Oct 20, 2016
blaZofgold (All reviews)
I think it's safe to say that Aria the Avvenire was truly a miracle of an anime.

First, some history. It's hard to appreciate this incredible ending to the Aria series without a bit of backstory. Aria began as a manga series in 2002 and enjoyed a very successful six-year run following the story of Mizunashi Akari and her dream of becoming a Prima Undine. It was adapted into a three-part anime series: Aria the Animation in 2005, Aria the Natural in 2006, and Aria the Origination in 2008, with both the anime and the manga ending at around the same time. And for seven long years, everyone thought that their magical journey through the waterways of Neo Venezia had finally come to an end.

That's when the miracle happened. Collaborating with the original author Kozue Amano, the entire staff of the Aria series decided to return for a special 10th anniversary story. A new studio, TYO Animations, was able to gather up the original producer, screenwriter, and all the voice actors once again - with the exception of Kawakami Tomoko, who passed away in 2011 (she still reprises her role in the OAV series in her honor). Kozue Amano even did the character designs for the new characters and wrote a special one-shot manga alongside Avvenire. Once again, the waters of Aqua were stirring.

Simply put, Avvenire rewards fans of the Aria series with the best combination of gifts: closure on unresolved storylines and a preview of the future of the girls we've come to admire as our tour guides of this series. The flashbacks were actually well-done, with glimpses of things during the series that were never fully explained or developed. I was thoroughly impressed they decided to go back and explain why Cait Sith, who played such a big role in Natural, was not even mentioned once in Origination. A common theme that Avvenire makes clear is that past and present are connected, and the flashbacks do a good job of relating the two together.

Aria the Avvenire picks up chronologically after the time skip at the end of Origination, with Aino Ai joining Akari at the Aria Company. Seeing Ai come from being Akari's first unofficial customer to her pupil, with them exchanging letters the whole series through is unbelievably satisfying. She meets Aika and Alice's new pupils (their names also start with A because combo) and they become close friends. I think the generational thing is cute, though by the third generation it's hard to have anything new: Anya and Azusa seem too similar to Aika and Alice and there was obviously no time to develop any sort of character whatsoever. Also, huge demerits for poorly written dialogue and spamming of the English word "miracle"; at least substitute "kiseki" in there occasionally.

The art direction in Avvenire is outstanding. There are so many golden moments, especially in the flashbacks. Cait Sith and Akari falling from the sky. Akari and Alicia enjoying the Neo Venezian evening with the night-light bell. They took the time to update decade-old art with modern standards while paying homage to the original style. All in all fantastic. I only wish they had more budget so they could redraw the flashback scenes from Origination in the third OVA.

Each OVA begins with a different OP from the original anime run: Undine, Euphoria, and Spirale, all by Makino Yui. Good choice, brings the nostalgia back and also themes each episode to correspond to a different season of the original anime.

Aria had a great ending with Origination and the original ending of the manga. But the effort that the author and the returning staff took to create something that both honored and continued that legacy can be clearly seen. I think Avvenire is an important piece to the landscape of Aqua that has been carefully pieced together for over a decade now. And with this, who knows what will come in the future? That's the miracle of hope that Avvenire leaves behind.