English: Aria the Natural
Synonyms: Aria 2
Japanese: ARIA The NATURAL
Apr 3, 2006 to Sep 25, 2006
Mondays at 01:00 (JST)
24 min. per ep.
G - All Ages
L represents licensing company
8.341 (scored by 12,972 users)
indicates a weighted score. Please note that 'Not yet aired' titles are excluded.
based on the top anime page. Please note that 'Not yet aired' and 'R18+' titles are excluded.
SynopsisAkari Mizunashi continues her training to become a Prima Undine (a professional tour guide gondolier) along with her friends Aika and Alice in the peaceful city of Neo Venezia. Despite the fact that these three girls are from competing companies, they are constantly together, learning more about how to become better tour guides and more about the mysteries of Neo Venezia.
As the group continues to meet interesting and unforgettable people through their daily routines, they will also come closer to the secrets that make the enigmatic and ever beautiful city of Neo Venezia so warm and alive.
Welcome back to Neo Venezia: the city where miracles can be created by hand.
[Written by MAL Rewrite]
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Characters & Voice Actors
Opening Theme#1: "Euphoria (ユーフォリア)" by Makino Yui (eps 1-15,18-26)
#2: "Undine (ウンディーネ)" by Makino Yui (eps 16,17)
Ending Theme#1: "Natsumachi (夏待ち)" by ROUND TABLE feat. Nino (eps 1-15)
#2: "Smile Again" by Hazuki Erino (eps 16-25)
#3: "Rainbow" by ROUND TABLE feat. Nino (ep 26)
One expression: "Embodiment of relaxing happiness".
Welcome back to yet another season of Aria. Never heard of this anime before? To put it bluntly: this whole series marks the pinnacle of entrancing anime Slice of Life.
To follow the anime chronologically, please watch "Natural" only after you’ve finished "Animation", otherwise you might miss out on proper character and world introduction.
Note: Alongside the actual review you will come across some diary entries written by our protagonist Akari in her usual cheerful way. Let them accompany you during your personal gondola travel throughout Neo Venezia as you read this humble examination.
"Dear Diary, how have you been so far?
You grew quite big, but that's not bizarre,
since I experienced a WORLD last season.
You know, so many tourists have come here
to see Neo Venezia, it would appear
the colonization of Mars had a bountiful reason.
My own task hasn't changed during this time...
and it isn't only to make this rhyme!
I guide my gondola over the streams
of water flowing through this peaceful place
and relishing the friendly people, the slower pace.
This life is more natural than your dearest dreams."
"Natural" continues from where "Animation" has ended, and the premise appears as simple as ever: a bunch of cute girls rowing gondolas over the watery planet of Aqua (formerly known as Mars), experiencing countless everyday adventures. As one probably assumes: the plot stays calm and action-less, which may not appeal to everyone. Aria doesn't try to implement fast-paced scenes like all-in gondola races or natural catastrophes. Honestly though: this is by far the best possible outcome. So be prepared to indulge into pure relaxation...
"Ha-hi, I've become sleepy as of late -
what can I do against this moony state?
Maybe we've overdone the star-gazing a bit.
So today I let Alice and Aika do the rowing
and meanwhile watched the floating islands glowing
and dreamed of a yummy banana split.
Especially the three great Water Fairies
Akira, Athena and Alicia know what carries
our beloved Aqua below its top surface.
So even I learn about the deeper meaning of flowers,
or how to spend the most memorable hours.
Together we preserve the peace in grace."
Every remarkable anime needs an interesting and unforgettable cast of characters, and Aria definitely delivers. The plot focuses on three apprentice undines (undine is an equivalent of gondola tour guide) and their respective masters (widely known as the "Three Water Fairies"), belonging to three competing companies. Yes, although they're competitors on paper, you forget that this is Aria, so they train and even celebrate together, not letting any hostile thoughts build up during the entire show.
The tendency for names to begin with "A" is quite obvious, and one might think that this will result in challenges distinguishing them from one another. Fortunately, these difficulties are immediately scotched because of diversified traits all of these young women have, both in appearance and manner of speaking. One's for certain: You will never forget their key expressions and special faces, so what else would you need for characters to become memorable?
"Today reminded me of all my reliable friends:
Alicia as my mentor doesn't miss a time and lends
me her firm arm; oh this makes me so proud (:
The practises together with Aika and Alice
are by far the best method to maintain my inner peace.
"Embarrassing remarks aren't allowed!"... Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhh?
And then there's my companion for everywhere:
President Aria, the cuddly cat, takes utmost care
of me during my adventures, in every case.
Dear Ai-chan is mailing with me everyday.
That's important since the postman tends to say
that any letter can overcome time and space."
Concerning the other inhabitants of Neo Venezia, a special mention has to be given to the cats. Not only do they provide even more heart-warming moments by constantly being around as "presidents" of their respective company, but they also maintain certain traditions to add to the mystery aspect of the world.
Being Slice of Life, it's only natural for our undines to interact with all kinds of people during their daily work. Everyone tells their own story and fits perfectly into the whole setting. As soon as the viewer identifies themselves with the general mood, watching the characters is an utmost bliss. As trivial as some of the stories may seem, they all carry a deeper meaning, and overall, help to eternally carve the world of Aqua into one's memory.
"Gliding Canal Grande under Rialto Bridge today,
we met Akatsuki-san gathering roses for Boccolo day.
He wants to see Alicia go "ara ara" again.
Rumours say there's a woman in a black dress,
connected to San Michele Island more or less.
Yep, so much unfathomable wisdom there is to gain.
Have you ever heard of Redentore before?
The Wedding to the Sea or the golden oar?
Maybe I should ask wise Grandma about all of them.
Even the cats are keeping their traditions
with mystic Cait Sith improving their conditions.
Another detail in this as our world carved aquamarine gem."
Even if it's episodic, Aria's ability to tell profound and humane stories is virtually unmatched, especially concerning the Slice of Life genre. "Aria the Natural" succeeds both in surpassing its prequel through the sheer power of empathy and the preservation of its initial premise, yet always being special every episode.
Admittedly, the style of the story telling may appear boring to anyone not accustomed to this kind of anime. Watching more than two episodes per day is not recommended, otherwise it will really be too much/too less for the viewer to consume. Neo Venezia and Aqua are generally places that should be frequented in short visits instead of long ones in order to completely admire their wonderful beauty.
"In the morning we trained outside of town
inside some quaint landscapes of high renown;
you even could see Hope Hill from there.
Every minute we practise is to master the water
with its clear and calm nature, it's like a daughter
I need to console and for whom I must care.
Oh, this place's life is certainly unique.
Everyone's moving so smoothly I tend to speak
with them a lot about the city's style.
The buildings, while modestly tinted, stand
just short enough to see the sky so grand
and let us sense a light sea breeze awhile."
Natural’s art and animation unquestionably serve their purpose. The architecture of Neo Venezia with its detailed Italian touch and generally colourful drawing style make the town's visit aesthetically pleasing to the eyes. Being Aria, the overall manner of art isn't flashy but rather quaint, although special moments with spectacular light effects or noticeable water reflections aren't left out either.
"Today I couldn't concentrate myself too much
on discovering another unique Venezia touch.
It was because my ears were dancing...
dancing after hearing Athena-san's heavenly voice
and feeling Makino Yui on San Marco Square rejoice.
Music assists and quiets me down before advancing.
After noon we three indulged in delicious coffee
while bearing the sun looking like a giant toffee.
I hope the heat won't cause any illusion.
So we sat listening to some musicians
playing their plucked instruments under arduous conditions -
music-less this world would fall into seclusion."
Music-wise the general mood stays the same as in every other category: calm and relaxing, but always soulful. Smooth tones brought to our ears by plucked instruments with occasional mystical chants and lyrical insert songs.
One aspect in which "Aria the Natural" surpasses other anime is the everlasting vigour of the opening with its song "Euforia" performed by Yui Makino. I'm not exaggerating: This opening is the only one in all anime that I haven’t ever skipped; the impact is simply amazing.
The seiyuus perform their assigned roles splendidly, and because of the previously mentioned main characters' impressionable manner of speaking, they have a high chance of staying in the viewer’s mind.
"The evening is wrapped by red warm tones
which gently heal our hearts, our soul, our bones.
I lie down on bed and take off my glove -
this glove that isn't just protecting my hand,
but also reminding me I have to understand:
as Prima Undine I need more special traits I love.
As a child I wanted to be a fairy
flying around and make everyone merry;
I reached this goal, without caring for a penny.
All of these encounters here are the planet's bliss
so in the end I thank you all, and 'may this
town's kindness reach the hearts of many'."
A picture is worth a thousand words, as the old proverb says. If you're already familiar with the prequel "Animation", this sequel includes everything required to top your previous experience. To everyone who's new to Aria: This review is coming to an end, but your journey has just started and I hope that you have the necessary tools now to decide whether or not to give this outstanding anime a chance. Not to mention that its sequel "Aria the Origination" finishes the whole series in one of the most emotional ways I've ever encountered in anime or any other medium before.
Aria had captured my heart in no time... so why not yours too?
The problem with sequels is that they're rarely as good as the original, any show that actually achieves the feat of surpassing the original appears only once in a blue moon. Given that fact, I will freely admit that I approached Aria: the Natural with a certain degree of trepidation, especially as the original series is a favourite of mine.
Thankfully, all of my fears were removed in the gentlest manner possible.
Aria: the Natural continues the tale of Neo Venezia in very much the same manner as the original, except for the fact that this series is twice as long. The story, once more, revolves around Akari, Aika and Alice as they go through their daily lives in their "quest" to become undines. The episodic format of the original series is maintained throughout this one, and the show generally manages to achieve the same relaxed feeling of the original. However, Aria: The Natural has some moments that purists would define as "off-kilter" - a view I tend to disagree with.
Let me explain. The first series was very much an introductory show, allowing the audience to familiarise themselves with Akari, Aika and Alice, as well as the other residents of Neo Venezia. The Natural, on the other hand, is an introduction to the world of Aqua itself, something which was alluded to in the final episode of the first series. Indeed, the role of cats in this series is much greater than before, and the quasi-supernatural element of the show, which was only lightly touched upon previously, is very much in force here.
Because of this though, many people view The Natural as inferior to the original series, basing such judgement solely on the fact that this show has some genuinely creepy moments, as well as the fact that several episodes are based purely on supernatural events. In Aria: The Animation, the effect of the supernatural was toned down to maintain the relaxed feeling of the show, however The Natural pushes this aspect of Aqua firmly to the fore with the introduction of several elements - Cait Sith being the primary one.
Art and animation for The Natural remains as superlative as the original, with some improvement given to some of the more "fantastic" plot elements. Character designs remain unchanged though (which will come as a relief to many fans), with each of the leads and the supporting roles being as visually charming as ever - even in Super Deformed mode. The panoramic views of the Neo Venezia remain very much in force, however these have been enhanced more because of the attention given to other areas of Aqua. The level of detail is actually better in The Natural because of the show's focus on the world of Aqua, and with that attention to detail comes a degree of personality (yes, I know it sounds weird saying that a world has personality - watch the show and see for yourself).
Sound and music continue to be excellent, with the voice actors doing sterling work with their respective characters. The thematic music used throughout the series is very much in keeping with the style of the original series, and retains the same "continental" feeling as well. The sound effects are again, excellent and well choreographed, with nothing too overwhelming or too subtle. The OP and ED are calm and melodic, keeping the fluidly relaxed theme of both the original and this series.
The characters are, again, a joy to watch, however some people may not follow this train of thought because of the supposed "flaws" in the show (i.e. the supernatural elements I mentioned earlier). Akari, Aika and Alice continue to be as charming and as innocent as ever, and while there may be a distinct lack of major development in this series, I didn't find this factor to hinder my appreciation of the characters in any way.
The supporting characters continue to be by turns witty, soothing, stern, downright hilarious, etc, very much in keeping with the original series. However, many of the supporting cast tend to take more of a back seat in this series, with a greater amount of focus being given to Akari especially.
Fans of the original series may not find that The Natural sits too well with them, especially given the fact that this show is less about the characters and more about the world they live in. That said, it continues to be a truly enjoyable series overall, and a truly relaxing one at that.
Aria: The Natural, whilst maintaining everything that made the original series great, is actually a very different show, and I would judge it at least equal to The Animation in every aspect. Given the basis of The Natural, and its intorductory perspective on the world of Aqua, it's no surprise that fans recommend watching both series before watching Aria: The Origination. read more
(This has been adapted from my reddit thread)
It's strange to think about everything that has gone on in one's life to get to this specific moment. The people one has seen, the events one has experienced, and the magical moments one has witnessed all culminate into a single, solitary point in time. These various encounters seem miniscule and largely unrelated. But if one looks at the bigger picture, it's easy to see that these tiny dots form quite the beautiful image. Such is the case with Aria the Natural and most of what it has to offer.
Aria the Natural begins where its previous season, Aria the Animation, left off. Akari, Aika, and Alice are still aspiring Undines, experiencing everything that Neo-Venezia, Aqua, and life throws their way.
Aria the Natural follows quite well in its predecessor's wake. Calmness oozes from every corner of the show, and the girls' escapades are mostly aimed at teaching and learning lessons that someone needs in order to become a well-rounded person. However, the mood actually deviates from this path on a semi-regular basis. It takes on creepy scenarios that test Akari's resolve, romantic scenes that expand Aika's emotions, and angry situations that reflect Alice's inner turmoil. Now, the changes in mood are not grand; they're as small as a gondola's displacement while rocking silently on the sea. But being able to see the show literally leave its comfort zone provided it with both interesting and unique outlooks.
These outlooks aren't just standalone, though. The themes are, once again, quite general and applicable to most people. Meaning there is a lost sense of worth attached to many of them. Individually, these themes are simple, but hearkening back to the introduction, it's the entire scope that matters. For Aria the Natural, it kicks off with the idea of "encounters" and never lets up. Without fail, each episode binds its personal message with this over-arching motif. For countless examples: it's best not knowing everything in order to encounter new things, some encounters are better left alone, an encounter may last a lifetime or not at all, particular encounters can happen vicariously, etc. What it does incredibly well is getting across the notion that encounters are indescribable. There are so many variations, so many definitions, that it just isn't possible to sum up succinctly what one encounter entails. In Akari's words, an encounter is simply "wonderful."
It's best to think of Aria the Natural's themes as one of the buildings that populates Neo-Venezia. The foundation and pillars are the general ideas presented. While alone they just "sit" there, they fully support the roof, or overall theme, that rests atop them. And what one is left with is a structure that, no matter the season, remains steadfast and strong.
Aria the Natual also continues the tradition of placing heavy emphasis on the world of Aqua. The exploration of the underground, information on Pair graduation, and the Redentore Festival are apt instances that further promote how rich and detailed the environment really is. And just like the mood and themes before it, Aria the Natural goes above and beyond once more by providing better balance. Aqua and Neo-Venezia remain a focal point, but more attention is given to the cast -- both main and side -- and to the fantastical nature of the setting itself.
Going into the intricacies, the story still follows Akari, but actually gives the other characters a chance to "strut their stuff." Aika and Alice get their own tales, and some of the side characters -- such as the mailman, Akatsuki, and even the townspeople -- get their own chance in the spotlight, providing the show with even more diversity. At the same time, Aria the Natural incorporates more of the supernatural. That is, among the realistic adventures being had are the dream-like ones. The "fox's wedding," the looping canal, and the appearance of the spirit of the gondola boosts both the city's and the show's feeling of being otherworldly, something that is constantly alluded to. In short, by spreading out the story, and not strictly revolving it around Akari, this newfound balance elevates the anime that much further.
Aria the Natural, as already discussed, loves to talk about its world. And if there is anything that it does more than describe it is show it to the audience. Once again, the art captivates: the beautiful scenery on the oceanfront, the Venetian statues and towers, the plazas and alleys; at this point, it feels less like the Italian version and more like the Aquan. On top of all this, the comedic faces for the whole gang are also back in full-force.
The character designs, likewise, maintain their past-yet-future look. The girls, at certain points, do don more domestic drab, which was a nice change of pace. There are two notable occurrences of vastly different style changes, however. The lesser of the two is during the filler story, where the cast has their gender's swapped. The goal of making it seem unsettling worked, due in part to everyone's uncharacteristic male and female looks. The greater, and obviously most important, is Aika's hair. This will be talked about further ahead.
The animation sees a bit of an increase this time around, if only because of the length of the season and because of the actions the characters take. In other words, Akari, Aika, and Alice do a lot more this time around besides sitting and standing. Walking, running, and jumping happen regularly, since the peaceful nature of the show is shaken up every now and again.
The cast of Aria the Natural begin to shed their one-dimensional status and actually see some proper development over the course of the season.
As the youngest of the trio, Alice actually comes off as the most mature. Her stoic demeanor and often quiet way of speaking makes her seem older than she is. While she is most often perceived as an adult, the struggles she faces are entirely childlike in nature. For Alice, she has extreme difficulty establishing relationships with other people. And this is a two-way street: it's giving and receiving the connections. Having the courage to socialize with others and understanding that not everything can be handled alone allowed her to grow into the person she always came off as being.
Aika's problem was somewhat different, but still two-fold. As is often evident, she is quite outgoing when it comes to speaking and letting Akari and the gang know how she is feeling. But interestingly, while she uses her emotions, she did not fully comprehend what they entailed. That is, she wasn't able to understand herself. In the game of love, her feelings remained repressed because of her uncharacteristic lack of confidence. But a nighttime meteor shower, a few hair-clips, and a man named Al provided the self-esteem boost she required to see that her genuine love is nothing to be unabashed about.
And Aika sees even further improvement in regards to herself. She had always wanted to be Alicia; copy her elegance, mannerisms, and beauty as best as she could. But following an unfortunate accident, she learns an incredibly powerful lesson; that one shouldn't try to replicate anyone else but one's self. It sounds cheesy, but it's true. You are your own person, and that means that the experiences, emotions, and events you encounter cannot be emulated again. Everyone is special, is unique, in their own way, and Aika discovers this in a somber yet heartfelt manner. And though the symbolism of cutting one's hair is common, it fits here perfectly; she transitioned from someone "unknown" to her and into the person that not Akira, not Akari, and even not Alicia could be: herself.
Not to be outdone in development, Akari goes more philosophical. Known for her unending kindness and unparalleled optimism, this season tests her beliefs. What does this mean? Once again, there are two sides to investigate: facing both the real and the unreal. For the first time, Akari undergoes situations that aren't "pretty." She senses fear, trepidation, anxiety, longing, seriousness; complete opposites to the personality that she normally boasts. This made her more human, more real, than she has ever been before. But ironically, it's the fake that reaffirms her that the world isn't just filled with these more degenerate feelings. Before, Akari's love toward the city was prominent. Now, it's the city's love toward Akari -- in the form of Cait Sith -- that takes center stage. It protects and guides her, letting her know full well that, despite the hardships that life may contain, her way of thinking and acting is something truly precious.
For each girl -- Akari, Aika, and Alice -- they're development can be summarized as maturing. And each goes about it in different ways: Alice becomes an adult, Aika finds herself, and Akari is grounded to reality. This would not have been possible without the helping hand of their respective mentors, namely Alicia, Akira, and Athena. Besides merely complementing the girls, this season sees them being teachers not in the art of the Undine, but in this aforementioned maturity. Athena pushes and grabs Alice at just the right moments; Akira is the unyielding rock that forces Aika's hand; and Alicia acts as a mother, giving Akari the wisdom that only years of life experience could match. Now more than ever, the Three Great Water Fairies are more than just the greatest Primas of their age. They're symbolic gondolas, guiding their apprentices down the canal known as life.
The OP follows in the character designs' footsteps. That is, it embodies both an out-of-reach yet close vibe that makes one at ease whenever it is heard. The beautiful vocals, water-like sound effect, and simple beat in conjunction with the piano and violins really do make the piece euphoric.
The ED lends itself well to avoiding the use of lyrics. The plain guitar, piano, and violin work together in a catchy manner, while simultaneously soothing the atmosphere. The piece isn't stellar like the OP or other parts of the OST, but it fits well enough.
The soundtrack is, once again, great. Like the ED, the dainty guitar, the soft piano, and varying violin playing meld as one, capturing not only the simple life, but one that fits Neo-Venezia to a tee. Especially so is the track with the slow-and-fast guitar-playing combined with various instruments. It's rising and falling notes create a piece that can be happy or sad to fit whatever situation needed.
An issue that persists into this season, though, is the use of lyric-heavy tracks. During certain segments, the soundtrack uses pieces that are filled with vocals. The lyrics themselves are fine, but their use distracts the viewer and lessens the impact of those particular scenes.
Voice-acting is above-average across the board. Ryou Hirohashi as Alice with her no-tone way of talking, Junko Minagawa as Akira with her stern yet soft voice, and Chiwa Saito as Aika with her girly and funny way of speaking perform wonderfully. And this applies to every woman involved, too; all-around great job.
What I always found fascinating was the show's ability to use the same tactics to get a laugh out of me. The first season did this as well, but it still never feels repetitive. In fact, it was a game for me, trying to correctly guess when Aika would shout her famous phrase or when Alicia would softly say those two small words. Alice's "fish-face," combined with the sparkle, always made me smile, as did everyone's minimalist expressions. Also, that meat dance at the barbecue was not only out of nowhere, but pretty hilarious, too.
This season also got to me a few times. Not crying, but getting that lump in the throat and the watery eyes. Specifically, it was the student's letter, the "nightshine" chime, and the gondola. Each dealt with saying goodbye, and each time it emotionally resonated with me. Which is really intriguing; they're "just" inanimate objects, but the set-ups, the characters, and the mood made those moments stand out.
As a sequel, Aria the Natural improves in many key areas. The story finds more overall worth and the characters become more than just placeholders. Combined with small tweaks to sound and animation, its nearly done all that it can. With one season left, hopefully Akari, Aika, and Alice are given the proper sendoff that this season demonstrated that they deserve.
Story: Great, multiple moods, individual and collective themes, nice balance in storytelling
Animation: Good, nice art style, appropriate character designs, average actual animation
Characters: Good, Akari, Aika, and Alice see nice development, with Alicia, Akira, and Athena guiding them along the way
Sound: Good, good OP, good ED, great soundtrack with some distracting pieces, great VA work
Enjoyment: Good, usually funny, sometimes emotional, always Aria
Final Score: 8/10 read more
(This is a spoiler-free review adapted for this site)
[Synopsis]: In the city of Neo-Venezia on the planet Aqua, once known as Mars before being terraformed, Mizunashi Akari (Hazuki, Erino) works as an Undine under the Aria Company – a professional gondolier who ferries the citizens of Neo-Venezia as well as tourists through the city’s many waterways. Though only a fledgling Undine, Akari and her friends Aika (Saito, Chiwa) and Alice (Hirohashi, Ryou) have high aspirations of one day becoming as accomplished as their respective teachers, known as the Three Water Fairies of Neo-Venezia. Aria The Natural takes off right where Aria The Animation left off and in much the same way it explores the city of Neo-Venezia through the interactions of Akari and her friends.
Something that I felt was lacking in the previous season of the show in respect to the main trio of girls was character depth – nothing so grand as intricate character development but rather I felt the characters needed a greater number of traits in order to better individualize each character and more importantly make them more compelling and enjoyable. In this, I am happy to report that Aria The Natural does a great job in fleshing out the characters we initially grew to know in the first season and while hardly any of them go through true long-standing character development, the additional attention to some characters and insight into their personalities was a major strength of the show brought on by this season.
Our protagonist Akari is definitely the least changed of the three girls however she also had the most going for her to begin with and so the show does not suffer in this way. Her cheery attitude and constant wonderment are kept consistent throughout the season and her characterization still works wonderfully alongside the tone of the show. While there is still plenty of Akari to go around and plenty of Akari-centric episodes I feel that the show’s occasional departure from her being the absolute center of events was a pleasurable change of pace and perspective as this approach allowed for other characters to take center stage and become more elaborate.
Aika undeniably benefited the most from this season’s branching out. While she closely emulated Akira’s prohibitive tendencies and felt unique within the three apprentice Undines she was a bit hard to pin down as she lacked a sufficient number of character traits with which to identify or empathize with. Aria The Natural does a great job exploring more of Aika and rectifies one of her problems from the first season which was lack of screen time; by the end of the season I felt far more familiar with her personality and the small handful of episodes dedicated to her did wonders for her characterization. After the events of this season Aika will certainty be one of the more enjoyable characters going forward.
Alice also was granted more screen time and episodic attention this season though I would say that she ultimately benefited less than Aika from this season and could stand to be elaborated upon just a bit more. Despite this I think she still walks away a much better character from this season and continues to be one of the highlights of the show for me personally. What appeared as an initially dismissed character trait within the first season is returned to at greater length this time around – to the point that the episode that expounds upon this is one of the best in the entire season.
Shoring up the characters with a few added traits and developments helped keep things more interesting this time around and while they didn’t develop immensely, they did change in subtle ways as they came into new ideas and realizations and this felt like enough for both them and the show.
The art remains unchanged from the first season and so viewers will love or hate each aesthetic element for much the same reason. The scenery and setting are once again beautiful in their art and execution and support the show alongside the soundtrack fantastically. The opening sequences of each episode do a good job of introducing the show each time and their dynamic appearance helps keep them interesting.
Aria The Natural goes about its business in a familiar way to that of the first season however had a slew of improvements over the previous formula while maintaining what made the original show enjoyable. The length of the season helped the show in that it allowed it to uphold its previously established slow and relaxing pace while more frequently featuring episodes of some ‘consequence’ where the tone shifted slightly or where the focus of the episode was on someone other than Akari and her encounters.
One of the major strengths of this season was how a handful of episodes shifted to more of a melancholy tone which gave the show some much needed diversity beyond its raw, over-the-top optimism. There is certainly a place for this within the show and it is very much Aria’s primary goal to support this theme however the added range of emotion was a significant improvement and something that this season features over the prior. These kinds of episodes offered the most in the way of character insight and world exploration and were generally the highlights of the show with a few exceptions.
While i wouldn’t say that the show was more ‘comical’ this time around, I felt that the exchanges and comedic remarks were more on point in Aria The Natural – they were generally funnier and more enjoyable perhaps having already established many of the catchphrases and typical reactions during the first season. Though I was not a huge fan of the more supernatural elements of the show furthered by this season I will concede that they were well incorporated into both the pacing and the tone of the show.
Much like the art and animation of the show the music remains pretty much unchanged from the first season and is a strong element of the show for the same reasons. Again the music blended well with the atmosphere and attitude of the show to present a soothing setting in which the events of the show transpired.
[Final Thoughts and Rating]:
Aria The Natural was, in my opinion, a step up from the first season in how it further explained and defined its main characters and because it introduced more interesting themes intermittently while upholding what the show did well in in the first place. While I didn’t feel enthralled by each and every episode, the show had strong high points which kept me watching above all else – the show’s ability to deliver the occasional highly emotional or compelling episode was far better this season and the first reason I would cite as to this season’s improvements and superiority over the prior.
I gave Aria The Natural a 7 because the show took what was done in Aria The Animation and expanded upon it successfully, adding things such as characterization and additional themes which I had previously felt the show was wanting. Given the show’s 26 episodes I occasionally felt a little bored by the proceedings however the show seemed to know just when to throw in an especially good episode to pick me back up and so while the season dragged occasionally it was never for long and the high points of the show were chiefly responsible for the show achieving the rating it did.
In my previous review I cautioned those interesting in the slice of life nature of the show that it was somewhat demanding in that very little takes place and there wasn’t a great deal of appeal beyond the typical slice of life dynamic and though those reading this review have likely seen the first season I will at least say that the same caution is not necessarily this time around as this season offers much more in the areas of characters and story than its predecessor. Additionally, though I think Aria still falls short of belonging to the genre of ‘comedy’ I do think that this season was funnier and so those who may have found this quality lacking in the first season should be pleased with how the gag remarks and reactions have improved. Due to the length of the season Aria The Natural was able to postulate a good many more things than the first season and though the show hardly approaches the territory of the psychological it does present some food for thought in the way of its episodic themes and may be enjoyable to prospective viewers for this reason. read more
Thoughtful stories aimed at the heart examining small happiness and sorrows in our lives. A tad too "lighthearted" for some, but any story that can warm people's hearts and sometimes bring tears are notable series worth checking out. Absolutely beautiful music and scenery rendered gently makes for a perfect escape for the tired.
Very similar relaxing slice of life shows including episodic structure, nice comedy, great music and beautiful stories, they both give you the same warm feeling.
both have relaxing storylines, with relaxing beckground musics
with a slow tempo and grace, they tell a story that is a bit sad and sweet, and they both leave you with a sense of lightness and ache. context is not similar, but if you appreciate the stories in aria you will likely appreciate natsume's as well as they both find happiness in their situation.
they are both with great stories / backgrounds for each episodes, mushishi is more supernatural though
both series have the same mysterious, relaxing feel to it also both series do not have a ongoing plot the entire series. except aria in a way kinda does.
These titles both contain similar attributes to the supernatural genre; although Mushishi is more supernatural-heavy. There are beings which are in a different dimension from what the human 'universe' is in, and only specific beings can interract with and enter these fields. They are both the same length (26 episodes), and the animation/art for both entries are spectacular for their given time of production. Finally, both protagonists are calm and collected whilst interracting in abnormal circumstances, even though Akari (Aria Franchise) is more playful.
My favourite thing about Haibane-Renmei was the world the Haibane lived in. I liked seeing how the people there lived and worked, but felt there wasn't enough attention paid to theirdaily lives or interests. The major frustration I had with the series was that we knew so little of the town's history - its own story. ARIA managed to follow up with that beautifully.
These series are similar not in their mood (Haibane-Renmei is MUCH darker in its plot and development, whereas ARIA stays light throughout) or even their characters, although some similarities are present, but in the introduction of the world that they live.
Both Gile and Neo-Venezia are cities where people share generousity and politeness, where animals have symbolic meaning and working is pure happiness.Sheer utopia
-Both anime's moods, animation, and flow of the story/plot are very lighthearted.
-Both are slow-paced and centered around Slice of Life over Comedy.
-Both have the calming quality.
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