I usually like to elaborate in my reviews but you'll have to excuse me for this one.
It's gonna be kinda short.
I truely believe this is one of the best animes I've seen.
I've seen it in a marathon, and it felt pretty good,
it gets to emotional depths and honesty most anime doesn't get to,
We're not talking about plain architypes like tsunderes , moes nor kuderes/senapis.
From the very beginning we have emotional complex, layered rather than plained.
We don't have emotional cheap drama with cheap tricks (most of the time) that we see in most animes.
We do see a bunch of honesty.
The anime speaks honestly about feelings, love, changes, fears and what not.
Don't let the age of the characters fool you (14-15), they're having
very realistic, human reactions, thoughts and feels.
The use of fantasy - the story takes you to a world where there are humans who live in the water, and humans of the surface.
Even though it's one of the things that makes the show special, and provides it
some great shots of animation the series doesn't lose focus from the characters.
Characters: You may not like all characters, but most of them always search for themselves, growing up, most of them make progress so you'll never feel bored.
Story-wise: The only problem was the kind of drop in the middle which kinda let everything suck for some episodes, yet knowing it leads for the build-up to the ending,
it's worth it, and try to survive even the more depressing, disappointing episodes.
The show had me feels I haven't felt since the american show (not anime)
"Avatar: The last airbender" I saw when I was younger, years ago.
This anime made me feel I gained a bit more than just passing my time
or entertaining myself, I felt like I've got a value added,
and I got kind of a mental "boost" from it.
You might say: "It's just another romance drama nonsense"
It's got it times where you feel like every episodes there's someone crying to keep the tension, yet don't let it bother you - I know it didn't bother me:
Cause it was well executed, and I knew these times are just a build-up for the climatic ending that will give us back the honest feelings that flow like the sea.
Amazing anime; I'll remember it.
Long ago, all humans lived in the ocean. But some who longed for the land abandoned the ocean, casting off the special raiments granted to them by the sea god to adapt them to life under the sea... Though mankind was divided into sea dwellers and land dwellers, each with different ways of thinking, they were all still fellow humans, and they continued to maintain contact as time went on.
Due to the closure of their school four young teenagers from under the sea are sent to attend school on land. Sakishima Hikari, Mukaido Manaka, Hiradaira Chisaki, and Isaki Kaname live in an undersea village, while Kihara Tsumugu lives on land. As these middle school second years meet for the first time they attempt to understand one another and their differences as they try to get along. When things in the sea suddenly start to change the four teens relationships begin to change in the wake of what is to come ... The youthful fantasy tale of these young people's lives unfolds in a strange and beautiful world.
As a P.A Works production I simply knew it was going to be beautiful. . .and it was! Breathtakingly gorgeous animation that often made me pause watching just to admire the beauty of it! The soundtrack was also incredible! I absolutely LOVED the music choices! And the VA's did an amazing job! The plot was also very unique and not at all what I expected when I went into this ... I was thinking mermaids or some such shit but, I got something completely different and was pleasantly surprised at how well it was carrried out! I've never really dealt with drama well so I was kind of turned off by that but I still loved how things were put together. I even got teary eyed several times! The characters were amazingly well done with each character growing before you as the anime progressed. As they struggle with their feelings and what's going on in their lives you watch them fully develop right before your eyes.
Overall I started this anime because it was by P.A Works and I adore their animation, but in the end I completely fell in love, not just with the animation but with the whole package! Nagi no Asukara was a wonderful surprise! Very glad I watched it!
So at first I was like what the hell is going on. They are under water. They walk and swim. There is paper under water and they have water in a glass, under water. When they get out of the ocean they look completely dry. A fish just swam by that dudes head. HUH!? Well, spoiler alert, it does get explained although actually, only one of those things is explained. I felt like the writer could have explained it a little sooner though.
As for the overall story, it was touching and mostly well written. It addressed issues of discrimination, hate, faith, determination, friendship, children being more willing to overlook differences than adults, age differences, passage of time, etc. It does a pretty good job of it too. However, there are certain things I want to know that it never explained. The people who live under the sea have something called Ena which allows them to breathe underwater. The reason they are dry when they get out of the water is because the Ena soaks up all the water on them. However, they can only spend a certain amount of time out of salt water. So that explains a little. However, it doesn't explain how there is soup in a bowl underwater, how their homework doesn't get soaked and mushy, how they look completely dry underwater, why they would bother with walking, underwater and how it can look as easy as walking on the surface, or why/how that one lady was sweeping. How do you sweep underwater? Is there even any point? I want an explanation. Other than that though, I recomment this anime.
Some of the characters remain two dimensional but others are well developed. Some of the main characters aren't very developed while some of the others rarely seen are developed quite well all things considered. Everyone loves someone who loves someone else which gets a little annoying sometimes. One of the characters that was part of the group of four since childhood is kind of left out. He doesn't have much dialogue and he is often kind of just there which some people have an issue with. I think it's kind of fitting though and it adds to the dynamics of the group. He's the odd man out.
Anyway, I recommend this anime to pretty much anyone. Sorry my review is short. My hand is bothering me (and so are my annoying neighbors) so I'm ending this here. I really did like the anime though.
Nagi no Asukara (aka Nagi-Asu) is based in a semi-fantasy world. Humans used to live upon the ocean floor but there were a curious few who decided to leave and see the surface. Some stayed and lived there. As time went on, the surface people and the sea people became separated and usually had nothing to do with each other. However, the story begins when Nami Junior High School shuts down and the remaining students had to go and study in a school at the surface. Our 14-year-old protagonists undergo many differences to their relationships and surroundings, and have to learn to cope with them and understand whether things really do "change" or not.
Story - 7/10
The anime's primary genre is romance, however the story is pretty much about how friendships are tested because of feelings developed for characters. If you want hardcore romance, you won't be getting that from this anime. The story revolves around relationships and characters changing. How everyone deals and copes. The story to me was unique in a sense that we had a sea people civilisation upon the ocean floors and their lifestyle is completely different to the surface. At the beginning of the anime, the idea of racism is involved but is not a primary theme as that topic dies down after the first few episodes. The anime really begins to take shape in the middle. My only issue was that the plot beat around the bush at times and some parts I felt were important werent really delved into as much. I was nearing the end of the anime and felt so many things weren't concluding and as expected, some things had closure in the very last episode and other things were left ambiguous (which I hate, but I know some people love.) While certain aspects were unpredictable, others were super predictable. How some relationships were shaped, however, for me felt they were kind of awkward and nearly out-of-the-blue. You would expect some kind of foreshadowing but then you just get this sudden moment and you're like, "What the hell?"
Animation & Sound - 8/10
I'm putting these two together because they shared the same score and they're both pretty much about technical things. I gave them an 8 because I loved how fluid everything seemed. I was in love with the sea people's blue eyes, they were just so pretty so see because they seemed like they reflected the ocean. The scenery was excellent and characters' expressions were so nicely conveyed. The sounds were good too in a sense that sea waves had such nice dynamics and when I had my headphones on, I felt there was a hint of surround sound happening. Very good technicalities. This aspect of the anime was my favourite.
Characters - 5/10
What the animation & sound cannot make up for, however, are the characters. I suppose I'm just being biased or probably denying the point of the anime, but most of the characters pissed me off so much. They irritated me so much that I wanted to slam my whole body into the wall out of frustration. Hikari at first annoyed me but he had the best character development. You could see his personality shaping up and he was becoming more open and accepting. I was fine with him by the end of the series, but I just wished the conclusion for his character was something else other than what was done in the story. Other characters like Kaname and Tsumugu I felt were verging on 1-Dimensional as there were times where they had their key moments but they weren't enough to satisfy me and I felt they could have so much more. I just felt like they were characters that were just simply there for the plot and weren't actually explored. Same goes with Sayu and Miuna. I had mixed feelings for Chisaki on the other hand, I wasn't too sure about her or her character. They didn't have any kind of foreshadowing over her character in the second half of the anime and it felt super rushed. On the other hand, Manaka is by far the most annoying heroine I've ever witnessed in anime in the past couple of years of my anime-watching. She had some character development at the very end but throughout the entire series, I just wanted to her to go away. Honestly, I just felt the characters were just your typical cliched love-circle personalities that I just simply hate. You have the cutesy cry baby girl and you have the head-strong, stubborn male protagonist. You have the boy that everyone thinks is so kind and you have the aloof guy. It just felt like a character template that everyone else was using. While I apologise to some as they may have actually liked the characters and thought their character development was good, I was just too busy crying my eyes out in anger as I watched these characters go about their lives, aggravating me in the process. Was this the point of the anime? Possibly.
Overall (Personal Opinions) - 6/10
It's been a while since I watched an anime that delved into the story that really is moderately paced and is really to do with characters' relationships. But I think I'm ready to head back to action and a faster-paced anime because I realise such animes just make me feel frustrated. The point is, the characters aren't supposed to be perfect and you can't expect such characters to be loveable all the time. But I would prefer to associate myself with imperfect characters and possibly sympathising with them, not hate their guts. I just couldn't associate myself with any character at all so everything they did, I just felt angry. If you're the kind of viewer who likes romance animes that explore two characters, developing their own relationship, this isn't for you. But go ahead and watch this if you enjoy complicated relationships and semi-drama.
Note: I understand there are those who don't agree with my opinions and that's okay because we all watch something with a different experience of it. I apologise if you feel angry reading my review but please note that it's just becase of different opinions, feelings, experiences and associations. Thank you for reading my review! ^_^
For a video review, check out my Youtube channel. Link on my profile page.
*A big positive point of this anime that I want to mention right away was the music. The music in this anime is simply astounding, it is so incredibly beautiful. And I mean all the music, both opening songs where the second one Ebb and Flow is an absolute diamond. The ending songs are also breathtaking which isn’t a wonder since there both performed by Yanagi Nagi, together with Lisa, one of my favorite Japanese artists. All those songs fitted this anime so perfect, you could feel the bit heavy mood that’s also present in the anime.
And in the OST you could actually hear the sea theme, that flowing of the waves so also here the link with the main set-up was perfect. I haven’t even gone through all the OST yet but I already love it.
Then, because I loved the music so much, I want to give 2 shoutouts to 2 channels who made incredible covers and they are Dima Lancaster who made a beautiful English medley of the opening and ending songs and Animenz who made a truly breathtaking piano medley.
*Then let’s get to the animation. When it comes to pure animation, PA Works is still one of my favorite studios out there, they deliver such beautiful anime’s every time. I really love their style of animation. And they outdid themselves here in NnA. The world that they created and especially Shioshishio, was beautiful. Every anime from PA that I’ve already watched pleased me with its animation. Angel Beats!, winner of my animation award 2014, Charlotte, winner in 2015, True Tears, HaruChika, in all of them the animation was completely my style.
*Then I think its time to talk about the story and my god did the story not disappoint and there are 2 things in particular that I want to adres in this review mostly concerning the romance in NnA. First of all, not going to tell when or why it happens, but the timeskip that happens was so brilliantly done. The fact that certain characters age and others don’t twisted the entire romantic foundation of this anime up side down. Just when you thought that the romantic plot lines were decided and fixed, the anime pulled this brilliant move.
Some relationships that seemed obvious suddenly were a lot less probable and others that were impossible suddenly became possible. And that was also portrayed in the ending of the anime. Without going into details because of obvious spoiler reasons, some of the romance plot lines didn’t end the way I thought they were going to end. But that’s a good thing, I love it when anime’s surprise me like that.
*And the second thing about the romance is the perfect romance balance in NnA. Some romance anime’s focus on 1 relationship only like for instance Ore Monogatari. Others try to implement several different romances but sometimes fail at balancing them. Some of the romances would then get too less development or are rushed to complete them. But you can see where I’m going, NnA didn’t have this problem, NnA balanced its several romances perfectly. Each one get the development it needs, has a good pace and a satisfying conclusion.
*And lastly as the story, also the characters were greatly written. Manaka was ubercute, Hikari was a great main character, Tsumugu had a very interesting personality, Miuna made amazing progression throughout the story and so on and so on.
*Now for the negative points of this anime but that’s going to be a problem since there aren’t a lot of bad things to say about NnA. If I look at it trough a magnifying glass than I can say that it wasn’t fully explained why the sea started to change, why the salt flake snow started to fall. Why now, what was there different now that it triggered this change in conditions? That’s something that’s not clearly explained.
But for the rest I can’t give more critique on this anime. NnA is the kind of anime for which I watch anime. This is my type of anime: several good romances, drama intertwined, beautiful animation, beautiful music, coming of age. If you guys know any more anime’s like NnA, like Shigatsu do not hesitate to recommend them to me in the comments. But not all at ones so I can be surprised from time to time by another anime that fits my profile perfectly.
So as a conclusion, as I just made pretty clear, I loved NnA, it is simply my favorite kind of anime and that kind that I hope to discover from time to time. PA Works delivered yet again a great anime about coming of age, about getting to know yourself and your relationships with the people around you. They did it with Charlotte, with Angel Beats! and now again with NnA. So I am going to rate Nagi no Asukara at a well deserved 4,5 stars. The year is still young but until now, this is the best anime that I’ve seen so far, a definite recommendation to watch.