The only reason this anime even came up on my radar this season is due to the breathtaking animation photos of the scenery in this world circulating the internet. I’m really not a huge fan of the slice of life romantic anime genre. In my experience it’s always some kind of coupling of two characters who are childhood friends about to enter a new school and must overcome the challenge of meeting new people. Believe it or not this is a vastly simplified version of the plot of Nagi no Asakura so far.
Except the difference this time is, Manaka and Hikari actually live underwater. In the lore of this world, mankind once lived in the sea, but some opted to live on land. Due to an undisclosed reason, the school Manaka and Hikari attend was shut down, and they are sent to school on the surface with two of their friends.
Throughout the first episode we see tension between those that dwell on land and water. This tension coupled with Hikari’s crush on Manaka leads to quite a bit of drama, namely the early stages of a budding love triangle for Manaka, Hikari, and their new classmate Tsumugu. Manaka appears to have a crush on Tsumugu, and he definitely seems to have one on her. Face it, he called the weird farting fish that grew on Manaka’s knee after she was cursed beautiful. He’s into her, or he’s just one extremely weird kid. And all the while Hikari hates Tsumugu for capturing his childhood crush’s attention. All of which is really predictable.
As mentioned above, the reason I took on Nagi no Asakura, was entirely due to animation in photos online. In this regard I’m not disappointed – the anime has some very gorgeous scenes. I would actually love to live in a world like this; granted, the breathing bit would be a huge issue. But being able to go from walking down the street to leaping up into the water to swim, while fish go right by you minding their own business would be cool. I’m hoping to learn more on the world and culture as we go on.
Overall Nagi no Asakura is shaping out more or less as expected with predictable characters and story, but amazing animation. Things are getting warmed up; hopefully the next batch of episodes will give a better indicator of if the plot and characters can break from the cookie cutter and give us more or not.