It occurs to us at this venture that if Kaname went out with Sayu, Chisaki went out with Tsumugu, and Hikari went out with Miuna (her step-niece!), everyone would be paired off rather nicely. Manaka is the odd-girl-out; the seventh wheel keeping the 6-wheeled car from moving forward.
Well, its actually not that simple, even if Manaka were permanently out of the picture. By the end of this episode, she’s back in the center of it, and it’s all thanks to Miuna, who is able to hear the specific sound (a sound that those who get ASMR will enjoy) that leads them into Shioshishio. But it’s not the town Hikari and Kaname remember, nor the one Miuna dreamed of all her life.
On the one hand, I’m reminded of Tintin’s description of the moonscape at first sight: “a nightmare land, a place of death, horrifying in its desolation.” On the other hand, it’s also otherworldly beautiful, and nobody is actually dead, they’re just hibernating, as the town itself seems to be doing. In any case, it’s a fantastic sight, and watching Hikari, Kaname, and Miuna explore it feels a lot like exploring the moon…or some kind great ancient tomb.
The look on Miuna’s face as they encounter hibernating townsfolk suggests to Hikari she’s thinking the same thing, and we get our first post-hibernation bout of Hikari Getting Pissed Off Over Nothing…only he’s not really lashing out at Miuna, but the fact Miuna’s reactions mirror his own sense of foreboding…is everything really okay here?
His anger is the catalyst for Hikari and Kaname to go to their respective homes, essentially ditching Miuna, the person who got them therein the first place. Kinda a dick move, but it does allow Miuna to explore on her own, soaking in the place where Hikari and his friends grew up, and literally making her mark on their height chart. From the look of the place now, it feels like it’s been abandoned for centuries.
Still, for the entire duration Miuna was alone, I felt tense, an apprehension that was amplified by the sudden appearance of Lord Uroko, awake and well despite the sad state of his shrine. She tries to convince him that she came to find Manaka, but Uroko can see through her lies. When they finally find Manaka in a graveyard of Ojoshi-samas, he also warns that for everything taken, something is given.
With that in mind, at this point I was sure Miuna would be the price for breaking Manaka out of her slumber and taking her to the surface. But everyone seems to get out safe and sound. But once again the one-sided romances at stake on the surface start to diminish in scale beside the potential implications of what Hikari, Kaname, and Miuna may have done: stolen a sacrifice from the Sea God.