Initially I thought I’d refrain from revealing too much of the plot of any of the shows I’m watching but my heart has just been so moved by Nagi that I can’t help myself so ***BEWARE SPOILERS AHEAD***.
The second arc kicked off with a time-skip of five years since Chisaki was left alone on the surface and the salt snow started falling more heavily. All her friends are at the bottom of the ocean, somewhere asleep, but it was only a matter of time before people started waking up and it all started, very appropriately, with Hikari. I finally feel like things are actually going somewhere with this series.
I feel like the drama starts but in a completely different manner to the first half of the series. Chisaki has lived on the surface with Tsumugu and his grandfather for the past five years, building a new life for herself as a nurse-in-training. Tsumugu has been studying the currents around where Shioshishio used to be in the hopes of finding out what happened to the village and its inhabitants and the pair have built a sweet and familial life around each other that to me, at least, goes beyond any sort of trivial romantic feelings. It’s quite beautiful to witness in my opinion. Moreover, we finally get a closer insight into two other characters now that they’re all grown up. Best friends Miuna and Sayu have lived their lives normally, maintaining a torch for their childhood crushes, but just because they’re slowly waking up doesn’t mean that it’s all going to fall into place for them. Time hasn’t moved for those who fell asleep and Hikari and Kaname find themselves awake to a world they both recognise but can’t quite grasp.
Miuna, voiced by Komatsu Mikako, is still the soft-spoken girl, just all grown up and going through the torment of being on the cusp of woman-hood. She wants to do all she can to help her ena-skinned friends find their lost village and put an end to the perpetual winter, while battling her feelings for Hikari who is still very much in love with Manaka. I admire both her strength and her gentleness when it comes to handling the mercurial world around her and that she doesn’t – or hasn’t yet – become one of those rejected females. She’s courageous and realistic but also exceedingly warm and helpful. Her relationship with Sayu is a source of dramedy that’s both poignant as it is real and I love their friendship and how it’s portrayed in this show.
Sayu is Miuna’s loud, rambunctious best friend, voiced by Ishihara Kaori. She’s had a crush on Kaname ever since she was little. For some reason I feel like Sayu has changed more than her best friend in the last five years as there’s a solemnity and a cynicism to her than wasn’t there before. It’s so intriguing to watch because she’s such a gung-ho and vibrant character that when she relays these dry anecdotes it’s like looking at a different person. Her changes are so nuanced and subtle and she’s quickly becoming a favourite character of mine.
Part of me loves the direction that this show is going in but that’s perhaps because Manaka isn’t around and it’s a very sad thing to say that the disappearance of a main character makes me feel like watching this show even more. She’s bound to come back, however, but it will be too soon when she does. Nevertheless, I’m holding out hope for redemption – as unlikely as it is – and I’m hoping the show goes in the direction I want it to!