Final Thoughts: Aria the Natural

On the planet Aqua (formerly known as Mars), female gondoliers known as undines ply their trade along the canals of Neo Venezia, a recreation of the city of Venice back on Earth. Fuelled by their dreams of becoming full-fledged undines themselves, Akari Mizunashi and her friends Aika and Alice train hard for their respective companies, all the while taking the time to stop and appreciate the many wonderful sights and sounds of Neo Venezia.

It should come as no surprise by now that I absolutely love Aria, and after I had hungrily devoured the thirteen episodes of the first series, I desperately wanted more. Luckily, a second season was on hand with a full twenty-six episodes to satisfy the cravings, and although it took a while to be subbed, almost every episode was most definitely worth the wait.

To those not already under Aria’s spell, it might be natural to wonder just what the fuss is all about; there’s no plot to speak of, and nothing momentous ever happens. Of course, in the case of slice-of-life, that is exactly the point; the series isn’t aiming to be packed to the brim with action or a twistingly complex story- instead, it takes simple, low key events and invests them with a simple magic and charm that is nigh irresistible. From discovering a new view of the city to the simple pouring of a drink, everything in the Aria universe is infused with a sense of wonder to the extent that you actually want to be there. Yes, there are one or two occasions when the sentiments become just a little bit too cloying and sickly, but for the most part the spell remains delightfully unbroken.

Of course, such scenes could not be brought to life without a strong cast, and so it is that Aria presents us with a range of delightful characters, from optimistic and sentimental Akari (kept in check by the more pragmatic Aika with the help of the catchphrase “embarrassing phrases are prohibited”) all the way through to cute and cuddly fat cat President Aria. On their own, each character may not be the most complex of personalities, but as a group they perfectly complement each other to form a group whose interactions are always interesting to watch.

Visually, Aria combines aesthetically pleasing character designs with beautiful settings and backdrops, ensuring that viewers are further drawn into the world of the series. Background music is slow and gentle; it may not be the sort of thing you’d want to listen to on its own, but it fits the tone of the series.

Final Thoughts
When it comes to Aria, all I can do is praise it wholeheartedly, for this is a series that makes want to move to Neo Venezia straightaway as I become caught up in the lives and emotions of the characters during their adventures in the city. Whatever your anime plans were before, put them aside to try out Aria as soon as possible.

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6 Responses to Final Thoughts: Aria the Natural

  1. Skh says:

    Nothing to add to what you wrote. ARIA is a wonderful series, and everyone should at least try to watch it.

    On another note, though I sometimes would have liked the subs to come out faster, I feel that watching ARIA at a slower pace added to the magic, and made it feel even more special.

    Anyway, I’m sad that my favorite show has ended, but luckily there is still the OVA to look forward to.

  2. kiseki gurl says:

    I have a question. If I watch Aria the Natural without watching Aria the Animation (that’s what the first season’s called right?), will I still be able to get what’s going on? Or should I hunt for the first series ASAP?

  3. daRAT says:

    KG: Get the first season, while you can watch the second without seeing the first, I think seeing the first season will make the second more rewarding 🙂

  4. Karura says:

    daRAT is right; while there’s nothing to stop you just jumping in with the second season (like I said, there’s no real plot so you’re not going to miss any essential story twists or anything), season one is just as good, so you may as well start from the beginning and enjoy it all.

  5. Anga says:

    Your post includes one flaw, it’s says everything there is to say. I wanted to write a comment, but I can’t think of anything else to add and still needed to mention how awesome Aria was. President Aria rightfully leads the poll.

  6. Mappy says:

    There are some wonderful episodes in the first season of Aria (especially those episodes where the past and the present interact…. those episodes have really stuck in my mind), so I can, most definitely, recommend that you watch that as well as Aria the NATURAL.

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