective. The challenges that await them are one that only they could experience and learn, while staying friends like they were before.
First off, the romance in the show. Since the show is very character driven and heavily focused on the romance in the show due to the differences in interest for others, there's drama in the group. The drama isn't something that can be repaired quickly, and the show makes sure of it. It felt natural and seemingly unavoidable. Conflict of love interests in many shows have failed, whether it be from the lack of emotion to way of dealing with it, this show covers those aspects correctly. There's bound to be awkward bits and mess ups from the cast, they're only in middle school, but it's realistic. From the way the characters deal with the problems such as Chisaki being rejected by her long-lasting love, Hikari, she doesn't run away from reality, she continues on and gets over it. Romance and drama are no lacking aspect from the show, if anything, it's the main aspect that drives the show.
Then there's the time skip. What trouble these things cause, but this show used the aspect of this and gave it a twist that brought something to light that wouldn't have been shown otherwise: being left out and growing up. During the five years that the cast are frozen, Chisaki is the only one from her group of friends that isn't affected. She's left to grow up and experience life without her friends that she treasured. Chisaki clearly has shown that she feels left out, that she has changed while the others haven't. After the others have become unfrozen, it's discovered that they haven't aged one bit. After time they come to realize, though Chisaki's appearance may have changed, she herself, hasn't. Her constant worrying of being not accepted for who she is now no longer exists. She can be fine and live with her friends again, just like she used to in the sea.
What about the characters and their role in the anime? They're nothing less than diverse and their actions heavily influence what happens. While this is a romance anime, there isn't only two happy people out of the cast that gets a good ending. Respectively, they all get a fine outcome, and all get screen time letting the audience experience life with them as they go on. Usually in shows with a large group of main characters there's gender inequality, but this has a balance between males and females.
No one character was treated differently from anyone else, even Tsumugu who's from the land and not the sea. Though when it comes down to it, two characters are often left out from the cast that we picture. That being Sayu and Miuna. They're introduced into the show for being trouble makers and messing with the project that the main group is working on. They're mainly there to show up in the first half to make appearance, and become main characters in the second half. They sadly have the short end of the stick. After the time skip, they both find love interests in the main cast, yet are sort of left out, at least Sayu is. Miuna on the other hand is left caring for Hikari and Manaka, and slowly realizing her love for him. Finding out that he loves Manaka, she's left confused and heart broken, lost on what to do next. After awhile she leaves it aside and lets them be, though it still does hurt her. With that being said, every cast member learns from their experiences and matures into wonderful characters by the end of the series. There isn't one person who still refuses to accept others.
Can we take a moment and just stare at the art? Art in this anime is nothing less than the best. It never dipped in quality, and was probably the best thing this anime had to offer. From the sea village, Shioshishio, to just the land itself, they both have the highest quality put into them. You can see the village from the water as if it's clear and really clean. Aside from that, the village itself looks spectacular. The concept of it all was done well and brought out a great aspect of living underwater, and the land was the exact same. They had wonderful scenery with the forests and city when they went to visit. Detail was put in the littlest thing bringing out the beauty of it all. It's safe to say that P.A Work's has yet again produced an anime with art that is elegant and explosive in its own way.
Soundtracks and Openings for this anime wasn't overlooked in the slightest, since art was heavily focused. The openings reflect on the series itself and what it's trying to show the viewers. The first is "lull ~Soshite Bokura wa~", and it gives the feeling of a new experience that the friends are getting, while trying to overcome the problems that they're facing. Then the second half has "ebb and flow" which shows the feeling of change, and accepting the past for what it is. You can't change it, but it's the present that matters. They both really stood out above the rest and made great impact on the series. As for the cast, they're nothing to leave in the shadows. You have well known faces like Hanazawa Kana and Kayano Ai, who produce great work. While the rest of them aren't as well known, they aren't anything less than great. They did their job perfectly to portray their characters and give life to the words that they said.
Is Nagi no Asuakara worth the time to watch? Definitely. It was one of the brightest of 2014 and gave a hell of a ride for the fans. While the start is a little off setting, it gets a lot better towards the second half. The beautiful landscape views and scenery give the show life while having a big cast to bring in content. It's a show about experiencing new things and letting go of the past. Anyone who is even remotely thinking about watching this should give it a try, it won't hurt to give it a go. read more
May 5, 2014 3:32 AM
This show is a "slice of life, fantasy and romance" show in a nutshell, however it takes these themes and fulfills them really rather well and isn't without some original twists.
The story is set in two villages, one in the sea and one in the land. There is a conflict between the people of these villages due to friction about their cultures and beliefs. The people from Shishoshio, the sea village, believe that the people originated in the water and that those who had left in the past for land had betrayed the sea god and had turned their backs on their way of life. This rivalry in the show is actually well developed as the show goes on and plays a defining role in moulding the story.
The story starts of with four main characters, essentially around whom the meat of the story revolves around (although there are two other main characters added shortly after). These are Chisaki, Kaname, Hikari and Manaka, the few children in the sea village. They have been childhood friends and in the same school for as long as they can remember and are being transferred to the school on the land to continue their education. Obviously, having been together for so long, they all have strong feeling for each other and the refreshing fact is how realistic their relationships are. They fight, have fun, love each other and are jealous of each other at times. Unlike many other shows this really helps drive the story further on solid foundations.
The story then revolves about their life on the land and the interactions between the characters. The new main characters added are Tsumungu, a quiet but reassured boy who lives on the land with his grandpa and two younger girls, Sayu and Miuana. All of these characters are well developed over the show and themselves are involved in secondary themes such as dealing with second marriages in their family and loneliness. Not everything is laid out on a plate however and there are certain things that are left for you to figure out or wonder at.
The first half goes through the gears and describes the life of the characters and how they get on, with a few usual bumps and twists, some of which is original and some which is to be expected but by no means boringly cliched. The main plot of the start is the build up to the "Onefeukhi" a ritual which is carried out by the sea and land people together to pay sacrifice to the sea god. I shall say no more. This is one of the very few anime with a twist that is shocking however done in such a way that doesn't irritate but actually works with the story and ultimately makes it better. It is this "twist" that actually helps to make this such a memorable anime.
So thats the story glanced over, of course there is so much going on all at once for me to explain but take this much 1) The complex relationships (between sister and brother, children and parents and between the children themselves, even the adults, the villagers too. 2) The character development is paced perfectly with the story and is satisfying to watch unfold. I haven't even scratched the surface of the story yet.
The art style is nice, there are no faults and quite mellow.
The soundtracks are well used and OPs are definitely amazing.
Overall this anime gave me a chance to feel what I had with anime such as Clannad and Little Busters. It's a story driven by the entire cast, there is a whole bigger picture behind everything and the fantasy setting doesn't detract it really defines the show in a way while still making everything absolutely relatable (not in a practical sense but an emotional one).
So if you are looking for something with substance, a well paced story and a brilliant cast all blended to amazing effect, Nagi no Asukara is not a show to miss. read more
Aug 8, 2014 12:22 AM
Let me start off with what I liked about the anime.
The art style was one that I'd never seen before, therefore it was very refreshing and overall very pleasing. Since turquoise blue is my favourite colour, the art was really a gold mine for me, seeing as all of the characters who come from the sea have turquoise coloured eyes. Overall I thought the art was beautiful.
Wow! In terms of music and sound, this anime would be up there with my top 10. All of the openings and endings gave me chills, and I actually have them in my iTunes playlists. Both Ray and Yanagi Nagi have incredibly beautiful voices, and to be honest I thought they were the same person at first. They sound very similar, however they each have their own style of singing which adds a beautiful aspect to the music. I don't have much to say about the inserted music because I actually don't remember much of it, but I'm sure it was appropriate for whichever scene it was used it. Overall the music was stunning and used very well throughout the series.
Okay. Now that I've gotten what I like out of the way, let's get to the biggest issues that I have with this anime.
I would give this a higher rating, as I actually liked most of the characters in the anime. The two characters that broke this anime for me were Manaka and Miuna. I actually quite like Miuna's personality, so I'll get to why I don't like her later. Let's focus on Manaka. God, I hated her. I still hate her. I hate Manaka with a burning passion and it will never go away. One reason is because of the voice acting. Manaka is played by Hanazawa Kana, who is a respectively known voice actress. She has a childish but very cute voice, but she was wrong for Manaka. I feel like Hanazawa-san is repeatedly getting thrown into the crybaby role, which I hate. The only character that I really thought Hanazawa-san played exceptionally well was Kuroi Mato from Black Rock Shooter (the OVA, mind you). Now let's move on to Manaka's character. She acts like she's 5 or 6 years old, constantly crying and making other people worry about her. She is incredibly naive, such to the point where she can't face the truth when it's right in front of her, and doesn't pay attention to the way anybody else is feeling around her. She runs away from everything, including Hikari's love for her (which isn't really a spoiler since it is known that Hikari likes her from episode 1). One could argue that she's very noble, since she does a certain something halfway through the series (I will not give up spoilers), however I found that she had no basis or motivation for doing what she did. It's like the writers just wanted to paint her as a good person so they made her do what she did. She confused me for a long time into the series, making me believe that she liked someone when she actually didn't. Sigh. Overall, I hate Manaka.
Okay. I am done ranting about Manaka. Time to look at the other characters.
Personally, I really liked Chisaki. Chisaki, unlike Manaka, had a very in-depth character, and actually took the time to think through her actions and decide why she wanted to do something. She is a very mature, independent person, and I really like that about her. It's really hard to analyse Chisaki's character further without adding spoilers, so I will just say that Chisaki is a very likable character.
I also really liked Hikari and Sayu. Hikari was one of the boys with a short temper, making him angry at almost anything. However he got angry with good reason. He would usually get angry trying to protect Manaka and his friends, or he would get angry because he was jealous of Tsumugu, whom he thought Manaka liked. I liked Hikari's playful and caring side, however, and that he would honestly admit a mistake when he made one. Throughout the episodes you watch his character changing, so that he becomes a more flexible and less angry guy. I don't understand what he sees in Manaka, but that's just me.
I also liked Sayu. Sayu looks like a typical tsundere on the surface, however she really cares about her friend Miuna and about the boy she loves. She felt tortured because she started liking him when she was in elementary school, and worked hard during middle school to get him to notice her. I really liked Sayu's voice and I hope that the voice actress, Ishihara Kaori, get's more opportunities to star in more anime. Overall, Hikari and Sayu are very likable characters.
This anime's characters all have the opportunity to be likable, depending on what kind of person YOU as the viewer like. As I have said many a time before, I hated Manaka's character. But I liked everyone else. Overall, the characters were pretty good.
I usually love the kind of drama found in this anime. Friends that are dealing with unrequited love within themselves is a genre that I wouldn't give up any day. However the fantasy part of the story was really bad. Let me start by saying that this is one of those stories that makes you think it's about one person the entire way through, and then at the very end it pulls the rug out from under you and says, "Whoops, it's actually not about the main character." This is the main reason why I don't like Miuna. Miuna, from what I understood, was supposed to be a side character. A character that sort of mattered to the plot, but not really. Then I find out at the end that she is essential to the plot, and suddenly she becomes a main character. Think about it like this: if you were reading Harry Potter, and the main character is Harry Potter, wouldn't you be ticked off if, at the last page of the last book, it became about that kid that Harry said "Hi" to one time in the second book? Of course I'm exaggerating a bit but that's what it feels like to me. I was extremely thrown off when I found out that Miuna was the main character all-of-a-sudden, and I honestly hate stories like that. The fantasy part of the story, while it did it's best to be explained, didn't really make me believe it. It seemed very shallow, and there were a lot of mysteries that weren't explained, which makes me angry. The ending of the story felt very rushed and hurried, and suddenly there were these new things that had to be smushed into the last few episodes. I was also astonished by how foolish the sea god acted at the end of the series. I was honestly sitting there, at my computer, thinking to myself, "How could you be so stupid?!" But I digress.
Overall this anime didn't strike me as anything worth watching, although I am glad to have watched it so that I know exactly what I hate now. I'm also glad that I got to listen to the music as that, as well as the art, was probably the only thing that kept me going. Please remember that this is only my opinion, and that I am not trying to convince you to share it, but rather tell you of the things that I noticed while I was watching it. Anyway, happy anime watching!
Apr 7, 2014 7:30 PM
Nagi no Asukara's setting revolves around two worlds: the land above the sea and Shioshishio, the village under it. People who live on land are the same as normal humans, like us. The people living in Shioshishio however have an advantage. With a protective layer around them called "Ena," the villagers of Shioshishio are able to live underwater while also being able to freely maneuver on land. The setting is completely unrealistic, yet at the same time, the relationships explored in the show feel completely genuine. Of course, the drama is exaggerated to the point of being completely artificial, but such exaggeration is a necessary evil to keep its audience enthralled; a tactic that worked well.
Of course, a setting combining two distinct worlds wouldn't be complete without its own religion and lore, and Nagi no Asukara certainly delivers. The problem is that the religion and lore comes on too strong. Romances are supposed to be stories that are driven by the character's emotions and actions, but in Nagi no Asukara, there are many times where the plot advances as a direct consequence of its religion and lore. Now I'm not saying that these events shouldn't ever occur, but in Nagi no Asukara's case, the plot advances so many times due to its mythology that you begin to question whether the show is about teenagers experiencing romance or high schoolers fighting against the supernatural. While it certainly can be both, the fact that the mythology is so forward in the show consequently adds many plot inconsistencies and leaves the watcher with numerous questions; it ultimately detracts from the romance, which is conclusively the prevailing factor. I'll apologize in advance for being so vague, but as the plot and mythology are so closely tied together, I wouldn't be able to provide a good example without spoiling the plot.
As for the romance itself, be prepared to draw one of the silliest relationship charts ever. A square? A pentagon? A hexagon? Unfortunately, things are just too complicated, and with seven main characters, it would be pretty much impossible to keep everything straight in your head. Yet somehow, I can keep all the relationships straight in my head. That's where the Nagi no Asukara shines. Even while the plot advances and everything becomes more and more complicated, Nagi no Asukara doesn't want you to forget that these are the main characters. Yet while it's impressive that I've become attached to the characters to this point, there are still too many characters. While I can keep the relationships straight, it doesn't mean I fully understand all the characters. Talking about specifics, the only characters I feel like I truly understood were Hikari, Chiasaki, and Miuna. I felt like these three characters were truly fully developed. While Manaka can be considered the most important character in the show, the fact that she was missing for a considerable amount of time made her feel distant, even more so when she begins to profoundly discuss love in the last episode, which felt completely uncharacteristic of her. The remaining characters, Kaname, Sayu, and Tsumugu felt distant for the majority of the show; it almost felt as if they were contrived solely to advance Chisaki's character. Ultimately, a mix of developed and undeveloped characters crossed together as if they were all equally developed makes everything feel extremely complicated and messy.
And speaking of complicated and messy, let's talk about the pacing. Before getting into details, Nagi no Asukara is divided into two major arcs. The second arc is a direct consequence to the events of the first arc, so as a result, they can't really be considered separate entities. But back to the topic at hand: pacing. The first half of Nagi no Asukara threw a myriad of themes at the audience including themes such as racism, the death of family, parent-child relationships, romantic freedom, and tradition. With so many different things going on, everything felt frantic. Yet even still, the underlying plot barely moved an inch in the first half until it reached its pinnacle, which was unsatisfactorily ushered by the fantasy of Shioshishio's mythology. As soon as the second half began, everything was reset. Essentially, all the themes from the first half instantly vanished and were replaced by new themes. Could Nagi no Asukara have been a 13 episode series? Probably not. But does it need 26? I'm sure it would have been fine in 24 or even something like 20 (I'm looking at you, NiseKoi), especially when the show essentially restarted. But that being said, I honestly can't complain about the second half of the series. After being completely engrossed in the setting of Nagi no Asukara in the first half, the pacing really began to feel natural during the second.
P.A. Works does a fantastic job with animation as always, and this is certainly highlighted by the gorgeous underwater landscapes present in the show. Of course, the animation still falls short when animating crowds, and you still have a fair share of CG usage due to the vast amounts of water present in the show. Overall, there's not much to comment on this subject. Expect fresh art and animation when watching this show due to its setting, but keep in mind that like all anime, Nagi no Asukara is still prone to CG, still frames, slide shows, and the works. It's not ufotable, so don't expect movie quality, and it's not Shaft, so don't expect any interesting artistic choices, but it's still P.A. Works, so expect it to be good.
On the subject of P.A. Works, the music and sound in Nagi no Asukara is definitely up a notch from their usual work. Putting popular voice actors aside, the soundtrack is where the sound department really shines in Nagi no Asukara. While there might not be anything iconic or inspiring in its music, the eerie yet serene tracks really make you feel like you're listening to the music of the sea. Of course, the tone of the music shifts to its opening and ending songs as well. For example, I found that the intro to the first ending song really captured the eeriness from the soundtrack, and fit the show's drama perfectly, bringing a fantastic mix of curiosity, mystery, and sadness. And of course, how could I forget Miuna's piercing yet poetic voice in the second opening song? Such a poetic start is greatly complimented by the second ending's upbeat intro, which gives the audience a sense of apprehension and urgency. Overall, the music fits Nagi no Asukara beautifully; unfortunately, the soundtrack just isn't memorable enough despite being so fitting. That doesn't make it bad, it's just a little disappointing to think that I won't remember anything about the original soundtrack a few months or years from now.
I wish I could tell you more about Nagi no Asukara's themes, and dig deeper into its plot, but I feel like I have already articulated the vast majority of my opinions, so any more would be unnecessary. A more in-depth analysis on Nagi no Asukara's definition of love or Akira's arc on star-crossed lovers might have been great points to cover, but I leave them to discuss another day.
So should you watch Nagi no Asukara? If you like romance and drama, it's certainly a great addition to the genre. Personally, I grew very frustrated with the characters and themes as the show progressed, but that doesn't mean it wasn't a good experience. Besides, you might have a different opinion about it, so give it a try, and remember, everyone deserves a chance at love. read more
Oct 12, 2014 2:19 PM
The story may seem like a typical romance, with a sea people twist, but it's so much more. At first, it was focused on the children and their feelings for each other and the surface. But as the children realized they were apart of something much bigger, the series was about accepting change and how some people wish for it and some fear it. More importantly, I thought this series told a good mixture of fantasy romance quite well. I loved the characters and was interested in the story's lore. The themes of unrequited love, change, and acceptance, were mashed around well. But, there lies a weakness in this story. The pacing. While you don't really notice this until the last quarter, it's pace is a bit too slow. Instead of dragging things out, there should have used that time to some a bit more interactions between the characters. Since they didn't do this, relationships were given poor resolutions and the ending was somewhat of a mixed bag. But in the end, I still enjoyed the story Nagi no Asukara told.
Most of the characters are nicely developed, with a great main cast and supporting cast. With each character having their own personal problems and flaws to deal with. My favorite character, has to be Chisaki. She arguably goes through the toughest times, and I can kind of relate to her fears. But, there's also a few characters I'm disappointed with. Manaka is probably the most controversial character in the show. Some people are annoyed by her, and some are cool with her. I'm with the latter, but I wasn't too pleased with her character in the second half. While she does develop I found her presence to be a plot device in the second half. I just feel what they did to her character was freeze her development, and in a show about change, that's a bad thing. Another thing I didn't like was that, in the end, the character relationships weren't tied up as I liked. This traces back to the pacing problem, and it's a shame. There was room for things to be tied up better, but overall, the characters are the best part of the show.
Animated by P.A Works, Nagi no Asukara is amazing to look at. From the stunning backgrounds, lighting, and the overall feel of the show. I have to say, it's probably P.A's best work. Rivaling their past show, Hanasaku. The animation is also pretty good for a romance, and that's because of the fantasy aspect of the show. The swimming looks really good, and while it's no where near Free!'s animation, it's fluid enough. The best aspect of the animation has to be the backgrounds. I felt that P.A Works know what a run down fishing town looks and feels like, and the show wouldn't be the same without these backgrounds.
The music of Nagi is very relaxing to listen to. Fitting of the theme of the show. A half of the ost was light summer like songs, but the latter half leaded on the cold and emotional parts. I really like this variety of songs, because it reflects the story. I find that the ost, to be a very nice listen for doing homework, or cleaning up your room. It's really nice to listen to. As for the openings and endings, I found every song to be nice. Like the ost they were nice, and I didn't really skip them. Okay, I admit, the second one is pretty amazing. It's a really good song with great build up, and emotional relevance to the plot. Overall, it's really nice, and I would give it a listen if you are doing your homework.
Nagi no Asukara may start out a bit bland, but it;s really a coming of age story about friction between two lands as well as relationships. I felt for the characters, because of how they changed and grew. And, I like how each character was characterized because of how it revolved around how everything has to change. Your home, family, friends, and most importantly, you as a person change. And that makes Nagi no Asukara worth watching.
Feb 19, 6:23 PM
Change. It is something necessary and important to our lives, even when we don't want it. Nagi No Asukara (凪のあすから）that was and still is overlooked by many people. On the outside, it looks like a typical slice of life anime, which would turn people away but what they don't realize is that it tells such a great story with many underlying tones and themes that most of us can relate to. Although it is exaggerated in the anime, we know how it feels to reject change and wanting things to say still. As you read my review, hopefully I can sway you to watch this anime if you have doubts about it and maybe enjoy the masterpiece this anime is.
The story takes place in a fantasy world where the people are divided in to two groups: the people of the land and the people of the sea. It focuses on our five main characters transferring to a new school from the underwater village of Shioshishio to a new middle school on the land. It is not peaceful between the two groups and discrimination is a big theme/tone of the anime. The discrimination solely lies with the heads of each group, where each believes they are better than the other. The story also focuses on the Sea God and the mysteries that surround him, the deity which allows the people of the sea to breath above the water. The are also subplots of romance/drama, which get more complicated as the episodes progress. Keep in mind taht the series is split into two arcs, where the first arc is from Ep.1-13 and the second arc is Ep.14-26. Out of the two, the second arc is more intereseting and better than the first, but the first lays down the foundation for the second arc and is crucial to the story. Both arcs are enjoyable to watch.
If only I could rate this higher. This series is animated by P.A.Works, a company known for their beautiful animations and settings. You immediately are taken by the beautiful scenery in episode 1 and I believe gets betters as the anime goes on. The characters are well drawn and have a good design, and the amount of detail put in to this is astonishing. Nothing more to say.
Another strong point of this anime. What makes the scenes so powerful and emotional in this anime is the OST. Each track is composed beautifully and they are placed in at the right time to the have the greatest effect on the viewer. You could listen to each individual track and you would love each and every one of them. The OP and ED for both the first and second arc are probably the best openings I've seen and heard. They both match the theme of each arc perfectly and is animated beautifully. The first OP is very light hearted and happy, which relates to the beginning, but then the second OP has a much sadder tone to it, emphasizing the seriousness of the second arc. It's just a very good OST.
The characters in this show are very good. All, except maybe with the exception of two(Manaka and Tsugumu), always develops every episode. If you were to skip 1 or 2 episodes, you would be confused on why they act so differently to how they previously were. One thing NagiAsu did right was develop the sub-characters as well. You got see everyone gropw and and *change* throughout the course of the story. You could really feel their emotions and it felt like you were there, growing up with them. I can't say much more about the characters, as it might spoil the anime, so I'll leave it at that.
While this anime was directed and done beautifully, I could not give this a higher score. I did enjoy the anime as every episode aired, but some episodes were just so packed with dialogue that it got boring on some parts. Granted, this show does have a lot of dialogue, but his helps strengthen the bond and emotions between the characters, and thats what makes it good. So if you aren't a fan of dialogue-heavy anime, you might get bored while watching.
Overall, Nagi no Asukara was a fantastic anime. Almost everything was done right and the story kept you intrigued and interested the whole entire way. You really grow close to some characters, so when something major happens(see ep.13), it really affects you too. The way it deals with deeper subjects as amazing and you most of these subjects most people could relate to. This anime was overlooked and brushed over when it was airing, so if you happened to miss it back in 2013, I HIGHLY recommend watching this now, because you won't regret it.
Dec 27, 2014 6:59 PM
Nagi no Asukara follows the story of Hikari and friends, whom live in an underwater city called Shioshishio from the help of Ena (a skin covering helping them breathe underwater). It documents them making the jump from going to school in the sea to on the surface, as well as showing the strained relationship between sea dwellers and land dwellers, and how the has affected the fate of the world as they know it.
As for the story, Nagi no Asukara is a very untypical harem anime drama, in fact, atypical is better in describing it. There are 2 arcs (which is separated by a time skip) in Nagi no Asukara, with many varying themes from the secularization of religion, to coming to terms with change and the "guilt of love". Furthermore, it does include a bit of magic in places, mainly when referring to the main religion, the devotion to the sea good. Although it starts of very typical in terms of how harem usually come about, with the many complex love triangles obvious from the get to, the story telling, raw, emotional character interactions and it's pacing make it truly into a drama, with twists and turns in developing friendships and how change can effect the relationships too. In terms of atmosphere, although it may appear light hearted here and there, the many themes which are mainly adult, even including the racism of children and the on going feud with land and sea add a brilliant juxtaposition to what you would 'expect' to see. Those themes lead the group of children coming together to try and mend a broken society and a broken world. The anime ended with an atypical ending, completely against the traditional harem ending.
However, there are some draw backs. Although it has the atypical harem anime style, it can be seen as over dramatic in its messages and some issues can be a bit farfetched. In terms of using the magic and supernatural in religion, it can also be seen as too fake as it doesn't work well with the other themes. Nevertheless, the added magic and religion, as well as charterers in love in all do make for some interesting developments.
In terms of animation, it's stunning graphics do set it well above many anime made recently, the scenery of shioshishio is truly stunning, giving it almost an 'Atlantis' theme to it, with dazzling, sharp colours. In terms of character models, although each is designed well, one problem can be with this who aren't too fond of HUGE blue eyes, however, as they live in the sea, it acts as an added touch, and even adds to the theme of racism too, which was done well.
The show shines when it demonstrates the characters. When the show started, the characters mainly fell into the most predictable type of casts. For example, the main character Hikari was the usual tsundere, there was Tsumugu, the stoic-voice-of-reason character, as well as the forgotten main characters wing-man Kaname. Not to mention the coy, shy one Chisaki, and the cry baby Manaka. But instead of keeping the characters like that, they were fleshed out to the extreme, with many serious events developing, or better yet, completely re-defining the cast into a group of kids with many flaws, many skewed perceptions of reality and, most of all, grounded and realistic, similar to the youth of today. The show does make use of the characters inner struggles well, this can be seen by the love interest within the friendship group. It does add for drama and emotion, told brilliantly by inner monologues. Overall, the characters really do go on a rollercoaster ride of emotions.
However, there is a catch, some characters do come into play well, such as Miuna, whom was very prevalent in the second arc, but characters like Sayu and Kaname (one of the main protagonists) ended up getting less screen time. Nevertheless, they're problems, although brief were dealt with to a good standard.
As for the music, both the opening and ending were rather enjoyable, both had a slight feeling of being cute and cuddly, but was preformed well and was very rememberable. However, the ending song did give away some spoilers for what would happen later on in the series, which was disappointing. The original soundtrack was done very well, with each intense moment, working well with the music.
To conclude, Nagi no Asukara does set a high bar as being a really remarkable drama, with realistic characters, and a well crafted story. I will recommend it to anyone who wants to watch drama at its finest. read more
Nov 2, 2014 10:14 PM
Story(9): Nagi no Asukara has a very interesting story that will convey both heart warming moments and heart breaking moments. Much of the story is strongly driven by romantic entanglements of the various characters present. In a world where there are two types of Humans in the form of land dwellers and sea dwellers, when 4 sea dwelling teenagers are forced to attend school alongside land dwellers; the internal struggles as well as the emotional impact of trying to adapt to the new situation, results in an interesting Slice of Life type of drama. The story itself revolves around the changing relationships between the 4 sea dwellers as well as their relationships with land dwellers and elders of the sea village they reside in.
Art(10): The animation used in Nagi no Asukara is simply marvelous, quite outstanding even amongst strong contenders of 2014 animes. The art done for the underwater world of the Sea dwellers are beautifully rendered, making it effortless for the viewer to imagine oneself as being in the Sea village. This creates the feeling of being underwater in a world that is like our own yet different at the same time.
Sound(10): Nagi no Asukara has exceptionally well done sound effects, voice acting, as well as the music that is seamlessly integrated into the scenes with precision. The sound of an underwater world is most certainly unknown to most of us as we possess no natural capability to survive underwater for any extensive length of time; however if one could survive underwater, the sounds you might hear is quite possibly near identical to the sounds Nagi no Asukara delivers. In addition to the realistic sounds, the music utilized is quite emotion-provoking. During emotionally powerful moments in the anime, the music delivers a strong force unto the viewer that can definitely cause the activation of tear ducts without conscious control.
Character(10): As such animes are mainly driven by the interactions and relationships between the various characters rather than flashy fights, the Characters of Nagi no Asukara most certainly fulfill its role in creating a high quality anime of great enjoyment potential. The changing world around them and the need to adapt to an unknown world from their own, results in changing relationships. When romance is added in to the emotional drama that is Nagi no Asukara, it becomes quite interesting to observe how everything will end. The concern, worry, and fear as well as confusion regarding their changing world view, is something that is channeled in a very human way; as these concerns are not only those of 14 year olds but also for adults, it is very easy to understand the mental processes of the characters in Nagi no Asukara.
Enjoyment(9): Nagi no Asukara was a very enjoyable anime. Though I personally prefer animes of the darker nature, Nagi no Asukara has enough twist and turns plus emotional dramatic moments to maintain my interest. It was very difficult to predict what will happen, who would end up with who, can the main character come to understand his confusions and overcome his fears, as well as what in blazes is happening to the world in Nagi no Asukara? Thus, even without flashy fights or the mysterious and psychological aspects of darker animes, I found Nagi no Asukara to be most enjoyable indeed.
Overall(9): It is of my personal opinion that Nagi no Asukara possess a strong enough story with a very human element to it, which adds to the relatable drama and emotional moments, thus can be enjoyed by a large variety of Anime watchers. In addition, the amusement from observing a certain demon butler squirm with discomfort from watching Nagi no Asukara was most enjoyable and implies Nagi no Asukara is meant for those with a sense of humanity. As such, I would recommend Nagi no Asukara to those with a heart and suggest supernatural beings watch other Animes more to their liking, such as Another.
[This review has been brought to you by the Funtom Company! If you haven't tried our sweets, you haven't experienced Fun yet!](Approved by Earl Ciel of Phantomhive Estate) read more
Jul 30, 2014 9:19 AM
Story : Well, you might considered the background story a bit strange when you first watched it and then you raised your eyebrows. I mean, underwater villagers? It's a bit strange right? But, I promise you, with that kind of background, you'll be super amazed as the story progressed.
Nagi no Asukara served you a really interesting drama and romance story. In my experience, I thought I've figured out who ended up with who, but I was totally wrong. Because they gave you a twist that sometimes you can't expect. So, for me, the story was a 9/10.
Art : The art was a complete beyond awesome. The beautiful backgrounds and scenery, the details, even the water details, it was really awesome and breathtaking. So, it's a 10/10 because of the amazing art and details.
Sound : The Opening and Endings are both lovely. Really soothing and relaxing. The voice actors themselves were awesome as well. The main male trio were voiced by new faces in the anime industry, such as Ishikawa Kaito, Hanae Natsuki and Ohsaka Ryouta, yet they have gave us an awesome performances. Hana Kanazawa, Ai Kayano, Ishihara Kaori and Mikako Komatsu also gave us their best performances while voicing their characters. Both the OSTs and Voice Actors are 9/10.
Character : The characters are great in their own ways. I admired all of them. The unrequited romances, friendships and conflicts between a character with another character or a character with themselves are great. It's a 9/10
Enjoyment and Overall : For me Nagi no Asukara was a pretty amazing anime. The story, the characters, the conflicts and dramas, it made me want to joined them and explore. I had a great time watching this, all the funny moments, the breathtaking moments, even the sad moments (I remember crying watching several episodes couple of times), I'm glad I watched Nagi no Asukara. Really, I do. For an enjoyment, it was a 8/10, and the overall score for Nagi no Asukara was a 9/10
If you're looking for a romance, drama and fantasy with a little bit of twist, then Nagi no Asukara is definitely the one. read more
Apr 16, 2014 2:08 AM
The anime industry often has a tough time dealing with the idea of love. Very few have ever portrayed it correctly, and even then it's difficult to move us. They either fall flat because of pacing issues or the plot fails to convey a character's motivation causing climactic moments seem melodramatic or forced. Nagi no Asukara doesn't face these issues. In fact, the show has been one of the most well-paced anime I have ever seen in terms of character and plot development. I will get to that soon enough, but first I would like to start with the art.
You may know them best for animating Angel Beats!, Another, Tari Tari, and Hanasaku Iroha. Yes, it's P.A Works and they have done it again, creating wonderful background arts and stunning imagery as well as good, consistent animation. None of that going-to-shit in some episodes to save budget to make one or two episodes look fantastic. I don't know how many times I had to pause to take a screenshot to store in my wallpaper folder.
A lot of time is evidently dedicated to creating the world of Nagi no Asukara, and rightfully so. Story is heavily focused around their lives on Shioshishio and Oshiooshi. The sea's art alludes to the beauty of our own world but retains its mysteriousness. The ocean's depths isn't something people see every day and yet the studio is able to capture its beauty with little details like the schools of fish, coral reefs, and among other details that I won’t spoonfeed. The art manages to enrapture us by showing what the sea looks like, and it is only made more stunning by the inhabitants of Shioshishio going about their daily lives.
The sound to me was something to admire. The OPs and EDs were composed so well, and even the lyrics fit well into the story. The sound department did a stunning job, it’s not often you find a studio adhere to the laws of physics when creating sounds for the background. By this I mean the claps of thunder, thrashing of water, birds, fish, the bloops you hear from fish, etc.
I love good character development and I love good characters. It is incredible to see how much Hikari changes throughout the show. If you were to watch the first episode, and skip a few, you will notice that Hikari isn’t the same. Everything that happens in the plot serves to progress his development, and this was done extraordinarily well. While development is good, no development is also good when portrayed correctly. Take Chisaki for example, her development remains static, but it does something for the plot. It drives Kaname to act the way he does after the time skip and when juxtaposed to her peers accentuates the change that the group of friends go through. Furthermore, many, but not all of the supporting characters play their role into the story. Not everything is great though. I take issue with certain character interaction in the show. One blaring issue is the friendship between Kaname and Hikari. Their interactions with each other are so bland that it almost seems like they’re hardly childhood friends at all. It is known that tension exists between the two regarding Chisaki, but it isn’t conveyed enough in the dialogue between the two boys. Sure there was the time at the Shioshishio’s school, but having a climactic moment to portray that tension without proper character interactions prior to the incident is simply melodramatic. This just undermines the whole issue they have with each other and depreciates its attempt to move the audience.
The web of love may seem overwhelming at first, but when you stop, start at one character and ask yourself “who does this character like?” you will realize it is much simpler than you think.
The story is a simple one. This is a story about a young group of friends dealing with the concept of change, both themselves and the world around them. However, the plot is a lot more intricate. Four childhood friends from Shioshishio attend the surface school Mihama. Their coming of age becomes the catalyst that motivates the Sea God (Notice how Uroko-sama acts as the herald for some radical shift when he sniffs out Manaka and Miuna.) Along the way, tensions between the inhabitants of Oshiooshi and Shioshishio continue to grow and culminate into that dramatic shift. What I think the writers did best is how they well they incorporated the issue of change and love as a theme into the plot. I will explain; BEWARE, BEYOND THIS SENTENCE IS SPOILERS AND THEME ANALYSIS TERRITORY.
Theme of Love
One would imagine that after the main group deals with the idea of love after 26 episodes, at least one relationship would have formed. That isn’t the case, but that is the beauty of it. They are young and naïve, and they deal with love as young and naïve children do. Notice how by the end of the story the only ones to truly form a relationship is Akari and Itaru. This is because they are mature enough to understand love. (If you really want to use Egawa Takashi as a point to refute this theme go right ahead, but I disregarded him because he served very little importance to the main cast as opposed to Akari and Itaru).
Theme of Change
When Hikari wakes up after the time skip, he mentions to Chisaki that she hasn’t changed. He speaks in terms of maturity. Yet Chisaki feels she has changed. She speaks in terms of age. Two forms of changes are at play in this story, Age as a form of change, and Maturity as a form of change. Chisaki may have changed in regards to age, but she has not matured at all. This is evident when Chisaki pushed Tsumugu, it is very much like when Manaka pushed Hikari. Hikari on the other hand, while he hasn’t aged at all, he has matured very much. The character development for Hikari is so top notch such that no three episodes is he static. He is a very dynamic character that grows after facing a challenge.
In a nutshell, Nagi no Asukara is anime with a great plot-driven and character-driven premise. The art and sound is breathtaking and something to be admired. I am glad this nice little story was able to grace the face of the anime industry in such an ecchi-harem-romcom dominated age.
Jan 16, 7:55 PM
Here's the plot synopsis, if you haven't read it:
"Long ago, all humans lived in the ocean. But some who longed for the land abandoned the ocean, casting off the special raiments granted to them by the sea god to adapt them to life under the sea...
Though mankind was divided into sea dwellers and land dwellers, each with different ways of thinking, they were all still fellow humans, and they continued to maintain contact as time went on.
Sakishima Hikari, Mukaido Manaka, Hiradaira Chisaki, and Isaki Kaname live in an undersea village, while Kihara Tsumugu lives on land.
When these middle school second-year land and sea dwellers meet for the first time, their hearts begin to undulate like the tides.
The youthful fantasy tale of these young people's lives unfolds in a strange and beautiful world."
Basically, a small group of children from an undersea village called "Shishishio" begin to attend school on the land. They possess "Ena", which allows them to breathe underwater. The show follows each of these people, and has some interesting twists and turns throughout the way. The story is something new and interesting, and it is for the most part very good. However, it's far from perfect. There were times, especially during the end of the show, where it felt like the story wasted a lot of its potential. It's hard to explain in detail without spoiling it, so I won't try. Basically, the story is good but isn't the best thing about the show.
If you're familiar with P.A Works, you already know what this show is going to look like. The art, especially the backgrounds, is absolutely spectacular. The underwater setting led to some of the most beautiful backdrops I've ever seen in anime. If you're into watching shows for the art, look no farther than NagiAsu. You won't be disappointed.
I've given the soundtrack a few listens, and it's extremely good. Dewa Yoshiaki does a great job, and the music complements both the emotional and cheerful scenes almost perfectly. The cheerful music is pretty repetitive though, which I think is something I only noticed because I replayed the soundtrack over and over. Overall, excellent sound design.
The characters in Nagi no Asukara are developed masterfully. The main character, Hikari, starts as an insufferable prick and becomes increasingly interesting as the show goes on. The same can be said for most of the other characters. There are, of course, a few exceptions. There is one character who is important to the story and doesn't change at all throughout, and a lot of the characters can grate on you and get annoying at times.
Nagi no Asukara struck a lot of chords with me, and I enjoyed it immensely. The fantastic presentation always kept the show interesting, and the story was interesting enough to have me coming back every week wanting resolution. As stated previously, the characters can be annoying, which kept my enjoyment from a 10.
If you're looking for a romance anime that's more than a little out of the ordinary, then Nagi no Asukara will be a great watch. read more
Dec 19, 2014 2:47 PM
Love stories have existed for practically the entire existence of storytelling. They've been told countless times, in countless ways, with countless settings and characters. From the grand and epic quests to silly school rom-coms, the love story is the most enduring story of fiction, and even non-fiction in some cases. With that in mind, one would think that original ideas, or even ideas that haven't grown stale, are quite lacking in this genre. So, how does today's anime stand in the rankings of the great love stories?
Before we get into the romance aspects of this anime, I want to briefly recognize the intense amount of world building that went into this anime. Every ounce of exposition was weaved seamlessly into either dialogues or inner monologues and provided an inside look into just how this world functions. Watching the people of the sea interact with both each other and with the people of the surface was always an interesting matter despite not being the main focus of the story. By the way, on the matter of the sea village, I hope you're not a big stickler about the laws of physics when you're watching a fantasy series, because they really don't give a crap what you're laws says about buoyancy and gravity. However, I will say that they break physics in a way that still feels believable somehow, and it's a very minor quibble.
On to the main matter of this story, this is definitely one of the better love stories I've seen in a very long time, and I honestly didn't expect that considering how it's set up. This is one of those almost convoluted love stories where everybody is in love with someone, but then someone else is in love with them, and the chains of love keep piling on from there. It actually reminded me a lot of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, the play that has practically become the template for modern romance stories. Normally I would find this kind of setup almost gag worthy because it's basically nothing but angst and teenage drama, but Nagi no Asukara seems to be fundamentally aware that this is an unavoidable problem with this kind of story setup. In the midst of wallowing in the constant trade-offs of drama, it also takes time to give us deep and drawn-out introspectives into what each character thinks about both themselves and their love interest.
One of the central themes of this anime is the concept of change and how each of the characters deals with the matter. Coupled with the fact that our main characters are just beginning to enter into the age of puberty, we get to watch as each character struggles with their own opinions on change and, of course, their resistance to it, and the mechanics of the story really help to drive this idea home. Without spoiling anything, something really big happens about halfway through the series, and it causes the entire romantic landscape of character relationships to change drastically, and both the change and lack thereof in their world forces these characters to mature in ways that are sudden and uncomfortable, but also cathartic and relieving. I do have one little complaint though, in that after that romantic formula has its drastic change, things start to shift back towards how they were before, and why I was initially slightly disappointed by this, the way everything came back together with its conclusion refused to leave a bitter taste in my mouth. Even aside from the romance aspects, the story touches on all sorts of themes relating to growing up and maturing, and the struggle of the children to both grow up and not grow up is palpable throughout the entire series.
As for the specific characters, there are some that I can't discuss due to spoilers, so we'll just focus on the main five for now. Hikari is the group’s leader and takes the bold and brash personality to the max, but his inner monologue still manages to make him feel sympathetic when he does things that I would normally hate any other character for. Manaka is the clumsy and childish one that Hikari is in love with, while Chisaki is the more mature girl that's in love with Hikari, but begins to loathe herself because of her strong friendship with Manaka. Kaname is the cool and aloof friend that seems to sit in the background a lot, and we actually get an insight into what that's like for him, and Tsugumu is a boy from the surface with an insatiable love for the sea. The chemistry for all of these characters is phenomenal not in how well they get along, but in how they don't, especially when confessions of love come out into the open, and this was probably my favorite part of the entire series.
The animation was produced by P.A. Works, and this is possibly their best looking anime since Angel Beats! in 2010. The incredibly detailed environments combined with the high-gloss and super-moe character designs are unbelievably pleasing to the eye, and this is definitely one of the best-looking anime this year. Even the CG looked incredible most of the time, though this is almost negated by the fact that this anime is filled to the brim with CG objects, from boats and cars to fish and waves. I understand though that even with such a high budget anime you have to make cuts somewhere (I couldn't possibly imagine having to draws hundreds of individual fish in a single frame), and this is definitely a step towards making me feel more accepting towards CG. HOWEVER, I will still stand by the idea that animating a walking background character in CG sticks out like a sore thumb in the middle of someone's forehead, and is practically a mortal sin of animation.
There is no dub for this series yet, though I wouldn't mind a dub being produced. If it were to happen, it would most likely be a Bang Zoom! dub, and while I'm normally not super-excited by their work, I have a feeling they would be able to pull this one off well.
The soundtrack was composed by Yoshiaki Dewa, one half of the J-pop group Jyukai, whose only prior soundtrack work has been for Amnesia, yet his mastery of setting the right mood for every scene is nothing to trifle with. Most of the tracks consist of acoustic guitar melodies, a sound that I feel needs to be much more prevalent in soundtracks, though the occasional string swells and somber piano tunes add a nice contrast. Both opening themes "lull ~Soshite Bokura wa~" and "ebb and flow" were performed by Ray, and bring a relaxed singer/songwriter feel blended slightly with electronic ambiance, while both ending themes "Aqua Terrarium" and "Mitsuba no Musubime" were performed by Nagi Yanagi and play us out with some rolling ballads to heighten the emotional impact of each episode.
Overall, Nagi no Asukara is an excellent example of how there is a great deal of innovation and heart to be found in the romance genre, and it's certainly one of the hidden gems of 2014. read more
May 7, 12:37 PM
I’m usually not much for romanticism, and Nagi no Asukara was a clear reminder of why.
Despite a pretty interesting lore around the sea (which is represented beautifully here), the show spends nearly all of its running time on teens drama, with a pointlessly complex love polygon. In the end, all the drama created by the lore of the sea god, and the sea, and all of that, was all resolved through the power of love. Riveting.
Maybe I wouldn’t see it as that big of a problem if the show didn’t remind me of Shinsekai Yori in the mysterious feeling coming from the environment our characters are living in. While I never expected Nagi to become as dark as SSY, I expected a payoff, like after seeing how Uroko always seemed to hide things, or the sea god’s almost malicious actions, but nothing like that happens. The sea god was basically oblivious and sexually frustrated, but got saved by the power of our characters’ feelings. And started giving Ena to everyone. While I don’t mind how everything is resolved through emotions in something like AnoHana, here it felt like there should have been some logic in this world. Why taking the time of introducing a god, with an entire society built around him, with a religious ceremony, but not taking the time to create a deeper reason on why the god would act like that? And a deeper meaning on how and why the main characters are bonded to the sea? Instead, the show tried to make the viewer go through a purely emotional journey, which is fine, but I wasn’t expecting this from the start. Even then, maybe I wouldn’t have mind that much, if it wasn’t 26 episodes. It felt like most episodes were empty and kind of boring to watch.
Still, to a certain degree, I can let that go, but what I really can’t let go are the characters: they are awful and ungodly annoying. The biggest problem with them in general is that they are only there to serve the drama. Most of them had their personality entirely centered around creating drama, like Kaname’s jealousy, Manaka’s weak character, Hikari’s anger problems, Sayu’s uselessness or Chisaki’s… everything, being a giant plot device. Their connection with the story were farfetched, and most of them were either forgettable or plain unlikable (especially Hikari. God, how many years before he gets arrested for domestic violence or something like that) even if some gets better as the series goes on… or worse (poor Kaname though).
On the plus side, it was gorgeous to look at. It really was. I adore the sea, and it was presented really well, with some breathtaking scenes, like both Ofunehiki and I think the show is almost worth watching for those two moments alone. The colors were also really well used, with a lot of emphasis on the blue, but with enough others colors so it doesn’t get jarring. The Ofunehiki song is also great.
Overall, the show is a beautiful looking representation of the sea with a really interesting lore, but buried under melodrama and annoying characters. I wished the show would have put more focus on the world, and most of the series would have been about exploring this exotic universe. Instead, we got a mediocre product were everything is resolve with the power of love. What a disappointment for what could’ve been a great show. Damn romanticism.
If you’re looking for an emotionally filled (but forcefully filled) journey, then you might enjoy it. Otherwise, don’t bother. read more
Jan 5, 8:35 PM
At a glance , Nagi no Asukara struck me as a cliche, overly dramatic and overdone school romance anime with a significant fantasy element to it. The lack of a more informative/insightful synopsis did not help either. My first-glance impression could not be more misleading, the truth is, Nagi no Asukara blew me away. It's a rare gem in the ocean of tasteless, repetitive RomCom anime, it beautifully combines its romance, drama and fantasy elements and presents an experience that's bound to find a soft spot within all viewers.
Personally, I would recommend Nagi no Asukara to anyone who asks as an excellent anime, but where my word isn't enough, the fact that its average rating on MAL is over 8 means that it is at least worth taking a look at.
Story - 10/10
The synopsis tells you very little about the show, it's one of the reasons I had lowered expectations for the series at first. Nagi no Asukara is set in a world where there are two main categories of the human population, those that live underwater, in the sea, and those who live on the land. As the synopsis tells us, all humans were originally from the sea, but after countless years of living apart, the relationship between the land and sea dwellers isn't the best, to say the least. One of the most important things to me about the story of Nagi no Asukara was how unpredictable it was, I found it so pleasurable to watch something where I couldn't not deduce the rest of the story after 2 or 3 episodes. For the most part I was on the edge of my seat waiting for what was going to happen next.
The story follows a group of friends, from the underwater village of Shioshishio, who are forced to attend middle school on the surface due to their old one closing down. Adapting to life on the surface proves to be a major challenge for them as is getting along with their fellow classmates. As I mentioned earlier the relationship between the two peoples is not the best, as a result the friends face a fair amount of racially based discrimination. The story progresses over an expanse of several years and while it starts off with the struggle to adapt being the largest issue, it matures to become much deeper than one would expect.
Being an all out romance fanatic, I can't not mention the romance in this section, but I'll keep it brief. The romance isn't what you would expect from a first-glance impression, it's not straightforward, simple or unchallenged at all. While it's a key element of the story, the romantic bonds in the story need to mature and overcome many hurdles before it can blossom. However, that being said, it will not leave you waiting, you'll enjoy every moment of watching these bond grow, it's so satisfying to see romance that's done well, beautifully in this case, develop over the course of a series. Like I said, for those of you, who like me, desperately crave romance in an anime, you'll love watching it mature, grow and become much deeper than you would have initially expected.
Art - 10/10
The art is the one thing in Nagi no Asukara that hits you from the moment you lay eyes on it. Put simply, it's beautiful. The character design, like many other anime is excellent, but this isn't what really struck me. What is found most surprising, most impressive about Nagi no Asukara was the detailed, beautiful art of the sceneries and effects of the series. While most anime focus all of their artistic attention on the characters, Nagi no Asukara values the whole package.
The world of Nagi no Asukara in general is just so breathtaking. I have to admit, there is more attention given to the underwater aspect of the show than the surface, but the surface is still very impressive. All the lighting, surroundings and effects are extremely well done and detailed. Even the other creatures of the sea have been thoroughly done. At times, the underwater scenes can appear to be from some kind of surreal, futuristic sci-fi show.
There's just so much I want to say about so many parts of the art in the show, but I'd just be repeating myself by saying how beautiful everything is.
So if you want a tl;dr, the art is beautiful, they pay attention to everything, not just the characters and it all comes together to form a really surreal, beautiful experience.
Sound - 9/10
The sound in Nagi no Asukara wasn't as impressive as the art, not that it wasn't good, it's just that it didn't really stand out too much from other anime to me.
Overall, it was well done, all the music, voice acting and sound effects were very good, but none of it stood out too much to me, although I do feel the soundtrack was especially well chosen and was used quite effectively to immerse viewers even more in the show. The voice acting was good, the soundtrack while being sort of subtle and quiet was surprisingly good, like I said before. The opening and closing themes were good, but I feel that the sound in Nagi no Asukara wasn't intended to stick out as much as the art did. It's the sort of subtle, unremarkable element of the show that brought together the other really well done aspects to form the whole package for Nagi no Asukara. Hopefully that makes sense, because of the nature of the sound in the show, there really isn't much I can say.
Characters - 10/10
Apart from how well they were animated, the characters in Nagi no Asukara were very impressive. All the characters played a role in the story and I really felt like it was the fact that all the characters developed and contributed as they did that brought the whole story together. All the main characters influenced each other, other characters and the story and guided everything down that path that Nagi no Asukara took. So as I have probably given away, the main characters were all developed really well, but another thing that struck me about the show is how well the other characters had developed throughout the series, both in general and individually. I really appreciate how it wasn't just the main characters who matured and changed in Nagi no Asukara. Many of the supporting characters were really well developed and played such a significant role in the show and the relationships and bonds that formed between main and supporting and even supporting and supporting characters was really enjoyable to watch and in my opinion it's the attention to detail and quality development of the supporting characters in the show that really took it up a notch.
Again, I can't not mention romance in this section. Not only because of my obsession with it, but because of how significant of a role it played in the story and the maturing of bonds between certain characters. So this ties in with how I said that the romance in the show wasn't very simple or straightforward, while watching the series you can sort of tell what the main pairing is going to be, even though it does face several hurdles. The aspect of the romance in the show that I really enjoy is how it's not just the main pairing that plays a significant role in the show, all the romantic bonds in the series develop and this development is one of the key factors in the individual development of the characters. Additionally while the main pairing may become readily apparent through the course of the series the other pairings stay vague and undetermined till later in the show. They develop, change and mature so that many assumptions made by viewers earlier in the series are proven wrong. Like most of the story, a lot of the romance in Nagi no Asukara was quite unpredictable too, making it all the more enjoyable.
Enjoyment - 10/10
I really enjoyed watching Nagi no Asukara. The first time I watched it I was so hooked I went through the entire series in a day, I could not stop myself from watching episode after episode. Even after this, I felt there were things I had missed so I went ahead and re-watched it straight away, allowing myself a couple of days this time, I was astounded by how immersed I was, even the second time around. This was actually the only anime I have re-watched straight away after finishing it once. I'm not saying it's the best anime I have ever seen, the reason i did so was actually because of how much the series surprised me, since as I mention, I went into it expecting an average Fantasy-RomCom. that being said, it definitely is one of the best anime I have seen.
Put simply, I definitely, thoroughly enjoyed watching Nagi no Asukara.
Overall - 10/10
Nagi no Asukara isn't your everyday anime. Every aspect of it is unique, from the unpredictable story and romance to the underwater fantasy element. While several aspects of it are unique, the idea itself is quite simple, to me at least, to me, this really allowed me to appreciate the elements to the show, it made them stand out because they were so impressively done when the concept itself was rather simple. The attention to detail in Nagi no Asukara, to both main aspects and other things, in terms of art, story and character development really made the show stand out.
If you want some complex, well guided romance, drama, fantasy or maybe some of each, you can find all three seamlessly and beautifully woven together in Nagi no Asukara, it's a definite must-watch anime in my books.
Dec 6, 2014 7:27 AM
In this anime it is shown that human beings originally came from the sea. Some people craved to see the world beyond the ocean. So they left the sea and started living permanently on the land. Soon they were divided into two groups. The sea people from Shioshishio and the land people from Oshioshi. 14 years old Hikari Sakishima, Manaka Mukaido, Chisaki Hiradaira and Isaki Kaname; a group of four childhood friends are forced to go to Mihama Junior High School on the land as their Nami Junior High School of underwater village closed down and that’s when they discovered a whole new world, learnt about their newfound feelings, the conflicted relationships of land people and sea people, the mystery of the sea god and many more.
First and foremost, the remarkable animation of this anime must be discussed about. This is one of the best part of this anime. The underwater village looks simply stunning and breathtaking. You can see water in any anime. But since water is a major part of Nagi-Asu it is animated with great care and details. You will feel like you’re the one who is diving under the ocean and watching the underwater creatures. Of course the lands, snow and other things also look splendid. Every scenario looks amazing. As for the characters it goes all out with the big, round, sparkly eyes. People from the sea have gleaming azure eyes which looks very pretty. Whether you like this type of character design or not is completely your choice. But at least in my opinion this is what makes them look attractive and charming. You could stare at the characters and the scenes forever. The animation is that much appealing and eye-soothing.
The sounds and music are mellifluous. They did a great job for the OST. Voice acting of the characters is done perfectly. It completely suits with each and every character’s personality and characteristics. Opening and ending songs are both good. Both of the openings are suitable for the two parts of the story. Originally Aketagava Jin was in charge of the soundtracks. But he left and was replaced by a talented composer Dewa Yoshiaki. So you know what you can expect from him. But you may not notice how amazing the background musics are when you’re hooked up to watching it. So make sure to check the OSTs in youtube.
All the characters of this series are like the life of this anime. Each and every character has his /her own important role. Without any of them the anime would be incomplete. You can say every character is the protagonist here. No matter how much you like particularly one of them, you will still feel bad for the others. They are just that lovable. You might think it’s only about those four kids. But it has more characters like Tsugumu, Sayu and Miuna who are the essential part of the story. Also the characters are not always kiddy. It’s actually a coming-of-age anime. And if you ever get bored with all the serious things going on, the cute Akira will be there to make you laugh!
Now let’s get back to the story. What makes Nagi-Asu so special? At the first half of the series this is what will come to your mind. It seems like a normal story at the beginning. But if you can wait patiently and finish the first arc you will see what an unexpected turn it takes. Nagi-Asu gets even better at the second half of the series. Just when you think of something as a fact, it will make sure to surprise you and prove you wrong. You can never guess what is going to happen until you watch it through the very end. Whether it’s about which character will end up with whom or it’s about something else. Nagi-Asu develops centering two things. One of them is love. Yes, it is all about love. This anime has one hell of a love triangle! Or should I say a love heptagon?! But please don’t be discouraged just by hearing it. Relax! Because this is not your regular, cheesy romance anime. It shows the feelings we go through while stepping into adulthood from childhood in a realistic way. Growing up little by little every day and seeing the change in our beloved ones. The other important thing of the story is the fantasy part. It doesn’t end playing its role with making people live in the water. The sea has its own tale. The story of the sea god will make you feel like you are listening to folklore or a legend.
Fantasy, slice of life and romance; these 3 genres merge in impeccably and make this series splendid. All of these create a big plot twist that will hook you up. It will make you wonder how will be the ending of such complicated story. Luckily it still manages to give you a perfect ending you can think of. I assure you there will be a big smile of satisfaction and enjoyment in your face in the end and a little sadness in your mind that it ended!
All in all Nagi No Asukara is an amazing anime. I don’t really know why it didn’t gain much popularity or why less people have heard about it. If you like romance or fantasy then it’s a must watching anime for you. Lastly I will say “don’t judge an anime by its’ poster”! Though I must say it’s not your cup of tea if you’re not a fan of the romance genre and too picky about anime.
Jan 5, 12:41 PM
Sep 17, 2014 1:08 PM
Story 9/10: The story was quite creative and unique. As you go along the episodes, they explain to you more things. Most events turn out to be unpredictable and very exciting, making you want to watch more! I wouldn't give it a 10/10 though as it wasn't like...Incredibly extraordinary? XD
Art 10/10: The art was beautiful! The scenery, character designs, and just everything was made stunning to the eye.
Sound 10/10: In my bias opinion, I'd give it a 10/10. Both of the openings (sung by Ray) really show you the type of atmosphere and feeling that both halves of the anime gives (Second half, much more "tragic"). The endings which were sung by Nagi Yanagi also were amazing. The OSTs mostly fitted the show like they know when to put each soundtrack in to make us get into the mood.
Character 10/10: The characters are one of the reasons why Nagi no Asukara was such a big enjoyment. The cast is large. Firstly, the main character Hikaru. Many viewers have considered him as an annoying tsundere male but it really depends on your opinions. Manaka the crybaby is also considered annoying however many favor her. Both of these characters are a good example of the anime's theme "Change". So they basically end up maturing in some way throughout the anime, realizing the hardships with life and accepting them. Then there's Chisaki, the one who acts the most mature. She also plays a masssssivvveeee role in the anime with the theme. Tsumugu is awesome too, he's really emotionless but when he smiles IT BRINGS HAPPINESS! I would love to continue with Kaname, Miuna, Sayu and company but yeah.
Enjoyment 10/10: Definitely a masterpiece in my eyes. I had fun finishing that in less than 2 days, probably my favourite anime so far. It felt like I was a fellow member of Shioshishio just watching them go through situations on a screen. It was an incredibly experience.
Overall 10/10 but it really differs on your type. Most say the pacing was somewhat slow in the first half but you'd have to think really hard on why the anime was doing this etc. Anyways, totally recommend this anime to this who love fantasy, and intense drama with a greatly made love pentagon! read more
Apr 16, 2014 12:57 PM
It was crap from start to end, they took a nice idea about a fantasy world that could totally become decent and turned it into the most senseless idiocy about "love", a kid's fairytale with no goal whatsoever.
The best ideas such as enviroment and history were completely skipped and left unexplained, the setting under the sea could become absolutely awesome and they botched it, because instead of adjusting it to the situation they simply stuffed a copy of a normal village on the bottom of an ocean with no change at all. They even have stairs. They drink broth. I just don't understand what was the point of such a forced setting.
There are loads of things that I don't understand, but just to say a few: why in the world do people from the sea and from the shore hate each other so much if they don't differ among each other in the slightest? They have the exact same culture and habits, they eat the same stuff, they even put the same designs on curtains; Why the hell should salt fall from the sky? I'm fine with fantasy but you could at least try to come up with some kind of explanation; Did someone tell those guys that they didn't have to go as far as to make every possible pairing? There are fanfictions for that; Just where did the other students of the sea school go? That's kind of creepy, they simply melted away, right?
Oh, and yes, I totally agree that the series did a 180 turn. The characters visibly leveled up in annoyance.
The ending was the best part of them all, it just wrapped things up as uncomprehensible as they were and gave it all that sickly sweet taste that dulls every black hole in the plot to a triviality.
The dialogues were awkward, trite and embarrassing to listen to. read more