Nagi no Asukara: Episode 15 – “Protector of the Smile”


HEEEERES HIKARIHeeeeeere’s HIKARI!

Flash Rating: Unchanged; 9/10
I can’t give it a 10 until I see the ending!

Chisaki is hit by the ghosts of her past when she discovers Hikari had returned. Hikari experiences and witnesses the changes of the years he had missed and responds in angst and depression but only blames himself. After Chisaki goes through a series of sorrowful events, she accidentally helps Hikari overcome his fear of the change while feeling a sense of closure.

Discussion

Chisaki’s reaction to Hikari’s returning surprised me a bit. While I was expecting her to rush over to confirm whether Hikari had returned or not, I was returned with Chisaki staying consistent and sticking to her fear of change. Though, I was also expecting Chisaki to have gotten over Hikari along with growing up but it seems that 5 years wasn’t enough for (probably because not only did they grow up together but Shioshishio was a tiny town). It’s a bit disappointing to see that Chisaki had not actually changed much and even had a sort of an emotional breakdown, enough to have her sitting in front of her mirror checking herself out and crying like a preteen.

While on the topic of changes and emotional breakdown, Tsumugu finally snaps and takes his wrath out on a bowl. The shock and emotion caused my heart to skip and I passed out for about 10 minutes. But seriously, Tsumugu is now SPRUNG on Chisaki?! Well we all saw it coming (seriously we did) but the reinforcement based on the only scene where he shows actual anger was reassuring: Tsumugu actually is human. So far, we can safely assume that Tsumugu has built up some resentment towards Hikari because of Chisaki being stuck on her past and the possibility of Tsumugu treating Hikari more like a child due to the boat scene where Hikari blows up a bit.

Hikari, Hikari, Hikari… for a fourteen year old in the prime of his hormonal life is hit by a train of regret. I’m surprised they let him manage his anger in only a single episode, but the way he overcame his anger by meeting an “unchanged,” Chisaki was golden. Since to Hikari it feels like only days after the Ofunehiki, I think he still expects Chisaki to remember the last time they talked when she confesses to him. Hikari may not expect Chisaki to have been stuck on him for the past 5 years especially being taller than him now. The predictable drama is incoming but its oh so good.

I had to save the best for last: our little big girl Miuna. She can’t stop reminiscing over her rape CPR scene as the first time she kissed Hikari (and for the record it doesn’t count. Sorry Miuna) and the fact that they are the same age. This development was seen coming from a mile away but it’s so easily accepted because Miuna is such an amazing supporting character being one of the most selfless character in all of anime (exaggeration). Seriously though, she has been such a major character in the series so far I wouldn’t even be sad if she is rewarded by getting her chance with Hikari. Honestly, I’m not even sure what to expect next.

Change is such a huge theme of Nagi and overcoming change has become the response theme which leads to the major conflicts. The balance of fantasy and realistic drama, while chock full of amazing and, unique characters keeps everything fresh. I know I keep emphasizing this every chance I get but with the inclusion of this time gap just adds so many new elements of drama that can only be narrated through an amazing story.

I had to add this here since I read it in the r/anime thread: “Everything goes along perfectly with the metaphor of water which is fluidity (change). Ice is the metaphor of halting (unchanging). In the first cour we got to see what it is like when life starts flowing rapidly and people deal with such change. This cour we see what it is like when things just, stop. This concept is strange because completely freezing while time passes is unheard of. We leave it to the imagination of the creators of NnA to portray the facets of such an anomaly to emotion.

This episode particularly reminded me of the taoist concept of “Wu-Wei” — effortless action. Water that flows down a river moves, but does so without doing anything.” – Reddit user /u/Jake_of_all_Trades

Amazing analogy.  I gotta step up my game lol… I’ve been rushing through most of my reviews lately due to busy on the real life side of life.

Predictions

Kaname returns?! Now this will be a kickstart to the feels engine when Kaname discovers not only the changes *ahemchisaki and things that haven’t changed *ahemchisakistillloveshikari. Sayu is gonna be one happy little fish lover.

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About Clooby
I am half Korean from my mother's side while the other half is a mix of Cherokee Indian and German I grew up in Seoul, Korea swimming competitively and playing Counter-Strike, Halo 3, and Call of Duty semi-professionally for cash prizes. My favorite anime series include FMA, The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi, Steins;Gate, and Gurren Lagann among others.

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