I'm quite surprised that no one's actually written a review for this yet.
I have to admit that I wasn't sure what to expect from this show. The synopsis didn't really give any clues as to what I should expect, and that is probably the best thing about it - it isn't quite what you expect.
The story takes place on what used to be Mars (the first thing I didn't expect), in a place called Neo-Venzia (New Venice), and is about a girl training to be an Undine (the story uses the term to refer to a female gondolier rather than a water spirit). The
story itself isn't linear in any way, as each episode is a story in it's own right. Normally this is a recipe for disaster in the anime world, but it works in this show - I'll explain why in a bit.
The art and animation are of a very high standard, and the city and it's surroundings are beautifully rendered - and you will see a lot of the city in this show. The characters are very well depicted, even when they show their chibi side, and the best bit is there's not a panty shot in sight - hooray!
The sound is one area where this show excels. Everything is there if you listen, from the sound of the waves to the hubbub of of a crowd. The music is ideally suited to the show and, unlike many anime, actually heightens the viewing experience.
The characters are extremely well realised. I can't think of one character I actually disliked in the entire show. One of the things I liked about the show was how each character actually fits into the story, and the world in which they exist - even the cats have a purpose. One of the other things I liked was the use of fairytale and mythological creatures in the show. The females gondoliers are referred to as Undines, with the top three being called the Great Fairies. The weather is controlled by salamanders, the gravity is controlled by gnomes, etc. One thing that puzzled me was why the female characters names begin with A (except Grandma, however her real name is Akino), but that's by-the-by.
So the important question is: Will you enjoy the show?
If you're an action junkie, or into horror or angst, then this is not the show for you (although it never hurts to give it a try). This show is funny and quirky in many ways, without going over the top, but the one word I would use to describe the show is RELAX. It took me two weeks to finish this show and it's sequel (which is a long time for me by the way), and this is because this show is so relaxing that I was falling asleep whilst watching it. Normally it takes a lot for me to fall asleep, and even boredom doesn't work, but somehow this show just relaxes you to the point where you just drift off to dreamland without a second thought, and never once was I bored with this show.
Overall this is a show that deserves to be watched, as it has a unique appeal that the like's of Sketchbook ~full colour'S~ and Kokoro Toshokan just can't quite match up to. The reason why the non-linear story works well in this show is because it's so relaxing that you honestly just don't care about the fact there's no real plot - which is a rather refreshing perspective to have.
The best way to watch the show? Have a shower, have a good meal, get comfortable, and relax...
I stumbled upon Aria years ago when reading a review about the manga and made a mental note to check it out later. Positively drawn in by Kozue Amano's original work, I soon picked up the anime as well. For a reason I still can't recall I dropped the show nearly three years ago, and it wasn't until just recently that I finished what I started back then. And though not much had changed for either better or worse from what I remembered, I'm glad I did so.
Aria the Animation is not for you, who prefers a clear cut and classically constructed storyline that moves
from point A to point B with some key events in between. Aria the Animation is not for you, who requires relentless action and constant fast-paced happenings from their anime. And most certainly Aria the Animation is not for you, who finds little to no enjoyment in just sitting back and watching as a close-knit group of girls, not in their bra and panties with guns ablaze, but with their gondolas and oars go through ordinary day-to-day activities instead of epic adventures and intense situations.
But on the good chance you are the type to approach your anime with an open mind and the patience to watch and see the magic in the moment, you are likely to find the company of Akari, Aika, Alice, and the rest of the undines and undines-in-training much to your liking. Because that's what Aria the Animation is ultimately about: a journey to uncover the joy of the obvious, the excitement behind the mundane, and the possibilities underneath the sorrows.
These scenarios are played out to us by a cast of characters who depict a variety of different personalities. Akari is the naive amateur who treats all she experiences with childlike wonder; through her most of the show's message is brought across to the viewer. . Aika is her best friend and almost her exact opposite: no-nonsense and feet firmly on the ground-kind of girl who constantly berates Akari for her dreamy ways. And Alicia is their mentor and the big sister-type of character, who's there to provide insight and help the juniors along the way. They're surrounded by a pack of friends who similarly have their quirks and qualities defining them and making their role contributing to what the creator is trying to tell us.
You're right if you argue that the story is boring and seemingly pointless at times. Saying the characters being archetypes of their respective personalities (and almost exclusively female as well!) is cliche and overused is valid. Complaining that having cats as business company presidents is just plain stupid and ridiculous is justified.
But as one who no doubt has already seen quite a bit of anime in their life, you have for sure come across these common failings before. And in case you've reached the point of having made peace with them, or feel like challenging yourself to do so, Aria the Animation may prove to be an eye-opening experience for you that anime can be good even if no heavens are pierced.
I'M SORRY TO ALL YOU FANS OF ARIA BUT I FELT SOMEONE NEEDED TO GIVE TO OPPOSING PERSPECTIVE.
I know a lot of people love this anime, but I just couldn't bring myself to like it. I gave it about 6 episodes to get good but nothing.
Story - Um... what story? This show is a show about nothing, and not in the funny Seinfeld way. Nothing really happens from what I saw. Each episode has some type of strife occur, but there is no antagonist or villain of the sort. I'm kind of confused as to why it is so beloved. But to be fair you
might want to give Aria a try, I just happen to dislike it with a vengeance.
Art - A modern anime using modern technology and techniques, so nothing to complain about. It manages to live up to the current status quo, but fails to do anything amazing or innovative.
Sound - Ehh... very laid back and mediocre. Fits the anime well, but doesn't float my boat. If you like the action music or romantic comedy type music, don't expect much watching this anime.
Character - Everyone had the same personality. Well, to be more accurate, they had the same personality with slight variations for each character. All generally nice, good, people who are definitely getting a thumbs up from the man upstairs.
I am a fan of Action-Adventure and Romantic-Comedies for the most part, yet I severely dislike this show. So if you like these animes you may not like this show, but I might just be weird and dislike Aria.
Well I have to say the reason why I gave Aria a 5 it's mainly because I expected something way better than what I've just seen, the first episodes were slow which I thought it was cool but even at the end it was even SLOWER, i felt like it wasn't making any progress I had no initiative to continue watching, I felt like I've been wasting my time with this one.
The good things about it would be the art and sound which were outstanding but that doesn't change my view on it neither.
"May this town's kindness reach the hearts of many people..."
From what I saw, I'm sure it will.
The first idea I wanted to share in this review is that Aria is a series that speaks for itself. What I'm doing here is merely trying to explain a complex story within a few lines. I would never be able to summarize all the pros/cons of Aria, first because each person will see it in a deferent way, and second because you would need to watch it in order to understand all the comparisons, metaphores and symbolism I would mention.
That said, I'm reviewing it with the
sole purpose of bringing more viewers for this amazing chronicle and hopefully introduce more and more people to Aqua and its habitants.
Aria is an anime that everybody should watch, still, it's not an anime that will work for everybody. Whether or not you will enjoy it, is up to you, your personal interpretation and the mood of the moment. I would say that what matters the most is the timing. If you watch it while in the mood for a thriller, you'll drop it even before understanding the idea of the story.
"Now, please take my hand"
Is what you would heard from a radiant Undiine while boarding her gondola. With a gentle smile she would gracefully ask you where to and start conducing you trought Neo-Venezia, a city modeled after Venezia in Man-Home (Earth). She would show you turistic spots and you'd start to notice that even being in 2053 the city moves slowly, without traffic jams, rush hour, polution, cellphones, noise pollution... The only evidences that you are really in the XXII century would be the spaceships that are continually transporting passangers from one planet to another. This relaxed athmosphere would start to embrace you while the Undiine continue to show you wonders and misteries from this planet that were once dry and empty and is now filled with water and life.
It's impossible to not enjoy such cozy enviroment.
Every episode is a kind of fairy tale, filled with cultural values and a sense of friendship, always coming up with a poetic moral in the end. Aria stands out from the average and prove us that the essence of the Slice-Of-Life is not dead. Characters can be lovely and elegant without being "moe". All the great stories in human history never needed movies or TV series to be remembered, they passed from generation to generation depending only in the power of words and its storyteller. Aria didn't have a high budget, neither big sponsors, so the quality of the animation could never be compared to a "top" studio, even though, the artwork values itself from this modest simplicity, that even with a medium quality, brings you gorgeous scenarios and handsome characters.
At this point you probably already noticed that Aria raise some questions a regular slice-of-life doesn't. This is only possible because of two main reasons: The already mentioned storyline progression, that works with a character-driven story and a "not-so-linear" time progression, and the well said characters.
Usually what you see is a cast made of a group of high schoolers in a school enviroment, 99% of the slice-of-life stories are like this. Not saying they are bad, but it only provides a unilateral point of view from a given subject. Of course each character, if well planned, will have a difference in personality and see things in a different way, otherwise it would get boring to watch. Aria on the other hand change things in a "macro" way, and brings a entire community as characters. Works with different generations and people with the most different styles of life and personality traces, bringing to you a much more rich story that resemble our lifes.
It stays apparent whenever or not a studio made an effort to create something special when one of the basic points of a series steals the show. Financial issues or other external factors can put a "barrier" to graphics, effects, art, post-production development, but sound is relatively free from it. Music can be made by anyone, anywhere. Anonymous people can create masterpieces, and some kid can be playing right now a perfect cover of Beethoven. Why am I saying this?
Because Aria's music deserve to be praised. Wonderful acoustic pieces by Choro Club and Senoo was the perfect match for the enviroment of the series. The entire OST is performed with string instruments (even a rhodes) without any kind of pop song or eletronic. The songs are slow paced, almost hitting a andante and sometimes a vivace, while the vocal collection are mostly ballads. It's undoubtedly the best choice of OST for a story with the values of Aria.
Can you fell the nostalgia already?
Aria made something special here.
I wish not enter in the merit of originality but it is perceptible that after its publication, lots of other franchises started producing series which bended more to this side of a philosophical slice-of-life with tones of self-discovery on it. One could say the strenght of this series lies into two major standards. The fact that we all wish for hapiness and a calm life, and the philosophic notion that this happiness and this ability to see the wonder in things is already inside of us. You just need to find it.
Being honest, I don't really mind that Aria is little of a underrated series. If it's like this, the amount of haters are minimal, there's no controversy around it, neither people arguing to see "which is the best character". The way it is, Aria will continue to be slowly recommended from friends to friends, just like in the pace of the anime itself.
As for enjoyment, it sure hits the maximum score. Without any action scene or a suddenly twists in the plot, Aria still managed to amuse me every single episode. There's no way I would watch one episode and don't feel refreshed, all warm and fuzzy inside. Meaning-of-life anime? This is definitely one.
I probably went full-philosophic in the last paragraphs, then for a closure to this review, a funny observation:
Aria is not perfect. There's something pretty annoying on it, that will chase you from the 1st episode to the last of the 3rd season (...) 99% of the characters' names and/or last names starts with "A". Aqua, Aria, Akari, Alice, Alicia, Aika, Akira, Athena, Ai, Al, Anna, Akatsuki...
It's pretty hard to memorize who is who before you get used to them!
I hope I was able to introduce at least a little bit of this great story that is Aria. Now, the rest is up to you.
"Thank you for choosing Aria Company. Have a safe trip! See you again!"
Is Aria a good series? Probably. Does it deserve to be held up as a masterpiece? I doubt it.
Aria tends to be hyped up as *the* epitome of slice-of-life, so I expected an anime with all the strong points of the genre, including fleshed-out, relatable characters. Aria fails in that respect, and that compromises the amount of enjoyment I can derive from this series as a slice-of-life fan who has no specific interest in cute girls doing cute things.
What I object to isn't the fact that the cast is female-dominated, though more gender balance would have been nice. [The first half of Haibane Renmei,
for instance, is an example of an anime with a mostly-female cast that rises above the "cute girls do cute things" formula, and manages to have some characters (not all, admittedly) with depth.] What I object to is the use of generic character traits and catchphrases as a substitute for actual characterisation. There's the sweet ditzy one, the feisty one, the -_- one, the sweet onee-san type... The characters are generally likeable - they're just not very interesting.
My other main issue with Aria is that it is heavy-handed and mawkish. Other iyashikei series like Natsume Yuujinchou and YKK manage to be heartwarming without being horribly unsubtle, and have variations in mood and tone as well. For most of the series, Aria's mood setting is stuck on "painfully sweet". Conflicts are always easily resolved, and the characters cheerfully spout trite platitudes for at least half of each episode. The first time we get an episode with any sense of wistfulness or melancholy is episode 11, and that's far too late in the series.
(President Aria also came across as annoying rather than cute, partly due to the irritating noises that he made.)
As for technical issues: For the most part, Aria manages to look beautiful despite having occasionally clunky animation and slightly jarring CGI. This is partly because its backgrounds are largely copies of actual Venice (only a lot less crowded with tourists, lol), but there's some great art direction as well.
The music is pleasant and well-suited to the gentle tone of the anime, but not outstanding. If you have a low tolerance for cutesy, unrealistic voice acting, this isn't the best series for you.
If you're happy watching a sweet and fluffy iyashikei series, this will suit you fine; but if you prefer something that has depth, is nuanced, and has a gently melancholic mood, you're not going to find those elements in Aria.
Slice of life anime are difficult to represent to audiences in an entertaining manner without being a boring spectacle; that's why most of these have dramatic or romantic elements, or a lot of fanservice in them in order to be appealing to the viewer. But then there is Aria: The Animation, a slice of life in its purest form, that proves that such type of anime doesn't need any of the above to be succesful. Having dived in without any expectations whatsoever, I was pleasantly surprised: it was proven how wonderful and relaxing such a simple anime can be.
The premise of Aria: The Animation is
of simple nature: Akari Mizunashi, a teenager who moved from Manhome to the planet Aqua (formerly known as Mars), joins the Aria Company to become a professional Undine - or a professional tour guide - in Neo Venezia, a flawless presentation of Venezia itself. This may seem as something totally uninteresting, learning how to become a undine, yet while it certainly is an aspect of importance, its main focus lies in the interactions with the people in the city, in addition to world building of the location.
Another interesting aspect is the fact that it is a planet covered in water and while it gives the impression at first of being a simplistic and somewhat regressed humanity technologically wise, it is for the matter not: it is mixed with futuristic vehicles and devices such as gigantic airships, or flying machinery, whereas everyday tools are simple, which gives the viewer a feeling of attachment to the setting itself, as this may be something that would happen in the near future. Now it must be said that not much of the world and how it came to be is revealed, which will maybe be done in the sequels.
As mentioned earlier, the story focuses on the different interactions with the people of Neo Venezia, and naturally fellow apprentice undines, as well as professional ones. It doesn't stop there: world building is done through the different, but intricate people of the city necessary to maintain a working society. Audiences may think that this anime has the approach of "cute girls doing cute things", yet with Aria it doesn't give this impression at all: they're just humans living their everyday life. These interactions are truly fascinating and heartwarming to watch, as it is in addition very relaxing as it also represents the ups and down life has.
The cast of characters in Aria: The Animation is not big, and is by no means necessary; in fact, it fits well with the story to have a better and more realistic fleshing out of a handful of characters, than to have an excess of those. It must be mentioned that the fleshing out is limited and nothing outstanding, as well as character development itself. The characters are simple and have distinct personalities, that fits well with the setting and different relationships between the characters.
What however stands out in Aria are the character interactions: these are very well presented, in a realistic and soothing manner. These are heartwarming and varied, nothing overly dramatic, which relay simple messages as enjoyment of the simple things of life, or realization of your own flaws through your environment and relationships with the characters. Which leads to other great aspect of the anime: the females are in no way sexualized, which is a huge plus to the anime.
Other aspect that was really soothing and amusing to watch were said interactions: these were often witty and funny that managed to make me smile, and sometimes even blurt out quite often, which was something unexpected. These can be in addition quite emotional as well, as viewers observe how some of the characters are affected by their environment. What also struck me was the fact that the anime didn't seem to focus on Akari, rather her friends and companions as well.
~Animation and sound~
The animation of Aria: The Animation (ha, animation) was well done, character movements being fluid, at times even being surprisingly well done. The art style itself is average, but fulfills its purpose well, having distinct character design and well drawn backgrounds that represented well the world and atmosphere the anime was trying to convey to the viewer. Another bonus is the smooth transition between the introduction and opening of the show, as well as the ending: it never felt an abrupt change.
What however really stands out is the soundtrack used: besides the wonderful opening and ending songs that matched well with the story, were the individual OST's used. These were particularly of high quality to what the show was trying to convey, in addition to not being overused throughout the show. The voice actors performed their role well, matching well with the personalities of the characters and was relaxing to listen at.
What I initially thought to be a boring show about Venezia and how to become a undine, proved to be so much more interesting and relaxing than ever expected. The narrative and interactions with the characters, the humor and wonderful OST did a fantastic job to have a wonderful experience. The fact that it was no "cute girls doing cute things" type of show, in addition to females not being sexualized in any manner, was a huge bonus to the show. It certainly lacked in character development and having any type of story which I usually am no fan of, however the story set out what it meant to do.
Some may wonder why I only gave it a score of only 8 despite all the positive things I mentioned in the review: this is mainly because nothing really happens, it is purely oriented on slice of life with no goal apparent. World building was a bit lackluster as well. I could recommend to anyone with an interest in the slice of life genre, just don't expect anything groundbreaking.
Aria the Animation is not an anime for everybody. It's perceived as boring to many people, which is understandable. There is little action here and the plot is somewhat slow and aimless. There's also little moe compared to other slice-of-life anime. I should also mention as this IS set in a utopian society, there won’t be nearly as many sad emotions as happy ones, so those looking for a realistic anime should also not expect to find it here; Aria is blissful if nothing else. However, if you are in the mood to watch something relaxing and heartwarming, Aria the Animation would be a perfect
The setting takes place in the Utopian society of Neo Venezia, in the planet of Aqua, a terraformed planet filled with water. Though it does take place in the future and is classified as “sci-fi,” Neo-Venezia often feels like more of a past, halycon world. It centers on Akari and her friends Aika and Alice as they set out on their journey in becoming prima-undines, the greatest undines (or tour guides) in the region.
The overall plot is not linear though trio do have a goal in mind (becoming prima-undines), it is not the prime focus of the anime. Rather, each episode is its own adventure, and by this I do not mean the kind of adventure like a hero’s quest to slay the evil dragon. Instead, it is the adventure of Akari discovering the wonders of Neo-Venezia that are yet to be found. She meets new friends and experiences the many joys of friendship and the love of those close to her. Through its loveable characters and serene and idyllic environment, Aria the Animation manages to transform things usually mundane and perfunctory into something heartwarming and beautiful. Each episode leaves behind a warm, fuzzy (and inexplicable) feeling in your heart. Some also leave a hint of sadness as the trio realize that their lives currently filled with euphoria will not last forever.
The characters in Aria the Animation are all likeable and fit perfectly in the anime, adding to its lovely atmosphere. All the characters start their name with “A,” though I’m not entirely sure why. Though the characters are likeable, they lack relative depth (and little character development) and stick to their portrayed characters (to some people, to a repetitive extent). However, I feel as if this isn’t too bad of a thing, as Aria the Animation stands out for its simplicity and the characters add to that unique trait.
The art in Aria the Animation was captivating, and was a considerable factor in what made Aria the Animation’s atmosphere so magnificent. The portrayals of the city and background were beautiful throughout. The amount of detail was consistently impressive, which is paramount to creating the impression that Neo-Venezia is a real place. In fact, the team in charge of creating Aria and its art traveled to Venice in order to create the most accurate depiction as possible; needless to say, they succeeded. Though there were some chibis here and there, the characters were generally nicely designed. And praise the lord, no moe in sight.
A little downside to Aria’s art is that it’s not in high definition (at least not yet, perhaps the Blu-Ray will change that). And while this lack of video quality is limiting, it never prevents Aria from creating the vivid landscapes and magnificent spectacles that Aria is well known for.
The soundtrack was amazing as well, and it blends well with the anime. The background music added to certain scenes helped maximize its effect to the fullest extent, and each piece of the OST was aesthetically astounding. The sound is one of the most astounding parts of the anime, and are of utmost importance in creating its atmosphere. The OP and ED were just some of the amazing songs, and after finishing Aria the Animation I would recommend checking out the rest of the album as well. “Rainbow,” in particular, is one of my favorite songs I have ever encountered in any anime.
The setting of Neo-Venezia itself plays a fundamental role in Aria. As previously mentioned, the detail of the surrounding environment bring life to the picture, and the decoration of buildings and scenery in the background bring Neo-Venezia a sense of place. One of Akari’s greatest joys is learning more about the wonders of Neo-Venezia. As the audience, we follow her in her quest of knowledge, as we visit new places and meet new people throughout the episodes, we begin putting together the picture of Neo-Venezia. By the end of the trilogy, Neo-Venezia is nothing short of a fully fleshed-out world, leaving behind a certain touch of sadness as we experience the dreamy world one last time.
Above all else, it is through its atmosphere that Aria works its magic. The result of a perfect combination of the plot, the setting, and the audiovisuals, the atmosphere of Aria makes it what it is. Aria is almost always cheerful and uplifting, warming the heart to its very core. Yet it is also calm and relaxing, evoking a sense of tranquility. This atmosphere is the inner core of Aria, but it is also what makes it a hit or miss series. You really have to “feel” the atmosphere of Aria to enjoy it, and as this is the case, Aria often comes off as soporific to those who don't feel the same.
Aria the Animation was an amazing anime, and I greatly enjoyed it. I recommend it to those who enjoyed Mushishi, Natsume Yuujinchou, Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou or any slice of life fanatic. With its lovely character crew, stunning audiovisuals, and blissful and relaxed atmosphere, Aria the Animation gives you a feeling of contentment and tranquility.
As I said before, don't expect to be at the edge of your seat in every episode, because you won't be. Rather, sit back and relax, as you slowly drift into the world of Neo-Venezia...
I decided to end this review with a song that, while trite, I felt encapsulated Aria:
"Row, row, row your boat,
gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
life is but a dream!"
The story is unique, in my book. I mean, who thinks of making a slice of life on Mars. That's just really original and awesome. The episodes are slowpaced and deal with the daily lives of the undines, small discoveries, new friends and so on, all of it executed in a fine manner. Still, it was a little too slow sometimes.
Overall I thought it was good. Nice colours, and good character designs. And the many shots of Aqua were nice. But I still got a feeling it wasn't perfect. I guess it could have been more detailed, specially the people and their faces. But it
was pleasant still.
This is just great, there is some soothing background music nearly all the time, and it gets you really relaxed. The opening and ending themes are also nice songs, that I never skipped. There are also a lot of insert songs, and when the undine Athena sings, it's just lovely. The voiceactors are great too.
I liked the characters. No doubt about it. The undines were especially great, they were so diverse, and not to forget; funny. My favourite is Akari, the heroine, there are so many things about her that are memorable, and how she behaves with the other undines is hilarious. Aika and Alice are really funny as well, and the three fairies. I must say that the sidecharacters are good too, heck even the cats, even though I found them a bit irritating at first.
Due to the show's slow pace, it took some time for me to get into it. But when I did, I liked it a lot. It's really relaxing to watch, with no action or drama, and such. Compared to most of the western media, this is really refreshing.
A very good show, about daily life. Not much happening, but still great. If you want something different, watch this, and you're in for something good.
The past has always been a concept of fascination and longing, sometimes even to the point of obsession. One only has to read Scot Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" or J.D. Salinger's "The catcher in the Rye" to see wonderful examples of stories and characters obsessed with time and living in the ostensibly golden world of the past. Humans are very guilty of this crime, we constantly refer to the good old days, we flock to ruins and ancient cities as we believe them to have an almost magical quality, we invariably ignore the words of George Orwell who once said "contrary to popular belief the
past was not more eventful than the present". It would seem to me that this love of the past is as ubiquitous as love itself, and so it should come as no surprise to find it alive and well in the anime world…
Aria may be a series set centuries in the future, but its heart is very much in the past, be it in its setting, its customs, its outlook or its characters. But before we get into that, a quick summary of the show.
Aria the Animation is the first season of the highly acclaimed Aria series, the setting is a terraformed mars, renamed Aqua due to the now abundance of water. Here mankind has settled into a quieter existence, more reminiscent of the early 19th century than one would expect of a space colony. The main city is Neo-Venezia, a complete reconstruction of the ancient city of Venice, it is here that our main character, Akari Mizunashi, arrives to fulfil her dream of becoming an Undine (female gondolier). She soon falls in the love with the city, its people and their quiet way of life…
From this point on the show for the most part drops its sci-fi shawl and becomes much more fantastical and archaic, to the point that it becomes easy to forget that your on mars or even watching a sci-fi show at all. Instead a slow but steady atmosphere is built up and a tangible world appears before your eyes, it becomes not a story but an experience, and a truly unique and beautiful one at that.
Upon hearing this synopsis it would be perfectly within reason to assume this series will be nothing more than a lighthearted fluffy sci-fi show with some hippy free spirited tendencies, nothing could be further from the truth.
I take issue with people who label, or worse, accuse this series of being "just episodic", granted the series can indeed give this impression and the record of the episodic genre is not a particularly clean one, but there are many things that set this series apart from that taboo genre. One is the excellent characters which help to tie everything together while conveying the feeling that your watching real people living their lives and not just acting out a plot or random adventures. And the other is the recurring themes present in the series, in particular the theme of the past and of manmade miracles...
With it slow pace, longing for the past and love of beauty, Aria manages to convey a feeling thats hard to describe, but is best summed up with the face you make while watching it, a sort of sad smile, a sardonic grin, a longing to be there but a desire to be distant, to keep from tainting its peace and beauty. From its canals and streets flooded with moonlight, its rustic buildings, the different Undine companies and traditions to the simple mailman, a world is quickly built up that soaks you in its cooling imaginative water. The show itself becomes a celebration of mankind and it ability to create beauty, but also destroy (more later). I mentioned earlier the theme of manmade miracles, this idea that man can create wondrously beautiful things if he really wants to is extremely prevalent, after all the whole planet is essentially of human construct, the cities, the air, the water, the atmosphere, the temperature is all man and woman made. A point the show is constantly reminding us of, "No Gods or Kings only man" seems an extremely fitting quote to apply to this spirt, here mankind and individuals came together to create something incredibly beautiful with the result being that people's feelings and desires have actually allowed for an atmosphere where more conventional miracles can occur.
This atmosphere is unique among anime, or any series I know of for that matter, few come close to achieving its healing and peaceful aurora, only certain episodes of Natsume Yanijico or the manga Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou can touch it. But do not get the wrong impression of what i mean, this is no frosted cake of sugary sweetness, superficially perhaps, but under it all there is a distinct bitter after taste, oh its subtle all right but make no mistake its there. From Akari's occasional references to the state of Manhome (a.k.a Earth, I know its a stupid name) and how "you can't swim in the sea's of Manhome anymore" give earth a distinct dystopian feeling, and her fascination with all the simple wonders of utopian Neo-Venezia make one wonder just what her childhood was really like back on earth, which seems to have been all but ruined by man and woman. On top of that we have episodes dealing with letters to dead men, journeys to the past and worrying about the future. Again seeing this fascination with the past tinged with sombre nostalgia which sees to permeate throughout the whole show, creating this mix of feelings, happiness tinged with remorse, joy mixed with regret, jocoseness juxtapositional with a realisation that this bliss cannot last forever...
But enough with themes, on to the shows central pillar upon which everything else is able to rest comfortably, the characters. And do not let first impressions sway you to believe that they are going to be moe fools splashing water on each other as the picture M.A.L has chosen to encapsulate the series would seem to suggest...
Instead the characters, like the show are quite subdued and not in any rush to explain to the viewer who they are. One must also take into account that this is only the first season, and the real character development doesn't come until really the late second and third seasons, all the more aesthetically so for it, but here the ground work is set for the future masterpiece, every great work of art had to begin with a few basic sketches, a few simple outlines and in a similar way that is what is happening here. At first it may appear a bit jarring and one dimensional to see Akari's simple minded fascination with everything and her close friend Aika's constant scolding of her wonder and "embarrassing remarks" or to see Alicia's (her senior) ever-present smile and gracefulness, but before long they become like reassuring kisses to your soul. Besides the show quickly makes it clear that these people are far deeper than a quick glance would suppose. I have already alluded to Akari's past and the possible reasons for her fascination and wonder at Neo-Venzia but there is also Aika and her struggles with her confidence and Alice their other undine friend who struggles with the stigma of being a child prodigy.
But one thing all of the three main girls Akari, Aika and Alice have in common, besides their frustratingly similar names, its that they each have a senior who mirrors them in some shape or form, the original three "water fairies" as they are known, who guides them in their own unique way and whose friendships and past is similar, reminding one of what Mark Twain once remarked, "History may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme"...
To talk about the visuals and the music of this series is to do it a disservice, not only are the visuals stunning and the music divinely/hauntingly unforgettable, but everything fits so well with the atmosphere that you'd hardly even notice that music is playing or animation happening. I hate to beat a tired drum but i must stress that this atmosphere, is the show, this strange mix of feelings and wondrous healing aurora is only possible thanks to the perfect tone setting music, while portraying the themes of the series so vividly is only possible thanks to the exceptional art, showing us this man made miracle, this rusty but alive city… Speaking of the city, you might be wondering why even bother to set this series on Mars if your just going to have a quiet little character driven series with little to no sci-fi. Well I suspect that the extravagant setting was to allow for two things, more creative freedom without the constraints of being set in a factual Venice, and to allow the introduction of certain characters and idea's such as Akatsuki Izumo a character who lives high above Neo-Venezia in a floating city and works to control the temperature to make it habitual for humans, all in all it was a paramount decision that helped to create a masterpiece.
To culminate, as with the past itself, Aria only gets better with age. Like some great golden tower it seems to rise out of its genre and set the bar for all utopian works. Making no attempt to disguise what it is or be what its not it sets its own pace and like a gentle breeze we are carried along with it. The challenges its characters face are not of a life threatening disposition and all the better for it, its love of the past and of man-made miracles provide a look into something we all feel but rarely discuss or think about. Like the beating of the tide against the buildings of venice or the rhythms of a poem, Aria seems to subtly ebb and flow between joy and sadness, future and past, the miracles of man and moments of magic, without ever losing focus of its characters or their hopes and feelings. And while Animation may be the weakest of the three seasons, it is only so because it must be, all that would eventually become a masterpiece is set-up here and the foundations of greatness firmly laid upon which its tower is built.
Like the golden past we long for so much, Aria the animation isn't perfect, but it does open the door to future seasons, which damn well come pretty close…
There's a lot that goes on in a day-to-day basis that can easily elevate stress levels. Rushing to work due to oversleeping or caring for a crying child bring about more trouble than was initially had. Eventually, these separate events can pile together to the point of breaking. It's at this time that a reprieve is needed. A much-earned break, that brings simple serenity and peace of mind. And it's during this mellow moment that one discovers that the simple things in life are truly precious. Aria the Animation takes this to heart, marking the start of a
rather laid-back journey.
Aria the Animation essentially follows Akari, a young woman working for the Aria Company, a tour-by-gondola establishment. Alongside her best friends Aika and Alice, they meet many different people as they aspire to be "Prima Undines."
If there is a word that best describes the show, the first one to come to mind is "calm." Above anything else, Aria exudes a blissful feeling that washes over the audience like the waters they ride upon. Its ability to achieve such an effect is done mostly by the way in which it portrays itself. Aria first and foremost makes it its mission to avoid conflict or high-pressure situations. The "action" taking place never goes beyond leaves blowing in the wind; at most, riding an air-bike and paddling backwards are the extent of the "dangers" that take place. The norm is much quieter: a small conversation by the fire with cocoa, a nighttime look at the shining stars, and basking in the warmth of the sun at the beach are poignant scenarios that demonstrate exactly what makes Aria so peaceful.
But it's also more than just the scenes themselves. Each episode follows a simple format: a small talk in the beginning to present its theme, providing the evidence to support it, and finally a few words tying it all together. The majority of the themes tackled are general, and therefore apply to most people. Ideas such as taking a step back to look at a situation from a different perspective or learning to see the silver-lining are applicable to anyone. Now, the themes are not particularly powerful; not only is there a constant turnover but also, due to their overall generality, it makes many of them rather cliché. The execution is there -- due mostly to the calm atmosphere and basic approach -- but it's missing endearment or everlasting impact.
Most slice-of-life shows end there, but Aria twists the formula slightly. Typically, this genre of anime requires a strong cast due to a weaker narrative, and therefore much of the focus is placed on the characters. However, here, it does the opposite; the world, Aqua, is what matters most. Akari and the girls, being Neo-Venezia tour guides, are tasked with explaining the setting to the tourists aboard their gondolas. But what's interesting is that it's not just the tourists gaining knowledge, but the viewer is, too. In essence, the watcher is getting the same experience as the people who paid for the trip. This sounds straightforward: they're all guides, so it's normal for them to describe Aqua out loud. And it is, but that is the beauty of this simplicity. Learning about the Salamanders who work in Ukijima that keep track of water and temperature levels, witnessing the different Undine companies, and understanding the Gnomes who are responsible for regulating the gravity of the planet comes off as completely natural because it's both the girls' livelihood and forte. While the world-building isn't always done "on the job," it's delivered in a concise manner; a figurative gondola ride.
The art for Aria the Animation is nicely done, but it seems to be missing the second part of its title.
Putting Aqua at the forefront once more, the art style puts a lot of attention towards what Neo-Venezia and the surrounding area has to offer. Rustic bridges, multi-windowed houses, outside cafes, prominent statues, and narrow canals really do make it look and feel like the Venice it envisioned. At the same time, the colors and lighting are very soft, adding once more to the calmness of the package. And when the anime is looking to inject some comedy here and there, the girls adopt different faces -- Akari's becomes rectangular-like, Aika's becomes cat-like, and Alice's becomes fish-like -- to good effect.
The character designs are actually rather interesting. Besides just the varying hair styles and colors, of important note are the Undines' attire. Consisting of a white cap and gown, laced with the color of the company they represent, the outfit is both futuristic and classic. Alongside them are the goggled, jacketed Woody, the formal Akatsuki, and the short yet cloaked Al, each of whom fit the look of their respective roles nicely.
Actual animation is usually about average, when it is present. The problem lies in the aforementioned refusal to do anything even remotely with their bodies. A lot of talking and sitting is had, meaning most of the animation is comprised of moving mouths or shifting positions slightly, with the occasional over-exaggeration. On top of this, the camera purposefully provides more scenic views of Aqua to accomplish two tasks at once: less actual animation and more environment viewing.
The cast of Aria the Animation play their parts, but not much more.
Alice is a young girl who works for the Orange Company. Initially isolated due to her lack of empathy, she learns the value of friendship through Akari's way of dealing with others and their predicaments. In other words, Alice begins to go "more with the flow," enjoying what life has to offer now; she sees that that is a much more rewarding way to live. Extremely talented in the art of gondola controlling, she becomes a pseudo-rival to Aika, motivating each other to perform better during training. Above all, while she rarely speaks, she isn't afraid to speak her mind, letting others know precisely how she is feeling should she be pushed to do so.
As the "head" of the Himeya family, and subsequently working for Himeya Company, Aika is a proud and determined Single. Her best friend is Akari, and from this relationship sprouts her most famous phrase: "No sappy lines allowed!" Idolizing Alicia but loathing Akira, Aika comes to understand two vital lessons. One, that people are complex; just because someone acts a certain way doesn't mean that the extent of their person has been discovered. And two, life isn't always about working or training; everybody deserves to have fun from time to time.
Rounding out the up-and-coming Primas is Akari. With her unending happiness, affable personality, and beautiful optimism, she exemplifies kindness in all of its forms. Working for the Aria Company, she cares for the President of the same name while receiving wisdom from Alicia. As the lead, she experiences every motif firsthand. Cherishing memories, believing in miracles, and providing help; each message given throughout the anime fits wonderfully with Akari's softhearted ideologies. Interestingly, Akari literally goes into the past in three, separate instances. The clue for why this occurs is found in the third, when Ai -- her Manhome friend and messaging buddy -- also goes with her. And it is love. Not love for the people she doesn't know, not love for her closest companions, but love for Aqua itself. Above anyone else, Akari understands what the world is and what it can offer. In short, Akari knows that it's love that makes a difference.
As a final note, there is an intriguing comparison to be made between the trainee and master pairs. When looking closely, there exists a similar yet dichotomous relationship for each individual coupling. Athena and Alice are both prodigies, but the former is known for her singing while the latter is known for her rowing. Akira has a harsh outer shell but is soft on the inside, as opposed to Aika's outwardly composed yet inwardly critical self. And Alicia listens while rarely speaking, but Akari can always be heard providing some poetic line. The young women have the Three Great Water Fairies teaching them because they complement what each lacks: confidence, balance, and patience, respectively. While their influence has yet to fully latch on, the purpose for their connection has not.
The OP is a rather beautiful song. It starts with gentle singing, and is followed by the tapping of drums and soft violin. The vocalist is given the opportunity to demonstrate some prowess through nice vocal range, providing the audience with the "winding down" that is needed to watch the show.
The ED is a strange step down. In comparison, it is rather lame but can still be quite catchy. The fun guitar, more plain vocals, and background singers give the whole piece a tame feeling that fits the show but doesn't have the same power as its counterpart.
The soundtrack, like the events and art alongside it, further adds to the soothing feel of the show. Guitar-playing, simple piano pieces, whistling tunes, and caring violins are interspersed throughout the entire experience. Everything is quite slow, following the crawling of the story itself. However, at certain points, there are played more lyrical-heavy tracks that detract from the anime and its overall goal of keeping easygoing.
As for voice acting, the performances involved are mostly above-average. Eri Kawai, as the singer for Athena, was always captivating to hear. Erino Hazuki as Akari for her kind way of speaking, Sayaka Ohara as Alicia for her motherly inflection, and Chinami Nishimura as President Aria for her unintelligible but cute sounds; each deserves a special shout-out.
While watching the show, it really did give me that sense of being "chill." That the happenings going on to Akari and the gang were so regular and sweet that it became quite difficult not to be at ease. Unfortunately, some of the moments were unemotional when they should have been -- Akari delivering Ami's letter and Akari seeing her snowbug friend off at the start of winter are some that come to mind.
Many of the segments are not particularly engaging, but it can be quite humorous when it wants to be. Akari's usual "Ehh?" replies after being scolded by Aika, Athena's clumsiness, and Alicia's constant use of, "My, my" are repetitive, but were usually able to make me smile. And this goes for every character; they have their shtick that is used quite frequently yet never really feels overdone.
Heading in the right direction, Aria the Animation, for the most part, accomplished what it wanted to begin. It's calming, it's funny at times, and most of all it's simple. While the characters are weak and both sound-work and animation could see some improvement, the story and art help to alleviate some of the issues. All that being said, I'm very much looking forward to seeing what Akari, Aika, and Alice will be showing me next in the city of Neo-Venezia.
Story: Good, master of calm, general and forgetful themes, figurative gondola ride
Animation: Fine, nice art style, interesting character designs, about average actual animation
Characters: Fine, play their parts while holding mirrored relationships
Sound: Fine, good OP, okay ED, okay soundtrack, good VA work
Enjoyment: Fine, relaxing, somewhat funny, with low emotional investment
Yes, I think Aria the Animation is mediocre. I'm saying this with thrown chest, and proud gaze, that I watched as much as I could stomach, and finally shown myself mercy at 10 episodes mark.
Stories are just weak, and it's not the "there are no boobies and guns blazing, and no one is punching someone" weak, it's a "nobody gives a single fuck about this story, and it's not written well enough to be interesting" weak. I've seen my share of slice of life, no-drama anime, and it's my favorite, which is why I tried watching Aria, so don't shit me with your "hurr durr
it's animu for acquired tastes of elite individuals, not bleach fans".
ALL of it's characters have annoying catchphrases that they try to force into every single thing that escapes their badly animated mugs (i'm looking at you, alice. I'm fucking looking at you. fuck your dekkai everything.), the main mascot is just ugly and retarded (it took me 2 episodes to determine it's actually a cat, and only thanks to characters explicitly saying that it does belong to felis catus species).
Slice of life genre itself exists as a testament to superior ability of storywriters, who manage to make day-to-day life interesting, soothing and fun to watch, a concept the creators of aria obviously failed to grasp.
And before nostalgia templars move in, no, this anime doesn't deserve any bonus points for being 10 years old, nor it's "quirkiness" can be appreacieated only by "not kid audience", as there are many, MANY shows with better stories than this.
show is mediocre at best, and if there are any hidden values or qualities making it worthwhile, I certainly couldn't find them. I don't know how do succesing seasons fare, obviously, but this one effectively discouraged me from giving them a chance.
We all live in a very fast paced world. To us humans, time is everything, and every second used is a second that can be used to be more "productive" or "better". Because of this, we become creatures of habit, living cogs that let life fly by us without a moment's thought. We don't really take time to enjoy the smaller things in life, to just sit down, relax, and take in the finer things that can go unnoticed. It is here where we have Aria the Animation, a gem from 2005, and the beginning of the whole Aria series.
Author's note: If I write down any sappy lines, I'm sorry. It's just hard not to do that for this series.
Story (8.00/10): Aria the Animation takes place in the world known as Aqua, an alien planet settled and created by humans as a sort of "second planet" in order to satisfy the human population. It is here on this newly created blue planet where we have Akari, our protagonist in this series, settle down on the new planet in a city named Neo-Venezia, a city built based on the city of Venice in Italy. Here, she learns how to be a Prima Undine, a gondola driver, as she begins her life on this new and peaceful world.
The story of Aria is a very simplistic story, focusing more on the day to day lives of the characters here on the planet of Aqua, mainly the lives of three specific girls, as they train themselves to be Prima Undine. For any given episode, the characters in the series essentially live their lives on this planet, not really doing much else aside from dealing with the trials and tribulations that lives throw at us.
From the storyline of the series, it's quite clear that Aria is not really a series that deals with conflicts as heavily as many series these days do. The tone of the show is calming, serene, and overall, less dramatic than your average anime. With the whole of its runtime, the show never tries to deviate from its relaxing tone. As a result, the overall feel of the show is very unique because as you're watching it, you never really get the sense that anything dramatic will happen. Now, with zero conflicts, does that mean that this show is bad? Quite the opposite in fact.
The show tackles the smaller things in life. Throughout the whole show, we are presented with scenes of the characters doing what people generally do in life. Spend time with friends, doing chores, eating a meal, and even going on an outing; stuff that you would normally see in any given slice of life show. However, Aria takes this idea one sep further. Aside from just seeing that characters experience these moments in life, it also takes them into account, putting them in retrospect to one's own life, affirming how we as people can miss the finer details, the smaller experiences that we sometimes fail to see.
In addition to that, the show does a decent job at world building. Rather than just letting the setting of a different world be just a stated fact, Aria the Animation adds in to that by spending a good chunk of its runtime explaining the world's history, tying that into its life affirming story, making the two work in conjunction to make the story a lot more cohesive and adds to the experience.
With all these good points, what is there to be said badly about this series? Well, more or less, it's the calming atmosphere that the story has. Because this show is quite slow and doesn't possess any lingering conflicts, Aria can at times be rather boring. (I found this to be the case at times.) It's not that the show itself is bad, it's just that watching something so slow can leave someone to be desiring a little bit more. Of course, that's not true for everyone, but personally, I couldn't watch more than a couple episodes at a time simply because of how I sort of lost interest sometimes.
Regardless of that side effect of Aria's wonderfully calming atmosphere, the story of Aria is still very exceptional. It puts the things in life that we sometimes forget, forward, giving the audience a feeling of appreciation of things that we may often forget.
+ Some World building
+ Very calming show
+ Fantastic themes
- Calming factor can leave some people bored (To combat this, I suggest watching 2-3 episodes at one time rather than marathoning.)
Characters (7.99/10): Similar to its story, Aria the Animation doesn't have very complicated characters, each of which really following their own certain characteristics and never really deviating from the traits that they were given at time.
First we have Akari Muzunashi, the "main protagonist" of this series. As the only apprentice in the Aria Company, Akari plays off as a very simple girl, wanting only to enjoy the time that she has on Aqua, frequently throwing out "sappy lines" in order to express her gratitude or overall enjoyment of the time that she spends with the people that she's grown to know in her time in Aqua. Akari also plays a very crucial role in this series by writing these letters at the end of every episode, essentially writing down any given episode's important takeaway, bolstering the things that the episode is talking about. It is because of this specifically that I think Aria excels at what it does, because the things that it talks about can really be an eye opener at times.
Then we have Aika Granzchesta, a Single from the Hime Company, a different gondola company that rivals the Aria Company. Being the girl that is somewhat more outgoing than the other two, being very proud of her own abilities, Aika is the second girl in the series you meet with her classic line of "No sappy lines" (or any other variation of that phrase.) In addition, to round out the trio of girls in this series, is Alice, a Pair from the Orange Planet company, (And no, she does not belong to a pest-control agency.) acting as the youngest of the trio, working to hone her abilities as well as spending time with her senpais from the other companies.
Apart from these main three girls in this series, we also have their instructors Alicia, Akira, and Athena, who serve similar roles to their apprentice counterparts, as well as the three feline company presidents. In addition, there are side characters that appear every once in a while, filling in the gaps to make the series feel more populated and overall more enjoyable as you see the personalities of all the characters come together and just live life.
Overall, the characters themselves aren't really that complicated. Like general slice of life, the traits that they are given at the start of their appearances persist with them throughout the whole of the series, with slight growth every now and then to show progression. Above all, what I think is most interesting is that these characters are very memorable. They're not very complicated, but even if they don't show up for a while, the characters that you meet aren't really that easily forgettable, which I find to be a plus for the series.
+ Very simple characters that are easily memorable
+ Good character dynamics
+ Good side characters
- Mostly one note characters in a sense
Art and Sound (8.08/10 and 8.78/10): The art for Aria the Animation itself is honestly a surprise to me. Because of its age (being that it's a 2005 anime), I had originally thought that the artstyle wouldn't stack up and would be less graphically well done as the anime that we see as of now. But I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was rather well animated. T
The artstyle reflects the feeling you get from the anime of serenity and calmness. There are no horrendously bright colors, there isn't any dark brooding colors, and there is certainly no ecchi. Aria's artsyle itself is very classic, being an individual looking style of animation that is bother memorable and very well made for its time. (Like seriously. I saw things in 2014 that looked worse than Aria.) It's a very simple style of animation with enough detail to make the city of Neo-Venezia look beautiful, and it just simply...works.
In addition, for comedic feel, every one of the main characters has a "second face", where they all have a specific expression that they make whenever they want their audience to bust a funny. (Just a detail that I found to be quite amusing.)
As for the soundtrack, Aria boasts a very well made OST that reflects the feel of the series. In addition to having "Undine" and "Rainbow" as the OP and ED respectively, the series has a very calming and beautifully crafted soundtrack that adds to the calm feeling of this series. As for the OP and ED, Undine, its opening, is a very calm and serene peace that I bet can calm any spirit, sounding like flowing spring water as it wafts through your ears, cleansing you of any hardships that you may be experiencing. As for Rainbow, its ED, it showcases a very cheerful and bouncy feel that is very upbeat and enjoyable to listen to. Overall, this soundtrack is beautiful, a masterpiece that is timeless.
+ Very good animation for its time period
+ Very classic looking artstyle
+ Exceptional soundtrack
Personal Enjoyment (9.00/10): When I first heard about Aria the animation, I was always puzzled why it was so popular, and why it was so revered as a classic. After some time, I decided to watch it, and boy, am I happy I did. The themes of the series were very well delivered, and I couldn't stop wearing a smile on my face when I was watching it. (Above all, I listened to the OP and ED every time. That doesn't happen very often.)
Did I like this anime?
Yes. A very big yes. Aria showcased something that anime for me has been lacking for a while; a simple story that is at the same time, very powerful. Coupled with the beautiful soundtrack, the great animation, and some pretty memorable characters, there was hardly anything about this series that I didn't enjoy.
What didn't I like about this anime?
The only thing I didn't like was how at times, I admit, I felt kind of bored watching this series. With its lack of conflict, Aria's peaceful tone can sometimes be overwhelming. As a result, marathoning this show can be difficult for some. Apart from that, I have no complaints.
Would I recommend this anime?
After finally watching the legendary Aria the Animation, yes, I would recommend people to watch this series. Contrary to anime today, there is no fanservice, it's deep without needing any drama/melodrama, it's a simple story that doesn't poke itself into any other genre aside from Slice-of-life, and above all, it is considered to be a classic. This show is an instant cheer-up, and to this day, is still a very revered series. So, if you haven't watched this series, I highly recommend you do. It's an experience that you won't want to forget.
Overall Score: 8.35/10 (I'm sorry if there were any sappy lines. I can't help it! :S )
Danger Danger!Keep out if you can't handle strong language and sarcasm...And humour in general...And if you have some kind of allergy in different opinions..Basically sod off and read something else.
I don't know why i do this to myself..I really don't.I may be a masochist and not even know it.Cause i was hearing them little voices in my head screaming at the top of their imaginary lungs to not watch Aria.Did i listen?Of course not cause as it seems i may have a tendency towards the leather and gag ball end of things.If by any chance you are a goth mistress and on the look for
a hat stand give me a shout,will ya?
But let's dive into Aria..Not literally,unless you're into cats..No not cats like people with cat ears,i mean cats,those hairy bastards that want to conquer the world,make us their slaves and bathe in a pool full of human blood.If you're a cat owner get rid NOW or forever be doomed.Get a dog,they're loyal and i've seen vids where they're trained to fetch beer from the freezer.
And we hit it off with the story..Or the lack of one.I say that cause the story is the one told in the synopsis and only there,nothing even remote to a story exists in the anime itself.So let's see what the synopsis says:The story takes place on Aqua,formerly known as Mars until they filled it with water 150 years ago,in the city of Neo-Venice,a replica of Earth's Venice.The recreation of Venice is one of the things i liked about Aria.They actually took time to do research in order to include famous Venetian landmarks such as the St Mark’s Basilica,the island of Burano and Plaza San Marco.The architecture and feel of the place is rather accurate,but unlike the real Venice if you happen to fall in the water you don't end up with 2 heads.
Each episode follows some "plot" of some sorts,but as far as i can tell there's no life in this anime's plots.They are just some small adventures everyone has seen in one way or another in other animes.Imagine an anime about someone stopping at a small mart to buy some milk and he realises he doesn't have enough money on him.So he has to go to the bank and take some money and go back to buy the milk..That's it..Nothing even remotely interesting.But you might say:"yeah it has some shit going on here and there"..And that's the problem.The only few surprises that try and spark some life into this corpse are some random shit,like "hey time travel"...As to why and how this happened that remains a mystery.Nothing is being explained.It's just your basic moe cancer with the pleasant feel.And last time i checked moe isn't story or plot it's just ebola through the internet.
As for the characters you have Akari who dreams of being a gondolier at pro level(pilot of the boats Venice is famous for)under the guidance of the wise Obi-Alicia who is blond.Then a weird thing happens as we are being introduced to other characters that their names begin with the letter "A"..I guess the alphabet wasn't invented?Get this for unimaginative naming..Aika who has blue hair,Akira who is the bitchy bitch teacher and Alice who i don't remember what she was doing there.Oh yes....There is a cat like creature that tries endlessly to sag another catlike creature...Soooo....Yeah it's moe..
Animationwise the details in the way the whole world is built and even the water movement and rflections are spot on..The characters themselves are pretty standard.
Songs and VA were ok-ish i think..Maybe they were good and i was sound asleep.
And now i must conclude this review so i can go drink my arse off and forget i even saw this.It isn't bad as such.And what with all these praising reviews and 3 seasons in total i expected something among the lines of a Japanese blockbuster.Unfortunately,little good can be said about this anime but not all of it is bad.I can only say that if you want an anime you can watch with your eyes and brain completely shut,then this is for ya.If you want substance of any sorts,even if it's just a little watch something else.How the hell did this thing manage to get so many seasons?Were you there on the land of the rising sun on drugs or something?Or maybe do you happen to have a weird sense of humour and thought it would be fun to export this shit to the west and stand back and laugh?
Aria the Animation is the first of three anime series adapted from the Aria manga and focuses mainly on introducing the main characters - Akari, Aika and Alice - and the world of Aqua and Neo-Venezia, without going into much depth and while keeping an extremely relaxing and soothing atmosphere.
For that reason the pacing of the first series can be a little off-putting to some viewers, as the new elements each episode adds are developed only to a limited scope (the introduction) and it might feel as though the whole series is nothing more than cute characters, chilly backgrounds, and relaxing BGM, especially to those
viewers who aren't used to the slice of life genre - The Animation is more about taking it easy than actually developing the characters.
Technically, the animation is quite good for a slice of life show, and the amount of effort put by the creators can easily be seen in the backgrounds, water motion, coloring, and the detail of the buildings and scenery. The beautiful art, together with the soundtrack, which is the most memorable out of the three seasons, really creates atmosphere and attempts to draw the viewer in without much effort.
Aria accomplishes the hard task of keeping characters simple while maintaining a degree of originality that allows them to always look fresh; the interactions between characters feel natural and both the comedy and dialogue are presented as though they are part of normal conversations, rather than a crafted script beforehand.
Although I enjoyed the series immensely and would highly recommend it, I must admit the series might not suit everyone's tastes, especially if the viewers are expecting realistic characters and situations because NOTHING is realistic in Aria.
The utopian setting and the unrealistic character portrayal are instruments the series makes use to achieve its main goal: healing. Aqua is a world where everyone is nice, and the dialogues are often sappy (to the point of making recurring jokes about it).
Aria the Animation slowly invites you to join the characters in their discovery of that beautiful world, almost as if Akari invited you for a ride on her gondola.
The story is simple and in execution turns out great. Taking into account the fact that this is a slice-of-life, the pacing is so wonderfully planned out, and the episodic stories so well-rounded in themselves, that one should never find oneself bored out of his wits from exploring the wonderful place that is Neo-Venezia.
And that is a real feat.
Oh god the background is beautiful. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.
And accurate (mostly) too, as some guy from Lonely Planet frequenting Animesuki and going on a (mostly business) trip to Venice found out.
Decent effort was also made for the characters. Only 1 obvious QUALITY
image ever jumped out at me after the third rewatch and for the most part there were no flaws. Though it'd have been nice if the faces were drawn anywhere nearly as detailed as in the manga. But then that'd have to be budget-busting stuff.
Production IG was roped in for the CG but it didn't seem all that impressive to me, though it certainly was enough to add to the atmosphere.
And here, sir, is where this anime is made into the ideal therapeutic experience. Every single piece of music in every single scene is perfectly fitted together. The decision for Choro Club to cut a major album out of this meant the resulting music was absolutely, astoundingly brilliant. Coupled to the show, it was outstanding and perfectly fitting, while on its own it can be summed up as "perfect" (...that is, if you don't hate the Brazilian-style choro and the relaxing tune). The late Kawai Eri worked her magic into the very fitting OP that was soothing to the ears, while Round Table as usual put in a brilliant song for an ED. The insert song was pretty catchy too.
Here unfortunately I'll have to put in some criticism. Most of the characters are simply not well-developed. We get to see the character of every, uh, character, but not much else. The sempai especially. There's almost no background story on them. Plus, they all seem so eerily close to perfect, it's unreal.
That aside, Akari elevates herself to Goddess status as we see through her beautifully clear eyes the wonders of her world. And it is through her that the stories turn out so beautiful, so wonderful.
Needless to say I loved this to bits. Every episode left me yearning for more wonderfulness, and I eventually wasted a whole day marathoning it when I should have been rushing for projects. It's guaranteed to lift your spirits, relieve whatever pressure you might of had, and turn any pessimist into a perenially happy optimist.
A beautiful slice-of-life anime all in all, and considering the popularity this had at its airing, way too under-watched. This show needs some love; spread the Aria lovin'.
I have been told from many different internet sites that Aria is the greatest of all slice of life animes. While slice of life animes usually don't attract me, I decided to give Aria a try. I just finished the first season over about a week and still have the buzz of the last episode all over. It definitely was a unique watch.
Aria takes place far in the future. Mankind has successfully given Mars a habitable environment, complete with the same force of gravity as Earth's, an atmosphere that is equally capable of absorbing blue light, massive oceans rivaling Earth's, and a very diverse biolife,
all imported from Earth and successfully multiplied. They have also created an extremely fast and efficient method of travel between Earth and Mars and now people come to Mars for vacations. Despite all this, the world of Aria is very rural, with very little technology at all. The only pieces of technology I can recall, in fact, are the space shuttles that float in the sky, the mailman's flying motorbike, data cards, along with a very old type of phone.
The anime focuses on the lives of three undiines [girls in training to become primas (girls who row the gondolas in this water filled planet)]. These girls have almost no problems in their lives and are free to train and relax as the days pass. Its peaceful, relaxing, stress-free, but I can't say I was really able to relax that much while watching this show.
The story by itself is fine I suppose. Many of the middle episodes were a little too slow and calming, but the end episodes were good. The problem is that the whole time I was watching this anime, I was dying to know answers that were never going to be answered. For example, there was one episode where the whole girl team goes to a uninhabited island and have a good time at the beach. Somewhere in there, one of the girls says "I'm so happy to swim in the ocean. Nobody can swim in the oceans back at Man Home anymore so I've never done it before". Ehhhh is that so? Exactly what happened to the oceans back on Earth that they are no longer alright to swim in? Is there mass pollution on Earth now or are the oceans too cold or what? I really wanted the anime to stop focusing on peace on Mars and transfer to the potential mayhem happening on Earth. It never does though, and I am left with no answers.
I can't say I am one of the people of enjoy this kind of anime. I really just don't see the charm in it. Why are slice of lifes so typical in lacking any elements that make other anime so great? An anime can still be a slice of life anime and at the same time contain drama, action, adventure, Plot. Slice of life doesn't have to equate to happy go lucky peaceful animes featuring an almost all female cast doing almost nothing (looking at you Lucky Star). But at least Lucky Star was humorous, this anime was not. It was basically a sleep inducer, with almost every episode almost putting me to sleep. A better adjective for this anime would be 'boring'. I'm sorry but in such an interesting science fiction world such as this, I want to see some science fiction, not some slice of life sleep inducer.
Lots of people like this type of anime though, so I'll go ahead and recommend it. However, people like me, who like a core plot directing the anime with action, humor, drama, romance, or whatever will flee from anime like this and go back to other slice of life animes with those things, such as NHK Ni Youkoso, Toradora, or Clannad.
If I were to describe this anime with a single word, the word would probably be "boring". Surprising perhaps, given that it lies in the "Good" region of my rating scales, but that's what this anime is. In this case, "boring" isn't used so much to label "Aria" as an unwatchably dull anime (though to some it probably is) as to describe what actually happens in it, which is absolutely nothing. For "Aria", in many ways, represents the very essence of a slice-of-life anime.
In "Aria", there are no evil villains to fight, no complicated plots to untangle, no philosophical conundrums to contemplate... just about the
only interesting detail in "Aria" is that it's set on Mars, a Mars of the future that resembles Venice with its abundance of water and gondolas. But don't let this exotic location fool you into thinking this is a setting for a futuristic sci-fi anime, because you'll be sorely disappointed. That detail is pretty much restricted to being background information - as far as the anime itself is concerned, it may as well be set in Venice, as it doesn't really do much with the Mars bit.
Beyond its settings, "Aria" is plain to such an extent that no measurable aspect of this anime stands out in any way: the animation is ok... in a boring way; the music... despite often having unconventional melody progressions that gave it a distinct feel, only manage to leave an impression of being boringly good; as for the content... it's virtually non-existent. Every episode is pretty much just a case of the unremarkable characters going about their mundane daily tasks - they barely even qualify for the adventure-of-the-week description. But then, this is what the slice-of-life genre is all about, right? Yes, "Aria" may not be the most interesting of anime, but it does deliver in the department where this kind of anime is expected to deliver, and that is in the "heart" of the show - the part that gives it that indescribable feel good factor. This is epitomised by the last episode, which is a very typical slice-of-life open ending where there's no grand finale, but there's a vague sense of temporary closure at the end, with the option of extending into a second season wide open. But despite the lack of a climax, it does leave you bursting with a wonderful glowing feeling inside, with a twinge of sadness that comes from reaching the end of the series that you've become fond of. It's this that allows "Aria" to soar above the sum of its very plain parts.
Even though I have a soft spot for Aria, I'd hesitate to recommend it to many people. A lot of them would probably fall asleep watching it. Other slice-of-life anime have additional aspects to keep you watching - Genshiken has its comedy and entertainment values; Planetes has its humble (and also not so humble) heroics and intense drama; Paradise Kiss has its eccentricity and interesting relationship dynamics... "Aria" doesn't have any of these things, and instead offers the viewer a simple yet hard to quantify pleasure that comes from watching a slice-of-life that's been distilled down to its purest form. It's something for the connoisseurs of the genre to slowly enjoy. And if you ask them why it's good, their response would probably be the same as mine: it... just is!
For starters, this anime has quite literally changed my outlook on life. Having gone through a fair amount of distress this past year, I was looking for something that could bring some tranquility to past few hectic months. Watching Aria brought me this, and so much more, and I'll explain later on.
The story takes place in the 24th century on a terraformed Mars (now called Aqua), where Akari (our MC) strives to be a top class Undine in Neo Venezia. Truly sticking to the nature of SoL, past the first 3-4 episodes Aria the Animation is almost entirely episodic, yet it never feels boring or
pointless despite the direction of the plot. Each episodes digs into each of the characters and their relationships with one another, and how they grow as people. It feels real, and it feels natural. Even the trope beach/hot springs episodes are extremely well done with 0 pandering fan service, truly sticking to the themes and ideas Aria is presenting.
Art and Sound is where this show really starts to kick in. The art style is absolutely superb, with lush colors used in every frame and character design being memorable. The animation is very high quality as well, besides some of the chibi moments that feel very jarring next to the usually-smooth animation.
As for Sound, Aria hands down, has one of the best OSTs around period. From the relaxing OP to the light-hearted ED, and even all of the background soundtracks playing throughout the show, the music for this show is astoundingly well-realized. It is an absolute perfect fit, both for the Italian setting and for the overall mood of the show. Special mention to the OP which is, by far, one of the best OPs I've ever had the pleasure to listen to.
The characters are also surprisingly well-developed for the plot being as lax as it is. All of them are likable, and they all serve a purpose in the plot. Special mention to how well developed Aqua is as well, almost every plothole that could have come from essentially setting Venice on Mars was covered (i.e weather being artificially controlled, gravity being regulated undergrounds by gnomes etc.). You can clearly see how much thought the author put into not only the characters, but Aqua itself.
All these elements fuse together to form an experience unlike any other. No drama, no action, no conspiracies, no villains, just a tranquil story of three young girls realizing their dreams, little by little in a beautiful world. You really do feel bliss when watching this, even more so after going through some rough times. Aria teaches you to look at the bright and positive things in life, a profound yet very forgotten message in the current industry saturated with excessive action and drama.
Aria the Animation is definitely as least worth a try, if for no other reason that it just being different from any other show out there. A masterfully crafted anime, held back by a couple of technical issues, it truly is a heart warming and positive experience.
Aria has garnered one of the most interesting reputations I have seen. Put on such an impossibly high pedestal yet still as polarizing as any other slice of life series if not more so makes it an oddity that one can't help but be curious about. And, if nothing else, Aria is a very unique challenge and experience for just about anyone.
Aria is about a group of girls who want to become the best professional boat rowers possible. There is a lot of food and tea in between.
Aria, for better or worse, doesn't change much throughout the course of the series. For
me this caused an already episodic and formulaic series to wear thin even faster. Most of the episodes end with a message about appreciating the beauty of life, or something similar, accompanied by scenery porn and calming music. While this is admittedly quite comfy, it would work infinitely better if the series didn't run fifty-two episodes and one OVA because there's is only so many times you can impress me with an all too similar life lesson and scenery porn, Aria.
It goes without saying slice of life series usually don't have much in the way of story in their attempt to be as feel good as possible. While not unexpected Aria sacrifices more than most since it actually does have clear overarching story with the three main characters trying to become Undines. Unfortunately this only gets sporadic focus throughout and ultimately isn't as rewarding as it should be. Instead we get a a lot of episodes focusing on the main characters doing something outside of that main goal and there is really no sense of progression.
Regardless of the meandering structure I did enjoy the main characters of Aria a good deal despite not knowing if I wanted to pat their heads or violently face fuck them. A wise man once told me multitasking is key. They all have good characterization as well as cute designs, which is all that they really needed to have for this type of story. Like many other things in Aria they can come off as overly sappy but I suppose that is part of the charm.
Aside from that there are a few minor issues I had with Aria. I didn't quite understand the character of Alicia who everybody in the series has a massive lady boner over. She is portrayed as ethereal and perfect which I suppose is setup for later episodes which show her face some of her faults, but these are less faults than they are sympathetic and endearing traits thus making the odd direction of her character pointless or at the very least not as effective as it could have been. The super natural elements in the series seem like they are abandoned just as quickly as they are picked up which I assume there is more to them in the manga but we are left with what we get in the show. Finally, the dialogue gave me diabetes. I know that just kind of comes with the territory of Aria but it really is over the top sometimes.
Despite all my misgivings with Aria I still find the series incredibly thoughtful and charming. The atmosphere is unmatched and with the soft colors of the art and serene music the series is just on another level when it comes to aesthetics. Though I probably will never appreciate Aria and the slice of life genre as much as most, I can't help but enjoy the simplistic beauty of its tranquil and contemplative moments. And really, what else does Aria aim to do if not that. Well, besides making your friends and family think you are a closeted gay.