Back in 2013, I was in the midst of my first year in university and my re-entry into the world of anime. From an outside perspective, this wasn’t greatest combination for my first foray into the world of post- secondary education, but anime turned out to be something like a saving grace for me. It gave something to talk about with the friends that I had made the summer before and allowed me to get close to a person that I would later become very involved with. Around then, anime was great and we all had a great time, goofing off and hanging out as we did. But I knew that things couldn’t stay the way they were. Sure it was first year but time was passing fast and if we continued the way we did, we’d all definitely be screwed. It was also around that time that I watched “Nagi no Asukara”, otherwise known as, “Nagi-Asu: A Lull in the Sea”.
Nagi no Asukara is a 2013 anime produced by studio P.A. Works. It was an anime original project featuring the infamous Mari Okada on board as the writer. The story of Nagi-Asu is a little convoluted and will take far too much time to explain so I’ll just go over some important details (a little googling can fill in the rest). Nagi-Asu at its heart is a romance story and one that is chock full of melo-drama (an Okada trademark). It’s a beautiful show with a large and colorful cast of characters. The situations and conflicts that the characters encounter (and there are a lot of them) all echo the central theme of moving forward.
While watching the show, there was one character in particular that I attached myself to quite quickly. Her personality and conflict in the series resonated with me immensely at the time and I found myself loving her to bits by the end. Her name? Chisaki Hiradaira.
Spoiler warning from here on out, folks. You have been warned~
Chisaki’s conflict came about from her love for her childhood friends and a dependency on her friends for stability in her life. Everything would be okay if she maintained these bonds and she did everything she could to keep it that way – even if that meant giving up the things she loved. She knew very well that, try as she might, things were inevitably going to change and they did. The small shifts toward instability grew after the introduction of Tsumugu and romantic affection became the focus of everyone in the group. These were the cracks in the foundation of her friendship and consequently herself which then blew wide open after the time skip mid-way through the season.
Post time-skip, Chisaki had aged well beyond her friends and made a life for herself separate from them. But she was chained to the town by the possibility of their return and still held onto those bonds tightly. Her little story of moving forward was something that I enjoyed a lot and echoed a feeling that I had around that time in 2013.
My first year of university started out pretty easy. I had chosen some easy courses for my first semester and I flew through them. Relying almost completely on the skills that I had built up in high school, I did well and still found a lot of time to hang out and play games with my friends. Looking back at it now, we probably played for a couple hours every night. My second semester of university however handed me my first failure and subsequently kicked my stupid ass into gear.
This shift in my priorities came quickly after I decided that I needed to put in a lot more effort into school, but that meant that I needed to cut down on the time that I spent gaming and that meant cutting down on time with my friends. The decision I made to dedicate time for school was a minor one in hindsight, but at the time I felt as if I was standing at a crossroad. If I suddenly disappeared, what would happen to bonds that I held so close? Would my friends join me in what I considered to be “moving forward”?
Fortunately for me, things ended well. I ended the semester with decent marks and to this day, I keep in close contact with my friends. Recently though, and the reason that this post even exists right now is because I feel like I’m at another crossroad. University’s coming to an end and it feels as if we’re all at different stages in life. I’ve been working as an intern for a while now and the mismatch in our schedules have seriously reduced the amount of time we can spend together. I can’t stay up super late anymore and I have a lot less time for anime now. I’ve found myself in a similar predicament as in 2013 and I have to wonder if I’ve even changed since then – if any of us has. Its remarkable how even after 4 years, the ideas in Nagi no Asukara remain relevant to my life. Time goes on no matter how much you beg and cry and moving forward is both necessary and inevitable.
I don’t know if things will stay the same and a part of me hopes that it doesn’t. As much as I love stability in life, for my friends and myself, things need to change – and quickly.
So I’ve decided to keep writing little personal things like the ones in my 12 days series. It’s a format that I quite enjoy and it’s almost therapeutic. I don’t think that these will be a regular thing, but who knows what the future holds (I sure as hell don’t). Any who, I hope you enjoyed this little window into Carriage’s trivial worries. And as always, thanks for reading.