Aria the Animation

Aria the Animation

Aria the Animation anime series cover art
Aria the Animation

Planet Aqua

Aria the Animation is the first season of the Aria (アリア) anime series. This is a fantasy, sci-fi, slice of life anime about gondoliers in the city of Neo Venezia on the planet Aqua. And as you may have guessed, Neo Venezia is based on Venice.

Now, I don’t remember this ever being explicitly stated. But, it’s implied that Aqua is the planet Mars. And Manhome, the home of mankind, is pretty obviously Earth. I don’t know if the names of these planets changed at some point in time or if this is an alternate universe.

Something you’ll notice right away about Aqua, though, is that it’s nothing like Mars. Mars is a giant desert of rock and dirt. Aqua, on the other hand, is a water planet with a few islands scattered about. So, how is it that this is the same planet?

Akari Mizunashi using a computer from the anime series Aria the Animation
Akari Mizunashi using a computer

One of the cool things about Aria the Animation is that it explains how humans terraformed Aqua. The explanations are vague and seem magical. But, they’re explanations nonetheless. And the explanation for where all the water came from is that it came from underground. They had to drill for it to bring it to the surface.

But, that’s not all. You see, Aqua needed more than just some surface water to be habitable. It also needed things like an atmosphere. We don’t know exactly how this works. But, we know people called Salamanders — who live on a floating island — are responsible for maintaining it.

There are also others, known as Gnomes, who work underground and maintain the gravity. Again, we don’t know how this works. And Aqua would have gravity even without the Gnomes. But, the gravity of Aqua (Mars) is only 38% that of Manhome’s (Earth’s).

The Undines

So, the Salamanders maintain the atmosphere. And the Gnomes maintain the gravity. Well, those aren’t the only jobs on Aqua. There are also the Sylphs, who deliver packages on flying bikes. And, finally, there are the Undines, who serve as Aqua’s famous gondoliers.

There are 3 ranks within the Undines. Those in the lowest rank are the Pairs — denoted by the pair of gloves they wear. Above the pairs are the Singles, who only wear a single glove. And at the top of the pecking order are the Primas. Only Primas can take customers out in their gondolas alone.

Akari Mizunashi is the protagonist of the series. She’s a pair who works at the titular Aria Company. The only other employee at the Aria Company is Alicia, a Prima and one of the top Undines on Aqua. In a lot of ways, Akari is your typical female protagonist — not very smart and with pink hair.

Alice, Akari, and Aika from the anime series Aria the Animation
Alice, Akari, and Aika

Aika Granzchesta is the next apprentice Undine we meet. Like Akari, she’s a pair. But, she works at Himeya Company. Despite these two working for rival companies, they’re friends and often practice together. It also helps that Akira, the top Prima at Himeya, is friends with Alicia.

The final apprentice Undine is Alice Carroll of Orange Planet (another Undine company). Alice is only a Pair. But, she’s a bit of a prodigy when it comes to sculling a gondola. She, too, eventually joins Akari and Aika in their training.

I’ve already mentioned Alicia of Aria Company and Akira of Himeya Company. But, there’s a third member of their trio, too. That’s Athena of Orange Planet. Like Akari, Aika, and Alice, Alicia, Akira, and Athena trained together as apprentices. And, as you’ve undoubtedly noticed, every Undine’s name starts with A.

Starts and Ends Slow

Aria the Animation is a pretty good anime. But, it can be slow at times. Specifically, I thought the first episode and the last 2 or 3 episodes were slow. And after the first episode, I had some concerns regarding the pace.

If the entire series was as slow as the first episode is, that would be a problem. But, the good news is that’s not the case. So, if you try watching Aria the Animation, give it more than 1 episode before you decide to drop it. It does get better, especially once there are more characters.

I also initially thought the series was only going to follow Akari. The problem with that is that Akari on her own isn’t all that interesting. As I said earlier, she’s kind of a generic female protagonist. Generic male protagonists eat a lot and are loud. Generic female protagonists are airheads.

Alice and Akari visiting Ukijima from the anime series Aria the Animation
Alice and Akari visiting Ukijima

Instead of only following Akari, Aria the Animation follows Akari, Aika, and Alice. And I don’t mean it follows them each individually. I mean it follows them as a group as they practice together. That’s good because we get their distinct personalities bouncing off each other.

Akari often says sappy lines. Aika reprimands her for doing this. And then Alice comes in with some monotone comeback to Aika. They’re a fun trio, and I’m glad there are 2 more seasons and multiple OVAs to follow them through.

If you’re a fan of slow slice of life anime, Aria the Animation is for you. There’s no drama or conflict. It’s all cute girls learning how to scull gondolas. Well, that and there’s an emotional episode or two thrown in. I can think of one in particular that has to do with delivering a letter Violet Evergarden style.

Conclusion

Overall, I gave Aria the Animation a 6/10. On one hand, I feel like that might be a bit harsh. But, on the other, I didn’t think the series did anything exceptionally well. It was good enough. However, I generally like series with a bit more going on.

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Finally, I’d like to thank Roman and JasonHK for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. And I’d also like to thank Key Mochi for supporting at the Senpai tier. To learn more about how you too can become a supporter of this blog, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

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