After the disastrous events that brought us to the end of the previous episode of Nagi no Asukara, we find ourselves moving five years into the future as of episode fourteen, and needless to say plenty has changed.
For starters, and as predicted, temperatures on the surface have dropped rapidly, leaving the world under the sea lost beneath a thick layer of ice, and with tides that prevent anyone from returning or exploring the area. With these tides emerging in the aftermath of the Ofunehiki, Chisaki was left stranded on the surface where she was taken in by Tsumugu (now a researcher into the current climate phenomena and its cause) and his grandfather, while Hikari and Manaka are assumed to be safe beneath the surface. Meanwhile, Akari now has a son, and Miuna has now grown markedly both in physicality and personality.
However, the events of five years previously still hang heavily over the cast, and in particular Chisaki and Miuna, who seem unable to shed their feelings for Hikari thanks to the uncertainty over whether he survived the Ofunehiki and his current state - this leaves both characters in limbo, with Chisaki focusing her attentions on looking after Tsumugu's now-ill grandfather while Miuna shuns the romantic advances of boys due to a refusal to give up on her first love. Maybe, just maybe, her wait may be rewarded however, as a notable event brings about a seemingly miraculous turn of events.
The prospect of a time-skip in any series always brings about a grimace from most, and with good reason - it's usually either clumsily handled or a cop-out of some description. Although reliant on flashbacks to fill in some of the gaps, this week's Nagi no Asukara was a terrific episode regardless, making great use of Chisaki as the centrepiece of the deep-seated emotional turmoil that still hasn't been quelled in five years, and then mining that unrest to prove some emotionally powerful scenes that conveyed everything that they wanted to without beating you over the head with it. I'm not sure where we're headed with the reappearance of Hikari, but I now feel like I trust this series to steer itself in the right direction, so I'm decidedly curious to see where things are moving towards.