When Hikari held Manaka and confessed to her, she was confused and frightened: it was too much to take in at the time; she didn’t understand. Once she returned, I thought she was remaining quiet and evasive on the subject because by her reckoning it only happened a few days ago, and she’d gotten no closer to processing it. But when Uroko is finally found loitering around the surface, he tells Hikari the truth: Manaka lost far more than her ena; she lost the ability to love anyone.
This is clearly the worst case scenario for Hikari, arguably worse than if she’d never woken up. Manaka had, during the Ofunehiki, either by accident or destiny, become the latest sacrifice to the sea god. Not only was the ritual real, but it worked: calm returned to the seas and the destruction of the surface world under a carpet of saltflake snow was arrested. But a part of Manaka didn’t want to be the Ojoshi-sama. Like the woman in the legend, she could never forget what she left on the surface.
That caused her ena to crackle and create a current: a current Miuna found when she heard the crackling. With me so far? Good. When Hikari and the others pulled her out of the Ojoshi graveyard, she lost the rest of her ena, along with whatever part of one’s heart falls in love. Hikari himself thought she was acting the way she was because she loved Tsumugu, but in truth she simply doesn’t remember anything about loving Tsumugu, nor anything related to Hikari loving her.
So…Score one for Team Miuna, right? Well…while this techincally puts her in a stronger position, Manaka’s condition could well spread to Hikari—his heart closing in response to the closing of hers. Meanwhile, Tsumugu stays behind, not for the research, but for Chisaki. The fish curse on his arm could just as well been a punishment for trying to run away. I like how honest he is with Kaname, and tossing him a “Zero Sweetness, Bitter and Black” can of coffee to wash down the bitter pill is a nice touch. Tsumugu and Kaname both want a straight answer from Chisaki, even if it isn’t yes.
The many connections the show has made betweeen Manaka and Miuna are not lost on us, and for anyone still not sure about them, the newly-amended OP not only features Manaka catching the umbrella Miuna loses to a gust of wind, but the two of them in the ocean, dressed like priestesses and carrying eternal flames. Hard as he may try, Hikari probably won’t be able to fix Manaka any more than he can fix the deteriorating global climate. But these two girls may be the key to fixing both. I smell more sacrifice ahead…It’s a womanly scent.