As always, the art looks gorgeous in this show, but the characters are the sticking point.
While the setting is interesting with people actually living in the sea and on land, I thought that the main cast was pretty weak. While Mirai from Kyoukai no Kanata felt somewhat out-of-place for a dark action fantasy show, at least she was enjoyable. In comparison, I have mixed feelings about the main characters in this show, particularly Hikari and Menma Manaka. Hikari basically come off as a big jerk who hates humans that live on land and even comes off as a bully as seen with his introduction of calling all his classmates “pigs” while he is sweet and overprotective towards Manaka. While this is understandable considering the discrimination they face from their peers, I think it will make it worse.
On the other hand, Manaka is probably the most hopeless girl I have seen thus far as she gets fished up, teased and even receives a curse from a sea god, causing a farting fish head to appear on her knee. I just don ’t see why she has to this way since she doesn’t have any illness and isn’t dead compared to Menma. Then again, this might change if she becomes friends with Tsumugu, possibly bridging the gap in relations between the people who live in water or on land.
Overall, while Nagi no Asukara has beautiful scenery as expected from PA Works, the cast thus far is the weakest point of the show so far. However, I don’t think we should write it off yet since it has the potential to become an emotional drama of friendship despite the everlasting discrimination between the people on land and in water.