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Anime / Nagi-Asu: A Lull in the Sea

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The cast, left to right: Kaname, Chisaki, Manaka, Hikari, and Tsumugu.

Nagi-Asu: A Lull in the Sea (凪のあすから — Nagi no Asukara) is a Fall 2013 Anime television series produced by P. A. Works.

Long ago, humanity lived in the sea. But the humans who longed for the land left the sea behind. They cast aside the special raiment they'd been given by the sea god that let them live in the ocean. The thinking of the sea humans and the land humans became as separate as the places they lived, and as countless time passed, they forgot they were once one people.

In the present day, Namiji Middle School in the sea is shutting down, forcing the four remaining students (Hikari, Manaka, Chisaki, and Kaname) to go to Mihama Middle School on the dry land. Things get even more complicated when Manaka makes friends with Tsumugu, a human boy who accidentally catches Manaka while fishing.

The anime series is also being adapted into a manga which is serialized in ASCII Media Works' Monthly Comic Dengeki Daioh manga magazine.

NIS America has the series licensed in North America under the Market-Based Title A Lull in the Sea, and was dubbed into English, making it the 2nd NISA title to contain an all-new English dub (after Toradora!).


  • Adults Are Useless: Both the grown-ups of the land and the sea can't cooperate and bicker like, well, children. It leads to a fight during a meeting about the Ofunehiki.
  • Alliterative Name: Manaka Mukaido
  • All of the Other Reindeer: All of the sea dwellers are very much treated like outsiders by the classmates in Mihama Middle School, with the sole exception of Tsumugu. Until Episode 4. This could be because of the fact they are sea people, or Hikari's Hair-Trigger Temper.
  • All Love Is Unrequited:
    • Kaname likes Chisaki who likes Hikari who likes Manaka who likes Tsumugu who is completely unreadable. Until Episode 14 where it is revealed that Tsumugu is in love with Chisaki.
    • Also, Miuna and Sayu both have Precocious Crushes on Hikari and Kaname, respectively.
    • After the Time Skip, we now have Miuna who likes Hikari who still likes Manaka. Sayu who likes Kaname who still likes Chisaki who still has some sort of feelings for Hikari, and Tsumugu who has developed feelings for Chisaki, who seems to also have feelings towards him. Adding to the awkwardness, Hikari and Kaname are now several years younger than Chisaki, on the other hand Miuna and Sayu have grown to the same age as their respective crushes but said crushes still think of them as kids, and Miuna is Hikari's niece, although they're not related by blood. Towards the end, even Akira gets into the act.
    • An unusual version with Tsumugu and Chisaki. Their love is mutual but both believe that it is one-sided on their part and thus have not declared them to each other. Tsumugu is aware that Chisaki still has some feelings for Hikari and fears that she would reject him if he confessed. Apart from Chisaki still being hung up on Hikari, she also seems unaware of her own feelings for Tsumugu. Episode 23 becomes the turning point as Tsumugu (accidentally) confesses his love to Chisaki and she returns these affections but is too scared and guilty to accept them as she believes it would "betray her friends".
    • Averted in the end. Everyone pairs off except Akira (who's way too young for this stuff anyway) and Miuna. Though in the latter's case, Minegishi, the boy who had confessed to her earlier has far from given up.
  • Alternate History: Humanity used to live in the sea before most of them moved to the dry land, which was opposite of our world history. It's possible (and implied) that the land people have the opposite legend.
  • Apparently Human Merfolk: The sea people look exactly like land people, except for the ena that covers their skin — a scale-like layer that absorbs and holds moisture. It has to be regularly soaked in sea water or it dries out painfully. They're also given a slight bluish tint compared to surface people.
  • Artistic License – Chemistry: The salt flake "snow" in particular is unrealistic. If the water was salty enough that it was precipitating out like it is shown to is if the water was saturated with salt (i.e. unable to dissolve any more). In this case, most of the sea life would be dead as the water would basically be brine. Also, the only way it could keep falling and accumulating like it does is if salt was continually added at the surface. In this environment tears would actually be less dense than the water and would float upward (if they somehow held together).
  • Beta Couple: Chisaki and Tsumugu. They would have almost qualified as a Crack Pairing early in the show, but it's completely justified by the time it happens, it has a strong development and actually gets confirmed before the primary couple.
  • Blessed with Suck and then Uncursed With Suck: Manaka hates her curse at first but later she seems to feel this way after the fish stuck to her knee swims off. She actually begs to be cursed again because she's afraid that Tsumugu might not want to speak to her if they don't have that to talk about.
  • Central Theme: According to the director, the show tries to answer the question, "What is it like to love someone?"
  • Childhood Friend Romance: What Hikari would like with Manaka but so far he is the Unlucky Childhood Friend. And seemingly what Kaname would also want with Chisaki.
  • Childhood Friends: Manaka, Hikari, Chisaki and Kaname grew up together in the sea, and have been friends for as long as they can remember.
  • Coming of Age Story: The Protagonists, caught between childhood and adulthood, mature over time as they experience the challenges of growing up.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: Manaka is a hopeless klutz, which only makes her more adorable.
  • Deep Sleep: Everyone from Shioshishio except Chisaki, Akari, and Tsumugu's grandfather Isamu has gone into hibernation by the end of Episode 13.
  • Dramatic Irony: In a very early episode, Kaname and Chisaki have a conversation where Chisaki tells him she never wants to leave the sea. Cue episode 13.
  • Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: Manaka several times after she wakes from hibernation. Later revealed to signify the fact she can no longer feel love.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Everybody goes through the pain of unrequited love, being separated from their family and loved ones for long periods, and even mortal danger, yet in the end they return balance to the sea, and everybody either finds the love of their life or gets a pretty good head start on it.
  • The Exile: If a sea dweller marries a land dweller, they are banished from Shioshishio for the rest of their lives. The rules comes about partly because the children of sea people and land people are always born without ena, meaning they can't survive underwater. If sea people and land people marry freely, it could lead to a long-term decline in sea people population.
  • Evolving Credits: The ending credit sequence has a few subtle changes (i.e removing the desaturation and the fading edge effects) after the end of Episode 20 to symbolize the fact that Manaka woke up. In the opening credits sequence in the episode after adds new scenes with Manaka and expands on the existing ones such as the pan out to reveal that it is Manaka who catches the umbrella at the end of the sequence.
  • Fake High: One of the later episodes has Chisaki wanting to drink plum wine, despite Tsumugu pointing out that she's still a minor. Pretending to help her find it, he grabs for the non-alcoholic plum juice. Chisaki acts drunk regardless, unaware of the switch.
  • Family Theme Naming: Akari, Hikari's older sister, and Hikari's names both mean light.
  • Fantastic Racism: Between the sea dwellers and land dwellers. The sea-people encourage this partly because the offspring of one of them and a normal human can't breathe underwater, so too many sea-people marrying land-dwellers would make it hard to maintain their population. The fact that Hikari and the others seem to be the only four kids in their class/age group is probably telling.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Hikari's father pointed out that Ojoshi-sama's robe was folded wrong, which made Manaka cry out that it's gonna die. Sure enough, the wooden figure was broken later. This hints that the previous attempt's robe would most likely have been folded wrong as well, and that one was also destroyed.
    • Uroko-sama once said he was the scale of Sea God who fell in love with a human girl.
    • One of the first hints that something is wrong with Manaka is that she shows no interest in seeing Tsumugu, the boy she had feelings for before her Heroic Sacrifice. As it turns out, Manaka gave away her ability to love and as such doesn't feel anything for Tsumugu, or Hikari, anymore.
    • A particular poster released months before the show started airing positions the characters in such a way that it slightly alludes to their fates. Tsumugu and Chisaki are located at the top together to hint that they would remain on the surface and become a couple whereas Hikari, Manaka and Kaname are located at the bottom to show that they would enter hibernation.
  • Freakiness Shame: Downplayed version but Tsumugu likes both Manaka's scales and the curse that Uroko-sama gave her, (a fish that is stuck to her knee).
  • Gender-Blender Name: The male lead first name is Hikari, which is usually used as a girl's name.
  • Green-Eyed Monster:
    • Hikari is very obnoxious towards Tsumugu because he's jealous of Manaka's attraction to him.
    • Kaname also starts to show signs of this towards Tsumugu when Chisaki starts becoming closer to him.
  • Green Thumb: The show makes a point in exposing how the mere relationship between two communities can severely affect the environment in which they interact, though the impact that the two peoples have in nature is somewhat more direct than in real life.
  • Happily Married: Manaka, Chisaki, Kaname's parents are in happy marriages, and Hikari's father Tomoru was happily married before his wife died. Itaru was happily married to Miuna's mother before she passed away; Now Itaru and Akari are happily married and have a son together in addition to Miuna.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Itaru somehow hadn't realized that any sea person who marries with a land person will be banished from village, or that his late wife was banished from the village when he married her.
    • What made Akari think that offering herself as a sacrifice in the Ofunehiki's place was a bright idea?
  • Insulted Awake: A week after being retrieved, Manaka finally wakes up... to yell at Hikari for getting so angry at Miuna.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Many of the pining lovers in the story care more about their beloved's happiness than their own, and decide to let them be happy with someone else. Surprisingly, a good percent of the time, the person is wrong about where their beloved's feelings lie, not realizing that their beloved loves them in return. A particular heartbreaking example is what happened between the Sea God and the original Ojoshi-sama.
  • I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: Fuyuka Oura voices the mother of a character voiced by Ai Kayano (Chisaki) much like she did in Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day.
  • Kiss of Life: Post-timeskip Miuna does this to Hikari after he mysteriously reappears on land, still hibernating. Tsumugu points out that he can't exactly drown, since he lives underwater, and Hikari wakes up on his own moments later.
  • Love Dodecahedron:
    • Kaname likes Chisaki, who likes Hikari. Hikari on the other hand, likes Manaka, who has feelings for Tsumugu. Tsumugu's feelings are ambiguous at the moment.
    • Miuna and Sayu like Hikari and Kaname respectively. And Tsumugu ends up developing feelings for Chisaki. It is strongly implied that she loves him too but they have not declared their feelings to each other, until Episode 23 where Tsumugu accidentally confesses to her.
  • Love Hurts: As demonstrated by the other love-related tropes on the page, the pain that comes with loving someone is a big theme of the series. However, a major moral is that this pain is an integral part of love and cannot be ignored or denied, but must be accepted along with the good.
  • Loving a Shadow: Some of the characters experience this. Manaka is in love with how Tsumugu represents the surface and Chisaki is "in love with the Hikari that is in love with Manaka".
  • Magic Skirt: They are underwater most of the time, for Neptune's sake. Or do they have weights on their clothes to keep it from being buoyant?
  • Meaningful Name: Akari and Hikari's names both mean light, however it gets a bit deeper than that. Akari refers to the light that shines on its own, like the Sun. Hikari refers to light that is reflected by other, such as the Moon.
  • Meet Cute: Manaka and Tsumugu meet for the first time when he fishes her out of the sea with a net. Ultimately subverted, as her crush on him never goes anywhere and they end up in love with other people.
  • Missing Mom: Hikari and Akari's mother died before the story starts. Also, Miuna's mother Miori.
  • Mood Lighting: Applied in the second ending credits sequence. Initially, it is given a fog-like effect, with mist bordering the screen and washed-out colors to minimize the sunlight effects, reflecting the second half of the show's somber atmosphere. When Manaka wakes up from her sleep, the credits sequence changes to reflect this and the uplifting turn in the plot; the fog is gone and the color palette returns to what's standard for the show, allowing more vivid colors and more noticeable sunlight.
  • New Transfer Student: The story opens with four main characters from the sea transferring to Mihama Junior High on the surface because their old school, Namiji Junior High, has closed. This is due to the fact that the population of the underwater town is dwindling.
  • Nice Guy: As much as it is Hikari has a hard time admitting it, Tsumugu is really a kind and considerate guy.
  • Not So Stoic: Tsumugu can be expressive when needed. He tends to hide his melancholy beneath a mask of stoicism. It kills him to bottle up his feelings about his troubled relationship with his mother, friends all falling into a deep sleep, grandfather falling ill and inability to confess his love for Chisaki.
  • Occult Blue Eyes: The sea dwellers all have bright blue-green eyes, including their eyelashes.
  • Officially Shortened Title: Nagi-Asu
  • Official Couple: The first pair to officially get together are Akari and Itaru, who marry at the end of the first part. Out of the main characters Tsumugu/Chisaki is the only confirmed couple. Hikari/Manaka is practically confirmed, Kaname/Sayu is strongly implied and Minegeshi/Miuna is teased at.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: Sea dwellers are normal functioning humans without any significant anatomic features different from land dwellers; the main difference is their protective barrier, the Ena, which lets them breathe underwater. Even when it's completely saturated, the Ena is barely perceptible to begin with other than the occasional glimmer. Their eyes also have a characteristic tone of aquamarine, which is shown to dwindle with age.
  • Pair the Spares: In a roundabout fashion. After the Time Skip Sayu confesses to Kaname, who while he can't requite her feelings yet he promises that he'll start looking at her, at the end it's strongly hinted that they may start going out together soon.
  • Precocious Crush: Miuna and Sayo on Hikari and Kaname respectively before the time skip. They keep those feelings afterwards, but by then, the age gap has disappeared. In the second half, four-year-old Akira gets one on Manaka.
  • Pretty Fly for a White Guy: Tsumugu shows a strong interest in how merpeople live. Mostly curiosity from having sailed over their town so much. Although his grandfather was from the sea.
  • Red Herring: The narration of episode 1 (by Hikari) about the "special" first meeting between Tsumugu and Manaka suggests that they will become the Official Couple.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni:
    • Hikari and Tsumugu.
    • Hikari and Kaname also count, as do Manaka and Chisaki.
    • Sayu and Miuna, too.
  • Rule of Symbolism: At the moment Sayu confesses her love for Kaname, a train literally passes through, making Kaname shed his facade and admit just how lonely he is and how glad he is at Sayu for having him in her heart; proverbially, she hit him like a train.
  • The Runaway:
    • Miuna in Episode 5.
    • Hikari and Akari in Episode 7.
  • Scenery Porn: As expected from P. A. Works, the backgroud was beautiful and detailed as usual. Just watch the trailer.
  • Second Love: As this is a Coming of Age Story letting go and moving on are major themes, so several characters find their second loves. Such as Itaru, Chisaki, Kaname who is also strongly hinted to and even the original Ojoshi-sama found her second love in the Sea God.
  • Shared Unusual Trait: All the inhabitants of Shioshishio and their immediate descendants have teal-colored eyes. More distant descendants lose this trait, which is the case with Tsugumu, who has light brown eyes.
  • Ship Tease: All over the place due to the Love Dodecahedron being one of the show's main focuses.
  • Spoiler Opening:
    • The ending has Manaka drifting lifelessly towards the bottom of the ocean, then shows her sitting motionless on the seabed, covered in saltflake snow.
    • The first Opening has our protagonists spending time together, there's some foreshadowing in some scenes such as when they are all on the train only Tsumugu, Chisaki, Hikari and Kaname are together speaking and interacting with each other, while Manaka is by herself on another seat sleeping...
    • Opening 2:
      • It spoils the fact that everyone on the surface has gotten older, and apparently Kaname didn't get killed by the huge pillar that gave out and fell into the sea.
      • Careful analysis of the opening will reveal some of the character's romantic interests — Sayu is looking at Kaname, Kaname is looking at Chisaki, Tsumugu is looking at Chisaki, Chisaki is looking at Hikari, Hikari is looking at the sea (for Manaka). The exception — Miuna is looking toward the ground because she is unsure of her feelings (Hikari is also her uncle now).
    • After Episode 20:
      • Manaka and Miuna in their Ofunehiki uniforms look at each other while in the sea, carrying and releasing the sacred fire. This foreshadows a scene in Episode 25 in which Miuna attempts to save Manaka from dying.
      • When all the characters are walking, Chisaki and Tsumugu are shown close together, with Kaname and Sayu following behind also close together.
      • At the end of the opening (pre-Evolving Credits), the necklace that contains Manaka's feelings is visible hanging off of the flagpole.
  • Time Skip: The second arc takes place five years after the Ofunehiki. The sea has frozen over, Manaka, Hikari and Kaname have vanished, Akari has a son, and Chisaki has been stranded on the surface and is living with Tsumugu. The plot kicks back up when Hikari is found, having not aged a day.
  • Title Drop: Miuna described the look in Hikari's eyes after he came out of about five years of hibernation seemingly not aged one day as overwhelming sadness, as a "lull in the sea".
  • Transfer Student Uniforms: The merkids keep wearing their old school uniform when they transfer, as a symbol of how they're different from normal humans.
  • True Love's Kiss: Played with but ultimately subverted. Miuna suggests that Hikari can kiss Manaka to awaken from her hibernation, but due to the way Miuna words it, Hikari thinks Miuna's talking about herself as the intended subject; their bickering over the idea is what rustles Manaka awake.
  • Underwater City: Shioshishio is a small town underwater.
  • Vagueness Is Coming:
    • Episode 5 implies that an unspecified disaster tangentially related to the "saltflake snow" will occur soon.
    • Then, come Episode 8, saltflake snow, a phenomenon that was supposed to occur only in the sea, occurred on the land.
  • Water Is Air: Zig-zagged. People walk and talk and live underwater exactly as if they're on land (just with the odd fish swimming about), except they occasionally start swimming, and they can swim to/from the surface. They have fire underwater, but it's special "holy fire." You can cry underwater also.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Episode! Thirteen! The main heroine sacrifices herself, two of the male protagonists are missing in action, the supporting female protagonist is traumatized by the fact that most of her best friends may have just died, and the third male protagnonist is unconscious after almost drowning. The first twelve episodes were completely kid-friendly Slice of Life...
    • Episode 25, too. If learning that Manaka was actually in love with Hikari all along wasn't enough, then Miuna, in a sudden turn of events, seemingly being taken as the new sacrifice to the sea god definitely was.
  • "YEAH!" Shot: The final scene in the first opening credits sequence, with the five kids leaping toward the ocean.

Alternative Title(s): Nagi No Asu Kara