Nagi no Asukara
Episode 14 – The Promised Day
I’ll be honest, I really didn’t see this coming despite all the signs. A time skip! A wonderful new opening and ending theme! Characters have moved one while others have stayed behind. The first thing that came to my mind when I saw the time skip was an anime that aired over a year ago, Shinsekai Yori or From the New World. That was another (brilliant) show that featured kids who age as the series evolves.
Let’s get our bearings straight as we reach the halfway point of the anime. We’re now five years into the future and Chisaki is the only member of the friends from the sea who is left behind to live on the surface. Hikari, Manaka and Kaname are all left behind under the sea since the great calamity of episode 13, their fate still unknown. The snow is now thicker and the sea along the coast has all but frozen over, denying entry to the Sea Village of Shioshishio.
Akari has had a child with Itaru, a little boy that is now a brother to Miuna while she is in the same grade Hikari and his friends were five years ago. Chisaki meanwhile is living with Tsumugu after his grandfather offered her a place to stay. He also admits what we knew ever since his ena skin shone many episodes ago, that he is originally from the sea as well.
Tsumugu is aiming to be an oceanographer, to study and understand the sea more in order to somehow find out what exactly happened on the night of the Ofunehiki. It’s interesting to see where the relationship between Chisaki and Tsumugu will end up, as they regard each other as family now.
The whole episode has this calm but reflective atmosphere. Everyone has settled into their new lives but they still can’t forget nor get over what happened five years ago. There is a huge focus on Miuna, who seems to be deeper in thought than anyone else. Why? Well, it’s something that I had no idea of. None. The show gave almost no hints earlier that Miuna had an actual crush on Hikari, her now lost uncle, and it seems that she hasn’t let go of it either.
Everyone gathers on a chilly evening to witness the rare Tomoebi event, when illusory lights appear in the sky, now visible on the surface. After being confessed to by a classmate, she turns him down and explains that she’s in love with someone else. Suddenly, Tsumugu gets readings on his instruments the moment the Tomoebi occurs and he senses something. He has long believed that Hikari and the others are not dead, and it’s almost as if he knew this is the moment of reunification.
Miuna senses the same thing, and the two run out into the middle of the frozen ocean. It’s a beautiful moment, probably the most beautiful yet in the series. Then we see a naked Hikari lying on the shore, as if the ocean spat him back out after five years of cryogenic sleep. Miuna doesn’t hesitate to perform mouth-to-mouth, but it wasn’t needed. Hikari wakes up yelling Manaka’s name, as if all time had stopped that fateful night.
In a powerful scene, Hikari stands up. He hasn’t aged a day, tragically left behind while everyone else has grown up. All he can do is cry in disbelief.
Wow. While definitely a cool plot twist, I can’t help but feel they forced Hikari to stay the same age in order for Miuna to have a chance with him as awkward as that might be. Or I could be way off the mark. In either case, I really can’t wait to see where this leads.
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