Due to my inability to write more than a few sentences in one go for the past week and a half, I’ll be doing this review a little different from my usual “full length” reviews. I’ll first briefly go over the separate components of the anime, followed by a small section in which I’ll try to explain the different aspects to this show using pictures.
This, along with Bartender, is the best stress relieving anime I have ever seen. Creating a peaceful, idyllic and beautiful city full of canals, Aria the Animation created a city identical to my glorified fantasy of Venice (Italy) I used to have back when I was little, yes, it is that good.
I’ll say the same thing here as I said in my Bartender review: this is an anime to watch at the right time, as it is a rare case of a tranquil, slow paced, non plot driven show that is fully enjoyable from start to finish.
The series takes place on Aqua, the now inhabited planet formerly known as Mars, in the city of Neo-Venezia, a place full of easy-going people. It follows a small group of undines, tour guides who navigate their gondolas through the many canals the city has. Akari, who is a trainee undine herself, is the main character of the series and is someone who basically loves everything. She’s someone with an extremely positive attitude towards everything, but for once isn’t one of those hyperactive meddlers we have all seen so many times before, quite the opposite, she’s just like nearly everyone in this anime, very laid back and calm. The show follows Akari and her friends around as they go on their little explorations through Neo-Venezia, between getting scolded by Akira-sensei or going for some hot choc with Aria.
If it comes to comedy in this show, you could say that it falls a bit on its face. The comedy isn’t really funny, and there are a LOT of lines and gimmicks used in this show that are trying to be. On the other hand, it didn’t bother me at all, but it might for some. The “failed” attempts at comedy weren’t actually painful to watch but were rather soothing. During the 13 episodes there was only one time that I disliked the way they presented their funnies. Somewhere in the middle of this show, there is a whole episode dedicated to the presidents’ adventures, one of the "comic" relief characters. Also huge compliments to the seiyuu's, not once did I find the cheesy, repetitive lines like “Embarrassing remarks not allowed!”, “Heeeh?” annoying. Everyone’s and especially Akari’s seiyuu did a perfect job.
The animation used is, while not from extraordinary quality, great. From the architecture to the skies, the clothing and character designs, the light tones and just the whole surroundings, it creates the perfect setting for what this anime is trying to make: an idyllic city with easy-going people.
The sound is, again, completely fitting for this show. While not massively inspiring or the cause of many eargasms, it’s calm, soothing and far from being bad. As I mentioned before, the seiyuu’s did a great job on the voice acting. I was constantly surprising myself for not getting agitated by the one-liners between Akari and Aika and soon grew to actually like them. There was only one time during this show that I was annoyed by the sound. During the later episodes, a new character named Athene is introduced, who is renowned for her beautiful singing voice. The song she kept singing, however, was mildly infuriating me every time I heard it. The song wasn’t good or soothing, but felt more like a singer with a, fair enough, beautiful high-pitched voice who was trying to reach the top of her scale every five notes.
I feel like I’ve been giving Aria the Animation a bit too much praise during this review, but there just wasn’t that much to rant about. The best way to judge this show while using this review would be to be expecting what I’ve said so far, but also keeping the 7.5 score I gave it in mind. Besides being soothing, creating great ambiance, being easy to watch and having such a great setting, there isn’t much extraordinary about this series. There’s little to no progression in the story and the comedy isn’t funny (although not annoying either).
tl;dr: One of the two best stress-relieving anime I’ve ever watched.
Omgs T_T It’s only now that I realize this is far from being a mini-review. Always the case with writing, it’s easy once you've made a start.
Ambiance - 8.5/10
Relaxation - 9.5/10
Funnies - 5.5/10