Nagi no Asukara
Episode 16 – The Whispers of the Faraway Waves
I’m so glad Nagi no Asukara is continuing this anime season. I don’t think there’s anything else currently airing that’s quite like it. It truly has become something really precious as we progress into the second half. By temporarily removing some of the main characters, Nagi no Asukara has the time to develop minor characters that are proving to be more interesting. The pace of the show has slowed and every turn along the way is becoming more eye-opening and full of purpose.
As Hikari rejoins his class, now full of kids that were once five years younger, he becomes his usual self. Cracking jokes while classmates admire their new “senpai”. He’s also in the same class as his step-niece, Miuna, and her cheeky friend Sayu. This episode is heavily centred on these two girls who once looked to Hikari as their elder but now stand on equal footing.
More specifically, it’s about Miuna’s so-far unrequited love for Hikari which might be incredibly problematic considering he is her uncle. Even if he is a step-uncle. As the two head into the city to get new school uniform for Hikari, Miuna invites her friend Sayu to tag along in order to dispel the awkwardness of the trip looking like a date.
As they wander the city, Miuna and Hikari bicker like a married couple causing Sayu to feel a little and frustrated and wondering why Miuna even invited her in the first place. She can clearly see Miuna’s feelings for Hikari, who is a little dense and can’t seem to realise this himself.
We really see Miuna’s dedication to Hikari when she insists to the tailor to make his old white and blue uniform that the sea friends wore to school, rather than the brown and white which is worn by their surface-dwelling classmates.
Admittedly, this causes more of a fuss than was necessary and Sayu finally has enough. Confronting Miuna outside, she is forced to be the one to tell her that a niece can’t marry her uncle. Sorry guys, it just can’t be done. Although there’s something really intriguing about this love, to the extent that I’m enjoying this a lot more than when Manaka was around.
More importantly, Sayu lets out some pent up feelings. She is frustrated that only Hikari has returned for Miuna, while her childhood crush Kaname is still missing. The two have an argument while Hikari abandons the plan to buy new uniform and arrives in time to see Miuna run off.
On the way back, Hikari catches up to Miuna and comforts her in his usual carefree way. Just when Miuna has something important to say (confession?), a great big crane collapses around them, throwing Miuna into the ocean. Just when you think she will either drown or Hikari’s hand will come plunging down to grab her, a miracle happens. She develops an ena instantly and can swim just like Hikari.
How does this happen when only direct residents of the Shioshishio can breathe underwater? We don’t yet know but it was one heck of a powerful moment. Miuna is excited and wants to tell Akari about her new found ability and happily makes up with Sayu who feared the worst and started bawling her eyes out.
Following the trend of every episode ending with an impact, it ends with the return of a familiar male character. Kaname emerges near the tailor shop in the city, suitably nude and ready for action. Sayu’s lost crush, and Chisaki’s admirer, has finally returned. It will be interesting to see what he makes of the new and matured Chisaki, who we didn’t really see much of this episode.
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