DVD Review: A Lull in the Sea – Part 2
31/08/2015 Leave a comment
The adventure under the sea continues; but is it a happy ever after or does the wrath of the sea god continue? Its hard to say but here is what we thought of MVM Entertainment’s DVD release of A Lull in the Sea – Part 2.
Five years have passed since the Ofunehiki and Shioshishio’s hibernation. Itaru and Akari now have a son, Akira. Sayu and Miuna, now 14, attend Mihama Middle School. All the while, Chisaki continues to worry about the whereabouts of Hikari and the others while living with Tsumugu and his grandfather. One day, an unexpected discovery leads everyone to revisit the events of the Ofunehiki and unlock the mysteries lying deep beneath the sea…
Emotions run high and friendships are tested in this second instalment of A Lull in the Sea; but ironically enough theres more than meets the eye than just a love-story between characters coming of age. It’s a brand new adventure with the cast of our favourite characters and just like the events that transpired in the first half of the series you are in for one hell of an emotional rollercoaster; and its one that never lets up. Be warned some spoilers may occur; so I simply advise watching the series from beginning to end to get the complete underwater romantic experience of a lifetime; or so I say at least.
This second half of A Lull in the Sea picks-up five years after the events of the Ofunehiki; whereby the villagers of Shioshishio went into deep hibernation, Manaka was sucked deep into the ocean and Chisaki was left strandred on a boat. What exactly transpired on that day remains a mystery; but for the past five years Chisaki has led a normal life on land and has steadily grown up into a dependable woman caring for Tsumugu’s grandfarther at the hospital. This is where A Lull in the Sea picks-up from (as you may have already seen in the bonus episode from Part 1) and it’s a relatively slow start to what could be one greatest animated stories.
It is of course a great way for the viewer to become reacquainted to past characters and see how much they have changed during the time-jump; for instance the two adult lovers, Itaru and Akari, that caused distress during the first half are now happily married and have a son named Akira; meanwhile the troublesome two-some known as Sayu and Miuna are now 14 years of age and attending Mihama Middle School. A lot seems to have changed; but in actuality it hasn’t – as each character still thinks about the villagers of Shioshishio and the attachments they still have with them; which is of course on cue for when Hikari wakes up from his deep slumber. It’s another slow, and relatively dreary, process that sees Hikari getting up to speed on whats happened while he’s been hibernating and as you’d expect it’s too much for him to bare; everyone he once knew has changed, the appearance of the town has changed and more importantly his beloved Manaka is still asleep somewhere in the sea.
In a sense this is a pretense of what’s about to transpire; as when Hikari, and a recently woken up Kaname, become familiar with their current situation they decide to head back down to the ocean floor to try and find Manaka; except this time they get more than they bargained for. For starters with a combination of cold temperatures and changing currents makes swimming even more difficult; but when Munia dives into the ocean after hearing a crackling sound she gains Ena and the ability to breath underwater – and thus they all venture into the ocean to track down Manaka. This is where the A Lull in the Sea once again comes into its own element with impressive voice-over work and artistic animation styles; as when Manaka is rescued a whole new disastrous situation is unveiled.
This new situation sees Manaka losing her Ena, and thus the ability to breath underwater, but more importantly it also sees her losing something ‘else’ and one that brings a whole world of emotions onto the screen that I never thought possible in an anime series. I won’t spoil the surprise; but it makes all of the characters change – something which they once feared – and in turn act out against the scale of the sea god in hopes of returning what was lost. A happy ending is potentially on offer; but the whirlwind it goes through to get there is so entertaining and engaging to watch.
Just like the first half of the series this second instalment of A Lull in the Sea contains a few interesting surprises; For instance the ‘usual’ bonus features, such as textless songs are included but there’s different variations of them; with the first variation being included on the first DVD disc and the second variation of them being included on the second DVD disc.
Additionally the second DVD disc also houses three trailers for other anime shows that have currently been licensed by NIS America – one of which, namely The Eccentric Family, has recently been announced for a UK Blu-ray release by MVM Entertainment. Whats even more amusing is that two of these trailers also appear before the main menu – which never seems to happen on UK authored discs (except for Kaze titles). For those interested the trailers in question are The Eccentric Family, Nyaruko: Crawling with Love and Hanasaku Iroha the Movie.
In a sense theres nothing spectacular or out of the ordinary; just four textless songs and three trailers – so it’s a relatively barebones release when compared to other titles out on the market.
Media: DVD 9 x2
Region: 1 & 2
Running Time: 2:45:33 (Disc 1), 2:21:54 (Disc 2)
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 192kbps (English & Japanese)
Subtitles: English (White)
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 25 fps
The second half of A Lull in the Sea continues to deliver an exceptionally emotional and engaging viewing experience; but unlike traditional anime parts which ‘resume’ the series from where you left off this one takes a five year gap – due to the villagers of Shioshishio hibernating – and continues from there. The problem of doing this is that the series has to slow down and restart; and as such characters are re-introduced to the viewer and a narrative monologue appears to explain what has transpired since the events of the Ofunehiki ritual. It’s a marite scenario as previous instalment ending on a massive cliffhanger and this resumes as if nothing ever happened – which is one of my pet peeves when watching anime; but give it time and it will adjust back to its normal pacing.
Speaking of which the episodes within this second half of A Lull in the Sea tends to follow a rather predictable pattern; even if the ‘said content’ is unpredictable. It starts by explaining what transpired in the five year gap before swiftly moving on to Hikari and the gang trying to find Manaka; at which point when they do find her they have another – more serious – problem to deal with; which then brings us to the emotional conclusion of the storyline. It starts off relatively slow but by the halfway point its in full throttle mode to the end; ironically though it’s not all about Manaka – as with Muina now the same age as Hikari she has her own personal feelings to overcome and so does her best friend Sayu. Just like the first instalment theres variety to be had and several (potential) love stories to be told; but unlike the first part it does take a while to get there.
Story aspects aside this DVD release, which has one again been authored by NIS America, is pretty much the same as its first instalment; and as a result we are treated to some ‘unique’ DVD Menu layouts – whereby choosing an episode lists different starting points – and a trailer before the main menu. Both audio soundtracks are back on top form as well; although the emotion behind them doesn’t seem to be as ‘ecstatic’ as those found within the first half but it’s still better than most English Dub tracks available on the market. Of course if you prefer watching your anime shows subtitled then this is an option and – thanks to less confusing dialogue – is easier to read and understand that those found within the first half.
Having raised the bar quite high I expected the second half of A Lull in the Sea to be as entertaining and enaging; but sadly this is not the case. Sure it provides entertainment and some quality storytelling with lovable characters but it doesn’t have the same impact and intensity as those episodes found within the first half; however this being said the final selection of episodes in this set return true to form. If you started watching A Lull in the Sea then continuing on with this second instalment is a no brainer; it may be the same show but everythings changed and it’s a whole new emotional journey just waiting to unfold in front of you.
A Lull in the Sea – Part 2 will be available on DVD from the 7th September 2015; a Collectors Edition Blu-ray (which contains the entire series in a single set) is expected to be released on the 21st September 2015.