We have a contender for anime of the year! A Lull in the Sea is one of those series that is difficult to explain without giving much away, so let’s just say this is a story about falling in love and growing up… under the sea. Our story begins with a group of young friends from Shioshishio, a marvellous underwater town populated by people and fishies, starting school on land after their own has been shut down. Hikari, Manaka, Chisaki and Kaname start this new chapter of their lives fairly innocently but their relationships with each other slowly begin to change with the world around them.
There are two ‘sets’ of character in A Lull in the Sea – the sea-dwellers of Shioshishio, who are able to breathe underwater thanks to a substance known as ‘ena’ covering their skin, and the land-dwellers of Oshioshi. These worlds, although close, are kept separate from each other and anyone from Shioshishio who develops a relationship with someone from the surface is banished. Even becoming friends or developing a crush with a land-dweller carries its own risks, as those who stay onshore too long ‘dry out’ and are unable to return to the sea again.
Initially, the story appears to be a classic high school love story but it soon becomes clear that there is much more to it. The early problems of having a crush on someone are overshadowed by other mysterious forces of nature that seem to be at work, along with the rivalry between the adults of Shioshishio and Oshioshi. Of course, this is still a romance story, so there are a fair few dramatic declarations of love but nothing ever seems to quite work out the way you hope it will.
Just when you begin to think you have sussed out the characters and their relationships, something fairly dramatic happens halfway through the series and we are transported five years into the future. This is where you can really start to appreciate the beauty and effectiveness of A Lull in the Sea‘s story. People, their relationships with each other and the town they live in have all changed slightly or even massively – just like in real life. I don’t want to go into detail on any of these changes because it would give so much of the shock and surprise away. You’ll just have to watch it yourself to find out…
I fell in love with A Lull in the Sea because its story starts off fairly simply but develops into something far bigger. You become very attached to the characters as their true feelings and hidden secrets come out. In fact, they grow up and you realise how scary that is (if you hadn’t through first hand experience already). Do we change when we grow up? Is it actually possible to love when you are young, or even when you’re an adult? And, most poignantly, what do we lose when we leave our childhood behind?
Along with a beautiful story and array of characters, A Lull in the Sea has a wonderful soundtrack and animation to boot. I can’t help drawing comparisons to one of my favourite series of all time, From the New World, another fantastic tale about growing up and relationships set in a surreal yet believable world. All in all, this is a lovely, charming and emotional series and worthy of a 9/10!