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Old 2014-02-21, 19:13   Link #2601
Triple_R
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I think the following is a fairly accurate assessment of the two halves of this show (so far).

1st Half - All-Around Character Drama is the primary dish, Romance Drama is the side-dish.

2nd Half - Romance Drama is the primary dish, All-Around Character Drama is the side-dish.

So there has been a bit of a shift here. Since this shift coincides with Miuna being thrust into the role of female lead (and arguably lead character overall), and also since Miuna herself has been Romance Drama focused, she's become sort of the representation of this Romance Drama shift.


If you look at the first half of the show, there were some plots/subplots that held a lot of focus and provided good narrative cohesion. These were the difficulties between land-people/sea-people, Akari's personal situation, Hikari's character development, and the coming hibernation. Romance was there, as was romance drama, but it did feel like a mostly secondary element in each of these plots/subplots.

Now here in the second half of the show, we have the plots/subplots of people gradually waking up, Tsumugu's research, Hikari's attempts to save/awaken Manaka, and Chisaki's continuing character development. But with these plots/subplots, I feel like Romance is the primary element in almost all of them (Tsumugu's research being the only exception, but this hasn't received much focus).

To put it a different way - The primary interpretive prism for the plots/subplots of the first half was not romance. It felt more like social commentary or generalized character drama/development. However, the primary interpretive prism for the plots/subplots for the second half does seem like romance to me. In other words, it feels like almost everything is perceived through the prism of romantic desires and concerns, this being done by the characters themselves. Combine that with how this show's romance conflicts have been stuck in a holding pattern for a long time now, and it's not hard to see why some viewers would find this tiresome or tedious. And Miuna becomes the focal point for such disappointment/exasperation since this content shift corresponds with the narrative shifting towards her becoming a much more important character.


My take on Okada is that her romance drama is like rich food - In small amounts, its great, but the more its belabored and the more its focused on, the more overwhelming it can become for some viewers (just like a lot of rich food is too much for a lot of people).

It works in True Tears because True Tears is only one cour.

It works in Hanasaku Iroha because the romance drama is broken up a lot by more lighthearted and/or secondary character-focused episodes.

But Nagi no Asukara is two cours, and we haven't had much of a lighthearted break from the romance drama. It honestly might be nice if we get a bit of that next episode, with Manaka's return.
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Old 2014-02-21, 19:18   Link #2602
Guardian Enzo
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"Arguably"?

I would say this - it's quite mystifying (and possibly unforgivable in the literary sense) to build up the global catastrophe plotline so much in the first half, and then virtually ignore it for the second. In a sense, the series has shifted focus from the most important themes to the most small, petty and childish. That's why the occasional cuts away from Miuna to Hikari and Chisaki/Tsumugu/Kaname feel so refreshing to many, because at least their problems feel less self-involved and juvenile.
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Old 2014-02-21, 19:23   Link #2603
Haak
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Occasional? As far as I can see Miuna and Hikari's screentime has been roughly split even.

And in any case Miuna isn't really that different to how the main four were in the first cour so "small, petty and childish" has actually always been the most important themes.
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Old 2014-02-21, 19:26   Link #2604
Triple_R
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guardian Enzo View Post
"Arguably"?
The reason I say "Arguably" is that, if we consider Miuna a main character, she's surprisingly a secondary factor in the overall plot.

I mean, Hikari is still the primary driver of the plot. It's his desires and his agency (as a character) that's still driving this plot more than any other character is. This latest episode is very clear here - If Hikari didn't care so much about saving/awakening Manaka, this episode would be drastically different. For the most part, it feels like Miuna is reacting to Hikari rather than driving the plot herself.

Imagine a Superman story told through the eyes of Lois Lane. Or a Batman story told through the eyes of Alfred. That's kind of how this feels to me - This is still Hikari's story, it's just told through the eyes of Miuna. Her getting ena briefly changed that, but it's since reverted a bit.


Quote:
I would say this - it's quite mystifying (and possibly unforgivable in the literary sense) to build up the global catastrophe plotline so much in the first half, and then virtually ignore it for the second. In a sense, the series has shifted focus from the most important themes to the most small, petty and childish. That's why the occasional cuts away from Miuna to Hikari and Chisaki/Tsumugu/Kaname feel so refreshing to many, because at least their problems feel less self-involved and juvenile.
Well said. This 2nd half probably would have been better if there had been more focus on the hibernation/global catastrophe plotline.
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Old 2014-02-21, 19:31   Link #2605
Haak
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I was never really that sold on the global catastrophe thing. In my opinion the best theme of the first cour was the tension between the Sea people and the Land dwellers. At least the Global catastrophe stuff is hinted at coming back (The Ofenehiki ironically succeded in putting it on hold) but this issue has pretty much disappeared and perhaps prematurely.
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Old 2014-02-21, 19:32   Link #2606
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I do remember when I was worried about an ice age or some mysterious calamity. Now it's just..."well I hope the character relationships get resolved before we run out of episodes."

It's like the whole calamity was created only for the sake of getting the time skip in so Miuna could become a love interest for Hikari.

I was actually really curious about what the big secret was and what was going to happen. There was tension between the sea and land, along with a real population issue for the sea dwellers. With the time skip the plot almost feels like the breaks have been thrown on. I mean nice for Miuna she's more important and hey she's in love with Hikari, but seems like that's gotten way too much focus.
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Old 2014-02-21, 19:47   Link #2607
Guardian Enzo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
The reason I say "Arguably" is that, if we consider Miuna a main character, she's surprisingly a secondary factor in the overall plot.

I mean, Hikari is still the primary driver of the plot. It's his desires and his agency (as a character) that's still driving this plot more than any other character is. This latest episode is very clear here - If Hikari didn't care so much about saving/awakening Manaka, this episode would be drastically different. For the most part, it feels like Miuna is reacting to Hikari rather than driving the plot herself.
Don't you see that as part of the problem? Miuna is a secondary factor in the overall plot, but she's dominated screen time in the second cour. That's the heart of the issue, really - she's been foisted into this role and never given any substance to justify it. How many poses do Dengeki and Newtype need?

It's as Flare says - it feels as if the timeskip was a device just to make Miuna a feasible love rival for Hikari. I wasn't crazy about the timeskip in the first place, but even I never imagined we'd be at episode 21 (at best) before it was used to meaningfully advance the central plot.
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Old 2014-02-21, 20:06   Link #2608
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My favorite aspect of the first half (which I do prefer) was the character development of Hikari.

But I saw plenty of relationship drama in the first half which people seem forgetting. That being said there was more focus on the community of the sea village vs land dwellers which I also really loved in the 1st half.

So yes I do think the 1st half was stronger but I don't think the 2nd half is horrible in comparison or that Miuna is somehow ruining it.
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Old 2014-02-21, 20:12   Link #2609
ChainLegacy
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I don't see any general decline in quality. I'm not always happy with what the characters decide (especially last episode), but I think the series has been consistent. The last handful of episodes have been very much character driven, but with Manaka awake now I think we're preparing to re-enter heavy plot mode.
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Old 2014-02-21, 20:51   Link #2610
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guardian Enzo View Post
Don't you see that as part of the problem? Miuna is a secondary factor in the overall plot, but she's dominated screen time in the second cour. That's the heart of the issue, really - she's been foisted into this role and never given any substance to justify it. How many poses do Dengeki and Newtype need?
Yeah, it has become a bit of a problem. By now, I figured that Miuna would be taking more "center stage" in an actually plot-active role. To sort of justify her dominating screen time, and narrator voice.

But I think that Okada usually gets the key plot points and "big moments" of a show right. So I'm going to give her the benefit of the doubt, and hope/think she has more in plan for Miuna than just unrequited love.
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Old 2014-02-21, 21:15   Link #2611
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Series is getting a bit stale now. Only like 4 or 5 episodes left, and I have no idea what the end-game of the series is supposed to be. They've spent the last however many episodes doing what feels like nothing, only finding a new issue to be presented every episode or two to solve in the short-term.
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Old 2014-02-22, 01:44   Link #2612
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
The reason I say "Arguably" is that, if we consider Miuna a main character, she's surprisingly a secondary factor in the overall plot.

I mean, Hikari is still the primary driver of the plot. It's his desires and his agency (as a character) that's still driving this plot more than any other character is. This latest episode is very clear here - If Hikari didn't care so much about saving/awakening Manaka, this episode would be drastically different. For the most part, it feels like Miuna is reacting to Hikari rather than driving the plot herself.

Imagine a Superman story told through the eyes of Lois Lane. Or a Batman story told through the eyes of Alfred. That's kind of how this feels to me - This is still Hikari's story, it's just told through the eyes of Miuna. Her getting ena briefly changed that, but it's since reverted a bit.




Well said. This 2nd half probably would have been better if there had been more focus on the hibernation/global catastrophe plotline.
I wholeheartedly agree. I was trying to find the perfect analogy but you hit the nail on the head! Hikari is still the primary mover of the plot, it's just being told in the eyes of Miuna. In fact I've always liked these kind of narritive style where the narrator/ primary viewpoint is not exactly the main character or primary plot mover.
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Old 2014-02-22, 09:21   Link #2613
Miraluka
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Originally Posted by Haak View Post
I was never really that sold on the global catastrophe thing. In my opinion the best theme of the first cour was the tension between the Sea people and the Land dwellers. At least the Global catastrophe stuff is hinted at coming back (The Ofenehiki ironically succeded in putting it on hold) but this issue has pretty much disappeared and perhaps prematurely.
Way before the series started I said that those plot elements will be ignored by the typical drama from the writer.

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*Manaka wakes up*
Noooooooooooo----!
LOL
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Old 2014-02-22, 10:21   Link #2614
Haak
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Originally Posted by Miraluka View Post
Way before the series started, I said that those plot elements will be ignored by the typical drama from the writer.
Cool story bro.

In any case, it wasn't really ignored. The whole hibernation thing just nakes it impossible to explore it now. Personally, I think the story would've been better off without the Global catastrophe/hibernation thing in favour of the racial tensions theme.
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Old 2014-02-22, 11:16   Link #2615
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But that makes it sound like people who don't like Miuna don't have a legitimate opinion. Which is completely untrue. I've reasonably and mostly amiably explained my opinion and only snapped back when one commenter implied I was acting irrational. If I felt I interpreted someone wrong, I asked them to correct me.

And I dispute that just because I hate a character, I can't have my opinion changed by the show itself. For example, I hated Hikari for the first three episodes or so, but now I really like him, because he earned it through good character development and through the writing.
Hating Miuna is fine, but claiming an episode that focuses on her -the main character alongside Hikari- is worthless is questionable at best. This is a character driven drama, any episodes that focuses on the feelings of a major character is important.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guardian Enzo View Post
"Arguably"?

I would say this - it's quite mystifying (and possibly unforgivable in the literary sense) to build up the global catastrophe plotline so much in the first half, and then virtually ignore it for the second. In a sense, the series has shifted focus from the most important themes to the most small, petty and childish. That's why the occasional cuts away from Miuna to Hikari and Chisaki/Tsumugu/Kaname feel so refreshing to many, because at least their problems feel less self-involved and juvenile.
Really? Chisaki is the most childish character in the show, don't be fooled by her appearance. Kaname and Tsumugu have exactly the same problems as Miuna's, so I don't get why you think they are so much better than she is. The only characters that have been dealing with more "serious" problems are Hikari and Miuna in the first cour.

The end of the world plotline hasn't been forgotten, they've just put it on the back-burner for now. They've hinted Miuna is going to be important to the resolution of this plotline, but I bet this hasn't changed your mind about her being a useless fanservice character they've put at the forefront to increase sales (which strikes me as an overly cynical and silly assumption, as she is neither as moe nor as popular as Manaka or Chisaki).
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Old 2014-02-22, 13:04   Link #2616
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Hating Miuna is fine, but claiming an episode that focuses on her -the main character alongside Hikari- is worthless is questionable at best. This is a character driven drama, any episodes that focuses on the feelings of a major character is important.
But that's the problem. I (And several others) believe Miuna's become the main character through questionable means (And I've said what they are, so I don't feel like writing it all over again). And as has been said by others, her drama is superficial at best. Which is why I think it lacks pathos.
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Old 2014-02-22, 13:10   Link #2617
Miraluka
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I don't think so, the time skip was obvious past half the first 12 episodes and grown up characters like Miuna couldn't be seen miles away coming.

@MCAL Superficial to you, but I feel it as something you can find everywhere.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Haak View Post
Cool story bro.

In any case, it wasn't really ignored. The whole hibernation thing just nakes it impossible to explore it now. Personally, I think the story would've been better off without the Global catastrophe/hibernation thing in favour of the racial tensions theme.
Or they put it on a bus? Whatever... that left too much room for the soap opera theme of the series and would make the hibernation+time skip look like plot device rather than an end by itself.

No, the racial theme is something they wouldn't dare to touch since the staff wants to play safe.
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Old 2014-02-22, 13:20   Link #2618
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@MCAL Superficial to you, but I feel it as something you can find everywhere.
Why do people think what I say is somehow fact?
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Old 2014-02-22, 13:22   Link #2619
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Old 2014-02-22, 13:30   Link #2620
Miraluka
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^
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Use the tags to save space for images.

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Why do people think what I say is somehow fact?
Nah, that's you.
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