Hey, Kaushik here with another anime review. This time it’s Nagi no Asukara, P.A. Works’ latest show. Like most of their recent shows, it’s a romance/drama series focused on a group of kids. This time however, there’s a bit of a fantasy element to it all, with a different race of people comprising most of the main cast. I’m usually a fan of P.A. Works shows, like Hanasaku Iroha and Tari Tari. I’m always a sucker for their brand of drama. The show aired from October 3 2013 to April 3 2014, for a total of 26 episodes. Now without further ado, let’s get this review going~
While P.A. Works shows are generally focused on the characters, Nagi no Asukara is a little bit different. Not that it’s not mostly focused on the characters and their developments and interactions, but there’s a bigger plot at play that is relevant throughout the entire series. In fact, it is the driving force for many of the character interactions and how the develop. The premise is pretty fantastical to begin with. Most of the main characters are from the sea, a town called Shioshishio. The people that live in the sea have a special coating on their skin, called ena, which allows them to breathe underwater. Unfortunately this also means that they must be submerged in saltwater every once in a while on land, as their skin will dry up otherwise.
Of course, as with many situations where some human beings are different from other human beings, there is some consternation between the land dwellers (us normal humans), and the people from Shishishio. This forms quite a bit of the early drama in the show, and sets up the basis some of the major plot lines the show introduces later. The origins of the sea people is actually from this Sea God. In this show, the people originated from the sea and while some migrated from the land to the earth (thus forsaking the Sea God), some others stayed in the sea and thus the difference forms.
While there’s a lot of drama and such as the circumstances of two different peoples, this show is still a primarily a character drama. The main characters are all from Shioshishio, except one of them. The four from Shioshishio are childhood friends. Sakishima Hikari, Mukaido Manaka, Hiradaira Chisaki, and Isaki Kaname. Once they get to the surface, they also make friends with Kihara Tsugumi.
As they are all around 14 years old, a lot of feelings and such start popping up around this age. And of course, this means a lot of awkward moments and hurt feelings. And boy, does this show have some awkward moments and hurt feelings. I’ll go through it briefly. Hikari likes Manaka, Manaka likes Tsugumi, Chisaki likes Hikari, and Kaname likes Chisaki. Tsugumi is an enigma. That’s the long and short of it. There are other characters of course, but the show is mostly about the relationship dynamic between those main five.
I always love the art in P.A. Works shows. The backgrounds are gorgeous, and they use some nice lighting and bright colors to paint things in an visually appealing way. The character designs are okay, though I’m not the biggest fan. They all kind of look similar after several P.A. Works shows, but their personalities are pretty interesting so I let that slide. The animation quality of the show is a little bit more suspect, but it’s good enough for a show like this that doesn’t really focus on high animation scenes to portray anything significant.
The music in this show is really good too. Both of the opening themes are done by Ray, who I’ve really grown fond of over the course of this show. Yanagi Nagi does both of the ending themes, and she’s one of my favorite vocalists ever. Ever since she went independent I think the quality of her compositions has gone down a little bit, but I’m still incredibly fond of her voice. Aqua Terrarium is a great song. The background music is done by Yoshiaki Dewa, who I’m not familiar with but his work in this show was very good. I enjoyed a lot of the dramatic music in this show quite a bit.
-Sometimes the dramatic happenings of a bunch of 14 year olds can come off as a little stupid
-A few parts of the ending are pretty unsatisfying considering the journey to get there
Studio: P.A. Works
Director: Toshiya Shinohara
Writer: Mari Okada
Character design: Buriki
Music: Yoshiaki Dea
Original run: October 3, 2013 – April 3, 2014
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