Review: A Lull in the Sea Part 1

Release Date
10/8/2015
Format
DVD
Publisher
MVM Entertainment
Certificate
12
Language / Subtitles
English, Japanese / English
Discs
2
Run Time
308 Minutes

A Lull in the Sea Part 1 (Nagi no Asukara) is here! A beautiful story accompanied by stunning animation; it can be only one studio behind this series – P.A. Works. Brought to the UK, in all its high def…. wait what? Okay, standard definition glory, by MVM Entertainment. Before riots break out, there is a Blu-ray Complete Collector’s Edition available from 21st September, but parts 1 and 2 of the standard edition are so far DVD only.

“Due to the closure of their middle school, four students from the sea, Manaka Mukaido, Hikari Sakishima, Chisaki Hiradaira, and Kaname Isaki must attend middle school on the land, despite the growing tension between the land and sea people. While getting used to their new lives, these four and their new friend from the land, Tsumugu Kihara, plan to put on an Ofunehiki, a festival traditionally organized by the land and the sea people, in an attempt to create peace between the two villages.” – MVM Entertainment

You’d be very mistaken if you expect A Lull in the Sea to be your everyday high school romance anime; while a lot of the elements are there, this series really makes you feel for the characters, taking in each of their pain and longing. Where the series does do romance it doesn’t do it half-hearted, love triangles may be the norm but here that just doesn’t cut the mustard. There’s a full merry-go-round of love interests here, with each person’s love interest in love with the next and so on, setting up for some rather harsh heartbreak, great character development and interaction throughout the series.

The story also covers some interesting ground in terms of discrimination between those of the land and of the sea. Tensions between the two continue to grow throughout the series with the young generation both echoing and breaking down these walls by forming friendships and trust.

Part 1 ends at a really critical point in the story, literally turning everything upside-down, and if you can’t manage the long wait until the next part is released in one month’s time and, believe us, it will be a hard wait, then you can get a taste of what’s to come by heading to the extras on disc 2 where episode 14, The Promised Day, the first episode of part 2, exists as a bonus episode.

P.A. Works is the studio behind this visually stunning series and always bring a wealth of experience to any project, leaving us confident in, if nothing else, a visually brilliant outing. Character designs are beautiful and the underwater scenes are particularly stunning; the light rays that filter down through the water and the fish that just casually swim through each scene really bring this series together.

Language-wise there’s an awesome Japanese dub with talents such as Kana Hanazawa (Manaka Mukaido) and a pretty well rounded high-quality English dub. There are a few annoyances when it comes to pronunciation; Manaka, for example, comes out as Monica, making it feel like an episode of Friends on occasion. Subtitles are white and easy to read, which is a plus, and even the opening and ending songs are translated. The opening song “lull ~Soshite Bokura wa~” is by Ray, and the ending is “Aqua Terrarium” by Nagi Yanagi; both are equally fitting and, not to mention, awesome!

Extras on disc one feature a trailer for My Little Monster before the main menu and also includes, as standard, clean opening and ending animations as well as original Japanese trailers 1 and 2. Disc two contains a trailer for Chronicles of the Going Home Club before the main menu, bonus episode 14, The Promised Day (first episode of part 2), and trailers for My Little Monster, Chronicles of the Going Home Club and Genshiken Second Generation.

Trailers included in this release are from NIS America and as of yet not licensed in the UK; however, you can read our review of NIS America’s Chronicles of the Going Home Club here.

Verdict
Nagi no Asukara was truly something special; the way the series handled conflicting emotions and the challenges of growing up was incredible. The story built up slowly, giving you enough time to get to know each and every character; some you love from the start and others grow on you. This is a show that should not be missed, it’s a treat for the eyes and the ears as both the visuals and soundtrack are wonderfully handled. A very rewarding watch, even if it is through the DVD-only standard edition.
9.5
AWESOME