The conclusion to the Aria series is an ever so subtle departure from the previous two, however there is a very good reason why this is the case. As many people have already stated, in order to fully appreciate Origination, one should really watch The Animation and The Natural first (and preferably in that order as well). What people don't really go into is why this should be the case with what is purely an episodic, slice-of-life series (I'll get to this in a bit though).
The story continues in much the same fashion as the first two series, dealing as it does with the daily
lives of Akari, Aika and Alice and their efforts to become Prima Undines, however the biggest difference is that the characters are not only developed more in Origination, but developed well.
One of the main strengths of the Aria series as a whole is the effortless manner in which it tells its various stories, and Origination is the pinnacle of this. The plot in each episode is far more fluid than in the previous two series, and as the show progresses the story moves into a barely unnoticeable higher gear as the bittersweet climax approaches.
There are two things which make the story in Origination noticeably different from the first two series. The first, and most obvious difference, is the fact that Origination has a goal in mind, and unlike the previous two offerings, doesn't simply peter out towards the end but actually gains momentum. The second difference is surprisingly (and somewhat unfortunately), unrealised by many, however it is key to appreciating the franchise in its entirety.
As I stated in my review of the second series, The Animation was simply an introduction to the characters and Neo Venezia, whilst The Natural was an introduction to the world of Aqua. This is important to know as many people misjudge the first two series and believe they have no real focus. In fact they do, and without that focus Origination would never have been as good as it is. If one keeps in mind that the whole point of The Animation is not to develop the characters, but simply to introduce them, then it makes things a little clearer as to why it was structured in such a way. The same goes for The Natural, as the focus there was to familiarise the viewer with the world of Aqua, and its wonders and oddities. The characters receive some measure of development in the second series, however this is not the main focus of the show, as it is essential for the viewer, when watching the final series, to have more than a passing familiarity with the characters and their environs.
This is where Origination steps in. From the outset the assumption is that one is familiar with the characters, Neo Venezia, and the world of Aqua, and because of this Origination can proceed with the story proper without the need for introductions, supernatural events, exploration, etc. Everything up until that point was simply preparation, which at first may seem wasteful, but watching the first and second season is a pleasant experience so one could fairly state that the effort was justified to a degree.
The art and animation in Origination is much the same as the first two outings. There isn't any real change to the design of the characters, or to Neo Venezia and Aqua, although it should be pointed out that Origination has more in common with the first season in terms of art and backgrounds as it is mainly centred in Neo Venezia as well. The quality of animation remains superb, with no real noticeable flaws, whilst the level of detail in both the animation and the artwork is once again excellent.
One of the strongest areas for the series as a whole is in the quality of its sound and music, and whilst the first two series were excellent in this department, Origination represents a step up. The subtlety and detail of some of the effects are truly phenomenal, and although the thematic music may be the same as the previous two series, the score actually feels fresh in Origination (more on this in a bit). The voice actors are, once more, excellent, however there is a very subtle difference with their portrayals in Origination in that the characters seem more self-assured than in either of the previous two series.
Characters are as adorable as ever, but once again there is a difference to them. The feeling of self assurance one receives from the voice actors is carried through with the actions of the characters themselves, and this is one of the ways in which they receive some of their phenomenal development. This doesn't simply apply to Akari, Aika and Alice either, but is also extended to Alicia, Akira, Athena, Akatsuki, Al, and even Grandma Akino.
The surprising thing about Origination's characters is that, in comparison to The Natural, they possess and air that is fresh and new. This feeling is also inherent in the score (as I mentioned earlier), in the settings, and in the voices too. There is a very simple reason for this though. Whilst it may (or may not), be true that the viewers are already familiar with the series before watching Origination, it is a certainty that everyone who has worked on it will know the characters, Neo Venezia and Aqua, pretty much inside out. This, together with the fact that Origination actually has a focus and a definite end, means that everything was already defined before the series even began. It is because of this that Origination is able to achieve its remarkable feat of plot and character development, something it could never have done had everything been told over the course of one season.
In terms of enjoyment, Origination is something I would recommend to everyone, however it should be remembered that the first two series should be watched prior to this. The show is as relaxing as The Animation, whilst retaining the same adventurous quality of The Natural. The characters actually become more endearing as the show progresses, especially if one has watched seasons 1 and 2, and whilst the format may still be episodic, it doesn't suffer from the same ambiguity that affected the previous two series.
Origination is an excellent show that successfully retains the essence of the series whilst at the same time developing the characters and advancing the plot. Because of the definite focus of the show, things that may have seemed stale in The Natural have been given a new lease of life and, whilst this may not seem like a difficult thing to achieve, it is actually one of the hardest things to do in any medium.
Man, I hate that saying. I hate it for how true it is. Kozue Amano, why couldn't you keep it going? Did you run out of ideas? Was five and a half years enough? Did you already plan this out? Wait, what am I saying? Of course you planned it out. Month after month, you crafted chapter after chapter of this masterpiece.
Jyunichi Sato, thank you for taking this work and running with it. For three separate seasons, each one improving on the last, you dealt the manga justice. You even added a new
character that Kozue retconned into the story. And she was fabulous.
I should probably stop the ranting and the gratitude-giving and get to the review. Although this is under Aria the Origination, this will be a review of all three seasons plus the OAV.
Aria is a bloody masterpiece.
Yes, you heard me right. "All 10's will make you untrustworthy and prejudiced, and people won't pay attention to your reviews anymore!" Blah blah blah, whatever. I don't care if no one ever reads my reviews again. ARIA is that good. I savored each and every episode of the anime, along with each and every chapter of the manga. Whenever I watch ARIA, I have this stupid grin on my face. I can't help it.
So why is Aria that good?
One, the magic of the characters. You start off with Akari, the cheery protagonist, arriving on Aqua (used to be Mars) to fulfill her dream of becoming a master gondolier, an Undine. There, she meets her mentor, the perfect Alicia, who teachs Akari the ins and outs of the trade. Along the way, Akari befriends Aika, the heir to one of the biggest gondolier companies on the planet, Himeya. She also befriends Alice, the genius gondolier from Orange Planet. Aika also has a mentor, the ever-so-awesome Akira. Alice's mentor is the ever-so-clumsy Athena. Akari also meets Akatsuki, the apprentice Salamander who controls Aqua's climate, Albert, the Gnome who controls Aqua's gravity, and Woody, the Sylph who makes deliveries by aircraft. Akari also meets Akino, the mentor of Alicia, and Ai, a girl from Manhome (Earth). Yes, all of the characters have names that start with A with the exception of Woody, but there is never a time when you are confused between who's who. Character introductions and development are handled impeccably well.
Two, the complete lack of an overarching plot. Yep. Every episode is basically a one-shot, providing a glimpse at the utopian society of Neo-Venezia. Some episodes are character driven, while others are setting-driven. There are no antagonists, no final boss fight, and no conflicts. Therein lies the terms "healing anime" and "slice-of-life," which both describe this show perfectly. Now, that does not mean that ARIA fails to invoke emotion. Some episodes will make you cry manly tears. Some episodes will make you laugh out loud. ARIA is a show that you can sit back and watch every night before you go to bed. It improves the quality of your sleep. I guarantee it.
Three, the progression of the animation throughout seasons improves leaps and bounds. I'll admit that some scenes were full of QUALITY, but by Origination, there is none of that. Origination is even in widescreen, giving everything a more epic sense. I loved the water animation, the chibi faces, the epic gondolier rowing, everything.
ARIA has something for everyone. Lesbian tendencies? Oh yes. Epic boat rowing? Even more yes. Heartwarming just to the point of sappiness? Triple yes. And there are much, much more: a soothing soundtrack, amazing vocal insert songs, fabulous opening and endings. The sound production is just perfect. The openings are different for each episode too, allowing you to immerse yourself into each episode seamlessly.
I cannot pinpoint a favorite episode, but I loved the 11th episode of the first season, when Akari waves to Aika and Alice from the bridge. I also loved the snowball episode, the four-leaf clover episode, and the well episode. My favorite character is Akira, by far. Her spunkiness and her awesome chibi-face won me over.
But alas, all good things do come to an end. As I sit and watch the final episode of Origination again, I cannot help but close my eyes and feel them tearing up. I'll miss each and every character immensely.
Good work, Kozue Amano. Good job, Jyunichi Sato. I salute you for making me sleep better at night these last five and a half years.
This is my first review; and what better series to review than the glorious Aria the Origination.
This is what I've been looking for all along. This is the reason why I have been spending countless hours experiencing many different stories, encompassing so many different themes while simultaneously being sucked into an abundance of worlds. There is a saying that goes as such: "A good life is a collection of happy moments". This is exactly what this anime was to me. It taught me, along with many others, to appreciate life, and how incredible it truly is.
The third and final season of Aria didn't try
to impress its audience from the get-go. Instead it allowed the viewers to try and envision what the outcome might be, however obvious it was from early on in the franchise. I even found myself in the first couple of episodes of this season scratching my head, wondering why people were giving the show as much praise as it frequently gets; as the opening episodes were not as flashy as I expected them to be. I almost got the impression that I was re-watching the first season: Aria the Animation. I felt as if this season was a bit of a back-step; lowering itself in terms of storytelling from the brilliant Aria the Natural. Don't be afraid, however, if you find yourself feeling the same way after watching the first couple episodes. It is certainly not like that the whole through. I can assure you. Don't get me wrong, the first two or three episodes were still pretty good, just not as 'special' as I thought they would be.
Origination focuses much more purely in being a undine in Aqua. Unlike Natural, which focuses more in the city of Neo Venezia, and all the supernatural beings which inhabit it, the final season shines its spotlight on the act of being a gondolier. We see more prospect in how our three young undines go by their day-to-day life, rowing their gondola, and their struggles and efforts to finally becoming a prima. Earlier on I mentioned that it is quite evident what will happen by the end of the series, and by that I meant that it will end with Akari, Alice, and Aika being prima undines. If this was to end otherwise, it would be unsatisfactory, and almost a dreadful 'read the manga' ending, that would ultimately be a massive spit in the face to the viewer. Heck there are even pictures of the show, which illustrate our three undines, without their signature gloves: this obviously meaning that they have become primas. Regardless, I assure you that the show ends almost perfectly, as it left a wide, almost creepy smile across my face, for the entirety of the final several episodes. Aria the origination was brilliantly directed, as we dive into the fantastical world that is Aqua, in all its glory.
The pacing of the show is as well truly extraordinary. There is a very correct balance between comical moments, and more heart-tugging moments, with each individual episode ending with Ai-chan's unbearably cute voice. Of course the setting is still on-point, as Neo Venezia is almost as if its an exact replica of Venice. Each building feels real, the sea and the chilling breeze when a character stares into the ocean, reaches the viewer, as I often felt chills down my spine. Thus the city is given life, just like how Akari explains almost every episode.
I have not once been left disappointed by the fluidity, background depth and detail, character designs and color palette, but instead I am left in awe by how brilliantly done they all are. The final season of Aria, as expected, does not disappoint. In matter of fact, it is even more spectacular. There were times that I felt as if I as watching a movie by the sheer magnificence of the show visually. One aspect of the art that really surprised my how by the use of 3D in this season. You can tell just how much effort was put into this anime! Another example of how much the animation/art quality improved in this season, was the detail of each character's faces, or more specifically their eyes. Any scene which took place on the Hope Hill (the green hill with all the wind turbines), looked almost godly. The only minor irritation I had with this aspect was that there were a few too many (albeit hilarious) chibi scenes. Although these helped tone down the show, I feel as if it would have been better without as many as there were. The reason why I included that comment in this section, is since such scenes tended to be more lackluster in animation (as one would expect). Overall, however, I am utterly pleased with this aspect of the show.
If you go ask anyone who has watched the entirety of Aria, what their favorite aspect of the show was, 9/10 times it would be the soundtrack.Why, do you ask? Well it was through this show that I found out that one could orgasm through longitudinal waves! (nerdy joke) But on a more serious note; the mixture between orchestra, piano, and violin was masterful, and each track was played at the perfect moment! If this aspect was not how it was, the ending result would be no where near as impactful as it is. This might be an obvious statement, but Aria the Origination heavily relied on its soundtrack to guide the tone of the show. And without guidance, you have a badly paced series. Something I should truly praise the show for is its seiyuu performances. Each and every seiyuu was perfect: especially Akari's voice actress: she reflected Akari's character flawlessly, as being a constantly happy and optimistic girl; a role which I believe to be exceedingly difficult to master. The ending song was one of the greatest things I have ever experienced: both visually, and sound-wise. It fat the tone of the show quintessentially! The opening was as well great, although not as memorable.There's not much I can say to bash this section, as the show did almost everything right, in my opinion.
A problem that I tend to have with shows that have a very limited cast, is that there is not enough variety through their emotions, in order to truly satisfy my needs as a viewer. However, Aria is a show that turns this speculation upside down. Each and every character is fully developed, three-dimensional, and human. They are realistic, and although they are happy most of the times, there is more behind that smile than one would think. Akari Mizunashi is a great example of this. She is described as a quote on quote "Eternal optimist" or "Miss expect of happiness" and there is a valid reason for this. It is rare to see this character feeling down or depressed. At first I found this trope pretty unrealistic, but especially with Origination I was proven very wrong. She expresses so much emotion just by her intelligent analogies and 'speeches' about how important life is to those who respect their lives. She is very important to the story, as her character makes the entire city feel happy and content. She helps her friends when they feel down, and she even tries her utmost when she herself feels as if she cannot mirror her title. Alicia Florence is another fantastic character: she does not go about explaining her reasoning like any other human. Instead, she will go about her explanation in a very peculiar way. She might start rolling a snowball out of nowhere just to prove a point! I realise that this sounds silly, but I was utterly amused by how accurate those actions were to help explain her points. She, like Akari, is more often than not, always wearing a smile. This helps Akari keep her own smile, so that she could be able to illustrate her talent as an undine.
Alice Carroll is my personal favorite character ( plus my new waifu but that's besides the point). The reason why this is so, is since she is probably the most logical, intelligent, and talented undine out of all the cast, at such a young age. She is almost inspiring as a character: not only to those in the anime, but to the viewer him/herself. I particularly love how she has an O.C.D, as she has to, for example, kick a stone all the way home one day, or another she will have to walk backwards, or walk only in shadows. This makes her character more realistic, as it demonstrates her more childish side, since shes only 14. *Small Spoiler* She also has an impeccable singing voice which came to my surprise.
The rest if the cast, which I could talk about for eternities, is all fully fledged out, and as i mentioned before, realistic. The only issue I had is that I wanted a bit more backstory for other characters, but that's only a small problem, which wouldn't really affect the show too much. An honorable mention is Grandma, who had a brilliant backstory, and was a fantastic addition to the cast, even though it was seldom that she appeared in the show. But I digress, since the characters were all pretty much perfect; even the secondary characters such as the Patissiere and Akatsuki.
I don't think there is any other slice of life series that could provide as much enjoyment as this one did. Almost every single episode left me teary-eyed. Episode 9 was one of the greatest episodes I have seen in a LONG time. It was surprising, beautiful and incredibly well animated. That is not to say that it was miles ahead of any other episode, as they were all important to the story, which ultimately lead to the magnificent and conclusive ending, which could not have satisfied me more than it did. All I can say is Bravo! What an accomplishment this show truly was.
If only this series gained more mainstream recognition. It truly, truly deserves a wider audience, even though it is not, of course, perfect. But then again, no show ever is. Sayonara Akari, Alice, Alicia, Aika, Athena, Akira, and Aria. It was a fantastic run. Cheers!
All things eventually have to come to an end, especially with series that have left a mark on many people. One series that has cemented itself as the king of accomplishing this for many is the Aria series. What many consider to be the series’s magnum opus, Aria the Origination, is the last chapter in the anime adaptation of the beloved manga. As you might figure out, it is just about as glamoured with gorgeous music, cheerful characters, and melodramatic optimism as one can handle. Despite all of the beautiful aspects of this show, and the series as a whole, there’s still that one
question that has always bugged me with each season: Why am I not smiling?
Before I start voicing my criticism on these issues, I’d like to explain the positive aspects of Origination that leave it off from being just a "decent" show and try to describe it without trying to compare it to previous seasons. To put it into perspective, Origination is supposed to be the accumulation of everything that the series was building up to. As we see the characters grow from their past experiences, it is inevitable that they want to make it into a big emotional climax to end it all. To which I can concur is a satisfying conclusion to the series.
Since Origination is focused on the character development, this is where Origination truly shines that tries to develop them little by little. Because of the fact that we have followed three of these girls and their elder undines for so long, their complex relationships have been built up for the inevitable climax that shows them growing into leaving their profession as full-time undines. Its slow pacing is why it works as nice character development because there is no awkward transitions between episodes that feel problematic to the characters growth.
Of course, you can’t talk about a season of Aria without ever mentioning its musical composition. It is no secret that the series is known for its beautiful and memorable score and Origination does not fail on this aspect. Although I would consider this to be the weakest of the series, there is no reason to suggest that the instrumentation of the songs in Origination still keep the spirit of the series going. The music involve a lot Celtic guitar instrumentation that feels fitting with the setting and atmosphere. Vocals are exceptionally graceful and give a nice introduction to the show as the opening guides us into a new kind of adventure with each episode.
As the series progressed, the animation and art got better and better as their budget had increased by the time they started with Animation. Origination’s great blend of colors and misty backdrops gives the show a dreamy atmosphere with transparent white overtones of the environments and characters. Character designs are neatly colored with nice clean looks to their facial features and their expressions, especially when they are in chibi form whenever a comedic moment happens. It creates a decent flow of showing a new dimension to the show by not just being a somber slice of life, but also a comedy with zany edges to it. They are not what you would call hilarious or hysterical by any means, but they are funny tidbits that have a nice spark of humor to Origination.
Now, what many might conceive as one of the best facets of Aria is the atmosphere. It is often praised for being very relaxing and brings feelings happy emotions to the audience from the artistic aspects to the character interactions that follow it. It cannot be denied that the features that inhabit it do not exist in some form, but for all intents and purpose, for me, that sort of ethereal atmosphere only does very little to make the series impacting. To put my criticisms into perspective, an atmosphere that wants to make the audience feel any kind of emotion needs to have some semblance of a structure that makes it feel natural and effective. With the case of Aria, it feels as though it just wants to be a relaxing atmospheric show just for the sake of being one and nothing else.
Another troubling aspect to the atmosphere that doesn’t make for a worthwhile experience is the fact that it is always the same impending tone. It is true that there are some moments where we are given a slightly different shift in tone to a more somber, depressing one, but those are very few and far in-between. Because of this, the whole atmosphere feels extremely fake and alienating for someone like me who does not feel the need to take the atmosphere for granted. The atmosphere is completely stagnant and makes Origination a rather dense slice of life show that seems to think that life is always this happy-go-lucky experience with halfhearted expectations of things getting better.
In conjunction with the atmosphere, the characters that inhabit Aria are not necessarily the most magnificent cast of characters that you might’ve been told so. Now like I’ve said before, all of their developments are great and make them standout. You can’t really make bland characters any better by just making them developed to excuse all the yawning. Besides their development, what other characteristics do they have that make them anymore significant? Is it the fact that they constantly throw in monotonous catchphrases to try to make them not dull? The fact that they all have similar optimistic outlooks that hardly make them any more distinct from any other character? Or that they constantly throw in pointless poetic dialogue to somehow make them seem more insightful than what they really are?
I can appreciate some of the quirkiness that is thrown out here and there from the characters, but that is simply not enough to think of any of them as inspired characters. Once in a while I can chuckle at the catchphrases, but it is quickly forgotten due to the uninspired way they implement it into the show. There are even some character side stories that don’t really go anywhere that can be construed as the show cutting some things off of the manga, like the awkwardly written romance between Aika and Albert. What it all comes down to is that none of the characters have anything to offer in terms of creativity or intrigue other than their development, which are two completely different things in character writing.
Despite all of the negatives I pointed out in this point of the series, Origination is not something that I would consider terrible or bad for that matter. It is decent for what it is, which I would say is a definite overall evaluation for the series as a whole. Origination is not the remarkable life-changing show that many like to make it up to be in my opinion, but it is not the polar opposite to that effect. There are plenty of qualities that can be looked upon with fresh eyes. All that is left to do is to pin-point what stands out for them as an experience worth going through.
Before watching Aria the Origination, you have to have watched the prequels - The Animation, The Natural and The OVA: Arietta - otherwise you will be doing yourself - but more importantly this series - a great disservice. Because Origination, being the grand finale of the franchise, demands that you as a viewer has formed bonds to the setting and characters of the Aria universe; if you haven't, you will automatically disarm the bomb of emotion that is this third and last season of Aria.
And that would be so incredibly sad.
Once again we return to Aqua, the planet which prior to human terraforming went by
the name of Mars. Upon the surface of this ocean-clad planet, we find the city of Neo-Venezia, an almost perfect replica of the presently (Aria takes place in the 24th century) submerged Venice on Earth. In this old, yet new, city, the gondoliers are without exeptions female, are called Undines and work for one out of three companies: Aria, Himeya or Orange Planet. The Aria series revolve around the daily lives of the Undines Akari, Aika and Alice -- them practicing rowing the gondola, the people they meet, the places they visit, but most importanly their hopes and dreams, of which the wish to become a Prima Undine, the very elite amongst the Undine, is the ultimate goal.
The main plot moved along at a leisurely pace during the first two seasons. They were more or less episodic series, and while the seasons changed from spring to winter and from winter to spring, the characters didn't develop that much and you couldn't really feel that the main story was actually moving forward. Don't get me wrong now -- I really liked both the Animation and the Natural -- but when juxtapositioned with the Origination, the lack of character development becomes quite evident.
Luckily enough, the things the previous seasons lacked are abundant and overflowing in the Origination.
The absolutely most impressive thing story-wise is that nothing unpredictable happens. Despite this - or maybe thanks to this - the directors have polished the unfolding events to perfection. While the first few episodes aren't that exceptional (hence the 9 to the story), what comes afterwards makes up for that thousandfold. From episode 5 onwards, this is the single most emotional anime - or any production, for that matter - I've ever watched. I was almost constantly crying until I found it astounding that my tear glands could even produce any more liquid.
Yes, for almost three hours.
Apart from seeing the three main characters finally making their dreams come true, we also get to witness the birth of Aria company, a beautiful story in its own right. As if that wasn't enough, we are also provided with tear-jerking flashbacks to the times when the Undine trio first met their senpais/seniors. The "Origination" in the title is not there just for show.
HAL Film Maker - and of course the manga's original creator - deserve enormous amounts of credit for making the setting trustworthy. I have yet to visit Venice myself (will change this fact next year), but judging from the footage I've seen, they've really paid attention to detail when creating Neo-Venezia -- buildings, islands, shops and traditions from Earth's Venice are all present, something that gives Aria its own, unique atmosphere. The use of colours is also skillfully handled, making the city and it's inhabitants - and of course the water - feel full of life. I was particularily impressed by how the animators made all the strong emotions show on the characters' faces so realistically... with such purity. Aria the Origination might not be an example of cutting-edge animation technology, but on the other hand -- it proves that an anime doesn't have to boast with tons of flashy effects to excel in this department. And it does look considerably better than it's predecessors.
Musically, we have the mandatory slow, comforting opening song that may not be as great as the previous ones, but it's definitely anything but bad. The ending theme, Kin no Nami Sen no Nami, is a much more powerful ballad that fits perfectly with the ebullient emotions the characters - and most likely the viewer - go through during the episodes. Background music was not memorable for me (it almost never is), but I have a hard time imagining that it was anything but stellar during the crucial scenes, considering the impact they left on me. Sound effects were also deftly handled -- the gentle splash of an oar cutting through the water, the cries of the seagulls, the bustling sounds of a crowded marketplace. It was all great. Voice acting? Phenomenal. You can really feel that the voice actresses have captured the essence of their characters perfectly after sticking with them for 50+ episodes.
That aside, Aria's greatest strength has always been it's wonderful cast of characters and the interactions between them. We have the happy-go-lucky Akari, around whom miracles always seem to occur. She loves Aqua more than anyone else and always describes the beauty of nature and life with exquisite words. Words which are more often than not interrupted with the more down-to-earth Aika's trademark line, "Embarrassing remarks are NOT allowed!", which in turn is countered by a "You're very nosy." from the youngest of the three, Alice.
While the comedy moments admittedly are highly repetitive, I actually enjoyed them as well, knowing that I would miss them after finishing the series. Other than that, character interactions are simply beautiful. Over the course of the Aria series, the girls' friendship deepens considerably with all the happy and sad moments they go through together. They gradually realize that becoming a Prima Undine also means that their next to worryless days spent practicing together will come to and end -- that a full schedule means little time to spend with each other. Akari also has to come to terms with the fact that she alone will be shouldering the fate of the two-man Aria company, together with her future apprentice, and thereby say goodbye to the happy years spent with her beloved senior Alicia.
But life goes on and having less time to spend with the people you hold dear only makes you treasure and enjoy these precious moments even more.
I could go on writing forever, but I have to stop sometime, right?
Aria the Origination is undoubtedly the single most important anime I've ever watched. It made me cry rivers while smiling and actually provided me with a new outlook on life, neither of which any other man-made production ever has succeeded in doing.
I tried my best, but it was fruitless; words aren't enough for me to describe how much I love this incredible series. You just have to watch it yourself (unless you're a heartless bastard, of course).
My only 10 I've ever given without hesitating will be awarded Aria the Origination.
The last voyage to Neo-Venezia?
For those who have followed Aria from the beginning, be it with the “Aria” manga or the anime series “Aria The Animation” and “Aria The Natural”, this third season “Aria The Origination” will no doubt be the greatest of all.
If you haven't watched either “Aria The Animation” or “Aria The Natural” you might still enjoy “Aria The Origination” but you will not be able to enjoy all the depths and events this season has to offer without knowing the character's pasts.
Although the primary settings seems to be science fiction due to it's setting in the distant future on terraformed
Mars (now named “Aqua” as the terraforming project covered the planet's surface with water) it actually is a slice-of-life series with an uncanny knack to make you see simple things as miraculous events full of joy and hope.
The entire series focuses more on the daily lives of Akari and her friends and does not really contain a specific plot, save for their goal to become prima undines, professional gondoliers that guide tourists through Neo-Venezia, a recreation of earth's Venice. Although this season does see that plot come to a conclusion in which all the characters evolve, like flowers blooming under the soothing springtime sun. Everything comes full circle and while one may wipe away a tear at the end, the series immediately makes you smile again at the beginning of the new voyage it sets off on.
“Aria The Origination” starts off with episodes much as the previous “Aria” seasons, more common daily events in which Akari, Aika and Alice find joy or unexpected small miracles, and one can be amazed at how Kozue Amano and the staff are able to bring such seemingly mundane events in such a way that they become heart-warming tales. If you had a bad day, an episode of Aria is guaranteed to cheer you up and give you renewed hope.
The latter half of the season sees all characters achieve their goals and even though their lives forever change the undines Akari, Aika, Alice, Alicia, Akira and Athena will forever treasure their time spent together, remaining close friends with a past they won't forget.
Although to the fans it may be sad to see Aria go, the series closes off with a wonderful sentiment, that even though the days of happiness as you knew them are now gone and that voyage is over, you mustn't be sad as another voyage filled with miraculous days is about to begin.
The animation in “Aria The Origination” was terrific, in most episodes the animation was up to par with that of the OVA, “Aria the OVA ~Arietta~” and the character drawing style leaned closer to that of the OVA instead of the more rounded off shapes from “Aria The Natural”. It did look like the gondolas were drawn significantly bigger than in previous seasons.
All the undines looked divine, a lot of attention off course went into making the main characters look superb, and their hilarious chibi modes were present each episode. The backgrounds of Neo-Venezia are rendered as such that you're immediately drawn into their world, the rich palette of bright blue waterways, warm orange sunsets, make you feel as if you're on Aqua.
Choro Club and Senoo again deliver a great soundtrack, with music that fits the scenery of Aqua, featuring soft piano melodies and calm ballads. A prime example of how a soundtrack can perfectly match a series and accentuate the emotions presented on-screen. The OP and ED songs too make a wonderful fit, the OP “Spirale” always accompanied by different scenes of Neo-Venezia.
I often experience that people either fall completely in love with “Aria” or totally do not appreciate the series. If you like the slice-of-life genre or want to see a unique series that soothes the soul, then I definitely recommend “Aria The Origination”.
The best way to describe “Aria” would be: 'a breath of fresh air'.
*I will be writing this review on all 3 parts of Aria and will be summarized individually, the score overall is on the series in its entirety
This series was number of firsts for me, first true slice of life I have watched, first anime in which the focus was on a female protagonist through its entirety while also including introspective reflection, and the first piece of media that I truly appreciated for its episodic nature.
Before watching I had high expectations of what I thought Aria was going to be brought on by the high rating, glowing recommendations, and the relative obscurity
of such a highly acclaimed series. All of these expectations were more than met, but that is not to say Aria is without its flaws. Aria in its entirely really is a masterpiece and its flaws may not be objectively true and dependent on the viewer, it is important to note this both while watching Aria and while reading this review.
Aria the Animation - To be expected, this season served to introduce you both to the endearing characters and the setting of Neo-Venezia as well as Aqua. This part happens to contain two of my favorite episodes of the Aria series as well as two of my least favorite(both of these for reasons similar to filler and boredom). Most of my criticism is left on the atmosphere that Aria the Animation seemingly fails to develop, the atmosphere feels almost sterile or stagnant as there seems to be little that happens out of the ordinary and very little mystery about the environment. The world itself seems a tad small and contained which ultimately brings about a "boring" feel to the first iteration.
The art is also weaker than the next, which is to be expected as it is the most outdated but it is still brilliantly animated.
As mentioned before the story is mostly introductory and little is revealed about what makes Aria so great until the latter half and maybe even until Aria the Natural. Nevertheless the first taste of things to come is experienced through the endearing and well-established characters going about their day to day life. As well the always entertainingly beautiful and relaxing storyline of Aria is prevalent but maybe not as dynamic or evident as in later iterations.
The music is really top notch, this may be the one area that might not have been improved on by later adaptations.
Really what Aria the Animation fails to do is being as strong as its successors, which doesn't really take away from the experience on its own especially since the series is an episodic one. At the very least it serves as important step into understanding and enjoying Aria as a whole.
Aria the Natural - The true embodiment of Aria's spirit in my opinion, all the things that make the series great are found here. The mysteries and fantasy of Neo-Venezia and Aqua being discovered and represented beautifully in all aspects is truly a pleasing experience to behold. I would also like to note that the slice of life component is most dutifully found here. This is by far the more relaxing of the three, and may I stress that I say relaxing not boring, the story here is surprisingly engaging even though that is something I have personally struggled with when watching episodic series is my inability to become invested episode to episode, I had no trouble doing so with Aria the Natural. This due in part to the stagnancy that I had mentioned earlier being shattered by the introduction of menace or negativity in a way that does not contradict the flow and feeling of the series overall. Because of this you come to appreciate the magnificent nature of each episode even more.
As I have previously mentioned, Aria the Natural improves(maybe even dramatically so)on everything that Aria the Animation brought to the table as well as representing the soul of the Aria series almost poetically.
Aria the Origination - While Aria the Natural represents the soul of Aria, Aria the Origination undoubtedly represents the heart. "No embarassing remarks allowed!" I know but let me explain, I would go so far as to say that Aria the Origination changes everything about the Aria series while also preserving it. That may be confusing but really it maintains everything that makes Aria great while introducing drama and conflict while progressing less episodically and more as a series. Also the emphasis is placed less on the setting of Neo-Venezia and more so on the characters and their development, this is done in a surprisingly superb fashion by introducing an entirely new aspect to Aria while still tailoring to its original greatness.
The characters and their stories are elegantly weaved together while staying respective to their individual development, development so surprisingly good that you would almost wonder when the characters changed so much. This thought however will probably never cross your mind since this is done so in a matter that is natural and stays true to characters you were originally introduced to.
The drama that comes with the conclusion of the series is magnificent and touching. By the end you will realize all the wonderful lessons you were inadvertently being taught throughout the series and this makes it that much more meaningful and timeless. Aria is truly an experience in which you will enjoy, be enlightened, and have your the boundaries of your imagination stretch, ideas that all pieces of media striving to become a masterpiece should fulfill.
Story - 9
While the story is brilliant, there are some episodes that continue the flow, but may fail to truly captivate the viewer, nearly episode is at the very least entertaining
Art - 10
There's not much that can be said about the art, it is incredible and stunning and an easy selling point for the anime
Sound - 8
The OST suits the setting perfectly, and in Aria the Origination it suited the more touching and dramatic moments in their feelings of wonder, change, and simplicity
Character - 10
I would be hard pressed to choose a character in which I didn't like, as well as the character that I liked most. All of the characters are endearing and charming, and play their role radiantly in the story.
Enjoyment - 10
The different elements of Aria, are all enjoyable, but more specifically the enjoyment lies in the slice of life component as it gives you the feeling of beauty and relaxation
The third season of Aria, Aria the Origination is a stunning and satisfying conclusion to the Aria story. With 2 seasons and a few OVAs behind it, I would say Aria the Origination has perfected the slice of life formula, hence its very well deserved high scores. I did analyze this alot, but at the end concluded that a review of this series would only be effective if it came from the heart :)
As stated by pretty much every reviewer, to fully appreiate the masterpiece that is Aria The Origination you should first watch Aria the Animation, Aria the Natural and the other OVAs/Picture Dramas.
When you start with Aria the Origination, you're already familiar with boh Neo-Venezia, its citizes, the cats and Akari and her circle of friends.
The storytelling is high art. It always starts with Akari writing to her friend, Ai-Chan about the weather, and what is happening today. It's like watching some old friends go about their lives. It feels good and familiar, then there's the realization/lesson/moral of that episode, and a conclusion.
Everything is so well done that although I swore I wouldn't, somehow, sometime during each episode my emotions would get the better of me and then tears would fall from my eyes. Something would set it off, a line of dialogue, the scenery, the music with meaningful lyrics. Most of the time it's not even tears of sadness, but tears of gladness, or joy, or I'm crying because something is so beautiful.
OK, I cried every single episode, with major crying on the last episode when I realized there would be no more Aria after this. Still, even though I want this wonderful anime to continue forever, I am glad it ended perfectly.
Everyone should watch Aria. At the least it's an entertaining slice of life anime. But it has a much deeper meaning and is able to speak directly to the watcher's heart an mind if the watcher is receptive.
So please, please, watch this wonderful anime! Watch it slowly, savor it, think and reflect on the messages embedded in the wonderful story. Aria has changed me. What I've learned:-
* Stop and smell the roses
* You can find beauty in everyday things - I realized I never looked before but one stretch of woodland road on the way to work is spectacular when the sunlight is streaming through the leaves.
* Do not fall into despair! Be optimistic, look on the bright side, things will get better
* You have some control over your happiness
* Ask for help, but be willing to teach others. I wish I had a teacher like Alicia.
* You can do more than you think you can but you need to try AND believe in yourself
* It's the little things in life that matter
* Think of what is truly important to you.
* I had really good friends, I should have appreciated my time with them more
* Things come up, Life/people may change/leave. What's important is to cherish what you currently have and live in the now. In the end memories are all you keep.
I will be re-watching the entire series whenever I feel down. But in the future I have resolved to stop just working, doing household chores and worrying about the future. Instead I'm going to slow down, tell my family I love and appreciate them being with me and spend more time making happy memories with them.
Aria is a calm, cheerful series that seeks to find simple meaning in ordinary things. However, what meaning is found is usually of a trite nature, such as the love of one’s art being the most important thing in said art. Not only are such messages common and forgettable, but they even occasionally range close to the absurd. Several of the episodes don’t even have applicable morals, and these merely depict the characters enjoying their everyday lives and appreciating simple pleasures. The series seems more preoccupied with wondering at the workings of a nonexistent city than anything else.
What meaning is meant to be derived from
these ventures is almost continuously explained and narrated by someone speaking in a choked up manner unworthy of the event at hand, drawing connections between ordinary happenings and grander themes that are so flimsy, the series would have been better served to demonstrate such a connection in silence than to exposit one with so little a foundation. At some point, if one cheesy and supposedly meaningful line is said after another, it begins to lose any meaning it might have had. What may have been effective in small doses is smothering in excess. In many episodes of Aria, an already longwinded piece of dialogue will seem to have exhausted itself, the accompanying music is petering to a halt, and a scene is drawing to a close, yet the speaker continues on until it becomes tempting to escape the laborious redundancy with the aid of the skip button.
Although the (incredibly trivial) dilemma and resolve of each episode usually varies, it’s almost as if you could play all the episodes of Aria at once with little discord between them, so similar are they in tone and structure. The same pieces of music are played in almost every episode in similar places, and the events tend to be limited to the characters rowing about on gondolas and wondering at Neo-Venezia, eating homey meals and euphorically proclaiming their tastiness through mouthfuls, and quietly awaking in the morning or going to sleep at night. These scenes are punctuated by the annoying, wordless exclamations of a cat sidekick, who is doubtless intended to be cute but only serves as a possible cause for the viewer to get some exercise reaching to turn the volume down.
Worse than this, the series far too quickly and awkwardly tries to establish a classic comic routine in which the main characters say a series of lines to each other in quick succession. It’s not particularly comical to begin with, but as it is repeated incessantly throughout each episode, it becomes very irksome. In addition, Alicia has but one monotonous exclamation throughout the whole series.
The progression of the characters and relationships, such as it is, is also rather repetitive. There is very little difference in development between one episode in which two characters try to overcome a breach in their relationship and the next in which a similar issue with the same characters is addressed. It’s almost as if these are the go-to episodes as an interlude between the next set of five or so episodes dealing with guest characters and individual themes. Whatever is learned in the previous episode of this nature seems to have been forgotten in the next. This is mainly relevant in the case of Alice, who never ceases to take her mentor, Athena, for granted, and Athena herself, who is even more childish than her student and can’t seem to overcome her own insecurities enough to be open about her feelings with a child.
Very few of the characters ever transcend their initial first impressions. There is nothing more to Alicia’s character than an innate sweetness, and any change she seems to have undergone as a result of her pupil is never demonstrated in any actual happenings or actions throughout the series, but is rather expressed in some gushy and vague dialogue near the end along with a final development that has hitherto never been foreshadowed or referenced and seems to have been invented simply to give the series some kind of emotional punch so that the ending at least wouldn’t be as bland as the rest of the series. Similarly, there is nothing more to Akari’s character than her ability to find wonder in ordinary things, Alice is simply quiet and socially inept, and Akira is strict with her students but only out of kindness. Aika does undergo a bit more development as she struggles with her feelings of insignificance among friends who are more naturally skilled than she, and as she grows to appreciate her mentor’s harsh attitude. Finally, minor characters have even less characterization than the main ones, appearing only long enough to fulfill a brief role now and then, though some do manage to bring a bit of life to the series with some humorous or touching moments.
This series is broken into three seasons, which most consider to grow progressively better. However, it is the first of these, Aria the Animation, that is the most effective in creating a sweet, quiet atmosphere and the themes that exist are a little bit closer to home. It does not try to seem grander than it is, but moves at a pace just slow enough to be relaxing and just quick enough to sidestep tediousness, choosing simpler analogies and slightly less longwinded explanations than the rest of the series. At thirteen episodes, it has not accomplished anything special in particular, but it has its touching moments.
Aria the Natural is double in length, and rather than exploring more content than Animation, its preachy speeches and moments of stillness are maddeningly twice as long as that of Animation. That said, Natural incorporates more fantasy elements, such as several encounters with the spiritual world of cats, and this manages to give a bit of life to the show, inappropriate though it seems in a series that has thus far mostly steered clear of something so bizarrely fantastical. The erratic placement of such episodes further accentuates the incongruity, and overall Natural has a very disjointed feel.
Aria the Origination returns to the more ordinary once again, but it has lost the freshness of Animation and now muddles about in sporadic drama, attempting to emulate character development with little to no buildup. Aria the Animation started in the middle of Akari’s apprenticeship, and the series as a whole chose to focus on individual encounters rather than her continued effort to become an undine. It has no clear direction, which might be expected of such an episodic series, and so its attempt to deliver some sort of grand finale fails miserably, as with little to no plot there are no ends to be wrapped up and the conclusion has little to do with the start.
[DISCLAIMER] As I want to get all my points across, as well as bring this show the justice it deserves, the following review is a lengthily-detailed breakdown of every factor ranging from the story to the overall experience. You may look for other reviews to find a more concise criticism of the show.
When we usually talk about things we truly love, it becomes hard to explain why. Most people would not understand the appeal one would get from something—this is especially hard when trying to relay why your favorite book is your favorite book, or why your favorite film is your favorite film.
In cases, the
often reasons for this are because one, we might sound too forceful and biased, and two, we feel that our recommendations are not doing our experiences with the said medium any justice. As such, it becomes difficult for a person to talk about his favorite without trying to sound illogical. This is hard for someone looking for a more grounded response.
This review may contain any form of bias, but I will try my best to address the criticisms one may find with this show, and offer my own insights with regards to it, and why it may be irrelevant to my own judgment. Ladies and gentlemen, I offer you a heartfelt review of my favorite anime, Aria the Origination.
Whenever someone hears the name "Aria" thrown around in the anime community, it is often referred to by many as the "healing anime". Along with the likes of Mushi-shi and Kino's Journey, it is a type of show one would usually mention as an atmospheric series—to say, a show that relies on its execution of audiovisual stimulations to produce an effect of serenity and immersion into the world it's trying to present. It may rely more on enveloping the viewers with its artistic presentation rather than plot progression.
True enough to what people claim it is, Aria is a franchise that needs some patience getting into, which can lead to either one of two things: 1) You feel like you belong with the show, or you become attached to it, or 2) You get bored. Atmospheric anime, after all, take its 20-minute episode runtime to dive in with intentionally slow pacing, allowing the audience to let its philosophy or environment sink in. Of course, this would not pose true for others, who may have a different preference for how things should be presented.
Despite that, I can still say with courage that everyone should still watch Aria. Whatever one person may gain out of it, the series still provides lot of ground for one to get immersed or be appreciative of, whether it may be the story, its characters, its world, or its music.
Story and Characters
"Lots of things change with the flow of time."
With 13 episodes, Aria the Origination is the third and final season to the Aria franchise. Three aspiring girls—Akari Mizunashi, Aika Granzchesta, and Alice Carroll strive forward to reach their dreams of being Prima Undines, the highest-ranking tour guides in the gondola services of Neo-Venezia, an exact replica of Earth's Venice situated in the planet of Aqua, or Mars as it was once called.
While the first episodes of the series are episodic and are self-contained tales—again, attributing to its slow and atmospheric nature, Origination retains the mood and flow of its predecessors but handles it with rising intensity with each succeeding episodes. How Animation, the first season, and Natural, the second, were trying to attain that execution, often resulting in an assortment of hit-and-miss episodes, Origination does not. It finally finds its footing and rids of its usually subtle approach to a more well-handled presentation.
However, it does take a considerably inferior beginning, in which the first three episodes can fit in any prior season. Although, after those three episodes, Origination brings new situations and scenarios that provide a refreshing perspective both on the world and its characters. Certain characters get the time to interact with one another in ways unexpected, and it connotes how the cast has developed with time in their own little manners through other characters. It pays a large amount of thankfulness to its previous seasons, and significantly builds on what it began. What follows is a majestic conclusion that makes the story go hand-in-hand with the resolution of the Undines' individual stories.
How Origination works in contrast to the first two seasons is the way it is generally built out. From the beginning up until the end, it reveals a planned direction it's going to take, and as such intertwines these individual tales as essential to the show's overall picture. A major theme that can be recognized from the series is the concept of change—and while it is natural that a story must eventually end, Origination takes the viewers into the eyes of its characters to emphasize how significant this impending change is. Gone will be the days that we see the girls bonding through practice, and the same also poses true for the Undines as they all step forward to face a new tomorrow. This is nothing short of compelling and remarkable, as the use of Aria's episodic strengths into a sequential structure amplifies its impact.
"But there are things that never change."
Along with its fresh take on Neo-Venezia, the show prepares to wrap up its story by presenting the final steps the beloved Undines need to face, both in the physical and the emotional sense, as well as expanding and solidifying the relationships they have with their mentors. Every supporting character also gets their fair share of screen time, with great stories surrounding Akatsuki and Al, along with reappearances of characters such as the mailman and Caffe Florian's owner.
Aika reveals a much more realistic side of her, portraying her doubts and fears as the trio's most work-oriented person. While noticeably her focus is relegated to a background character for most of the show, the episodes that do focus on her make up for its well-written setup. Like how Akari affects the people around her, Aika gets her development through her impact with other characters, most especially with Akira. Natural had already done its piece in fleshing out Aika, which may have reduced the necessity to explore her character even further. This series simply leads her into an epilogue as the heir to Himeya.
Meanwhile, Alice's large involvement this time around is monumental not only for the people around her but also for her maturity. Some of the best moments in Origination arguably belong to her, and it surmounts to a satisfying resolution with her initially antisocial demeanor. Bits revolving around Athena's character also show how the two are actually similar, and builds up to a very emotional climax that cements their relationship and solidifies Alice's overall development.
There are many things to be said about Akari's character, but the most subtle yet significant revelation about her is how she actually stands out as an Undine. Aria has always focused on Akari's adventures of the rustic and mystic Neo-Venezia, and thus veered away from depicting her skills as a gondolier. Origination brings her efforts into light, and proves how she is ready to take on the reins of being a Prima.
Another thing to point out about her is the further emphasis of her relationship with Alicia. As the final episode of Natural and the succeeding OVA Arietta sows the seeds through moments where they bond together, it is in Origination where this dynamic between them really blooms—portraying through its scenes how both are influential to one another. Through this, Alicia unravels as a more humane character, as opposed to how the trio perceives her as an unreachable being of perfection.
With the whole theme of Origination revolving around change, Akari, as the audiences' eyes through Aqua, becomes the most affected person within the environment around her. Cheerful and always upbeat, her reaction to these life-changing events pose an internal conflict within her. While she always sees change within the world of Aqua, she has never had the experience to encounter it firsthand—and the way she responds to it shows her strength, and a huge leap for her character to welcome the future that awaits her. In a sense, Origination serves as a journey to hone her as an Undine, one that truly symbolizes the loving and caring welcome of Aqua.
"Things that are precious because they change, and things that are precious because they don't change...both are precious.
"Don't you feel the same?"
Origination starts off with another beautiful and calming piece through Yui Makino's "Spirale," setting the tone of this final chapter to the world of Aria. Where Aria the Animation's OP immerses you into the world and Aria the Natural encouraging you to join in its rustic beauty, Aria the Origination's opening song reaches out to you in a nostalgic way. Containing this balance of serene and upbeat elements, it plays in an oxymoronic manner of cheerful and melancholic, much like a prelude to a happy farewell. The ending song, "Kin no Nami Sen no Nami" by Akino Arai seems to go along with this theme as well, although with a feeling that is more on looking forward to the future—again, a significant motif in Origination. Despite its departure from the usually calming song equal to that of its OP, it still finds a place to exist within Origination's somber themes, even though it may not fit entirely with Aria's atmosphere.
While it is already undeniable that Aria has great music, it never stopped getting better, and Origination raises the bar with new piano pieces to go along with the original soundtrack. Where Origination stands out against its predecessors is in its well-handled approach to music, never exceeding its use of both instrumental and lyrical pieces. The inserts never seemed off, and everything suited each scene at a most impressive tone.
Two new important tracks cement Aria the Origination as a stroke of genius. Ryou Hirohashi's wonderfully haunting "Lumis Eterne" amplifies the climactic scene of Episode 9, evoking a cathartic feeling of tearful bliss and satisfaction. Poetic and symbolic of Alice's character progression throughout the series, this song, much like any other track in Aria's score, acquires its own personality. The other song, "Yokogao," which played in the final episode of the show, is another piece sung by Yui Makino that perfectly captures the essence of Alicia and Akari's relationship, as well as their personal connection to the utopia that is Aqua. While being one of the few melancholic songs in Aria's music, it is still a sublime fit to the scene at hand and Aria's positive and emotional soundtrack.
It is also safe to say that the voice actors do not falter in their side of the job as well, and their takes on the Undines in their most emotional moments are nothing but amazing. Chiwa Saito handles Aika's different emotions with good comedic awareness, along with standout scenes of her serious and melancholic demeanor. Ryou Hirohashi's "dekkai" performance-desu of Alice's childish nature is taken in a much more playful way, and her acting is one of the main reasons why Alice had dominated some of the episodes. Erino Hazuki once again lends her voice to the ever-wonderful Akari, and a lot of her contributions to the character from the "Hahi"s to the "Ehh"s make her as the only fitting person for Akari's role.
Aside from the main trio, the Three Great Water Fairies Alicia, Akira, and Athena are also reprised by Sayaka Ohara, Junko Minagawa, and Tomoko Kawakami, respectively. While already generally praised for their roles, moments in Origination where these characters are set up in dramatic scenes with their juniors further emphasize their great performances.
Art and Animation
With the transfer from 4:3 to 16:9 beginning from Arietta, the world of Aqua has become wider and immersive than ever. Hal Film Maker continues to work its wonders with stellar and faithful backgrounds mirroring that of real-life Venice. The background department shines with their striking, hand-painted scenery that encapsulates the nearly-ethereal beauty of Aqua, rivaling that of Kozue Amano's original illustrations. Of course, with the series mainly being set in Neo-Venezia—with the exception of an episode that takes place in Neo-Burano Island, set pieces are often used consistently and with less diversity from Natural. It's not to say that they slacked on it, though, as the depiction of the places are not only accurate but also highly detailed improvements to Animation and Natural's already captivating backdrops.
Aside from the major boost in Aqua's scenery, it is also fairly evident how the studio keeps a keen eye for the characters, with small but noticeable changes to their designs. Along with that, Origination feels livelier than other installments, having more motion with its frames and very, very elaborate facial animations in the show's critical moments. The comedic expressions remain a staple of the show, and still carry the bulk of Aria's funniest instances.
This element is not perfect, however, as a 2008 series would somewhat opt to add in CGI to save budget costs. For the most part, the CG in Aria is beautiful and does not really hinder immersion, but there were moments in Origination that it goes beyond using CG water and appears in other elements. Granted, they only appear for two noticeable scenes throughout the show, but these parts were very jarring and could very well be a valid criticism to its animation. Nonetheless, this does not summarize the entirety of the animation, as Origination continues the synchronous blend it has with the soundtrack, initiating a visual and audial experience unlike any.
Wrapping up a series is difficult. While Aria ends in quite possibly the best conclusion possible—and quite frankly, one of the best in anime, there are a lot of things to be pointed at that could have made it a bit more fulfilling.
Character balancing, for example, was noticeably more unbalanced in Origination compared to the first two seasons. While the first season focuses mostly on Akari—as it should, since it's an introduction, the second season diversifies the tales to give the other characters significant depth that they didn't have. It handles every character equally, with the inclusion of the side characters that added more color to the daily adventures in Aqua. Origination tries to shift this focus onto the main trio only, but even in this department it is considerably affected. As aforementioned, Aika does not get as much screen time as she deserves, and while episodes about her are some of the best Aria has to offer, it pales in comparison to the amount of treatment she got in Natural. More importantly, Aika is not the only one to suffer this issue, but to the show's actual protagonist as well. While the last episodes do bring Akari back into the spotlight, the middle part of the show is obviously oriented at Alice, as if the show itself is hinting what is to come for her. It is still a good buildup, and is not necessarily a bad part of the show, as she is underplayed for most of the first two seasons. However, it does betray the point of Origination being a final chapter for all three of them, and it could possibly hamper enjoyment for people expecting a well-rotated character storyline like Natural.
Another important aspect not addressed by Origination was Cait Sith and the mystical side of Aqua. Natural was all about exploring Aqua and building up its characters at the same time, with the introduction of its spirit guardian. It seemed to emphasize that we will see more of Cait Sith's involvement in the story, although it did not turn out to be the case. Origination completely drifted from its magical elements in sacrifice for a character-oriented story which aimed to bring an ending to them rather than to the world.
It could also be said that Origination's subtle but important tone shift to put the cast in situations that are much more emotionally testing than its previous iterations. In service of a plot-driven series, after all, is the necessity for conflict to arise. Yet, to bring up a counterpoint, the drama that stirs from Origination can be felt only if you have found the attachment to the characters. When looked at superficially, the conflicts that are brought up in Origination can barely qualify as drama—and even though the themes may still be somewhat deviant from what the first two seasons offered, they still run under the overall concept of optimism and hopefulness.
With only 13 episodes to end the story, it's honestly surprising that Origination manages to hold out and fill in every aspect it could accomplish in Aria's quite vast world. Not only that, but it ties every loose end about the characters in a very satisfying manner that one can easily overlook its flaws, and indulge in Origination's well-toned balance of drama and the same-old Aria viewers had come to know and love.
Enjoyment and Conclusion
Origination is one of the rare examples of shows that manages to trump expectations from its prequels. What I believed to be Aria's peak in Arietta immediately got dispelled by how Origination mastered its presentation. Other than that, there are few series that get to end on a high note, and this entry to the story of Aqua and its Undines manages to bring its characters into a full circle, despite its hardly noticeable hiccups.
Aria has always been atmospheric, and it pretty much takes the cake as one of the best that handles atmosphere overall, but Origination is the cherry on top, being a conclusion to its well-rounded cast of lovable people. It allows us to appreciate more of the mundane, while also revealing the bigger picture of life.
Some would say that Aria is as saccharine as it can get with its themes, though I would beg to differ. While the franchise certainly is a defining example of things never going wrong, Origination, as it is aptly named, brings us to the beginning of all this happiness—happiness, that you may think is merely blind optimism, but one actually rooted in reality.
It is an enjoyable show—cathartic and introspective. When approaching this, one may need to put aside everything within their to-do list, and the time to be alone when watching it. It might seem like a bother, but investing yourself into it is one of the best payoffs one could ever have. Emotionally charged yet void of melancholy, Aria the Origination can easily bring anyone to tears with its innocent and caressive approach.
Seagulls fly into the sky as the fresh wind coming from the sea dances through your hair. The campanile tolls its bell, echoing throughout this city of stories. Neo-Venezia is a place filled with wonders and history, and one can easily get lost in the countless experiences you could have. Yet fear not, as someone is always there for you. People of different places and of different journeys, cross paths in this place of miracles.
Aqua may seem like an unattainable dream—a place of mere escapism. However, as long as someone welcomes anything before them, whether good, whether bad, like how Akari welcomed Aqua, and how Aqua welcomed her back, there will always exist a Neo-Venezia deep within our hearts.
Simply put, Aria is a masterpiece—the quintessential slice-of-life show. Rife with characters and stories that are intertwined in this euphoric utopia, Origination brings all of these great moments together, and reaches out to us playfully. Definitively, it is a one-of-a-kind experience you could not afford to miss.
Aria the Origination is the marvelous conclusion of Akari, Alice, and Aika’s journey as undines in training while retaining all of the charm and glorious pace of its predecessors.
Story - 10
Origination masters the art of telling simplistic, straight forward stories while giving great insight into the characters and the setting. What were problems in length, use of time, the annoying cats, and introduction of character in Natural and Animation, become the third installment’s strengths. Every episode in Origination showcases something undiscovered in the series’ previous episodes, whether it be a new occupation, place or characters. Each episode serves as piece of development
for one of the undines, and in the case of the single, even manages to give the viewer a better look at how they grew to become the women they are in flashbacks. Most importantly, the story manages to make use of all the development, leaving no moment squandered for emotional resonance.
Art - 9
Aria: The Origination is the reason why moving to widescreen is such a wonderful idea. The show was already known for its use of panorama and sprawling set-up shots, but moving into widescreen with the added quality of detail in the art made this show stunning visually. The art design is so original that the viewers instantly know what they are watching and where the action is set. Character design has improved a little because of the change in proportion from standard to widescreen, so the super sugary edges are rounded off a little bit. What I love most about the character design is the execution of everyone’s super deformed counterparts. They are quirky and a little childish, yet very expressive and kind of distill the quality of the character in one look.
Sound - 10
The music is just as wonderful in Origination as it has been in the Aria series. Incorporation of the music is always appropriate and the quality of the music achieves much of the same notes that the tone and presentation of the show have always tried to create: a calm, inviting sense of wonder in which something new can be found every time one listens. Athena’s songs are well done as always and Alice’s song was performed very well considering the constraints of her character’s abilities. The voice actors really dig deep to properly portray the gamut of emotions their characters go through. Nothing ever felt forced or contrived from their performances.
Characters - 9
The characters in Origination take the front seat in care much more so than in the first seasons. Because of the story, and the decided direction in creating closure for the series, Origination pulls no punches in characterization and development. Characters once thought of as clumsy and aloof are actually perceptive and doting. The harsher characters are softened by immaculately exploring their insecurities, and the almost woodenly perfect Alicia is given such a degree of well-executed characterization and development that the distance that Akira as the main character created for the viewer by placing her on a pedestal is slowly brought down making Alicia much more human than I had expected. Perhaps the only disappointment with the characters is that there is little growth with Akira. This is most likely because she is a girl so honest in her motives and accepting of all he faults and flaws that there just isn’t much to be done besides rattle her confidence a few times.
Enjoyment - 10
I loved it all. Everything just absolutely worked in Aria the Origination. This is definitely a show where the whole is vastly greater than the sum of its parts. What I especially loved is that somehow the show gave me everything that I wanted so succinctly and so beautifully. Also, for the first time in a show I think that I rooted for every character and didn’t want any of them to fail. This of course to me is a feat in and of itself, especially because I did not warm up to Akari at all until about halfway through this show. I just embraced all of the characters for what they were and enjoyed watching the growth of everyone by the shows end. For a brief moment, I wanted another series before I talked myself out of it.
I had to mark down other anime's score because they couldn't come even close to Aria.
Even though it doesn't really have a linear plot, each episode shows a great deal of character development, which is the best aspect of Aria. Focusing on the three juniors, we see how they live their daily life and training to become a Prima, interact with each other and other characters, and overcome their own struggles.
HAL Film Maker easily becomes one of my favorite animation studio. Excellent color choices, smooth animation, beautiful scenery.. what else could you ask for? Definitely looking forward for the DVD releases, since
season 1 has already available for pre-orders.
Seiyuu: Simply outstanding.
Ohara Sayaka's perfect and kind onee-san Alicia. Hazuki Erino who perfectly depicts Akari's innocent-ness. Chiwa Saito's adorable crybaby Aika. Hirohashi Ryou's lovely and extremely cute Alice. Minagawa Junko who shows Akira's toughness. Kawakami Tomoko's ultimate dojikko Athena. I can't imagine any other voice replacing any of them..
And honorable mention to Nishimura Chinami as Aria Shachou.
I'm not too fond of Makino Yui at first, but her songs grew into me the more I listened to them.. and I have to say that the original soundtracks are magnificent. Great job, Choro Club ft Senoo.
As I've stated before, Aria's strongest point is the character interaction and development. We learn more and more about them in each episode, slowly but sure we're emotionally attached to each one of them.. (which makes it really hard to part by the end of episode 13.. but a masterpiece should end to be one).
By this point, Aika would have shouted "hazukashii serifu kinshi!" countless times to me, but I just have to praise Aria more. ^^; It's too euphoric it's hard to describe 'the enjoyment' only by words.. It's heart-warming, soothing, and so peaceful it might as well end a war. I enjoyed every single second I spent in Neo-Venezia. Aria stays as the only anime that makes me weep out of happiness.
This is the final season of Aria, and what a bittersweet one it is. I’m so glad to have discovered this wonderful series, meeting characters and settings I won’t ever forget.
Story: Each episode we follow the various characters through their daily events in beautiful Neo-Venezia, and watch the three apprentice undines on their journeys to becoming professionals. When that moment inevitably arrives, it is definitely one of the most touching scenes I’ve ever experienced. However, the ending events do feel rather fast-paced compared to the slow and dreamy atmosphere of most other episodes. Nonetheless, the ending is deeply satisfying, with a message that time brings
change to people and places, for better or worse. Though we will treasure memories dear to us, we must always progress towards tomorrow.
Art: The overall animation quality is topnotch, and sees improvements over the second season. The art style is what truly stands out though. From calm moonlit nights to romantic sunsets, stunning Italian architecture to fantastic natural landscapes, Aria is a gorgeous animated painting that will sweep you away.
Sound: The soundtrack is mostly composed of acoustic guitar, piano, and female vocals. The music helps set the mood perfectly, from serene to upbeat. I felt that the vocal tracks were not as strong as in previous seasons, which set the standard really high, but that did not hinder my enjoyment of the music. Voice acting remains superb, bringing out the distinct personality of each character.
Characters: If you have fallen in love with the art and music of Aria, then you will most certainly fall in love with the characters! They are all uniquely wonderful, and it doesn’t hurt that the lead females are very beautiful. Of special note is Akari, the pink-haired protagonist who narrates most of the story. Her romantic, optimistic outlook on life is extremely contagious, and will no doubt bring a smile to your face and warmth to your heart.
Enjoyment: Given its slow and gentle pacing, Aria is not an anime to be rushed through. Rather, take the time to relax and really enjoy the series. Watch an episode before bedtime and you’ll surely have sweet dreams, trust me on that! It has taken me over three months to watch the three seasons of Aria, and I have enjoyed it unlike any other anime, partly because Aria IS unlike any other anime!
The Aria series is truly a masterpiece. Never before have I fallen so in love with a fictional setting and its charming inhabitants. Through the eyes of Akari, I have come to gain even greater appreciation of the treasure that is life. Parting is such sweet sorrow. Though the journey ends here, in my memory it will remain. And what a journey it has been.
Aria the Origination has achieved something remarkable to which anyone who's familiar with the slice of live genre knows to be an extremely rare phenomenon; it manages to end satisfactory.
Perhaps more so than even this, it perfectly incapsulates the concept of change, which as anyone not still living in a womb will attest carries great trepidations as well as possibilities. Its said that real courage shines not when one demands change, but upon facing it and seeing all its uncertainty, are able to accept it, and Aria really managed to portray this perfectly along with other themes such as the folly
of trying to ignore the future, when even in the most timeless of places, nothing ever stays the same for long, but before we get into all that, a quick summary of the show...
Aria the Origination maintains the series' core premise, continuing to follow Akari as she and her close friends chase their dream of becoming Undines (Female Gondoliers) in the beautiful and mysterious city of Neo-Venezia, a brick for brick restoration of the ancient city of Venice now built on Mars (renamed Aqua due to the now abundance of water thanks to terraforming). By now the show is a seasoned veteran, with two series' behind its style has been seamlessly perfected till its like watching a master craftsman fusing experience and knowledge to create a work of art born out of every learned from mistake and good idea since built upon.
Aria the Animation was the past, focusing on the love all humans have for the past and its ostensible simplicity, Aria the Natural was the present focusing on the city and the lives of those living and dreaming in it, and so Aria the Origination is the future. It is as Winston Churchill famously said "not the end or even the beginning of the end, but it is the end of the beginning", indeed the series is called Aria the Origination not Aria the conclusion, and perhaps this is the shows greatest strength, it matures rather than just stops. The characters move on to that mysterious infinite world where all our favourite characters live forever doing what we love, Sherlock Holmes and Watson discussing a case by the fireplace of 221b Baker street, Esteban and crew still trying to find the mysterious cities of gold, Ginko forever traveling helping people and Mushi, and Akari and friends forever at bliss in Neo-Venezia. Its a bittersweet feeling to have this series end but its such a perfect end that one cannot long hold a grudge against it, besides a perfect end is always better than a slow decline into awfulness (I'm looking at you Simpsons); i can say little more about the story without giving too much away, and so I shan't…
The art has improved to such a standard that like a high tide it seems to lift everything else up with it, the city has never looked more magical or appealing with greater attention given to all the details that make a series come alive, everything from the washing lines that hang from every window or the food stalls and gardens make the city seem lived in and loved rather than as before where the city seemed more like a work of art than a home to thousands of people.
The design and appearances of the characters while at first ostensibly no different on closer examination show a greater maturity and presence, particularly Alice who looks considerably older and mature, everything from the way she is drawn to her movements and especially how she speaks and acts around people seem to show a great deal of development and maturity in her character. Its a real sign of a classy series thats art can evolve in line with its characters.
Speaking of characters, they are by far the single most enhanced aspect of this series; Aria as a whole its said suffers from little character development, though I've argued before that is not strictly true as instead the show and its characters develop slowly and incrementally like real people do and that the show tends to focus on other things at times like the city or individual stories etc. But now there there is no room for any debate, the series delivers all that it promised made all the sweeter by the (debatable) delay. In fact it works so well I'm certain the series couldn't have worked any other way, the slow growth and change seen in our characters in the previous seasons meant than when the change comes, and boy does it come, the shock is real and almost scary, just like real change. After being so used to the characters always being in one place in time when they finally do move on it carries far more weight and pushes home the lesson about change, courage and the folly of trying to freeze the present or live in the past much more than a conventional series could have. Its not just the main characters either, everyone in the series is swept along by the current of change that soaked Neo-Venezia and this series; I must stress this is not some cheesy ending where in somehow by the end everybody has forever found their perfect place in life and are now simply trapped in a static state of perfection, theres plenty left to the imagination, but thats where it will stay since this is also where the source material leaves off, perhaps for the best since if these characters are to feel like real people then to effectively end their lives would shatter the realism.
To conclude Aria the origination is the season that finally does it all right, standing on the shoulders of Animation and Natural it manages to breach the water line and breathe the sweet air of greatness, it shows as nonsense the age old argument that "nothing happens" in slice of life anime's and sets the bar for how to end a series of this type. Its sad it has to end as the world this series created is so rich and imaginative that their plenty left to work with and perhaps in the future we'll see a spin-off or some other type of story set here however I'm not holding my breath. Rarely does a series get inside your heart enough to make you care and imagine how things will be after it ends but thats the magic of Aria, it allows you to care; and care I did, if thats not enough of a ringing endorsement in a world of soulless shows were it takes the death of every main character to elicit an audience emotion then I don't know what is...
Much like the main protagonist, Mizunashi Akari, you will find yourself repeating this phrase as you continue discovering the wonderful world of Neo-Venezia and delving deeper into the relationships between the characters. This final season of Aria is a very heartfelt and satisfying ending to an overall unforgettable series.
As all the other reviews say, it is absolutely necessary that you watch the previous two seasons and the OVA: Aria the Animation, Aria the Natural, and Aria the OVA: Arietta.
Why? Watching Aria the Animation will familiarize you with the characters; watching Aria the Natural will familiarize you with the many beautiful and magical wonders of
Neo-Venezia; and Aria the OVA: Arietta will help you transition naturally into the final season on an emotional level.
What's so "wonderful..." about Aria the Origination?
Generally, the Aria series takes on an episodic style of storytelling, so that each episode feels like its own, with its own heartwarming message. What Aria the Origination does differently than the previous two seasons is that it starts to connect all the dots together. All the seemingly random places of Neo-Venezia and all the seemingly random encounters, both social and magical, all come together to mold Mizunashi Akari into who she ultimately becomes by the end of the series. And it’s not just Akari; the other main characters all go through some form of change… and how unexpectedly bittersweet some of these changes turn out to be. Every episode towards the end of this season starts to speak to you on a much deeper level and will definitely move some of you to tears (at least for me it did).
What's so "wonderful..." about Aria in general?
1) Neo-Venezia: The viewers are basically in the same position as Mizunashi Akari, in that both want to learn more about Neo-Venezia. The beauty of this is that the viewers get to experience Neo-Venezia vicariously through Akari, so that the viewers come to love Neo-Venezia as much as the protagonist does. If there is one important thing that this anime teaches me, it is the fact that even the most remote places can be turned into something beautiful. The protagonist’s love for the city and all its hidden treasures is almost foolish, but also very endearing.
2) Characters: Despite every character's name starting with an A (besides Woody), it is easy to distinguish all the characters. The viewers are constantly introduced to each of these characters and his or her demeanor, flaws, habits, and behaviors in several episodes, so as long as the viewers put in the time to watch the whole series, the viewers will start to connect with the characters on an emotional level. And no doubt, all the characters are relatable and lovable in their own ways.
3) Messages: The first few episodes had me cringe a bit because of how corny the messages were. Sometimes, I even felt that they weren’t delivered very well. However, some of these messages have stuck with me and have never left my mind since.
Some off the top of my head are:
-Scolding may be one of the greatest gifts you can give to a loved one.
-Some of the things (or even people) that we take for granted may seem unnoticeable to us, but they are always supporting us secretly, in their own ways.
-Some people are born with natural talents, making it seemingly difficult to catch up to them. However, that gap means nothing as long as you do not lose heart and keep on persevering.
-Do not be afraid of making new encounters.
Music: Soothing and delightful. The soft and pure vocals from the opening ease you into the episode as it plays in the background over the first few scenes. The ending is just as soothing, if anything a little more carefree and light. The overall soundtrack is perfect for a lazy day, a rainy day, or simply a calm day where you want to drink some coffee or tea. All in all, the soundtrack succeeds in emphasizing the ambience, the scenery, and the mood of the anime. (10/10)
Art: Fluid animation, especially with boat rowing and flowing of hair (a LOT of wind blowing scenes). All the characters are beautifully designed and animated as well, staying true to the manga. The scenery depicted is breathtaking and memorable, and I recommend checking out the manga too because the artwork in the manga is just as breathtaking. (10/10)
Much like Neo-Venezia, the Aria series itself has many hidden treasures to provide for viewers; some treasures that I may not have discovered yet. I can’t wait until the next time I revisit this series to discover something else.
Hopefully, after reading this review, some of you may watch the series, treasure it, and discover something that I never did.
The third and last intalment of ARIA where even all good things come to an end - and it was done in an excellent manner!
I find ARIA to be a "love it or hate it" series. It's pretty obvious I loved it while on the other hand, action-mecha fans would find this the ultimate bore.
Unlike the previous seasons, The Origination starts rolling towards the climax of the series and progression starts to occur. While it is rather predictable that apprentices tend to get promoted, the way it was done was simply magnificent.
This is one of the very few animes which
has actually outdone the source manga with appropriately dramatic and moving presentation of key events and lessons.
A mark get knocked off for an early-season hiccup and pacing issues which affected my experience.
It is pretty obvious that The Origination had a nice, fat budget. The characters are drawn well and are consistent. Alice especially is exceptionally cute. The scenery has an amazing level of detail and where it matters, is totally accurate to the real-life counterpart - having visited Venice just because of ARIA! A wide range of colours and shades were used and the CGI of the water was also a step-up from what was already excellent in previous seasons.
The clever use of angles, panning and differing drawing styles for specific moments served to totally enhance the story and created a far greater impact than the manga.
A mark knocked off nonetheless for the animation, where "framelagging" in some scenes were rather obvious.
Turn up the speakers and you'll hear the excellent background sounds of Venice. The sounds of the market, the gondola and the water are excellently inserted. It is this extra touch that makes me give full marks.
The soundtrack by Choro Club is outstanding like it was in the previous seasons and the way it was used was totally spot on. Even when it was sub-par (an attempt at Esperanto showed a glaring Japanese accent), the way it was combined with the story and art still made it excellent and I was simply blown away.
It took time for me to get used to the OP/ED but I find the tunes fit very well.
With the soundtracks being so soothing and relaxing, I ended up using it for dubious purposes, such as during exam revision!
ARIA's cast have an exceptionally good relationship with each other - and this close bonding was by no means created in a smooth manner. Each and every main character relationships have their own interesting stories which I found to be very interesting and they support each other in their own unique ways.
The relative maturity of the characters are built upon the foundations of the first 2 seasons and it is great to see them gradually becoming more mature and independent, while still maintaining their own unique personalities.
A mark knocked off for a rather bland anime-original character, which is also the cause of the hiccup in the story at the start of the series.
ARIA is totally uplifting and positive, and this is important especially when the real world is a rather negative place. I totally enjoyed the postiviness, the jokes and the teasings exchanged between the characters. It was also total eye-candy because of the excellent art and the music also added greatly.
Again, a mark knocked off because of that one episode, one particular character which simply killed my enjoyment for a week.
No series is perfect over an entire season but not many come as close to perfection as ARIA the Origination. A superbly produced work and it is indeed a bit of a pity all good things come to an end!
This review covers the entire Aria series from Aria the Animation to the Natural to the Arietta OVA and then finally the Origination.
Story: 10/10 Aria is about three girls striving to become Prima Undine's in Neo-Venezia (formally know as Mars). Prima Undine's are basically tour guides on small two to four person boats. The series goes on to show the extreme beauty of Neo-Venezia in each episode with beautiful art and elegant music. While our three main characters Akari, Aika and Alice train to become Prima with the help of their tutors, Alicia, Athena and Akira. Every episode has many moments that leaves you with
a sense of warmth and happiness. The series is incredibly relaxing and slow so if your a fan of fast paced shows, this may not be for you. But if your a fan of Slice-of-Life's slow paced shows, you will love this series. I often compare this series to Mushi-shi because they are both diamonds in the rough. You don't find a Anime series like this one often.
Art: 10/10 I don’t rate for art because it is not a deciding factor on how I watch Anime.
Sound: 10/10 The soundtracks for the entire series are golden. They are filled with slow ballads, acoustic guitar melody’s and great orchestral themes. I have gotten all of these soundtracks from Baka Bt and have not regretted it. Each track is beautiful and it makes you feel like you've stepped back into the beautiful Neo-Venezia. The same goes for the OP/ED's. I actually had most of the openings from the series and I didn’t even know it. My favorite out of all the OP's is probably the opening for the Natural “Euphoria” by Yui Makino and my favorite ending is, of course, Aria the Animation's “Rainbow” by Round Table Feat. Nino.
Character: 10/10 At first I thought this series would have little character development because it focused more on the beauty of the world, but boy I was wrong. The characters have amazing development, there were many times when the character struggled and grew from different experiences. It was an amazing thing to watch. For example, Akia at the beginning was obsessed with Alicia and just wanted to be like her and then later on she grew to be herself and not a shadow of Alicia. It was a lot of fun to watch the characters laugh, cry, and have fun together.
Season One "Aria the Animation": The series had a great begining, it felt like as if it was gradually showing Neo-Venezia and the mysterious power that it holds. (13 Episodes)
Season Two: "Aria the Natural" This one series came in with alot of character development and a sence of mystery and wonder. This part of the series is where my comparison to Mushi-shi comes into play. (26 episodes)
OVA ~Arietta~: This OVA was really special. It gave greater insight into the Aria Company. I was really blown away by this OVA. Its probably the highest rated OVA on my list. (1 episode)
Season 3 "Aria the Origination: The final season of Aria was just beautiful. It has superb character development and wrapped up the series. It ended so beautifully that it just left me in wonder. The we're alot of parts that I got teary eyed in. Characters achived thier dreams, some characters left and passed their torch onto the next generation. It was a beautiful masterpiece.
Enjoyment & Overall: 15/10 This series was amazing. Again, I have never seen anything quite like it. The music, characters, environment and sound were all perfect. This is a series that I will watch over and over again and never get tired of. I constantly thought while I watched this series “I want to see the world through Akari's eyes”. Even now I still wish that, it would be so cool if Neo-Venezia was real, I would love to go there and live the rest of my life.
This is the third and final of my series of reviews for the ARIA animes. My perspective on these reviews are based on how I felt after finishing the show my first time.
All good things come to an end, how sad and true this is. ARIA the ORIGINATION is the third and final season of the series adapted from Kozue Amano's ARIA manga series. And I must say, this season is just something else...its the end of the journey around Neo-Venezia and what an end this is.
Story: It is impossible to understand what an amazing story the series has had unless you have finished watching
all the seasons, this season truly makes you appreciate the other seasons more. ARIA the ORIGINATION shows the conclusion of the journey for Akari and her friends in their goal to become full fledged undines. The beginning of the show retains the usual standard of storytelling and qualities that we can expect from the series. Presenting us once again with the daily lives of out undines and the events happening around them. But it is a bit past the halfway mark of this season that ARIA shifts gears and presents us with pure greatness. After being with these great characters for 39 episodes + 1 OVA ,the final set of episodes for ARIA the ORIGINATION presents us with such emotionally powerful scenes time and time again it is almost impossible not to get emotional while watching them. There isn't enough words to describe how incredible the ending for this anime was delivered. This series is just magnificent.
Art: Despite already being very pretty to look at, this final season looks even better, not only in terms of background graphics but there is also significant improvement in the character animations as well. It also helps that this season is presented in 16:9 resolution >_> Overall this is the best looking season hands down.
Sound: Although this season is IMO the weakest of the 3 in terms of soundtracks, it is still one of the best you can hear...the many different songs mixed with the great moments this anime delivers combine perfectly to deliver very powerful scenes. However this season is prob the best one of the 3 in terms of how well the voice actors played their parts. My hat goes off to all the seiyuus for doing such an amazing job (especially Hazuki Erino, marvelous).
Character: This is without a doubt where the anime shines the most. Over the course of series we are introduced and grouped with Akari and her friends Aika and Alice as they train to become professional undines. It is hard to not grow some kind of emotional attachment to these characters after two entire seasons of watching them train and have fun together. We are shown how the characters mature and grow up in order to adapt to the inevitable changes that happens in life. It is using this emotional attachment that ORIGINATION manages to reach into our heart by showing us the end of their journeys and the beginning of new ones to come in spectacular fashion.
Enjoyment: Words cannot describe how incredible this experience was, looking back at when I first started watching season 1 and now, it still feels weird that I have finished this series. You are left with a feeling of satisfaction yet at the same time you dont want it to end. Such is the greatness that I experienced watching this anime and this is the first time I have ever given a full set of 10s for an anime without hesitation.
Overall: ARIA the ORIGINATION is without a doubt one of the few masterpieces out there. It is a beautiful anime in every sense and even if my scores make me look like some kind of fanboy I don't care because this anime and this series as a whole IS THAT GOOD! To those out there who are looking for a relaxing anime that can make you smile at the end of each episode, it can make you laugh and cry as well...look no further, this anime will be a godsend for you.
Aria the origination is the third season of the Aria series. It hasn't changed much, it is pretty much the same as the previous seasons. It is best to watch the first season Aria the Animation and the second season Aria the Natural before you start on this, because you will miss out on a lot of character development, yes thats right character development not plot because there isn't any plot just daily life of the main characters.
Aria is set in a fictional city which is based off Venice, Italy. The story follows Arika who is a Undine trainee who is
aiming to become a Prima. A Undine is someone who rows a gondola as their occupation, taking clients around the city of Neo Venezia, pretty much a tour guide that guides you on a gondola. A Prima is a top class Undine who is their company's best Undine and are very famous. Arika, along with her good friends Aika and Alice, are trainees under the 3 current Primas Alicia, Akira, and Athena.
The animation is pretty much the same as the previous seasons. The thing i like most is how they use so much color thats easy on the eyes and enjoyable to look at. You can tell the creators put in a lot of effort to make the city of Neo Venezia come to life and immerse the viewers into it's daily events which i think they accomplished very well. I especially enjoy how the creators use chibi-like faces to express the mood of the characters, even though it gets repetitive, i still don't get tired of it.
The music is sooooooo relaxing, most of the BGM has a happy melody. Sometimes you won't even notice the BGM because it is so subtle and soft sounding, but it fits right into the mood and setting that makes it enjoyable and not annoying to hear. The opening theme is a very good example of how the music sounds like throughout the series. The ending theme is pleasant in its own way also, but i still skip it to watch the next episode >_<
In this season you will definitely notice the differences in what the episodes are about compared the previous seasons. There are a lot more character developments going on. It expresses the bonds the characters share with each other and shows how they are important to them. And it finally shows more traits and personality growth with some of the characters which the previous seasons didn't show much of, for example Athena my fav! ^_^
I enjoyed this season as i have the previous seasons, after 2 seasons I am still watching it. So yea enjoyed it very much.
So if you are tired of the shounen or drama type of anime, this kind of slice of life is will be a relaxing change. I warn you though, if you are the type that loves plot driven animes with drama and lots of fight scenes, STEP AWAY FROM THIS ANIME.
This is the first time I've written a review right after finishing an anime, simply because it was so wonderful, so magnificent, that it overwhelmed me with emotion. Called Aria, I'd been taking my time enjoying it, rather than burning through the episodes, which I could have done. Trust me when I say this is the first time I've given perfect tens and Aria is worth every point.
At the final minute of a perfect end to the series, I was overcome with both glee and sadness. Even now, as I think about how this series is actually over and I won't have anymore episodes to
watch, it saddens me, because that's how good it was. It's inspired me to become an even better writer so that perhaps one day I can write something that will make people as sad - just because they love it that much.
Aria is about three young girls who are training to become gondoliers - gondola riders. They live in a city called Neo-Venizia, which is a future Venice. And the show is generally a slice-of-life tale of these girls growing into their own and becoming Primas, which are full-fledged gondoliers. Full of amazing music, charm, and heart-tugging little stories that could give you happy dreams the rest of your life, Aria is unique in its broad imagination and detail. The world of Neo-Venizia puts you at ease and then fills you with wonder, much like a ride on a gondola itself.
Akari, the main character, and her senior, Alicia, run Aria Company. Every day, Akari learns more and more about this wondrous city as she and her two new friends, Aika and Alice, practice together. They meet fascinating characters and discover secret places tucked away, all while learning about themselves and the ones they look up to. And surrounding these times are breathtaking landscapes and scenes drawn by the finest of animators.
And after three seasons, when the first part of Akari's story comes to a close, the author somehow turns the story full-circle in a masterful job of penmanship that ranks in the upper echelon of magnificent writing. Not only does it make your heart pound with overwhelming feeling and love, but it gives you hope for the new generation - a new story waiting on the horizon.
For anyone who loves a fantastic story that could end all ails with one cute "Ehhhh?" from Akari, I would recommend Aria. I guarantee you will be changed forever, even before Alicia can say, "Ada ada!"