27 CommentsFirst Impressions / By Scamp /

Nagi no Asakura episode 1 – Nipple-less and shiny and fish-knee’d is he

Nagi no Asukara - 01 -6

Shinmaru gets to cover the frightfully entertaining, anime saving, trigger warning Kill la Kill. Meanwhile I get an anime from JC Staff that would have looked bad in 2003 and looks embarrassing now, and the latest shiny-faced PA Works anime written by Mari Okada.


Nagi no Asakura is about a society that lives in the water and have to go to school on land where they have to deal with racist assholes and their own burgeoning puberty. The type of racism on show here reminds me of the mean old city folk bullying the country bumpkins who have come in smelling of nature and wear ill-fitting clothes. It’s quite similar to the way you hear people in America talk about people from the deep south. You can just imagine them grabbing some poor girl from Mississippi, lifting up her shirt and going “phwoar she really does have a red neck compared to the rest of her body”.

Nagi no Asukara - 01 -30[2]

For sea people though, there’s not a whole lot different about them. The traditional PA Works shiny skin was made relevant to the plot this time around. Their shiny skin is what helps them live underwater…somehow. The reasoning isn’t explained beyond !~magic~! but it’s not really important. Their shiny skin motif is rather undermined when the people who aren’t from the ocean also have eerily shiny skin because apparently PA Works can’t do character designs that don’t have shiny skin. Which they totally can, since they made Eccentric Family last season, but that’s a different branch of PA Works. You would think the Eccentric Family branch would share their non-shiny-skin expertise but I guess the two sides aren’t talking to each other. One of the Eccentric Family staff slept with a member of the Hanasaku Iroha staff and things have been awkward since then.

It’s not a bad story setup. It’s clearly going to focus on a giant love-web, but using romance to explore race relations is a fairly standard practice. The character designs between the sea and land people being basically the same is a let down. They don’t necessarily have to be mermaids, but at least give them gills or scales or something. Growing a farting fish on your knee is a nice start. As a connoisseur of fart jokes, a fish head for a knee that farts when you poke it is a fart joke I can sip my brandy appreciatively at. That and the scene where the girl is caught in the fishing net shows that Nagi no Asakura has a not-terrible sense of humour. Problem is the humour is pretty sparse next to the awful drama.

Nagi no Asukara - 01 -39[2]

And now we’re getting to it! Like the sun rises, like the tide turns, like JC Staff make terrible anime, a Mari Okada written anime has some decent sense of humour but absolutely terrible drama. I achieved two eye-rolls in this episode, with the one where the moeblob running away and collapsing in a forest achieving an eye-roll so long that I wasn’t sure my eyes would ever come down. The bit with the fisherman’s son commenting on how pretty the farting fish knee was did make me giggle along with eye-rolling, but that was more because of how stupid cheesy it was. Spend long enough out on a boat and suddenly the fish you catch start to look pretty sexy. Remember fishermen are the ones who saw a manatee and came up with mermaids. But I get the feeling that wasn’t the reaction I was supposed to have. Much like my reaction to her asshole boyfriend, I get the feeling we were supposed to find his actions charmingly protective rather than thinking he’s a giant prick.

This episode gave the strong impression that the tone would have much more drama than comedy, and I simply can’t connect with this drama. The people don’t act like human beings. I’ve seen many people express the belief that people who don’t cry at something like Ano Hana are robots, but to me you are the people who seem like robots. These actions and feelings the characters express feel like they’re going through a checklist of what humans find sad and ticking each one off individually but without any comprehension of what emotion actually is. Are you merely a machine for whom you insert a girl crying and someone yelling with some mournful violin music and this triggers an automatic response of bawww so moving?

Nagi no Asukara - 01 -9[2]

…sorry, got a little off-topic. Anyway, Nagi no Asakura. It was all right, but I don’t have a whole lot of confidence for the future. It’s a pretty typical PA Works piece. There’s the local community and family values and a few other conservative themes. The race relations part gives it enough to make it not feel like a total rehash.  If you’ve liked previous Mari Okada/PA Works anime then you will probably like this. You robot.

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  1. fathomlessblue
    Posted October 4, 2013 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    I’m going to brea honest; at this stage it’s soley the breathtaking seanery porn in Nagi no Asukara that has me hooked.

    The story’s okoi; I mean I’ve definitely trawled through worse, but I trout it will get much batter than this. While the bassism subplot definitely breams interesting, by the episode’s end I’d really haddock enough all that blushing and melodrama pollocks. If this series is going to brea nothing but a school of buoys & gills carping on about their emotional issues, then I’m tailin’ on it before it truly flounders! I pray this is just a red herring, but it doesn’t take a brain sturgeon to sense Mari Okada’s cod her mits all over this shoal. Anyfin’s possible I guess. If it does improve, let minnow! At the moment it’s krilling me to sea how much of a wasted opportunaty this is. Guess I’ll just watch salmon else.

    • Posted October 4, 2013 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

      Tried posting a comment earlier and it got kind of borked. No idea why.

      Oh, and fathomlessblue? Boooooooo! 0/10 stars.

      • fathomlessblue
        Posted October 4, 2013 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

        Flawflounder, you flub and fail next to the punning prince of perfection that is I!

        Not liking the wholesome family activity that is the noble sport of punning? Even someone like me, with a heart as wide as the ocean, is at his limit! Purification technique, Blue Forte Wave!

  2. Cobrah
    Posted October 4, 2013 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Bikini Bottom looks great! Still don’t know how they cook down there though, probably just magic. Not feeling the melodrama right from the get go, and since everyone seems to be in love with everyone it’s probably just going to get worse.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 5, 2013 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      There was a boiling kettle down there, which annoyed me way more than it should. The hot water would rise out of the kettle!

      • Ken
        Posted October 5, 2013 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

        I’m sure there are many questions this anime doesn’t want people to ask. Like why don’t the girls skirts float up, and how do they relieve themselves down there? Do they do it like humans do when their in a swimming pool?

      • Scamp
        Posted October 6, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

        Somehow I don’t think they’ve thought this through very well

  3. Posted October 4, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    This first episode was basically the most Mari Okada thing ever. I didn’t even know it was her when I went into it, but it didn’t take long for me to pick up on that. Personally I do like her drama, but I think everyone who knows Mari Okada’s work is probably aware of what they are getting into here. Heavy handed drama first, character motivation later.

  4. stushi
    Posted October 4, 2013 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    I…I…I didn’t cry at Ano Hana.
    I can’t believe everyone would hide the fact that I’m a robot from me.

  5. ANON
    Posted October 4, 2013 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    for the record, I did force myself to cry at the last episode of AnoHana, I was like “woah they’re being all dramatic and shouting MENMA over and over, do I really need to feel touched and cry at this part? heh whatever” and tears streamed down my face.

    • Nagisa33
      Posted October 5, 2013 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      Hahahahaha! This is exactly what happened to me. I thinking about whether I would actually cry. I mean, I was sad at this point but also happy. I was thinking, “Am I going to do it!?” I did tear up so it was a partial cry. We need a certified crying analyst in here!

      I did enjoy Anohana though. Good stuff.

      As for this, ehhhh, I’ll wait and see if it develops. I did find the farting fish knee hilarious. Also that god-like shaman detected her ovulating. Hmmmmmmmmm… Kinky.

    • stushi
      Posted October 6, 2013 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

      Hahhahahahahaha that’s what happened to me during Clannad.
      I made myself cry.
      On the other hand, stuff like Breaking Bad has me bawling. Bitch.

  6. just_passing_by
    Posted October 4, 2013 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    Most fishes have shiny skin too and By my knowledge they’re no magicians.

  7. Shikamaru
    Posted October 4, 2013 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    This was fine. Nothing special. At least I should be able to enjoy it. I just don’t like it when anime introduces this love-web in the first episode. I don’t know these characters yet, I don’t have any reason to care about them at the moment. I can’t feel their anger, happiness or sadness because they’re straingers to me. Am I making any sense?

    Oh well, let the melodrama begin.

  8. jherb33
    Posted October 4, 2013 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    im a robot..

  9. Hanasra
    Posted October 5, 2013 at 12:05 am | Permalink

    “Shinmaru gets to cover the frightfully entertaining, anime saving, trigger warning Kill la Kill. Meanwhile I get an anime from JC Staff that would have looked bad in 2003 and looks embarrassing now, and the latest shiny-faced PA Works anime written by Mari Okada.”
    Eww, why does he always steal all the fun?

    • gedata
      Posted October 5, 2013 at 12:25 am | Permalink

      the guy revels in this sort of crazy shit

      I mean, just look at the energy he put in to blogging Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure.

  10. Someone Else
    Posted October 5, 2013 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    Ano no hana was pretty alright. The build up was nice. It just went down hill when they started preparing for the extremely predictable retarded end

    As for this show, the setting is pretty neat. I just hope they use it properly since it’s obviously a love drama story more than anything rather than action or whatever

    • Scamp
      Posted October 5, 2013 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      I did watch all of Ano Hana so I suppose that says something about the rest of the show not being terrible. But the structure of the drama and the final episode in particular are representative to me in what I fucking hate about the nakige genre and drama writing in general.

  11. Nagisa33
    Posted October 5, 2013 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Just because of your title I’m going to watch this episode.

  12. gedata
    Posted October 5, 2013 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Scamp, you spelled the name wrong, it’s Nagi no Asukara, Not Nagi no Asakura

    • Kiseki
      Posted October 6, 2013 at 3:21 am | Permalink

      From the Lull Tomorrow VS From the Lull Morning

  13. Kiseki
    Posted October 6, 2013 at 3:26 am | Permalink

    AnoHana never made me cry until the last episode when everyone started sobbing like nuts so…I couldn’t help but do it too…
    I think that last episode may have unlocked a special department in my tear glands, I cry too easily now.

    Uuu… I was so hyped for this ever since it was first announced for the setting…and Buriki’s art…and cute romance… But nah, got annoying characters that are too melodramatic even for me.
    Gosh was it pretty though…

    • Scamp
      Posted October 6, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      Third person to express this sentiment. Everyone else crying really loudly made you think “huh, guess I should cry too” which just furthers my theory about that style of writing being a load of bullshit.

  14. Posted October 7, 2013 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    I’ll be honest: I read this review before I actually watched the episode, and figured it would be the typical Mari Okada scenario. You know, where Scamp doesn’t like the heavy-handed drama, others are utterly taken with it to an alarming extent and talk about how deeply they feel everything going on… and I simply watch, am mildly entertained, and never really shed a tear; understanding but not connecting with the characters. I can usually find some fun in heavy-handed drama like this, and sometimes legitimately enjoy things like Kokoro Connect. So I took the Scamp-isms with a grain of salt, and I went ahead.

    Then came the running away through the forest scene.

    I’m not going to roll my eyes, I’m not going to roll my eyes, I’m not-” It was too damn much. I needed a mantra to see me through.

    I raised an eyebrow as Manaka briefly forgot how legs are supposed to function and slid down a hill to sappy piano music. My eyes went with it, in total defiance of everything I was commanding them not to do.

    SCAAAAMP! You prophetic bastard!

    And that is how my entire neighbourhood learned about The Cart Driver.

  15. Grey
    Posted October 7, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    I have the strange feeling that PA Works just made this anime following generic formula #353-A, and then added a blue filter and a lot of fishes…WHAM Originality!

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