I meant to write this up some days ago when I actually finished this set, however I couldn’t figure out how to insert a link in here (and still can’t) so as is typical for me, I got pissed off and just gave up. However, with a show this good, it would be very remiss of me to not share it. I have already written up on the series in general with an Anime You Should Be Watching post (which is what I meant to link in here, but alas, the Add Link button remains greyed out) so this is just about the third and final season of Aria.
As I mentioned in that previous review, this show is the very definition of Slice of Life shows. In the previous seasons of Aria, it’s largely about the wonders that Akari sees on her new homeworld of Aqua (Mars), and the people she meets and befriends. Throughout those times, she and her friends are striving towards becoming Prima Undines, basically gondoliers like we have in Venice. This season the focus is much more on Akari and her friends realizing their dreams and the passing of the torch from the Three Great Water Fairies. But, like with all slice of life series, the destination isn’t what’s important. No one who watches this would think that Akari is going to fail her exam. We know she’ll become a Prima. The important thing is the journey, and seeing Akari and her friends come to terms with the fact that when they do reach their goals, that things aren’t going to be able to stay the same as they were before. Needless to say, there’s going to be a need for a lot of tissues. It’s not tragic sad like a Clannad is, but rather just so packed full of emotion that even thinking about certain scenes, such as Alice’s promotion, is enough to choke a person up. This is that episode, for anyone curious.
This set, released by Nozomi Entertainment which is the licensing arm of anime retailer The Right Stuf, is very beautiful. The artbox that was used is a nice, sturdy chipboard box with lovely artwork on it. The set contains all 13 episodes of Aria the Origination, the 7 episode picture drama (just think of a regular anime with little to no actual animation), and the OAV Aria the Arietta. It also comes with an episode guide booklet, and a disc with 2 hours of extras containing cast and staff interviews. There is no dub on it, so everything is in Japanese with English subtitles.
A few random thoughts I had about this set. First off, I really like how the opening theme song is played as part of the show. The vast majority of anime just have a set opener with the same animation every time. Aria has always made it so the opening just starts playing as we’re eased into the show, so in effect the OP animation is different every time. Secondly, just how freaking old is President Aria? On Aqua, apparently they have cats that are much more intelligent than Earth cats in that they seem to understand human speech. Of course, maybe our cats understand us perfectly and just don’t deem us worthy of responding, I don’t know. Anyways, President Aria is one such cat, but it’s shown that the founder of Aria Company, whom everyone calls Grandma, first came across and befriended President Aria back when she was an undine with another company. At that time she was probably at most 25, and now appears to be in her 70’s. So President Aria is at least 50, and still as active and pudgy as he was back then. I guess Martian cats live a very long time.
All in all, this was a treat to see. It’s definitely not a show that you’ll want to marathon, since it’s so slow paced. It’s best to be enjoyed an episode or two at a time, so you have time to properly digest each episode. Whether you need a pick me up, or just want to relax after a long day, there’s an episode of Aria that can fit the bill at any time. The great thing about Aria is that other than the last 3 episodes or so, you can really watch it in any order that you wish, and the story being told will make perfect sense.
Current backlog: 842 discs