Nagi no Asukara (2013)

Would you choose friendship over love?

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Source: crunchyroll.com

Title: Nagi no Asukara (凪のあすから)

Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Romance, Slice of Life

Studio: P. A. Works

Number of Episode(s): 26

Songs:

  • lull ~Soshite Bokura wa~ by Ray (1st Opening)
  • Ebb and Flow by Ray (2nd Opening)
  • Aqua Terrarium by Yanagi Nagi (1st Ending)
  • Mitsuba no Musubime by Yanagi Nagi (2nd Ending)

Plot:

Manaka, Hikari, Chisaki and Kaname were 14 years old middle school students from the sea village Shioshishio. They had to go to Mihama Junior High on the surface since their old school has been closed down. At first, they did not get along very well with their classmates because of the fundamental separation between the sea and land people. But soon after they joined Tsumugu to build the Ojoshi-sama for Ofunehiki festival, they started to overcome their differences and worked together with the rest of the class. But the problem was not only how they adjust to the completely new environment, they also had to deal with their complicated feelings toward each other which they feared would ruin their friendship.

Then there was a bigger problem, the salt-flake snow which was supposed to fall only on the sea, started to fall on the surface. This occurrence was predicted to bring disaster to humankind as the surface will become very cold so the land people would die because they could not stand the cold while the sea people would be hibernating until the salt-flake snow stopped falling. It was believed that it happened because the Sea God lost some of his power so he became weak.

As the situation became more serious, they decided to hold the real Ofunehiki festival with expectation that it would help the Sea God restores his power and the disaster could be avoided. But the festival itself was a disaster. There was a terrible storm just when the group arrived in the middle of the sea. Manaka ended up became the Ojoshi-sama, the offering to the Sea God instead of Hikari’s sister. Hikari who failed to save Manaka, could not make it to the surface and gone in the middle of the storm. Kaname also fell to the sea after helping Chisaki saved Tsumugu. Chisaki, being the one left on the surface, could not go back to Shioshishio as the sea people already started hibernating and all access to Shioshishio has been blocked to protect the villagers. She ended up live with Tsumugu and his grandfather because she did not have anywhere to go on the surface.

Five years later, the story continued. While Chisaki and Tsumugu has grown up as a college student, Hikari, Kaname, and Manaka did not age at all because of the hibernation. The salt-flake snow is still falling on the surface too. Once again, they had to deal with their complicated feelings toward each other which was not resolved yet and the disastrous Ofunehiki festival which gonna be held again to finish what they started five years ago.

Review:

Personally, this is my favorite anime of the respected season besides Kyoukai no Kanata. Because I really like it, I watched all of the episodes in one day. I was totally lacking in sleep but it was worth the watch. In my opinion, this anime is very well made in all components. The soundtracks fit perfectly with the anime.

For the art, it is amazingly detailed, from the environment until the character design. What I love most from the anime is the psychological development of each character of the anime. They successfully deliver complex and deep character so throughout the series we are drawn to fully understand each characters and their feelings.

And for the story, I must say that it is indeed very beautiful and touching tale of friendship and love. It can bring you into tears and smile at the same time. We can really feel the character’s emotion as the story progresses. One thing that’s bugging me is I didn’t really satisfied with the ending, in my opinion it’s kinda rushed and it could be better than that. But it doesn’t really matter, the happy ending is still delivered nicely. Even though the plot is kinda slow at the beginning, it’s still worth the watch. Very recommended!

A Silent Voice (2016)

When life hits you hard, will you fight for it?

Koe-no-Katachi-Anime-Visual
Source: otakutale.com

Title: 聲の形 / A Silent Voice

Genre: Animation, Drama, Friendship

Production Company: Kyoto Animation

Running Time: 129 minutes

Koe no Katachi or in english titled A Silent Voice, is a 2016 japanese anime movie produced by Kyoto Animation, the same studio which produced popular anime such as The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Clannad, K-On!!, Hyouka, etc. The movie is based on a manga with the same title written and illustrated by Yoshitoki Ōima.

It tells a story about Ishida Shoya who bullied a deaf girl named Nishimiya Shoko alongside his classmates back then in elementary school. The bullying continues to the point that Nishimiya has to transfer school. His classmates and the teacher blamed Ishida for what happened to Nishimiya, made him a scapegoat despite his classmates role in bullying her.

This results in Ishida being bullied and shunned by his classmates until he decides to isolate himself up until high school. He thinks that there is no point of having friends again and even considering suicide by jumping off the bridge. But then he decides to continue living after he reconciles with Nishimiya and sets to a path of redemption by trying to reconnect Nishimiya and their old classmates.

While Ishida tried to make Nishimiya befriend the others again, they realizes that they still haven’t changed from back then and so they along with the others from elementary school have a break down. They still blame each other for being ignorant of Nishimiya’s bullying, resulting in Nishimiya’s attempt to suicide by jumping off from her apartment because she blames herself for causing Ishida lost all of his friends.

At the last minute, Ishida managed to save her at the cost of his life. He is the one who fell from the veranda instead of Nishimiya. When Ishida is not conscious yet, Ueno stands by him all the time and forbids Nishimiya from visiting him. But his accident becomes a turning point for Nishimiya and his friends. When Ishida wakes up, he realizes that all of his friends are there waiting for him and he’s not alone. Together with Nishimiya and the others, he fight his biggest fears and enjoy the school festival. He decides to not ignore his surroundings anymore and moves on.

Koe no Katachi was one of the most anticipated movie in my must watch list. The movie aired in Japan around September 2016, not too long ago after Kimi No Na Wa which is aired on August 2016. So I expected the same thing happened. But even after Kimi No Na Wa finished airing in my country, it took few months later until this movie is coming out on the theater. I already finished reading the manga when I watched the movie. I can say the production house did a good job adapting the manga into a whole movie. Even people who haven’t read the manga can enjoy the movie in almost the same excitement with the people who did.

It was a journey full of mixed feelings for 2 hours. It showed us how bad bullying can affect someone’s life, even for someone who acted as the bully. It also told us that life is not all good all the way. Sometimes we are above the others, but the next seconds the situation could turn around drastically. That’s life for us.

Through Nishimiya character, we were taught that how bad our condition is, we should learn to love ourself. By doing that, not only we will live happier, people around us would also feel happy. Suicide was not a solution, it could only bring despair to people who love us. While through Ishida character, we were taught that running away is not an option. We shouldn’t be ignorant to our surroundings and never give up. There is always people like Nagatsuka who is willing to accept us as who we are. If we just open up a little and let the others come in.

There are different supporting characters with different personalities. In my opinion, those personalities are the examples of people in real life. We can’t judge the others as only good or bad. For example, Ueno. I think we are all agree that she’s a b*tch by the way she acted towards Nishimiya. But I can’t bring myself to really hate her, because I found a little bit of truth in her words. I think people are like that, not all good and not all bad.

Honestly I can’t love this movie as much as I love Kimi No Na Wa. Maybe because in Kimi No Na Wa case, I have nothing to compare except for Shinkai’s previous works. But in Koe no Katachi, which previously known as manga, people (including me) unconsciously will compare the movie with the manga. In my opinion, the transition between scenes were to fast. So it didn’t leave a deep emotional impact even on the saddest scenes. Maybe they tried so hard to fit those 60+ chapters of manga into a 2 hours long movie. I know it’s hard. In my opinion, for a story like this, the manga has already quite compact and I can say almost all of the scenes are important. So if you want to know the story in more detail I suggest you to read the manga.

So if we want to compare objectively as a standalone movie, I can say both Koe no Katachi and Kimi No Na Wa were masterpieces. Both of them had a strong emotional impact for the viewers and has such beautiful story. But if you seek more life lessons, then Koe no Katachi is better.