About 10 years ago from the time of this review, the world was given the gift that was Aria, a series about the little miracles in life and to appreciate the gift of others. With Origination finishing up the main series back in 2008, we never expected there to be any more and that the story would just be washed away with that gentle little end. But here we are years later with the true and final installment of the Aria series, Aria the Avvenire.
Story: Taking place a few years after the end of Origination, we return back to the world of Aqua and Neo-Venezia, where the three water fairies: Akari, Aika, and Alice have taken the reigns over their predecessors and have forged a new era of Undines with their new trainees, Ai, Azusa, and Anya respectively. It is here where we return back to the gentle and miraculous lives of the Undines and the beautiful world that they live in.
First off, I am personally a bit disappointed at the story aspect of this series. The reason for this is because Avvenire first comes off as an 'afterstory' series, where we return back to the world a few years after the events of the three seasons of the Aria story. Instead however, we get a 3 part OVA that instead of just being an afterstory, reflects back on the past events and ties up a few loose ends with its main cast of characters, most notably the Undines from the Aria Company, Akari and Alicia. As a result of this, the OVAs show us events of the past according to this point in time rather than those of the present, and as such, really kill the afterstory setup.
On the flipside, the parts of the supposed 'afterstory' were decently good. They showed us the new generation of Undines and their little discoveries that were reflected from the original series and most importantly, shares that same feel of gentleness, enjoyment, and fun that the Aria series is known for. A pity that we don't actually get more, because the shenanigans that the trio of Ai, Azusa, and Anya would've probably been a set of interactions that I would really like to enjoy.
All in all though, Avvenire is a good end to the Aria series. Functionally, it ties up a good number of the loose ends that the original series had never really touched up on, and gave us a glimpse of the new generation that's always nice to see with this kind of show that features generations. The overall feel of the OVA is most definitely in line with the calm and gentle atmosphere that Aria had, and for that, I commend it.
+ In-tune atmosphere with the rest of the series
+ Ties up looses ends
- Afterstory portion was a bit lacking
Characters: Characters for these OVAs is something that has its fair share of goods and bads. Given the way that the OVAs are written, there's an imbalance of focus which creates the difference in the amount of development characters get.
The OVAs has its focus around Akari and Alicia for the greater majority of the 3 episode runtime. Tying up loose ends and backstories with the time devoted to them, we get a bit of a deeper look into the kinds of things that they've been introduced to, what they're said goodbye to, and also what they are now, which when presented, really makes a pretty nice bit of content to watch. As sad as it is, the remainder of the original cast doesn't get that luxury. Aika, Alice, Athena, and Akira all are shafted to the side and don't get much time if at all devoted to them, which is honestly quite a shame given how quirky and key they all were to the series, even if the point of view was never REALLY on them.
On the flipside however, there's the new generation of Undines: Ai, Azusa, and Anya. Now this is my biggest complaint with the OVAs. These three, get nothing to them. The scenes that we're shown with them aren't particularly special despite having the general Aria feel. They just don't feel important at all and we barely get any time to know and learn about who they are as people. We know that they want to find the little miracles in life and follow the footsteps of the three main girls of the Aria series, but because the show devotes so little time to them, I feel like it's a bit of a crime to not have OVAs show the new generation and the kind of situations that they get into.
+ Good development on the Aria company characters to finish up some loose ends
- None of the other characters really get any screentime
- Newer generation is almost entirely ignored
Art: Made by TYO animations, a studio made from combining the studio who originally made the Aria series, Hal Film Maker, with Yumeta, Avvenire is a beautiful piece of art that can only be described as a series that has aged well. The OVAs looks like Aria the Animation in terms of the artstyle, but with a much more cleaner and high quality look and feel that's more than breathtaking to look at. (Not bad for a gap of 10 years) In essence, the art is still the same, but painted over with a new coat that gives this beautiful series the quality that it deserves.
Sound: The OST is virtually the same as what we're presented with in Origination. Actually, I'm positive that it's the same. From the OP to the ED, to the gentle and plucky background music, there really is nothing to complain from the sound.
Personal Enjoyment: Aria is by far one of my favorite series to ever exist in anime. Its story and atmosphere is simple and gentle, yet it gives off a sense of appreciation to the things around us. From the time we spend with loved ones, to the little miracles we see everyday, Aria's gentle waters teaches something that most anime don't ever really focus on. Despite the OVAs' problems in terms of storytelling and characterization, I loved these three OVAs and was happy with what we got. I really just wanted to spend more time with these characters more than anything and I really liked every second of it. And to see the series's final end, I have to say, it is a tearful, yet beautiful goodbye.