The students complete the Ojoshi-sama, and Hikari takes it upon himself to make sure they hold a real Ofunehiki. Everyone hands out flyers and collects signatures, but when Hikari asks his dad, he refuses. Hikari and Tsumugu are able to gather representatives from both sea and land, but the meeting ends in a fight, and the ojoshi is destroyed. Akari and Hikari both decide to leave Shioshishio, but when Uroko-sama tries to punish them, their father begs him to show mercy, and they escape to the surface.
At the start of the series, Hikari felt very much as his father did, that the surface people could not be trusted or reasoned with. But that prejudice was handed down, not the product of a lifetime of dealing with them, as his father has. Once Hikari was forced to the surface for school, actually got to know surface people, befriended some, and worked with them to build the Ojoshi-sama, he started to change. When he saw how much Akari had invested in Itaru and Miuna, he changed more. And when his father coldly rejected his plans for rapprochement with the surface, it was the last straw.
It was a poignant moment when Akari told her father what her mother said, about loving him even if he was form the surface. You can tell he knows that was true. His children may be fed up with his stubbornness, but we cannot fault him for, as Tsumugu says to Chisaki, being only what he can be. He has to balance love for his family and his desire for their happiness with the responsibilities of a high priest of a village that doesn’t have much time left. If his own children succumb to the lure of the surface (albeit for different reasons), what hope does the village have? Certainly not much, but a village preserved by isolation, suppression of free will, and force may not be worth saving.
Rating: 8 (Great)
- Hikari’s initial motivation for holding the Ofunehiki seems clear: he wants Manaka to be happy no matter what, even if he thinks she continues to drift away from him. Later, he’s fueled by his father’s bull-headed obstinancy.
- Manaka notices Hikari’s different attitude, and worries about things changing, but Chisaki is there to tell her that sometimes change can’t be stopped. Chisaki remains mopey, meanwhile; we hope she speaks up to Hikari soon.
- The petty bickering of the men at the meeting contrasted sharply with the cooperation and comraderie of the students—more proof that amity often skips a generation.