It’s been five years since the Ofunehiki, where the land dwellers try and appease the Lord Sea God, and the people of Shioshishio were forced into hibernation. Since then, strange meteorological phenomena have become commonplace even in the inland cities, and the sea has frozen over. Despite being the second half of one series, the difference in tone and time make this latter part seem more like a separate entry. It’s altogether sparser, with the coastal region dusted in salt flake snow, and more intimate in scope and scale.
Chisaki was the only one of her friends left on land after the fraught events that rounded off the previous curve. Now she’s living with Tsumugu and tending his sick grandpa as a fully-fledged nurse, adding new depth to her character; it’s a good job too because she was probably the most neglected of the previous thirteen episodes. Tsumugu himself has become a college student and flits between his home life and his studies, desperate to unravel what went wrong during the ritual.
Hikari is the first to rouse from hibernation, found naked out on the frozen sea, and fixed in his futile struggle to save Manaka. Even five years on, he’s a fish out of water, shocked to discover just how much things have changed, especially in the cities, channelling the battle of modernity verses the traditional that concerns so many Japanese narratives. After he comes to terms with things, settling down with his sister Akari and her family, he resumes his search for Manaka while the rest of his friends start to wake up.
Troublesome twosome Miuna and Sayu are now the same age as Hikari and co, adding new variations to the complex love triangles (and about every other geometric shape) channelling A Midsummers Night’s Dream in the who’s in love with who, that touches on farce but never oversteps the line. After Tsumugu is cursed in the same style that caused Manaka so much anxiety years before, the reunited friends’ cotton on that Lord Uroko must be on land. He’s the physical manifestation of one of the Lord Sea God’s sundry scales, and the religious nucleus of Shioshishio. Miuna and Sayu try to appeal to his immeasurable appetite and pervy inclination, by luring him out with food and porn.
If the first curve was about generation gaps and culture clash, then the second puts more emphasis on family and the complex relationships of its characters. It’s a musing series that’s as much about the pros and cons of love than its exploration of generational divides. The last few episodes do start to drag and repeat ideas and plot points, but the outcomes of each character and the beautiful concept of the sea makes for a poignant and satisfying end. And like the adage about old movies, any frame of A Lull in the Sea could hang proudly on a wall.
Special Features: Clean opening and closing credits / Trailers
A LULL IN THE SEA PART 2 / CERT: 12 / DIRECTOR: TOSHIYA SHINOHARA / SCREENPLAY: MARI OKADA / STARRING: NATSUKI HANAE, MAX MITTELMAN, KANA HANAZAWA, MICHELLE RUFF, AI KAYANO, BRIANNA KNICKERBOCKER / RELEASE DATE: SEPTEMBER 7TH