Nagi no Asukara
Episode 20 – The Sleeping Beauty
What an apt title for this episode. After a brief sidestep in the previous episode, the focus is back on the sleeping Manaka following her rescue in episode 18. As the third and final member of the Sea Village friends awakens (more on that later), I’d like to bring attention to something way more important – Miuna with her hair down is a goddess.
With Manaka still fast asleep everyone is doing their best to find a way to wake her up, especially Hikari. One proposed method is to play her the song of the Boatdrift Ceremony. The idea is to stimulate her sense and hopefully make her respond in some way. The second half of this anime is really centered around Miuna I find since a lot of this episode is based around her inner conflict.
Without even realising it, she inherently doesn’t want Manaka to wake up and steal Hikari again despite her good nature. For the first time we see Hikari get angry at her after she lets slip a possibility that Manaka might not wake up.
Hikari himself is slowly becoming tormented by that possibility. We see a really creepy hallucination where Manaka appears leaning over him, blaming herself for the world freezing over.
An interesting scene between the two friends Miuna and Sayu plays out as they pore over books in the library for ideas on waking Manaka. Miuna tells Sayu she is wasting time by reading irrelevant books like Snow White. But Sayu suggests it’s actually Miuna who isn’t trying hard enough and is instead content with half-hearted ideas. At this stage Miuna questions whether she actually wants Manaka to wake up.
As Hikari vainly continues trying to wake her up he begins to hallucinate. Seeing Miuna with her hair down in the hallway he mistakes her for Manaka before collapsing due to a fever. The next day at school we finally see some long-overdue interaction between Kaname and Sayu as he offers to help her take notes for the absent Hikari and Miuna, who decided to stay back and look after him.
However, the most curious character interaction in this episode is between Tsumugu and Miuna since I don’t think the two have ever had a scene together in the series yet. Tsumugu calls her to explain that the appearance of her ena is linked to a the awakening of latent abilities when the human body is put in a life threatening situation. After she randomly starts crying over the phone he requests to meet up.
He starts the conversation by admitting he’s a block of wood when it comes to expressing emotions and he seems envious of the people from Shioshishio who are always “overflowing with emotions”. Tsumugu says she is like the others too, but Miuna denies it by saying she’s different from Hikari and his friends. She’s guilty for feeling differently towards Manaka and making Hikari upset.
Tsumugu connects with her by saying he was like that too, thinking it’d be better if the Sea Village friends never woke up and he would be left with Chisaki alone. But he felt happy when they did and Miuna wants to be happy as well. Thus with the help of Tsumugu she finally reconciles with her thoughts.
Hikari is well again and is looking over Manaka when Miuna walks in. She suggests what Sayu originally suggested after reading fairytales; to kiss. The way the Japanese language works is that you don’t have to specify “who” when the subject matter is obvious but Hikari gets confused and thinks she means between him and herself! After this awkward misunderstanding not even a correction can settle the mood.
It’s at this point that Manaka finally wakes up, lecturing Hikari not to yell at girls. This abrupt awakening was handled so smoothly and it was just a perfect way to finally close the issue. I can’t wait to see what she has to say in the next episode.