Title: Aria the Animation (Season 1), Aria the Natural (Season 2), Aria the Origination (Season 3)
Genre: Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Slice of Life
Aria the Animation (8/10)
Aria the Natural (9/10)
Aria the Origination (9/10)
Drift peacefully into Neo Venezia, a city on the planet Aqua (formerly known as Mars). By the 24th century, humans have found a way to colonize the previously uninhabitable planet. As futuristic as that sounds, Neo Venezia is still teeming with rustic beauty; gondolas on wide canals and waterways are the main mode of transportation. The city itself is a faithful replication of Manhome’s (the planet formerly known as Earth) Venice.
To make sure that residents and tourists alike get the most from Neo Venezia’s many wonders, companies offering guided tours via gondola were formed, one of which is named Aria Company.
This is the workplace of Akari Mizunashi, a free spirited teenager from Manhome who is now a novice Undine (the title given to tour guides). Join Akari as she becomes intimately acquainted with other Undine, tourists, Neo Venezia’s residents, and even the city itself, learning many valuable life lessons along the way, such as the wonderful truth that there are such things as manmade miracles.
**This is just a re-post from my site and it was written last Jan 2009. I just want to share this review since this is one of those shows that just begs to be watched and this is one of my best review I’ve written. Btw there’s no screencaps since I didn’t put any in my reviews before but I’ll just post some wallpapers. I hope you enjoy it :D**
This review will cover season one up to three of Aria. Since I marathon it, it would be proper to post a review that covers every season. It would be difficult to review this one because this series is more about mood and feelings. I’m a person who finds it difficult to express what I feel into words so I hope you can bear with me.
Aria is set in Neo-Venezia, a city that resembles Venice. It is located in the planet of Aqua which is formerly known as Mars but during the 23rd century it was terra-formed and became a planet capable of supporting life. Aqua became a planet engulfed by vast oceans stretching miles from one land to another so in Neo-Venezia, the main transportation is through the use of gondola. In that very city we follow the lives of apprentice undines (gondoliers) as they encounter different events and people.
The colors and hues throughout the series retained its pastel-like tone and it touches the anime’s soft theme. The character design is also well done because it compliments their personality. What really overwhelms me was the very setting which is Neo-Venezia. The absolutely crisp details are breath taking and the architectural designs are really detailed. If ever Neo-Venezia existed, I would love to live there because it has the most glorious architectural design, people there are nice and the undines are so hot so what more could you ask for? The animation is not really important in this kind of show but I was amazed because even if the animation was not that good in the first season, they made sure that Neo-Venezia will still look awesome. In the second season, the animation was a little better but in the final season the animation really kicked off. For a slice of life show, the animation in the third season is top notch. My only rant was the side shots of the characters in season two because that drawing looks kind of awkward but you’ll forgive it mainly because it’s just a minor quirk.
There’s no real plot in this series, it’s just all about the adventures, experiences and hardships of our undines. Throughout the previous series, it’s easy to believe one is watching a series of disconnected, episodic slice-of-life adventures, but in this series it becomes clear that everything in Aria connects to an overarching story about the lives of its characters. To tell you the truth, I’m not that fond of watching slice-of-life anime but after I’ve watched this I was blown away by the disarming messages that could make you appreciate little things in life, try to be a nicer person and to always look on the positive side of life. This anime is like a medicine because before I first watched this I was very stressed about what I’m doing with my life but when I watched this it, I felt better. This is the most influential series that I’ve watched so it was able to reach my top 5 favorite anime show of all time.
All the opening of this series was sung by Yui Makino and her songs was able to compliment the calm pacing of the series. I’m impressed, mainly because as the series progressing, all her songs just kept getting better and better. Even though the songs are slow it is really catchy and very calming. I even find myself humming her songs whenever I space out. In the first two season of Aria, Round Table sung the ending song and it kind of sends a message ‘see you next time’. I also love their song because after watching the anime, I don’t know it left me grinning and feeling light hearted. By the way in season two Round Table has sung two ending songs entitled “Natsumachi” and “Smile Again”. I also like those songs but I liked Rainbow better. There are also several insert songs and bgm and the scene where it was inserted are very fitting. An example of that was during the last episode of ‘the origination’, I think I cried 3 times in that episode because the bgm was very fitting especially in the scene where Akari thought that Alicia already left (that was a tear jerker scene). I would also like to add the insert song during the retirement ceremony was also fitting and that was also a tear jerker scene. I’m trying so hard not to cry but in the end I cried. It’s the first time I cried this much while watching an anime series because usually I could hold back my tears (that’s my talent, keeping my emotions to myself). Unfortunately, the third ending song was not sung by Round Table instead Akino Arai sung the song Kin no Nami Sen no Nami. I don’t hate that song it’s just that I find it a bit inferior to other ED of this anime. Nevertheless, I still like it after listening to it a couple of times.
This series has been awesome mainly because the characterization was superb. I was able to relate to the characters especially Aika. I think you could also relate to them because they are just like any human beings living their lives and having some flaws. It’s very rare to find an anime that has good characterization that’s why I’ve gotta praise Aria for being able to accomplish that. My favorite character would be Akari because she is very optimistic and she sees everything positively. I also admire her honesty because she could easily open up to others and due to her positive attitude she could attract other persons to her side. My second favorite would be Alice because at first she is afraid of opening up to others but because of Akari, she was able to become a bit more friendly. Even though she is a genius she has a cute side like doing some ridiculous challenges. Sigh, to tell you the truth I like all the characters of Aria but those two are my favorite.
The voice actors of the series really suited each of the characters. They did a good job but I noticed that most of the main voice actors of this series have only starred in few series. Even though they are not famous they were able to bring to life the characters with their skills. I like the voice actor of Alicia and her memorable “ara, ara *giggle*” and also Aika’s “Hazukashii serifu Kinshi!.
I really enjoyed this show because every episode was able to make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. It even made me appreciate little things in life and to have a optimistic world view. If I could compile each and every one of the quotes in this series I would because I was able to relate to it. At first I thought the lessons in this series are for kids but as you ponder about it, it is really directed at older audience. Who says anime is only entertainment? Anime could teach you lessons that you can’t learn in real life and this series proved that. I think everyone could enjoy Aria for a price of opening their hearts. Most people doesn’t like this kind of show but I tell you, even if you find some lines in this series cheesy, you’ll be disarmed because of the show’s honesty. I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone because not all people like this kind of show, all I could say is if you feel stressed watch an episode or two and you’ll feel light hearted. I think this type of series should not be marathoned because you’ll end up sleeping because of its calming mood. How can I describe it? Arghhhh!!! Just watch it…..it’s really difficult to convey it into words. Overall, I love Aria and I’m sad that it ended already. Thank You Aria…..
the animation – 7/10
the natural – 8/10
the origination- 9/10
Pacing – 8/10
Sounds/Music – 9/10
Character – 10/10
Voice Acting – 9/10
Enjoyment – 9/10
Overall: 9/10 (Must See)