Another Ofunehiki has brought with it yet another potential disaster, with Manaka all set to be swept away once again only to be saved by, and her place seemingly taken as another Ojoshi replacement, by Miuna.
While Manaka is rescued and whisked to the surface, only for Chisaki and Kaname to discover that she's regained her Ena, Tsumugu and Hikari puzzle over how to save Miuna from her place as a hostage of the Sea God - an effort that seems to be impossible. This prospect is what gives Hikari the clarity to realise how much pain his feelings for Manaka, and the way he's shown them, have wrought upon Miuna, and it's this regret that finally stirs the Sea God into action thanks to this scenario which resembles one from his own past.
Thus, the lull in the sea comes to an end, the people of Shioshishio slowly but surely awaken, and those beneath the surface and reunited with those above to create a happy ending all around - even for Miuna, who manages to move on from her feelings towards Hikari with both a new confidence and a new appreciation for the lifelong friends that she's made.
Although it was somewhat filled with supernatural guff, the character-centric elements of Nagi no Asukara's finale were still provided with enough space to breathe to make for a satisfying climax - its ultimately feel-good ending didn't really feel forced and left things in a good position to bring the show to a close, and as per every other episode of the series it looked sumptuous. In that sense, Nagi no Asukara as a whole would probably have worked pretty well just as a weekly visual treat, but after an unsure start it also managed to provide some of the best character-driven romantic drama we've seen in a long time - its second half in particular was unceasingly on the nose in making great use of its time skip to good effect, and week by week the series became more and more of an emotional rollercoaster that it became impossible to tear yourself away from. With enough standout moments to also be worthy of viewing again in the future, and a surprising place in my heart as one of my favourite shows of the last six months (no mean feat given the quality of some of the competition), I guess it's time to start saving up the cash to pick up the show when it hits the US on Blu-Ray...