A lull in the Sea centers on five middle school friends: Manaka Mukaido; Hikari Sakishima, Chisaki Hiradaira, Kaname Isaki, who have looked after Manaka since they were children; and Tsumugu Kihara, their new friend from the surface. Since long ago, human civilization had lived on the ocean floor. However, there were many humans who wanted to live above the surface and they moved to land creating a fundamental separation between the two. After their school closes down, Manaka, Hikari, Chisaki and Kaname have to attend Mihama Middle School on the surface. What follows is their struggles to adjust to a new environment and the relationships between the sea and land people, while dealing with their own newfound feelings that have just started appearing with the end of their childhood.
Review: / 5
I’m going to start off by saying the obvious, this anime is pretty. The colors, soundtrack and animation style are all fitting for a fantasy anime, and it was overall nice to look at and easily digested. Its aesthetics were amazing… I wish everything else measured up to them.
The pacing is the most aggravating thing about the series and it affects most other elements. I know a part of this was on purpose—the audience feels as jarred and taken aback as the characters themselves, which is a good evidence for immersion. However, it’s too extreme. The five year break is a chasm within the series. It signifies not only the show’s difference in time, but in tone. When I began watching this series, I thought: Oh isn’t this nice? What a pretty coming of age story / fantasy and romance drama. That’s not what it turned out to be, and in that way, it loses authenticity. There seems to be mixed feelings regarding this and a fair amount of people enjoy the surprise. However, it fails to deliver on what it’s advertised, and that to me is a huge negative. Personally, I wish it had stayed with the first half of the series. Here, the plot was starting to pique my interest, not for the character development or romance, but with the underscoring themes of segregation / racism between the dwellers of sea and shore. I was disappointed that this valid conflict, one which impacts our own society, was cast aside.
Speaking of subject matter and themes, this show had so many it tackled, none of which it assessed very well: the relationship between a young girl and a young lady who wishes to become her step-mother (dealing primarily with grief, mourning and moving on); a (for lack of a better word) cluster-fuck of a love triangle; a coming of age story; a commentary on opposing peoples and discrimination. These stories may deliver multiple perspectives and the vastness of society, but I felt pulled in different directions constantly. This is not to say a series cannot tackle multiple themes, or that doing so will not be particularly impactful. It means that this series failed to do so. This anime lacks focus, both on mraco and micro levels.
I know not everyone agrees, so let me know in the comments below!
Watch on, Annieme-niacs!