“The Colour Of The Sea. The Colour Of The Land. The Colour Of The Wind. The Colour Of The Heart. The Colour Of You. ~Earth colour of a calm~”
(海の色。 大地の色。 風の色。 心の色。 君の色。 〜Earth colour of a calm〜)
Twenty-six weeks of agonising and pain and laughter and joy and tragedy and finally, peace. It has been one heck of a journey and all the drama and tears have led to this ultimate conclusion. And what a conclusion it was. There’s an oddly subdued, bittersweet feeling when a show ends and you’re left to pick up the threads of an old life (to quote the Lord of the Rings, because really, it’s necessary), or in my case, pick up the threads of a now empty Thursday until the next best show comes along. It’s really quite hard to believe that I’ve spent twenty-six weeks watching this show – it’s almost obscene, and yet now that I think about it, it’s twenty-six twenty-four minute long episodes well worth it despite whatever qualms and criticisms and rants I’ve had in the weeks leading up to this.
Nagi no Asukara is, ultimately, a show well worth investing one’s time and effort in.
We kicked off with the frantic surface wondering what’s happened to their friends and family who have dived into the sea once the sea god sought to claim Miuna. From the last episode we saw Chisaki pull Manaka to safety. Both Manaka and Miuna, who have become the Ojoshi and thereby know the story of the Sea God and the Ojoshi-sama tell their sad story and we learn that the Ojoshi was given to the Sea God and they had two children together. But the Ojoshi would cry in secret, supposedly mourning the loss of a lover she left on the surface whom, unknown to her, killed himself at the loss of his love. The Sea God, not wanting to cause his beloved any more pain, takes away her ability to love and returns her to the surface, oblivious to the fact that she had come to love him and their children and their lives in the sea together. The whole story-telling scene was so beautifully done and there was some very meaningful imagery juxtaposed from the bright and colourful scenery underwater, to the dull, grey, cold colours of the surface that the Ojoshi was returned to and the contrast reflected her loss so keenly and resplendently. In the end, however, Miuna’s strong feelings of love for Hikari reached the Sea God’s will and he finally came, in his own, intangible way, to understand what he had done to himself and to his wife all those centuries ago. Miuna is released from the Ojoshi-sama grave and Shioshishio is lit with sacred fire and I just thought that entire scene was absolutely stunning. Time has finally restarted not only for those in the sea, but also, I believe, for those on the surface. And despite only being the scale of the Sea God, Uroko had a heart-wrenching scene when he realised the Ojoshi’s love for the Sea God and finally allowed himself to admit his eternal love for her.
Ultimately, the sea is finally reunited with the surface and everybody sees their families again as the sea is finally jarred from its calm lull and allowed to flow once more. I think the one reunion that really touched me was seeing Chisaki find her parents once more. Not only that, but she’s finally really given herself the right to love Tsumugu back and that was a really lovely moment for the both of them. The little scene, where Miuna welcomed Manaka back, more for the fact that her ability to love has finally returned, was a gorgeously tender moment between the two and was perfectly pitched in emotion and joy.
The only qualm I had with this episode is that I was really holding out for yet another timeskip. Call me a hopeless romantic but I just think it would have tied in the entire story beautifully, whereas to retrieve Miuna from becoming the Ojoshi so soon felt like a bit of a rush to me. I think everything else was perfect except for that little issue but I’m willing to overlook it on account of the fact that everyone, including Miuna, despite sacrificing any chance of a romance with Hikari, ended up happy. There is also the fact, I believe, that those who have any blood tie to residents of Shioshishio whatsoever have been able to grow ena and are thereby able to live in the sea should they choose to do so, and I think that the Sea God deserves a round of applause for that bit of thinking because rather than banishing those who choose to leave the sea, their children are given the choice of both worlds, which is a happy ending in itself. Basically, it’s meteorological crisis averted and both the surface and sea are warming up and life begins anew for everyone and the seven wonderful main characters are finally able to move forward with their lives, no longer tied down by baggage and guilt and broken hearts.
I’ve given Manaka, within the last few episodes, the benefit of the doubt as now that her heart is very clear and her love for Hikari is certain, she’s that much more tolerable for she’s no longer conflicted. However my favourite characters will eternally be the other six for their innate abilities in burrowing their way into my own heart. The short, abstract scene at the end, however, was a true ending and I can’t commend the writers enough for that short scene that felt so much like closure and yet had the emotional capability to knock the breath out of me. It’s just a silent conversation between Hikari and Manaka that I don’t think ever really happened but was deeply beautiful in its own right. Despite the fact that Manaka has not explicitly expressed her love for Hikari allowed, it’s all right, because they know each other well enough and their bond and the bond with all their friends goes deeper beyond words. The whole play of light and shadow and the setting sun seemed to signify an end to one chapter of their lives and the beginning of another. And yet it also felt like they were leaving their childhood behind, which is bittersweet and painful in its own right. Yet they have each other and that’s more than enough.
It was a very gentle scene, coupled with the ghosts of the people they once were but now do not identify with and there was a soft sort of serenity that made the ending quite perfect. It’s been a positively stunning journey with many ups and downs but overall, this show was beautiful and this ending was enough.