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A Lull in the Sea

Apr 7, 2014


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! ^_^

7/10 story
8/10 animation
8/10 sound
5/10 characters
6/10 overall

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Aevel Dec 28, 2015

I understand your view about the characters but let me point something out. (not sure if there's a point after 1.5 year, though, but anyway haha) Everything is done in order to add to the natural and realistic feeling the whole series had.

Kaname might be a bit left out, but that's true in a group of friends, isn't it? Not everyone shines the same. The same happened at the second part of the anime with Chisaki. It was because of the time-skip (trying to keep it spoiler-free) that it felt rushed. After that time passing, and during that age, it's only natural for someone to change in that way and most people won't even notice how said person changed even if they live along with them. I could have made it seem even more sudden and unexplained because that's how human beings are. Besides, not all changes in character are made through intense and very noticeable/tragic events, some people just think a lot. In fact, when I started watching this anime, I was worried that the exact opposite of what happened might actually happen. I instantly got that this is going to feel natural, and if by any chance all characters had the exact same development, that would turn the natural feeling off. 

Also, Manaka and Hikari may look on first glance the typical shy/crybaby and strong/stubborn characters respectively, but I think it's quite unfair to say that they really are like this. Both of them have valid reasons for having that base for their personality, even psychologically they could be explained, and both of them have incredible character development that puts them on a whole different level than any typical character out there. I believe that Kaname, on the other hand, is not someone who thinks everything is nice. If you remember, he even went as far as to play dirty at some point. He just likes to keep his real thoughts to himself. Those guys also exist in real life. 

Anyway, as I said I understand why and how you see them the way you do and I apologise for making this long. It's not like I will change your mind or anything but I just wanted to show you the other side of the coin based on what you said exactly. What I'm trying to say is that, in my opinion, just because this is an anime, it doesn't mean that everything must be oddly spectacular and exaggerated just to provide us with something different from what we see in our lives. The story and setting were strange enough and unseen anyway.

trottolina Apr 12, 2014

Hi Illarae, 

I think you make a good point about Kaname.  The poor guy is almost an after-thought!