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English: Nagi-Asu: A Lull in the Sea
Synonyms: Nagi no Asu Kara
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: 8.521 (scored by 23453 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top anime page.
Popular TagsNo tags found
Apr 8, 2014
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
6 hours ago
The story of Nagi no Asukara is a story of conflict. The people of the surface and the people of the sea refuse to get along since the people of the surface betrayed the Sea God and shed their Ena - or outer film that allows humans to breathe and speak under water - to live on land. When the middle school in the underwater village of Shioshishio closes down, a group of 4 children are forced to start going to the surface for school. As is the norm of children, the opinions of their parents are projected through their children and conflict brews for our characters at their school. This serves as a catalyst for the entire plot of the story, as emotions of anger, guilt, love, admiration, envy, and fear are all explored stemming from this conflict. These, of course, are no different from the kind of emotions you see in any other half-baked drama. What, then, makes Nagi so different? Nagi is different because of how novel and original the presentation of the story is. Never once while learning the exposition of the show did I ever think "hey wait, these are fucking fish people on land what the hell is this shit?" or "how the hell are they talking under water if there's no air to transmit sound waves without much resistance?", because the story is so meticulously presented to the viewer that it comes off as completely believable in the first couple of episodes before the viewer becomes comfortable with the various intricacies of being a talking fish person (well I guess they are technically still humans, just more fishy and they have Ena). As the story unfolds, it delves into the typical drama issues of love triangles, teenage angst, and wanting everyone to get along. Although these aren't as particularly original, their presentation is different enough so that you don't feel as though the plot is super predictable.
The art and sound, in my opinion, are Nagi's shining jewel. The animation of this show is so gorgeous that sometimes I needed to remind myself that I wasn't watching a movie. The shading is also done very well. One thing in particular, though, is all of the setpieces used in the show. The surface town of Oshiooshi is a perfectly rendered seaside town, nested into the side of a hill with everything surface showing signs of rush from the seaside breeze. The sound, likewise, is excellent and well-timed in certain scenes although there isn't anything particularly outstanding. One thing I will say is that it felt like certain episodes would contain at least two total minutes of scenes that were just retrospective flashbacks from earlier episodes, which sometimes didn't even have anything to do with the conflict the gang was currently dealing with. I understand that animating isn't cheap though, so I was mostly able to forgive cutting corners like that.
The biggest flaw I had with Nagi that people watching once a week as it was airing may not have found as striking is how over-the-top angsty the characters are.
"But Cuppa, you said it yourself that coming of age stories are all about that angsty growing up stuff!"
Yes, I did. But the point to which nagi overdoses these kids on angst is just a *little* over the top to the point that it breaks the realism that the show holds so well despite being a fantasy. Every character is melodramatic in their own way about everything. Hikari's always angry at the world for one reason or another, Chisaki will have a good cry about not wanting things to change on a pretty regular basis, Kaname always bitches about being a third wheel, the list goes on.
Now, of course this is as anime and as such it's expected that the emotions of kids (in middle school no less) will be over-emphasized and the characters will become rather one-dimensional. I'm pretty okay with this for the most part. Halfway through the series, however, the plot takes on a much more serious and mature tone, which I was excited for as every coming-of-age story usually shifts to a more serious tone sooner or later. I was disappointed, however, to find that the gang remains as angsty as ever throughout the end of the show. Compared to other shows that take the "realistic drama" approach such as Anohana and Kids on the Slope, which start off melodramatic and then take a more serious shift towards latter half of the show.
Overall, Nagi no Asukara is a fantastic little drama that I think will prove to be a well-remembered gem of the Fall 2013 / Winter 2014 season. I thoroughly enjoyed watching it and was well-satisfied with the ending. If you like dramas, I thoroughly recommend you to watch this show. read more
Apr 16, 2014
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.
Apr 3, 2014
Are ya ready kids? I can’t hear youuu!!! OHHHH!!! Who lives in a village under the sea? Hikari Sakishima! Ill-tempered, in love, tsundere is he! Hikari Sakishima!
Joking aside, my first impression of this show was that it was going to be just another slice of life anime, this time set in Bikini Bottom rather than in your average high school… Oh how wrong I was. Nagi no Asukara turned out to be sooo much more, and is not only currently my personal favorite show of 2014 so far, but also a future classic if enough people are smart enough to decide to watch it.
Story - 8.2:
Nagi no Asukara follows four friends who are in essence “sea people” who can breath underwater. These four middle school friends have to go to school on land after their school closes. This show really gives the impression that it will be another carefree slice of life school anime at first, but slowly builds up the drama until the drama levels are set over 9000. Yes the show goes into detail about what it’s like living underwater and how the underwater students are treated in the transitional phase by the land people, but the main focus of the show is the relationships between the characters. This show has one majorly complicated love triangle, er… pentagon… octogon? whatever, it’s a shape with a lot of sides. Now personally I usually don’t like when shows make it unclear who will end up with who, but Nagi no Asukara really just perfectly nailed this aspect of the show. More detail as to why it was so successful will be discussed later in the character section, but just know that it is done wonderfully. To go along with the personal issues each of the characters are dealing with, there is an impending larger issue that I will avoid going into due to spoilers, but is also very intriguing. This issue is made so interesting because of the fantasy setting that the world is set in, and the lore behind it all is truly fascinating. As for negatives, there are some things that get left unanswered, as well as a few poorly explained plot devices. Some of the plot devices or decisions made by the characters may frustrate the viewer as well depending on his or her preferences. However, these issues are few and far between for the most part. Nagi no Asukara’s story has its share of humor, but also moments that could easily cause someone to shed tears. The drama created by the situations the characters are put in, the problems that the world is having, and the love-triangle always keep you interested in what is truly an incredible story.
Art - 9.1:
P.A. Works has just been on fire lately with their production. Once an anime is revealed to be produced by P.A. Works, just assume that it will be absolute scenery porn. Other shows by P.A. Works include Angel Beats, Another, and Hanasaku Iroha for reference on how good this show looks. The fantastical setting is gorgeously realized both under the sea, and above ground. The animations (particularly under water) are just beautiful and incredibly fluid. It is a wonder how P.A. Works manages to make a profit with the seemingly limitless budget they throw into everything they do. There really is not much to say on the negative side for the art department for this show, so it’s about time to move on.
Sound - 8.4:
Much like the art, Nagi no Asukara’s OST is just plain beautiful. The music really perfectly matches the setting, and appropriate songs play for appropriate moods. The OST sets the tone and setting wonderfully. There aren’t necessarily any songs I would download onto my phone to listen to on a regular basis (besides the OPs and EDs which are great as well), but everything sounded perfect as the show was happening. The voice acting was also wonderful with varied emotions on display from each of the characters in a large cast of family members and friends of the main 4 characters.
Characters - 8.7:
This is the department that separates Nagi no Asukara from the vast majority of anime shows out there. The overall cast of characters is one of the strongest overall that I have seen in anime. While the cast lacks one stand out character like a Lelouch, a Light, or a Saber, each character is incredibly human (which many anime can’t say). Obviously all of the main characters are extremely relatable and 3 dimensional (although Manaka can leave a bit to be desired in terms of development). The characters that we see a lot of screen time of like Hikari, Miuna, Chisaki, and Kaname really get a lot of development and grow vastly out of their initial archetypes. Even characters who don’t seem to develop much are still multi-faceted and very likable (Manaka, Tsumugu, Uroko-sama). Side characters are also strong, displaying their own opinions, struggles, and personalities when the spotlight is on them, even if it’s only for a minute or two. Although there was a massive love web going on throughout the show (which I usually don’t like), the characters made me interested in it and made it an enjoyable experience. Usually I come up with the pairs I want, and if they don’t happen I feel disappointed. But with Nagi no Asukara, I didn’t care who ended up with who, because I loved all the characters so much. I just wanted everyone to end up happy, because they all deserved to be happy.
Enjoyment - 8.8:
Nagi no Asukara is one of those anime that can make you laugh, cry, sit on the edge of your seat, pull your hair out in frustration, and do just about any other emotionally driven action. The beautiful world, and loveable characters alone could keep you anxiously waiting week to week for a new episode. Add in the wonderful story filled with drama, emotion, and excitement, and we have ourselves a show that earns extremely high marks in the enjoyment category. The show is one of those shows that you will want to rewatch immediately after finishing because you love it so much and just want to experience it all over again. This was THE show I waited for every week, dying of anticipation to see what would happen next. Think about the other wonderful shows that aired at the same time (Kill la Kill, Golden Time, Noragami, Nisekoi), and then you will realize just how enjoyable this show was for me.
Overall - 8.64:
With an 8.64 overall score, Nagi no Asukara comes in at number 6 in my ever growing list of anime series. That should show you just how good this show is. Nagi no Asukara was a masterpiece not only from a production standpoint, but in its story and most importantly in its ridiculously strong characters. As far as drama, slice-of-life, fantasy, or romance anime go, this is among the elite and should be watched by all, and is an absolute must watch by fans of any of the genres listed above.
A wonderful slice of life story of friends in a beautiful world that is an absolute treasure to watch, will deserve consideration for anime of the year
+ Eye-meltingly beautiful animation
+ Incredibly strong cast of characters
+ Intriguing world and lore
+ Drama is wonderful
- Some characters can be annoying based on personal preferences
- Poorly marketed to the public
If you liked Nagi no Asukara, watch...
Shinsekai Yori - childhood friends, romance, fantasy, captivating world
Anohana the Flower We Saw That Day - childhood friends, romance, tear-jerking drama
8.64/10 - Wonderful
*For those of you disappointed in my 8.64 score and feel it deserves a 9 or a 10, please see my review scale and/or my google spreadsheet link of anime ratings on my profile and you will recognize just how insanely high this overall score is.
Apr 7, 2014
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
Apr 3, 2014
The show does start off a bit slow as it's mostly focused on the everyday activity of Hikari and his friends interacting with humans at their school, while hints are dropped of lingering hostilities between both races. It does have some developments with characters like Manaka becoming less dependent on others and Hikari showing less prejudice towards humans, though nothing too significant occurs. The plot does pick up in the second quarter of the series when the prophecy concerning the sea god begins to manifest itself onto the humans and affect the sea dwellers. This leads to events building up as Hikari and his friends try to help the human residents of the seaside village in trying to halt the oncoming calamity, which they do at a great cost to one among the group.
A timeskip occurs which focuses on the four children learning to come of age as they come to terms with their feelings for one another and any lingering doubts they had from the events that came from the sea god. The character developments that take place throughout Nagi no Asakura's felt natural for me and I could connect with the issues faced by the characters as they try accepting any changes they experience and overcoming any doubts they are facing.
However, these developments do come at the cost of the title's plot quality. The events of the timeskip lead the focus on the tensions between humans and sea-dwellers to get shafted and later developments involving the sea god up to the show's finale were not as engaging as the events in the second half due to the lack of huge risk affecting both parties compared to the first half's events and it seemed a bit too convenient in its resolution with the fates of humans and sea-dwellers.
As to be expected from a PA Works title, the visual presentation of Nagi no Asakura is high quality with plenty of vivid color and detail shown off in the title's gorgeous scenery shots with character designs getting similar treatment. While not the prominent element of the series, the show's animation is still quite fluid in showing off the movements of characters as they walk or swim, with animated highlights coming off both the events that involve the sea god spurring up disastrous events like whirlpools and huge waves to those within the sea.
Issues aside with its plotting and slow start, Nagi no Asakura is still a solid series that offers up a nice amount of character drama faced by its young cast coming to grips with growing up and the first half events with the sea god offer up some genuine suspense over what would happen with both humans and sea-dwellers. It's not perfect, but it is still worth looking into if you are a fan of PA Works' titles. read more
4 hours ago
So story wise, Nagi takes sometime to pick up. Think Steins;Gate. The beginning is somewhat boring and not quite perfect, even boorishly melodramatic in spots. But there are glimpses of excellence here and there to keep you interested. But the proverbial shit hits the fan at the end of the first cor. Everything changes after this point, and Nagi enters it's golden age. Quality character development, good humor, great dialogue and excellent pacing. I was hooked, like a fish on a lure. Christ I was preparing a spot for it in my 5 favorite anime, pondering over which show to give the axe and remove from my hallowed lineup. Then, Nagi's gilded shell began to peel and crack, revealing something not quite so perfect, like discount chocolate. The melodrama began to pick up, confusing new plot lines were introduced, and the amount of crying per episode reached beyond my tolerable limits, which are rather high for the average anime viewer, if I do say so myself. But I held fast, muttering to myself as I scoured the interwebs for my fix that it'd all be rectified by the time the show ended. Much to my dismay, this didn't occur. Most poor endings either provide too little closure on plot lines or really bad closure, too the point where you wish they didn't even do so in the first place. Nagi is special, in that it resolves abso-fucking-lutely nothing. Overall plot line, left out in the open in a "maybe we fixed the problem" conclusion. Romantic sub-plots? "Maybe ever after" endings. This is disgraceful. The absolute worst thing you can do with a story is leave it out in the open. And I don't even know where'd they go with a second season either. It's like this unfixeable clusterfuck that I just can't get over. The ending is just plain awful.
Now though it may seem like I have nothing but ills to say about Nagi, such isn't the case. As i've exemplified before, I love 90% of the show's story. It does few things wrong, and even fewer of these flaws are critical. One of the best parts of Nagi, IMO, is the characters. Hikari, the main protag, shows huge development throughout the show, going from my least favorite character to my undisputed favorite. Manaka, though I feel she functions as more of a plot device to an actual character, shows good development and does some amazing things in the show. Chisaki is probably the weakest of the cast, constantly inducing groans from me due to her indecisive and grating personality, but still, she grows as a character. Kaname....let's just skip him. His role in the plot in dazzlingly minor, and by the end of the show is revealed to be nothing more than a plot device, much like Manaka (you'll see). Miuna and Sayu are two characters who, though initially seem like unimportant side shows, become incredibly important (at least Miuna does) as the show progresses. Miuna functions as one of the main characters, if not THE main character, in the latter half of the show, taking up most of the screen time with her plot. Sayu always felt like a spectator in the show more than a character being actively affected by the events in the story, and in all reality isn't all that important, but IMHO she is the best girl in the show and I love he-I MEAN, what I meant to say was...*ahem*; she is ultimately an eternal side character that has minimal impact to the plot, but is still likable.
You notice how most of the characters in Nagi grow, in differing degrees, as characters as the episode count rolls higher. This exposes the overall motif in Nagi, growth and change. This is one of the most bread and butter themes in anime, considering the demographic that much of anime is aimed at (young people and teens). And Nagi manages to provide a fresh take on the growth theme, but not so much the change one, which is arguably the more important of the two. The show spends quite a bit of time stressing how change is the greatest fear of the characters in the show, and that any change in their relationships with each other is a bad thing. Now, logically, the show would then show the viewer how change isn't bad, that it's a natural part of life and should be embraced, not shunned. The show seems to go in this direction as we wind down to the finale. But guess what happens? Take a guess. Got one? Was it "the ending"? If it was, then you're absolutely correct. The ending doesn't provide any real conclusions to the side plots it introduces, with perhaps one exception (you'll know by the ending, trying to refrain from major spoilers here). In this, it betrays the motif of "change", as nothing concretely changes. It's certainly in the midst of changing, so perhaps it half-delivers on it convictions, but it still stands that this side-plot is left out in the open, like so many other things in Nagi.
SUPER RUSHED ART AND SOUND SECTION TIME
Yeah, I never like writing these sections, so let's just get it over with. Nagi is animated by PA Works (PAW), a studio predominately known for a little anime know as Angel Beats! Now if you've seen Angel Beats!, you know PAW does a bang up job with it's art/animation, and Nagi is 10X better than Angel Beats was. The art is super sharp and the animation is more than fluid enough for a slice of life show like Nagi. The sound is equally excellent. The soundtrack is one of the best I've heard in awhile, with tracks complimenting every scene under the sea. The OPs and EDs are all good, but the second OP is definitely superior to the first OP. So yeah, no complaints here, the art and sound are actually what keep Nagi from being a 5 overall.
Nagi is my prime example of what an awful ending can do to a show. I was balls deep in this show, so to speak, and was about to finish when it just slapped me across the face and left me hanging dissatisfied and betrayed. A crude anecdote to be sure, but it should summarize what I feel about Nagi as a whole. Mixed feeling abound, with an intense longing for something better, but bitter regret knowing that I probably won't get anything to satiate that craving. Nagi no Asukara, The Lull of the Sea is truly-
6/10- Fair read more
Apr 3, 2014
The series is not based on any previously existing works but rather stands alone as an original story produced by P.A. Works. It’s the first series since Hanasaku Iroha that is produced by P.A Works that presents itself as a 2 cour show. But more importantly are the themes explored. While the show is colored as fantasy, Nagi no Asukara surprisingly explores many factors that can be interpreted as human. This series explores various themes ranging from jealousy, regret, prejudice, alienation, bullying, and identity. It’s a show not to be taken just as a love story but something like a treasure box because you’ll someday come back and relive its precious moments.
Nagi no Asukara’s setting blends in two major contrasting style of societies. On one side is the people of the land who are just like you and me. On the other side are individuals that originated from sea. The people from the sea are curious about the surface world so they decide to venture from the deep and explore land. There’s an interesting insight based on this premise as there are various and controversial ideas poured in that divides the two societies. For instance, there are certain rules involving relationships between a sea dweller and a human living on land. This is presented early on in the series when a case involves such an incident. It sets forth a theme of prejudice and racism with debates between various characters. While it seems unfair, there are justifiable reasons to back up some of these themes such as involving the population of the human species. On another note, people on the surface world often associates themselves of being normal while identifying the sea dwellers as being inhuman. There’s a case of identity issue at crisis with even some of the sea dwellers themselves wondering where they belong in the world they live in. What Nagi no Asukara presents skillfully is the cultural clash between the people living on land and sea dwellers. Rather than some farcical soap drama with senseless dialogues, the show does well by showing rather than telling with its actions. The beginning of the school with our main characters sets a primary example of what’s to be expected with this cultural difference. It’s what Nagi no Asukara does at its best that divides its societies that draws the audience in beyond just a love story.
Of course, no story can be complete without its characters. Nagi no Asukara’s strong points involves its small yet complex characters. Not all of them are human but they often demonstrate explicit traits that can be found in humanity. Hikari stars as a main male protagonist whom may be initially seen as a brat. He is overprotective with the people he cares about but also gets into fights over his own problems. On the other hand is Manaka, a timid girl with a frail nature prone to crying. She is perhaps one of the more normal characters with her behavior and often not trying to cause people problems. Of course, she has problems of her own with insecurity about identity and sometimes even feels alienated from others. Other main characters also become involved in the story such as Tsumugu Kihara and Chisaki Hiradaira with their own interests. These interests settles itself with the romance and formulates angles of drama. Tear-jerking might not be the exact word to always describe these angles but it presents itself in a way that makes the audience want to know more and more about the characters with its dramatic storytelling. This is probably because some of these characters are relatable and have complex natures.
Taking a retrospective point, we also get to witness growth as each of the characters climbs stairs to adolescence. Characters such as Miuna and Sayu grow up more than just their physical selves. They mature from kids into young women with their own feelings and ideologies. More importantly is how far they have grown from their previous kiddy stages. What makes Nagi no Asuakra stands out itself with these stages is the construction of its timeline. There’s consistency although it lacks depth on some parts. Yet, the show also demonstrates how people can change with circumstances with characteristics learned from the characters whether it’s through bullying, romantic relationships, or alienation. Responsibility also takes in as a factor to be considered especially with some of the older characters such as Hikari’s brother, Akari. Surprisingly enough, some of the younger characters demonstrates more maturity than the adults in the show. It contrasts itself with them being one dimensional in this case with their unpredictable actions despite knowing some of the consequences.
As far as romance goes, the series can be or feel forceful at times with their exaggerated dialogues. Hikari can be seen as a male tsundere with the words that comes out of his mouth as well as his actions. Often or not, he says the opposite of his true intent and comes off as a rather blunt individual. On the other hand is Tsumugu with his easy-going nature. He’s more of the guy like a textbook with ambiguous words and difficult person to read on the surface. Nonetheless, he gets involved with the complexity of Nagi no Asukara’s love polygons. Because let’s face it here, this show focuses on romance as a main structure of story presentation with angles developing from various stages with even fantasy elements added to the mix. However, this shouldn’t come as a surprise as the world this show takes place in is decorated with fantasy elements. The waters is just one element of conventional presentation that allows this show to become what it is rather than what is trying to be. On the other hand is where we see how normal the surface people live that reflects on a society where we humans are used to.
Despite the melodramatic nature of this show, there is also room for comedy whether it involves our characters or the events that takes place. Kids in the beginning such as Sayu still says things that kids would say. It fits well with their initial role before growing up because it defines Nagi no Asukara as a series that matures itself. This later comes with regret from our younger characters that may earn sympathy from the audience. While not all expressive in nature, it demonstrates itself with characterization that focuses characters in more ways than just relationships.
While the story itself has some unexpected plot twists later on, the show still has some generic attributes that doesn’t shine itself at times. Most of the characters have complex personalities but sometimes hard to appreciate with their actions. Manaka is one character I find difficult to get accustomed with her frail nature and constant prone to tears. The audience might also find this a hard to bear and takes patience to get used to. Hikari’s outbursts sometimes also feels forceful and over exaggerated that serves as a primary example of being immature despite his intentions. And while the show’s plot can be unpredictable at times, there are various foreshadowing hinted at throughout some episodes that makes the show seem lifeless. This pinpoints some future events that can come as unsurprising even if done in a way that seems dramatic. Yet still, Nagi no Asukara doesn’t just focus on its fantasy-romance nature. It does more than that with its pyramid of character building on a foundation of its story.
By technical art standards, Nagi no Asukara can be described as a lavishly and luster anime that shines in this field. Thanks to P.A. Works, this show stands out more than just its images but with its setting that demonstrates credibility. The aquatic natures and backgrounds presents itself fair with consistency such as the fishes and sea. Not only has that but the characters themselves also showed evidence of being sea dwellers. These include but not limited to the characters’ azure-green glowing eyes or their bluish hair. They don’t look like merman or mermaids but rather as people not too different than you and me.
The soundtrack also demonstrates progress. In the beginning, most of the music has a light tone with some dramatic moments. But later on, we hear more of an emotional tone with the events going on. The OST itself also becomes an embodiment that reflects as a clear view to present Nagi no Asukara’s melodramatic style. Additionally, the OP and ED songs presents montages of characters and how they have changed over the time. Most of the voice acting of the characters fits well thanks to their talents. In particular, Hikari and Tsumugu’s voice becomes a symbol of opposites with their clashing personalities. Manaka’s voice also is easily recognizable thanks to the talents of Kana Hanazawa whom is well known for portraying cute characters.
I would recommend giving this show a try at the very least besides just from reading the synopsis. While it seems generic at all once with its characters, the show moves itself with characterization and plot that demonstrates maturity. It also focuses on a variety of themes that is credible and relates to humanity despite having fantasy elements. More so however is the way the characters interacts and the circumstances they undertake to become who they are. While the show focuses on romance as a central element, there is also themes of responsibility and cultural clashes that becomes insightful to get accustomed to. Not everything is fair after all in a world with drastically different cultures. In the world of Nagi no Asukara, that’s an understatement and you’ll find out exactly why.
Apr 16, 2014
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
Apr 3, 2014
The premise of Nagi no Asukara is 4 childhood friends, Hikari, Manaka, Chisaki, and Kaname live in the sea village of Shishishio. They are able to live underwater thanks to the layer of protective 'skin' called ena. With their school closing down, they must attend school up on the surface, where they meet new classmates who were born and grew up on the surface. In comes Tsumugu, a child of the surface, who puts pressure on the group of friends, stirring up feelings that were trying to hide. Nagi no Asukara seems like your typical shoujo romance, but it's much more than that. It's a dramatic tale of the sea, love, and everything in between. It carefully pulls on your heartstrings and makes you relate on a painful scale. Truly, the story is well sculpted in many ways.
P.A Works has a way with animation. A show like Nagi no Asukara is right up their alley. They use the right colour pallets at the right time. They vibrantly set the scene. It's a sight to admire and respect. Work is put into every aspect of art and animation. The backgrounds and scenery are beautiful. A new world comes alive on screen. Animations are almost always fluid, and natural. It is everything Nagi no Asukara deserves.
Nagi no Asukara actually has some really good music. The OST is soothing, and fits just where you need it. It sets an atmosphere. It's almost the opposite of a horror movie, where the music makes you feel on edge. The music flowing from the speakers is a calming tune, a dramatic tune, whatever floats the boat of the scene taking place. It has a way of making you feel like you are at home. And in a sense, it makes you feel calm.
The characters in Nagi no Asukara are really something. Some I liked a lot more than others, I'll say that much. But either way, I cannot help but admire the differences that make them all special, unique, and quirky. All the characters balance each other, playing off of one another, and growing and maturing because of each other. Hikari is a childish, immature boy. Manaka is a sweet, innocent girl. They help each other mature, and change over time, whether they realize it or not. Chisaki lacks confidence and self-esteem. Kaname and Tsumugu try to push her to be brave. However, not all is happy and good. What I appreciate most is that each character has their flaws. That's what makes them real. That's what makes them human. That's what makes them relatable. Sometimes so relatable that you almost cringe, because you know you are the exact same way. They're the kind of character that grow throughout the series, and for some, you can get so emotionally invested in these characters, it's like your growing alongside them.
Nagi no Asukara is frustrating. It's relaxing. It's heart breaking. It gives you an immense feeling of joy, and an immense feeling of sadness all at ones. It plays in tune with your emotions. It makes you laugh. It makes you cry. It makes you want to rant forever, or it makes you want to rethink your entire life. I believe that Nagi no Asukara has the ability to cater to it's audience. I was engaged right from the beginning, I was engaged throughout, and to the very end. I enjoyed Nagi no Asukara. It is one of my favourite animes of the fall/winter season. It's definitely enjoyable. For me, at least. I think anyone should give it a chance.
In the end, Nagi no Asukara is what it is. A drama, a romance, a story. What you perceive to be another child romance story changes into much more. It can be playful and safe, like a child wading pool. Or it can be as deep as the depths of the oceans. It all depends on whether you take the first step and dive into the story with an open mind. Overall, I believe Nagi no Asukara is a beautiful anime. Would I recommend it? Well, yes. I'm recommending it to you, aren't I? So give it a chance, or you may just miss out.
Apr 5, 2014
Nagi no Asukara is a manga adaptation produced by P.A. Works. The series revolves around 5 friends, 4 of which came from the sea. After their school closed down, four middle school students from a sea village are forced to attend a school on the surface, where they meet a certain boy who loves the sea. Due to some special encounters, their lives gain a new twist concerning love, change, and friendship.
The story starts out with some conflicts regarding the racial barriers separating the people of sea and the people from the surface. Family and friendship, along with the expected romance, are one of the notable themes in both the first and second cours. These conflicting matters consequently start drama very early in the story and continues throughout the course of the show. The second cour is more focused on the relationships between the main characters. One good thing about the story is that it tries to be unpredictable and attempts to make viewers guess what's going to happen next in the succeeding episodes. The pacing flows well, and is actually pretty fast, compared to most romance anime.
The first parts of the show were peculiarly deceptive. Initially, most viewers, including myself, found the characters annoying and unlikable. Hikari, for example, acted like a huge asshole with violent tendencies. Fortunately, this changes after a few episodes, proving that some of the characters weren't just generic and predictable, and actually had a ton of potential to develop. Over time, they became quite complicated because of clashing feelings and thoughts, but were still pretty easy to sympathize and relate with as characters.
I could honestly say for myself that the cast were the defining point of Nagi no Asukara, but that should be a given with a character-driven story. Nonetheless, they were, in my opinion, well thought out and unique... at least for some of them. Tsumugu, for example, barely changed in the second cour. Chisaki also had lesser than expected developments. She actually became regressive as a character that she turned out to be almost stagnant. This added to the fact that she barely seemed related to the core plot. In the end, it seemed like some of the cast were just used to develop the main characters. It wasn't a bad thing per se, it's just that they gave off a sense of wasted potential, which is something I found to be a huge letdown.
Another disappointment worth pointing out is that some relationships were forced and unnecessary, like Sayu's crush on Kaname which lacked substance and meaning. I seriously find the amount of devotion and trust she gave to a person she barely interacted with unbelievable. Simply put, the depiction of some relationships were nice, but very contrived.
P.A Works did a fine job on the art, as the anime was undeniably visually appealing. Backgrounds and landscapes were very well-drawn, and the animation was great. The art style fit the fantasy setting of the series perfectly. Buildings, tools, and even signs and pavements were detailed and had texture, which I found to be impressive. The value and level of the art were consistent throughout the show, apart from particular scenes which looked a bit jittery. Thankfully, said scenes didn't have too much of a significance to sway my attention, and weren't very noticeable.
The music, like the artwork, was fantastic. The opening and ending songs were meaningful, well-sung and catchy. The background music and sound effects, as well as the voice acting (especially in the emotional scenes), were executed flawlessly. You can be certain that your expectations, sound-wise, will be met accordingly.
Summing it all up, Nagi no Asukara is a well-done romantic drama, as well as a coming-of-age story, which convinces its viewers to feel for the characters. Its ability to pull you into the story is simply amazing. If you're curious, or just looking for a romance show to pass the time, I encourage you to pick this series up. I cannot promise that you'll enjoy this as much as I did, but I am confident enough to say that it gives you a good enough reason to press the NEXT button in your media player that I just know you'll be dying to click. read more
Apr 4, 2014
As part of this new world, the sea people have a special ability called "Ena," which allows them to live and breathe underwater. Their dwindling population and their distrust towards the surface world are the main sources of conflict that take sometimes drastic turns to overcome. Much of the story focuses on the tension between the two peoples and the character's actions in the larger scale of things. The "Ofunehiki," a type of festival to honor the Sea God, plays a central role in the story, tying together the myths and legends that will inevitably affect both the sea and land.
There is a certain mysteriousness to the series, much like the sea is vast and sometimes difficult to understand. Though the school lives of the characters are fun and lighthearted, dealing with things like first loves and crushes, there is a darkness that is added to the story drop by drop. Hints at the true extent of the dire situation the sea and land people find themselves in are revealed piece by piece, until the legend of the "Ofunehiki" finally ties it all together. Through the friends' struggle with maintaining the status quo among themselves and trying to help their dying community, they realize just how powerful change can affect both themselves and the world around them.
Tying in with the aquatic theme of the series, the artwork and setting is quite simply, stunning. Everything in this world revolves around the ocean. The sleepy seaside town on the surface is beautifully drawn and animated, with details radiating just as bright as the sun reflecting on the ocean. The water sparkles and illuminates patterns of swirling color and a certain clearness that looks very refreshing.
The real treat however, is the scenes underwater. Taking advantage of the setting completely, fantastical lights and water bathe the underwater village Shioshishio in a beautiful light. Look closely enough and images of the sun will appear, schools of fish will swim by and saltflake snow will fall from the surface. Certain scenes left me amazed. The water is manipulated in whatever way the mood demands, whether it is used to reflect the sun peacefully or surround us in a violent prison of crystal and lights.
I honestly cannot fully describe the setting perfectly with only words; it's that beautiful. Look at a few screenshots yourself and see just how much attention and detail are put into the animation and setting! The Ofunehiki was one of the most visually stunning scenes I've seen in a long time.
Even the music is centered around the ocean. The opening themes are "lull ~Soshite Bokura wa~" and "ebb and flow" both by Ray, and the endings themes are "Aqua Terrarium" and "Mitsuba no Musubime" both by Yanagi Nagi. All of the songs have a certain aquatic sound to them that reminds one of the ocean. I really enjoy "Aqua Terrarium" the most out of the songs. Hearing this song at the end of every episode, with its brilliant buildup and vocals gave a very satisfying end to another amazing visual and end revelation.
"Nagi no Asukara" is an amazing series that has a lot of ambition to go along with it. It is a story of learning to deal with change and accepting our differences. Just like the wave of the tide, the ebb and flow of change can sweep us underneath it and overwhelm us. Other times it will peacefully pass by us without a care in the world. We see how each character deals with their confused thoughts of love and friendship as the world around them starts to collapse.
When it all begins to be too much to bear, whisper your secrets to a red bellied slug and let your worries drift away like the shifting ocean tides.
Apr 6, 2014
Story (9) - NnA has a very deep and meaningful story which includes entangled love hexagons and profound themes of racial tensions between the people of the sea, and the people of the land. This results in a fantastic and modern coming of age story across the board. The events that unfold makes for an enticing storyline, full of heartbreaking moments and a huge sense of friendship and togetherness. This really had an impact on me. The love interests for one another as the story develops creates a huge web of love which kept me emotionally invested and interested in the story. Only criticisms that keep it from getting a 10 would be that the show throws a lot of material out in the beginning, which was a tad confusing, and the ending dragged out a bit, even though I can see their reasons for it based on the way it ended.
Art (10) - Right off the bat from the first episode, you cannot deny the AMAZING artwork, especially the colors, which really enhanced the viewing experience. The way the underwater village was animated visually tells you the story of a magical and stunning place with a lot of history, and that was amazing to me. At first I thought the huge blue eyes were pretty corny, but they really grew on me, and I understood that the eyes represent the visual differences between the two races of people. Eye color is no different than skin color. Oh, and I loved the facial expressions and smirks, they were precious. Art was definitely outstanding. No flaws.
Sound (9) - This is the section that I have the most trouble reviewing, but I can confidently say that NnA had great sound. Beautiful voices, beautiful underwater sound effects, only thing keeping it from a 10 is the OST, I think they could have beefed it up a bit. Still great.
Character (9) - Incredible development. The unique relationships between these childhood friends leads to a very beautiful understanding of the characters, even though you won't see their kind of relationship in any other show. You really get to empathize for the characters as they express their feelings, since they share such deep emotions with another. Each two characters have their own, unique relationship, but was not hard to keep up with. The relationships felt very realistic in this sense. After some time, it almost seemed like I had my own relationships with each of them. You get to see true transformations and watch these people evolve, and that results in a very profound sense of investment and love for the characters.
Enjoyment (10) - I very rarely marathon shows as fast as I watched this one. One episode after the next, watching this show never got tedious or old. Thankfully, I watched all of them and caught up on the day that the last episode aired, so I didn't have to wait between episodes. Otherwise it would have been incredibly frustrating. This is definitely the type of show that you can knock out in a few sittings, and it's hard for me to find those. I also rarely cry, ever, but I did once or twice during this show. It's amazing how emotionally invested I got in only 26 episodes. Amazing amazing amazing
Overall (9) - One of the most memorable and amazing shows I've seen, and I will be recommending this to everyone. Even if you're not sure how it sounds (even after this review), at least watch the first episode, because it WILL capture your interest. This is a truly beautiful and profound story that won't be forgotten. Nagi no Asukara truly did not disappoint. High notes all around read more
Apr 17, 2014
The characters are not realistic. Tsumugu wtf? He's a motherfucking lifeless robot who can see into other people's minds because they're shallow. He's supposed to be special because of that as no one else seems to possess that convenient ability called sapience.
Chisaki wtf? You didn't feel like you were allowed to love anyone else because you thought you should wait for Hikari and the rest to return? Wtf is wrong with you? Five fucking years have passed and there wasn't any development, she's thinking like a child, a very stupid child indeed. She wanted to be the fucking sacrifice because she's the "only one who's changed" and it wasn't fair to the others because she changed and they didn't. She felt like she betrayed them. She spent five fucking years without her friends and family, living with Tsumugu and his grandfather all while she couldn't even enter her hometown to see if everyone's okay. Hikari, Manaka and Kaname felt like a day passed by. I would feel anger in her stead, not fucking guilt. Anger because they don't know the pain and what it was like. It feels natural to embrace the change and even emphasize it, not act like a kid and pretend that five years didn't go by.
Kaname's one of the characters I simply didn't develop any feelings for. I feel like he didn't get enough screen time, but by what I've seen they probably didn't know what lines to give him.
I did find Manaka a little annoying, but as I'm trying to be objective I won't count that in. Everything she's done until she went to hibernate hinted that she liked Tsumugu. The plot twist on that boat was poorly implemented and expected. Everyone knew that Hikari was going to get a reward for being a tryhard even though the plot didn't go in his favor.
The show didn't use its potential. When I saw it recommended from Shinsekai Yori, I had completely different expectations. I personally hoped that the plot would turn darker, not resolve around badly done romance.
The sound was decent, I didn't like the openings very much but they knew which scenes to emphasize and used the correct music while doing it.
Art was incredible. It's truly beautifully done. I didn't watch it in HD, but it still felt amazing.
The enjoyment was decent. I didn't hate the series, it was fun to watch, but I can't shake the feeling that I wasted my time.
Enjoyment 7/10 read more
Apr 3, 2014
Writer's note: There will be a lot of water metaphors, puns, and stuff like that in this review.
Story (8.32/10): The story of Nagi No Asukara has a rather simple idea that its masterful plot stems from. The story follows the lives of 4 kids who are Sea People named Hikari, Manaka, Chisaki, and Kaname. Due to their school being shut down and having nowhere to get their "edumacation" from, the 4 must go up to the surface and start going to school there, all the while, meeting someone named Tsumugu who becomes part of their group.
Before I get any further, I feel as though I should explain what a Sea Person is. A sea person in this anime's rendition, is someone who lives in the sea as any normal person on land. The only difference between a sea and a land person, is the fact that the a sea person has something called Ena existing as a thin, transparent, covering over their skin, which allows them to breathe water. (They can also breathe air too.)
When you look at an idea like this, the first thought that can come to one's mind is slice of life, seeing as how the story is about the lives of 5 kids, 4 of which have a very close relationship. This however, is not the case. The expansive 26 episode length of this series is broken down into 2 halves, entailing what I dub a "prologue", and the "real story". (I will cover each one of these separately)
The first half of the story, or "prologue" is what the synopsis implies. The first 13 or so episodes of the series introduces the audience to the characters and a base idea of the story. The way it was designed is very reminiscent of childhood, seeing as how the characters are very innocent and unknowing of what is to come their way.
What I like about the first half of the series, is the fact that it gives the characters room to grow. In pretty much every episode of the first half, the some of the characters are given more of a three dimensional feel and are more aware of the different and more major things that happen around them. It gives the characters a simple taste, a flavoring of what is to come, as they all have to deal with situations and circumstances, that they are not aware of.
On the other hand, the first half does have its problems. First off, some of the characters don't get much of a three dimensional feel. Some of them do, seeing as how they react to the situation, and are affected by what is happening, and other sort of just stand to the sidelines and watch everything happen.
The second half of the series was quite a big surprise to me. I had my jaw drop when it happened because I was so into the story, and I was literally speechless. The second half of the story takes place five years after the first half finishes, and truth be told, I was a bit skeptical. In my time watching anime, the timeskips that I saw in certain anime, did not help at all because of the copious amount of missing information that we, the audience never get to see. Nagi No Asukara pulled a marlin out of the water with this one, seeing as how this timeskip was handled EXTREMELY well, making the series benefit so much more from it.
I explained how the first half of the series had some tensions that I found to be quite interesting in an anime about middle school children. (Yes, middle school.) If the first half was a wave, the second half is a torrent, a hurricane, a tsunami of emotion. This is the part where I found the series to be even better than it was before.
With no change in cast and a completely different rendition of the setting to put them in, this second half was the pearl of the series. Some of the supporting characters turned into main characters, the majority of the supporting cast disappeared, and the focus of the series narrowed itself down onto focusing onto a total of 7 or so people with little to no distraction or side plot from any members of the supporting cast. This part of the series focused solely on the interactions between the cast with this timeskip in place, which provided some excellent character development and a very, very good plot line. It's to the point that I even questioned myself while smiling, "Am I still watching the same anime?" Because it was such a shocking twist to the series that I had once knew. In a way the second half is like how Anohana plays itself out, but without anyone dying or having have died beforehand.
The end of the series I think was a very fitting end. Everything came together nicely, the series itself came to a wonderful close, and it made the story end on a very good note without any hope for an abrupt end, as everything calmed down into a nice, still pool.
Throughout the series, there is actually a story of lore from the Sea people that at first, I disregarded as a simple explanation for certain elements of this anime. As the series goes on, this story of lore becomes a more prominent plot point, that ends up affecting the characters, and adds in more and more development. The lore was a nice addition to the story, as it mixed in well with the flow of the story, making up the final episode of the story and making it so much better.
Another thing to note is the fact that in pretty much EVERY episode, there will more than likely be a cliffhanger. As someone who viewed the series on a weekly basis, the cliffhangers I found were very surprising as they were quite unexpected, and to be honest, made me want to watch the next episode even more.
However, like any pristine lake or ocean, there will be a bit of pollution here and there. The main fall of this story however, was its pacing. Setting aside the two completely different arcs that the story is comprised of, the story overall had a varied pacing, some with very fast currents, pushing us through a load of detail and content, while others were slow moving, gently moving us with the water's movements. Because it had 26 episodes, the anime had a lot of time to create the story it wanted to, and in the end it did. However, I felt as though the content didn't fit 26 episodes, more like 20-22 episodes, as some of the episodes felt really draggy and slow, focusing on one thing for the entire episode, while others pushed us through waves and waves of detail an emotion, ultimately making the viewing experience a little uneasy, but not unwatchable.
In the end, I found the story of Nagi No Asukara to be one of the better written ones for a romance anime, as the mix of love, change, heartbreak, emotion, lore, and life all came together in a wonderful, and extremely satisfying solution.
+ Very good overarching story
+ Impressive amount of character development
+ Excellent use of time skip
+ Brilliant integration of anime lore
- Unbalanced pacing
- Some characters left underdeveloped
Characters (8.41/10): When you have a good story, it's only natural to have good characters to back it up. Nagi No Asukara accomplishes this goal, but there were still some doors left opened.
Hikari as the main character of this story is introduced to us as a very stubborn and narrow-minded kid. He only thinks of certain values in life, and anything he doesn't like, he dismisses it in a harsh and reckless manner. It's a very negative outlook on life that he has, and it's quite unsurprising to see how he acts at the beginning of the series. However, this all changes. By the end of the series, all of these traits that is mentioned before no longer exists by the end of the series. Over time, you get to see how the life around him shatters and melts away, and how he has to deal with the new changes and additions to his life while he tries to grip onto the life that he once knew and loved. He gains the biggest character development in the series, being the main focus, and overall, becomes one of my favorite characters in general due to the fact that he does a complete 360 on his outlook on life, and his goals and aspirations, while still maintaining the personality that is Hikari. He always takes things to heart, and he always looks out for the ones that he loves, and I feel like that is what makes him so good as a character.
Manaka as the main female lead of this series is introduced as a crybaby in this series. Manaka is portrayed as a very weak character, relying on her friends, mainly Hikari, or Hii-kun as she calls him, in order to get through much of anything. At the beginning of the story, Manaka can be easily hated, seeing as how she follows the "weak female lead", needing the help of other people to live and prosper. That is, until the creators pull a "haha you regret hating her don't you moment" at the center of the series. While personality-wise, Manaka isn't the best female character in this series, she does play an extremely pivotal part of the story. Mostly, in the way of Hikari's development. She drives the story in a way that I thought was near impossible, and really adds to the story in a very good way.
Chisaki as the other female member of the original main cast is rather interesting. For the most part, Chisaki rarely takes the spotlight, but when she does, she does it well. Chisaki, although quite cheerful, has the fear of losing the ones she holds dear. It doesn't matter who it is, anyone she's close to, she fears losing. While for the most part she plays a more supporting role in the main cast, Chisaki displays how her life has been affected by the changes that she never wished for, affect her, thus adding in more of the emotional tension of the series.
Kaname and Tsumugu are the final two main cast members before the timeskip, and overall, get nowhere near as much development as the other cast members. (Notice how the amount of text for each character was shrinking?) These two are more or less the short ends of the stick, with Kaname being the supportive guy friend to the cast with not much else to him, and Tsumugu being the emotionless person that he is. Tsumugu is my most disliked character in the series, due to the fact that there are many unexplained parts about him, and some of the development that he receives, feel somewhat forced and fabricated because of how ungenuine it felt coming out of him. He rarely talks out of a kuudere-esque tone, and I personally don't like how he was created due to these facts.
As for after the timeskip, the characters known as Miuna and Sayu get added to the main cast. While Sayu serves as much purpose as Kaname and Tsumugu, Miuna becomes a very prominent character later on. (I'm not going to go into much more detail to avoid spoilers.)
The supporting cast for the most part don't serve too much of a role. Other than a select few that have some plot significance, a majority of them become plot devices that explain what is going on, or just further exemplify in the latter part of the series that yes, time has passed. Nonetheless, the supporting cast does do their job very well, and I in fact did enjoy some of its members seeing as how fond I am of this cast. (except you, Tsumugu)
One thing that the cast doesn't have, is equal character development. Rather than splitting the character development into equal parts among the main cast, the greater majority of it, goes to Hikari. While yes, he is the main focus of the show, the fact that basically 75% of all of the character development that happened in this series goes to Hikari, is a bit unfair. Still though, the cast of Nagi no Asukara is exceptionally crafted, with the main characters for the most part, becoming more three dimensional and life-like. They all have interactions with one another, and there isn't any "dense" or "dim-witted" characters that are completely oblivious to one another's feelings. Also, there are a lot of shipping that can occur in this series because every main character has at least one person they like, with 1-3 people liking that character back. It's a love web essentially.
+ Great main leads
+ Well done supporting cast
+ 3-D characters
- Unbalanced character importance
- Lack of character development for the majority of the cast
Art and Sound (10/10 and 9.88/10): No, your eyes are not tricking you, those are the real numbers.
P.A. Works, you are a godsend. The art in this anime is outstandingly gorgeous. If you don't believe me, watch the first opening. You know the phrase, "you can tell if a game/show is good based on how they animate water?" This anime answers back a huge yes. The fact that P.A. works could make droplets of water look good is an amazing feat in and of itself.
Aside from the amazing water, the series has incredibly detailed backgrounds for both underwater and on land. Because the series has two towns as its setting, one on land and one in water, the animators created two completely sceneries and looks for both of them, each which have their own beauty and charm about it.
On the note of character designs, we have a rather simple look to them. The characters themselves aren't overly complicated, and they all have this light blue tint around them that adds in to the water imagery sort of deal. Their eyes though, that's a different story. All of the characters are quite distinguishable if you forget where they come from, since people from the sea have blue eyes, and all of them have these oceans, these ponds for eyes that sparkle and shine. The amount of detail that they have for their eyes is amazing. The actual flow of the animation was very flowing and nice as well, with no sign of any choppy parts. Nagi no Asukara by far has one of the best aesthetics that I've seen in an anime for a while, and it was so refreshing to see such beautiful artwork to compliment an already well thought out story.
The music is also an extremely high point in this series. Like a lot of series' that have a somewhat long time span, Nagi no Asukara has 2 OST's and 2 ED's. All of which, are fabulously composed and written.
Let's start with the OST #1. This song is the main theme for Nagi no Asukara and is it's most noticeable track. The song has a very watery and bright feel to it, sort of reflecting off of the childhood innocence and joy in which the half of the story in which it is played. I like this track a lot due to how happy and calming it can sound, as if it could wash all of my troubles away. The ED #1 is its contrast, having a more reminiscing and yearning tone to it, as if someone was crying out in anguish over remembering things in life that they regret. Overall, the first half of the main tracks was set of very rememberable pieces that I still remember to this day.
The OST #2 and ED #2 do the same job as its first half counterparts. The OST #2 has a very sad but somewhat hopeful tone to it as reflective to the tone of the half of the series from where it is aired. While personally, I'm not as big of a fan of it as I am with the first opening, the second opening is still a very good track to listen to, and is still beautifully composed. The ED #2 on the other hand is the contrast to its partner OST, having a very hopeful and bright feel to it. The fact that this anime has such clashing sets of music, is brilliant. It sort of reflects the tone of the story and the way the characters are dealing with the situation, and turning them into the OST and ED respectably.
All in all, the music of this series is beautifully composed and I personally would listen to it again and again like any other anime OST's and ED's I listen to.
The voice acting gets special mention in this. Aside from the main characters that don't have any emotion in their voice pattern, the voice actors do a really good job at conveying the proper emotion and feel to the situation that goes on in the anime. None of the voices felt off, and overall, I felt like the voice casting was pretty top notch.
+ OUTSTANDINGLY beautiful artwork and character designs
+ Dat water
+ Memorable soundtracks
+ Majority of voice acting very good
- There are none for this category
Personal Enjoyment (9.87/10): Rather than watching the hyped anime of the fall 2013 season, Kill La Kill, I settled down my time to watch this show instead, because it had to do with romance, it had to do with the ocean, and it had to do with beautiful artwork. Three of my favorite things. As I got into the series however, I was very intrigued by how this seemingly innocent story was playing out. Sure, it felt a bit side story at the beginning with the main focus being on a character that wasn't a part of the main cast, but I didn't care.
What I liked though throughout the whole series was how they made the character relationships a main focus. They constantly asked one another who they liked, what was going on, and made the experience very real feeling in this environment. Above all, they had some really good cliffhangers that kept me hooked on the show. With addition to the great storytelling, I found myself yelling at my screen to not go to a certain person as I had grown attached to these characters and felt somewhat furious when my ships sort of failed to come true. (Yes, I am that kind of person.)
All in all, I found this series to be a whale of a time, an enjoyable wavecoaster of 27 weeks, itching for the next episode to come out as I finished the most recent one. Personally, I feel like this show was pushed to the side, (as kill la kill was taking over anime essentially), and I think that on the subject of romance animes, this is one of the best ones that anyone can watch. If you are a fan of good drama, romance, artwork, and characters, this is definitely an anime for you.
Overall Score: (8.89/10)
Writer's note: Sorry this was such a long review. I've just been itching to write this review, and I have a lot to talk about. Heh heh... read more
Apr 3, 2014
I’m not doing my typical genre review, because this is not my typical type of review, but just know that everything correlates fantastically (also no sub-section scores).
I hate reviewing story. If I am or am not the audience that this is directed at, cannot let me speak for everyone. However, there were some parts of this series that were too much to let go. Although it just ended as a simulcast, future watchers who have not started it yet MUST know that this series is broken into two “seasons,” so to say. These “seasons” are VERY different when it comes to the mood, tone, scenery, and character’s going from verisimilitude to a very ominous and serious story-telling. I believe it was eloquently done, however some may complain that there is a large dissonance between these two seasons, which is completely understandable. A small complaint from a small part of the audience, but nit-picking happens on near perfect shows.
Other than that, execution was handled beautifully. Not once did I feel the story was too slow or fast-paced, nor when I finished it did I need more (in contrary to wanting more, which I DEFINITELY do). The story does have a tendency to hit you with the metaphorical baseball bat often, almost exclusively in the second season, which brings me to my biggest point…
Clannad, right? Now, in no means am I saying this series is done as flawlessly as Clannad: After Story, but they have some similarities that instantly hit me: aloof and light-hearted first seasons, intense and emotional second seasons, strong (very) emphasis on symbolism, especially of water and color, and a very strong lead protagonist. I’m sure many of you have watched Clannad, and have experienced the Clannad Void: where you constantly search for the next series that can emotionally entice you like Clannad. It might be a shot in the dark, but I strongly feel like this series is one of (now) 2-3 series that can and maybe will fill this void for you; one being AnoHana, and the other being maybe Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo and maybe even Kanon (2006). It does everything Clannad does right on terms on emotion and story, but there is something that gets me a little angry that I’ll talk about soon.
Overall, this series is beautiful in the way it is conveyed in almost every way I know, and can help fill the Clannad Void. It also contains one of the biggest love polygons I’ve ever witnessed.
In my other review, I talked a lot about naïve assumption. How that at the beginning the characters were a bit shady due to lack of time invested, and will blossom into something amazingly fruitful later. I do not have the opportunity to say this often, so I will say it proudly: I was absolutely right. I believe that if the series has strong characters who have time invested into them to create emotional bonds, it will be an amazing series. Sure, plot is nice, but if there was no plot and there were amazing and enjoyable characters, then I could care less. Good thing here, Nagi goes the full nine yards. You get your tragicomedy story, throw on some wonderfully developed characters, bake at about 350 degrees and you have yourself a really good looking cake. Not to mention, this cake was made with high production value, so the art on it looks amazing. Anyway, only one thing bothered me, and that was the character of Tsumugu, almost exclusively in the first season of the series. Although I got used to his cold-heartedness, I realized that Tsumugu was used more as a ragdoll by the producers than anything else; he was a brick wall, seemingly created to create an ominous feel and be onerous himself. Although I know now why he may have acted the way he did, viewers at the beginning may start to hate him, which I don’t feel like the producers aimed for. Nevertheless, look out for that, and be open-minded about Tsumugu and you’ll appreciate him more.
Overall, the characters were written exquisitely and were imbued with passion and emotion that created believable and natural characters that anyone could love, with Tsumugu being a little late to the party.
I have almost nothing to say here. The art is the best I’ve ever seen, and you should definitely experience the wonders and the scenery that are brought to life by the art. The sound, after getting a strong listen to all of the OST, I can confirm that it is orchestrated within context and marvelously done overall, especially OP 2, Ebb and Flow, which captivates the second season perfectly. The voice actors fit their characters, and did a fantastic job at conveying the characters emotions through themselves.
In the end, Nagi grinds down to what we believe is right and what love can accomplish within our own hearts. There are LOADS of symbolism that I could explain, but it’s be easier if I just wrote a book on it, just keep an eye out on the symbolism if you can, it greatly empowers the series. The series has taught me that love is understanding; love is loss; love is the driving power behind our actions; love is what we sacrifice for others; love is why we live, and we strive to find that one love that makes all the difference, one we will find sometime, somewhere; and that truly speaks volumes to me.
And in the end, I believe that everyone should watch Nagi no Asukara, not only to watch something to enjoy, but to really think about who you love, and hold it dearly.
“The Color of the Sea. The Color of the Earth. The Color of the Wind. The Color of Your Heart. Your Color.”
Apr 17, 2014
Produced By: P.A. Works
Script from: Mari Okada
AN EXTREMELY COMPACT REVIEW
Story: essentially a coming of age Soap Opera with a Demigod and Conflict between surface and sea people thrown in the mix
Art: P.A. Works are always on their A-Game (HOLY ish Shioshishio is gorgeous!!)
Sound: I know what water sounds like now
Character: For a large cast, ALMOST every character is developed well (Japanese people and their feelings man.)
Enjoyment: I would've had a better time if someone didn't cry every 3 minutes.
Viewing Recommended: YES
"Go home Sayu, no one gives a s**t about your feelings."
Apr 4, 2014
Well everyone pack your bags because we're going on a feel trip!
The story is centered in a fantasy world where the sea just about the most important thing. Everyone comes from the sea and those who still live in it worship the sea God, as do those on the land, but not as greatly. The story is deeply driven by the characters. Personally, I love these types of stories. This anime was an emotional roller coaster for me, which I haven't experience anything similar to it, since I've watched Clannad and Anohana or anything similar. One last thing, if you think love triangles are insane, you're in for a treat! I won't say anything else about it or else I'd consider it a spoiler, but you'll realize it if you go ahead and just watch this work of art.
Characters and Art:
I'm just going to mix these two categories together since I don't have too much to say about the art. The art was amazing, they did not get lazy on the detail. I am a big stickler for art, yet I don't really know how to describe haha. Well onto the characters, at first I though they weren't anything special, the hot headed hero and the childish girl, okay maybe I didn't think it that lowly, but bear with me. Hikari, Manaka, and the rest of the cast proved to be very likeable characters. Oh did I mention? The cast was HUGE! Maybe not as insane as some people would picture it, but it was a pretty good size. For the most part, the main characters had each developed in their own way, for the better.
The opening and ending songs had really fit the bill in this anime. I didn't really find them too special, but that could just me. Don't get me wrong, they were fantastic, but they did not stick out too much for me.
I'm sure you couldn't have guessed by my high scores and praise, that I love this anime!
This anime had everything for me, but though it was really good for me, I definitely don't think this anime is for everyone. I do recommend for anyone looking for a deep story and character development to pick up this anime. Don't just watch the first couple of episodes and decide if you'll watch it or not, give it some time and you'll be sucked into the series just like was. Well, that was my first review, thanks for reading! read more
Apr 3, 2014
"This world is filled with so many shining feelings."
Nagi no Asukara, an original story by P.A. Works is an unequivocal tale about harmony and relentless sacrifice. Now, Nagi no Asukara was not something that I was expecting nor hyped up for. It was just a series that was there, had an interesting unique premise, and an original story which was the selling point for me since most anime these days are adaptations of manga and light novels. The series in my opinion, was quietly hiding behind the giants of Golden Time and Kill la Kill (both of which were great shows of the season by the way) like a diamond in the rough. I started watching it and the first things that caught my eye were the amazing visuals and poignant story line I felt it was going for. The visuals stayed true but I could have never been more wrong about the story. After watching more episodes because of these factors, I had begun to realize that this show was something more; something that constantly managed to draw me in like the ebb and flow of the sea.
Arguably the most important thing of any show, the story for Nagi no Asukara is simply put, outstanding. The setting is just amazing. When I first got into the show, the premise immediately stuck out to me. A quaint little town at the bottom of the ocean in conflict with the people of the surface? Why not. Most shows these days, despite the occasional great ones, have very drab and predictable story lines because they follow almost every anime trope in the book. With Nagi no Asukara however, the story plays with your emotions from start to finish and it always leaves you wanting for more just to see how the characters might develop next or to see how the main plot might progress. The heroes of this tale are five friends who in essence just want to stay together. Much like the tumultuous sea however, they soon realize that it's becoming increasingly harder for them to relate. Nevertheless, from overcoming simple obstacles to massive tribulations, the gang does whatever it takes for them to stick together, no matter the cost. That is my summary of the plot without spoiling too much and I feel like this story is one of the most unique and memorable narratives I have ever seen unfold, ever.
The characters are key and rest assured, Nagi no Asukara doesn't pull any punches when it comes to this category. The characters are the soul for this show. They breathe life into this beautiful world which otherwise would be dead without them. Watching the characters that you sympathize for and love is like magic. They were all so equally developed and perfect that I could not pick out my favorite or best girl for that matter. Hikari like his name, is the light and strength of his friends, always headstrong but maybe a little stubborn with his will to protect. Manaka is the innocence and purity exemplified out of this group, constantly worrying about her friends and loving them all unconditionally. Chisaki symbolizes maturity and sensitivity. She is logical unlike a lot of her somewhat immature friends but she is sometimes blinded by sheer emotions which is shown many times throughout the series. Kaname, the voice of friendship is the friend who always has everyone's back even though it might sting like cold iron for him. Tsumugu, the only one from the surface, is depicted as stoic and sympathizing. Although he suffers from showing a lack of emotions, he is always the one that can talk to the others and relate to them in some way. There are many other prominent characters like Sayu, the sarcastic but strong-willed lady, and Miuna, the one who is like the sea, but the five friends are definitely in my opinion, the inseparable five that really make the show shimmer and gleam. There is quite a bit of romance in the story and you can see how love triangles and what not can be formed with these characters but I believe that friendship and just being there for one another is more noteworthy and important as the story goes.
Unparalleled eye candy, just plain gorgeous. P.A. Works must have pulled out all the stops for this one because the visuals for this show are just jaw-dropping. From the beautiful sky shots to the shimmering refraction of light underwater, the animation and cinematography in this show are top-notch. The character designs are amazing as well especially the characters from Shioshishio (the underwater town) with their unique uniforms and their deep mesmerizing azure eyes. I don't think there's much to say about this category other than that the visuals are outstanding. I definitely recommend you to watch it in the highest quality available to truly immerse yourself underwater and into this gleaming world. The architecture is also very interesting in my opinion and the OP's and ED's are just so damn beautiful. Underwater in my opinion, is difficult to depict well and I feel like P.A. Works really outdid themselves in providing an immense amount of detail from the glistening bubbles to the glimmering reflections of the sky.
The music is very good. The songs for the two OP's and the two ED's are both amazing, the OP's done by Ray and the ED's done by one of my favorite singers, Nagi Yanagi. The soundtrack as well does an excellent job in translating the feelings shown on the screen. The voice acting is great too featuring Hanazawa Kana (I love anything done by her) and many other extremely talented voices. The detail from the echoes of voices under the deep to the ambiance of school and city life, really shine through and you'd be surprised to hear many pleasant sounds and songs. As for favorite ED and OP's, the second OP is my favorite OP of all time this season and the second ED is extremely beautiful as well. You do not know how I excited I was to watch the second OP premiere for the first time; I was like the kid in the candy store with $50.
11/10 is impossible but my overall enjoyment was immense. Maybe it was because I wasn't expecting much from it but I watched this weekly, never missing an episode because everything about this show was so wonderfully done. Now there might be some hiccups here and there for some people since not everyone can have the same opinions but in my humble opinion, this show was simply amazing. As strange as it may sound, this show gave my eyes a new light on certain perspectives and how relationships are so important and how they can be so damn powerful. The rewatch value is immense as well since the story has so much detail that you definitely might not pick up the first run through. I'm sure as hell gonna rewatch it soon to immerse myself into this atmosphere once more.
In conclusion, Nagi no Asukara is an endearing tale about love, friendship, and prejudice. The characters are amazing and the setting is all too amazing coupled with great writing and music. I cannot stress enough that this anime is just plain stunning and is going to my top five favorite anime of all time. I know this review wasn't too great and I did not elaborate too much on the logistics of the actual plot and what not but take my word for it and dive into the amazing world of Nagi no Asukara and I promise you that you won't surface without being pleasantly surprised at the sheer amount of detail and thought-provoking complexities Nagi no Asukara has to offer. Thank you for reading my review and I really hope this gave Nagi no Asukara a chance for you.
Like a lull in the sea, the ebb and flow of my mind ties into a trefoil knot in this aqua terrarium. read more
12 hours ago
ART: This show is anything but cutesy. Well, that might be saying too much. They push the cute at first, then club you in the face with realistic characters. The art is amazing. I can't stop staring at the characters' eyes, which look as watery as their own world. And Shioshishio (the underwater world) is just gorgeous! It makes you want to live there.
STORY: Rather than a slice of life similar to K-on, this is more like a drama in the vein of Kokoro Connect or Shinsekai no Yori (without the killing). While the characters are adorable, they have some serious issues. And the cute, young art style just emphasizes that they are tweens dealing with the drama of simply growing up as well as some more serious issues mixed in (dating a widower, falling in love, needing an outlet to express your emotions, wishing ill on your best friend because you're in love with the guy that loves her and all that will will makes you hate yourself, etc.). On top of all that drama there's the sea god's "spokesman" who may curse you by making your knee sprout a talking fish...like tweens need THAT kind of problem?
CHARACTERS: Well, most were very likeable. Hikari is your typical angry, angsty guy similar to InuYasha. I don't usually like characters like that, but Hikari seems to almost physically grapple with his feelings to the point that his anger is clearly a metaphor as he struggles to understand himself. Then there's Manaka, who seems at first glance to be the typical wilting flower that can't stand up for herself. Except that she grows as well to the point that she's not only standing up for herself, but protecting her friends as well (there's an episode where Hikari is utterly amazed by this). I don't know, sounds cliche but it isn't. There are two characters that were a little too much like what I've seen in every other anime like this, and that bothered me. One is Chisaki who loves Hikari and is sad all the time because he doesn't love her. Her character resolution by the end of the series was unexpected and it worked well. The other is Kaname who is the gentle, almost feminine support that compassionately loves the unobtainable female. He seems "too nice," but definitely has a lonely, jealous side.
What was great about the characters is that there aren't good guys and bad guys. They're just kids with a multitude of feelings. Having a negative emotion doesn't make you evil.
STORY: The show has a time skip, but it's different than most. And all the character resolutions and evolutions make sense and anticlimactic, but if they were done any other way it would have been a completely different show. There are major events going on in the world of this show, and that seems to make up for anything else that is lackluster in an an anime (but may seem over the top in the real world). A great show! Good for fans of moe as well as fans of drama. read more