A Lull in the Sea/Nagi no Asukara isn’t the sort of anime I would normally watch.
I found out about it through a review in Neo Magazine. The underwater setting interested me, because it is close to the world in the manga I am currently creating with my housemate.
In true P.A. Works style, the animation for A Lull in the Sea is beautiful. The underwater town of Shioshishio is built underwater, where you have fish randomly swimming around the houses, and the characters jump and skid through the water. Then above the sea is a seaside town, where the protagonists all go to school and meet each other. It was just so charming and beautiful.
I liked how this anime was a romance set against a fantasy backdrop. However, I felt the romance element, especially the love triangles, could have been downplayed a little. I know that’s a stupid thing to say when this anime is a romance, but I wish they had spent more time exploring the fantasy element rather than the love triangles, which really started to do my head in towards the end of the series. The endless heart anguish and confusion about who liked who really grated on me and it dragged the anime out. The fantasy elements – the sea god, ena, the scared fire, Uroko-sama, cursing people by putting fish heads on their skin – were so interesting and unique. They could have done something really special with them.
Overall, I enjoyed the anime, but the love triangles did annoy me towards the end, and there were too many scenes where people were thinking about or talking about their feelings. It just became too painful and frustrating to listen to after a while, which made me go off the anime. Instead of devouring it in a few days like I do with most anime, I picked at it, watching one or two episodes a day over a long period of time.
Sayu was my favourite character, just because she always spoke sense and her confession to Kaname was the best. She was emotionally strong and I loved her for that speech she made before Kaname woke up, where she said she was going to move to the city and live alone as an independent woman. I also loved the scene where she said she was going to confess to Kaname, not worrying about if he said no, but just wanting to do it otherwise she could never move on.
The first Ofunehiki festival was my favourite scene. Yes, it was pretty horrific, but it was so well done and was such a shocking twist in this relatively calm anime. Everything up to that point had been a bit ‘meh’ because it had just been one big emotional romantic mess, but this scene really kicked things up a notch for me and invested me deeper in the story and characters. The part where that pillar fell on Kaname and then Manaka slammed into the ground… Bloody hell. Just an amazing ending to an episode – although I must admit I was a little disappointed that both of them turning up alive. Makes me sound like a horrid person, but I was expecting at least one death after that incident.
You’ve just got to love Hikari. He’s such a block head. I can sort of understand why three out of four of the girls in this anime fell in love with him. Personally, I think I’d rather have Tsumugu.
Chisaki x Tsumugu were my main ship for this anime, especially after the time skip. They’re just too cute together. I loved the moments when they were in the house together, just going about their daily routine and you could just see how comfortable and synced they were together. Even though you could see how heartbreaking it was for Kaname to see them like that.
There weren’t many laugh out loud moments in this anime, but there were quite a lot of light hearted ones, I just loved any scene with Uroko-Sama in it. He was a massive pervert, but he was just so funny.
I almost cried in the scene where Sayu confesses her love to Kaname. There was something just so sweet and sincere about it, and I loved how they set it on the train tracks, so they were standing on opposite sides of the barrier and the train went between them just after she had finished her confession. But the saddest moment was when Kaname confessed his own feelings, how he was felt so alone since coming out of hibernation, because Chisaki had Tsumugu, and Hikari had his sister and her family, and he had no one.
I really felt sorry for Kaname throughout the anime – especially when he told Chisaki to confide her feelings in him about Tsumugu and Hikari, not worrying about his feelings in the process, and also when he said he was the odd one out, because he knew even if Chisaki fell out of love with Hikari she would never fall for him, that she would choose Tsumugu next. I felt he was a little pushy with Chisaki at times and barged in between her and Tsumugu after the time skip when he knew her feelings for him, but in the end I ended up really liking him.