Well, when I saw that Junichi Sato (Goldfish Warning, Sailor Moon, Magic Users Club, Doremi, Kaleido Star, Tutu, Aria, and many other anime) was involved in directing a new project I became very interested. I was delighted to see that Junichi Sato was directing Umi Monogatari ~Anata ga Ite Kureta Koto~ (Sea Story), I have been a big fan of Maho Shojo genre for many years, and when I hear Junichi Sato’s name I think magic girls. So, here follows my review of episode one of Umi Monogatari ~Anata ga Ite Kureta Koto~ (Sea Story).

two fish out of water 

         This episode begins with a ring sinking down into the sea and being found by two beautiful young girls (Marin and Urin) who live underwater. Then we go right into the OP and it consists of scenes from the girl’s underwater experiences and scenes occurring on land. The opening tune is called “violet” by Marble and it’s a very mellow and low key tune that’s gives the beginning of the series a slow paced feel.

a ring from the surfacethe two sisterssuch a nice ring

Marin-ChanUrin-chan

Shots from the OP

Opening 001Opening 002Opening 003

        After the opening, Marin (the older sister) wants to go to the surface to return the ring to its owner, Urin (the younger sister) tries to stop her, saying that the sky dwellers might hurt her. Urin also tells Marin that the Turtle elder went to the surface and never returned, Marin is not dissuaded by her sister’s arguments and says that they won’t hurt her. Marin goes and gets some sort or golden bracelet, but before she can leave for the surface, Urin says that she can’t let her sister go alone, so she also grabs a bracelet. Marin and Urin hitch a ride on a stingray, and they say hi to a boy named Sam as they head towards the surface.

you can't go to the surface

Marin grabing a bracletI'm going with my sisterI'm glad my sister is going with me

this is Sam

         After Sam sees Marin and Urin off, he runs into another girl who asks where Marin went? When she finds out that they went to the sky she becomes worried and thinks to herself that we’re protected here, but the light and darkness of the sky is very powerful. After they surface, the girls look around while holding their breath, then they go below water and say the they should try the Melkator rings. After they put the rings on their wrists, they surface again and find out they can breath the surface air.

I hope they'll be OKheading to the surfaceholding their breath

on the surface

       In the town that’s near the sea, we see that some sort of festival is taking place, everyone is walking around enjoying the activities. The scene switches to a young girl named Kanon, she’s walking through town wearing some sort of outfit, then we see her enters some sort of fortune telling booth. Kanon sees her mother inside and complains that she wearing her outfit, her mother says nobody will know the difference. Kanon gets really mad when her mother insinuates that fortune telling is scam act.

the festival

Kanon the boywhy are you wearing my gearit's all a scam anyways

       As Kanon’s mother leaves, she makes a crack about Kanon’s boyfriend, Kanon gets really angry and we see a flashback of Kanon getting dumped (?) by her boyfriend, and she throws a ring into the sea. Then we see Marin and Urin walking through the town trying to find the ring’s owner, Urin doesn’t like the surface and wants to return to the sea, but Marin stops because she sees a mysterious girl (a Shinto priestess?)standing on some rocks singing a folk song about the town. Marin thinks the song is beautiful but Urin forces her to continue the search for the ring’s owner so they can quickly return to the sea.

Kanon and her BFlet's hurry Marinthe Shinto Preistess

Marin and Urin listening to the song

        As a depressed Kanon is hanging out in her fortune telling booth, she hears some girls calling out about a ring with a fish design on it and she rushes outside and grabs the ring from Marin and smashes it to the ground. Marin then picks the ring up and Kanon grabs it and attempts to throw it away but Marin stops her from tossing it away, Kanon asks Marin to mind her own business. Just as Marin finally gets Kanon to calm down about being dumped she sees her old BF with another girl and her blood begins to boil again, and this time she tosses the ring into the forest. Marin goes after the ring, and Urin tells Kanon that you sky dwellers are mean, before going after her sister.

give me back that ringstop don't throw itKanon's rightous anger

you're mean

      As Marin is looking for the ring she gives some of the locals a dose of fan service, and Urin tells her sister that they should go home because that girl (Kanon) can’t feel kindness and beauty, but Marin says that she can sense that the ring should be returned to the other girl. Later, Kanon changes into her school uniform and heads outside, she hopes that the other two girls aren’t looking for that ring. As she walking by the seaside she sees her old BF with the other girl and gets angry again, but she soon calms back down after remembering Marin’s words.

Marin's fanservice for the townlets go home sisterKanon in her school uniform

Kanon is angry again

        As day turns to night we see that both Marin and Urin are still looking for the ring, Urin wants to get the hell out of town and back to the sea, and Marin’s outfit keeps giving fan service to the town. As Kanon’s almost home, she hears a girl comment about why some other girls are walking around town in swimsuits, so Kanon goes searching for them. When Kanon finds Marin she says she won’t find the ring, but Marin tells her she’ll find it. When Marin and Kanon sit down, Kanon asks her where she found the ring? Marin tells her that she found it while walking near her home, and Kanon thinks she’s stupid because she knows she threw it into the sea. Urin is still looking for the ring when she sees a torii (shrine gate) along her path, so she enters the gate and follows the path.

Urin thinking about her sisteryour still looking for the ringUrin at the gate

Urin walking down the path

        As Marin is talking with Kanon, and Urin is walking down the path, the town’s starts it’s fireworks display scaring the hell out of Marin and Urin. Urin begins to run down the forest path in fear, and Marin crouches down and plugs her ears, Kanon wonders what’s going on with that girl. Marin soon calms down and begins to enjoy the show, but Urin continues to run down the path, eventually tripping and falling and ending up near the base of the shrine, and Marin soon realizes that her sister must be frightened and heads off to find her. Urin starts to calm down when she sees a shiny object lodged at the base of the shrine, she’s found the ring, she attempts to get the ring but the base is too heavy so she begins to push on and kick at the base of the shrine, and some seals begin to break.

watching the fireworks

Urin running in fearUrin at the baseI've found the ring

I've almost got the ring

         Finally, Kanon suggests to Marin that they check the temple for Urin. At that moment, Urin manages to get the ring but her efforts tears the two seals open, and Urin says she hears someone calling her. Is it her sister? No. She hears a voice asking her to remove the lid from the sealed shrine. Marin and Kanon begin making their way down the path to the temple. Urin begins to push and push at the lid until it slowly opens, then a great swirling mass of black vapors escape from the sealed container.

Please open me

        As the black vapors escape the container bad stuff begins happening around the town, the seas gets rough, the moon gets blacked out, it starts to rain, and the vapor even touches the ring. Urin starts to become frighten so she grabs the ring and hides behind a tree. As Marin and Kanon make their way to the shrine all hell breaks loose, lightning begins to strike the countryside, it even strikes a statue near Urin and its eyes begin to glow, Urin cowers in fear and calls out for her sister. Well, that’s all for this episode.

quick get the ringa bolt striking the statueits eyes are begining to glow

help me sister

The ED song is called “Tōmei na Inori” and it’s performed by Masumi Itō, and the song is very low key and relaxing in nature, the background scenes fit the mood of the song.

Shots of the ED sequence.

ED 001ED 002ED 003

        Well, this was a pretty interesting opening episode, full of light and darkness. The contrast between light and almost dreamy underwater home of Marin and Urin and the fast paced and noisy world of the “shy dwellers” was very well done. At times, certain points of this episode had pacing that reminded me of Aria or Sketchbook, and other points had the fairy tale feel of Tutu. But, this being a opening episode it’s hard to get a real gauge on the direction the series will take, most of the episode was spent giving us a introduction to some of the main characters and their personalities.

        Marin and Urin come from the “other world”, a world mostly lacking any real hate or danger, so they’re basically pure hearted girls who seem to be free of any petty malice or vices found in our world. Marin is pure, almost to the point of being naive, she looks for beauty and love above all else. Urin is mostly the same as Marin, but she’s quite a bit more leery and distrustful of the upper world. Kanon seems to be a bit too serious for her age, and she seems to let her feelings and emotions express themselves a little too openly.

        Umi Monogatari ~Anata ga Ite Kureta Koto~ is supposed to fall into the magic girl genre of anime, so I’m betting that Marin, Urin, Kanon, and maybe the unnamed Shinto priestess will form some magic girl team. Marin and Urin clearly fit the mold, two girls from a magical realm enter our world with the aid of a magical item (the rings). Kanon has, or at least she hints that her fortune telling is the real deal and takes offense when her mother suggests otherwise. Now, getting to the unnamed Shinto priestess, don’t all anime Shinto priestesses and Miko have some spiritual powers? Well, I’ll be looking forward to see how this series develops, I’ve always loved the way Junichi Sato has directed shows from the magic girl genre, and I’ve liked how he’s done the slice of life genre shows.