Aria the Animation

TV (13 eps)
2005
Fall 2005
3.854 out of 5 from 4,599 votes
Rank #2,183

Neo Venezia, the pride of planet Aqua, is a quaint city filled with canals and easy-going people. Many companies operate their gondolas on the canals, giving tours to tourists and locals alike, but the most famous of them is the Aria Company. Follow the adventures of Aria's young apprentice, Akari, as she learns the tricks of the trade from her beautiful senior, Alicia. Together with her friends Aika and Alice, apprentices of rival companies, and their seniors Akira and Athena, they train their skills as gondoliers, meeting new people and learning new things about the city each day.

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That Wonderful Miracle…

Episode 1

That Wonderful Miracle…

On That Special Day...

Episode 2

On That Special Day...

With That Transparent Young Girl...

Episode 3

With That Transparent Young Girl...

That Undeliverable Letter...

Episode 4

That Undeliverable Letter...

To That Island Which Shouldn't Exist...

Episode 5

To That Island Which Shouldn't Exist...

That Which You Want to Protect...

Episode 6

That Which You Want to Protect...

Doing That Wonderful Job...

Episode 7

Doing That Wonderful Job...

That Melancholy President... / That Cool Hero...

Episode 8

That Melancholy President... / That Cool Hero...

That Starlike Fairy...

Episode 9

That Starlike Fairy...

That Warm Holiday...

Episode 10

That Warm Holiday...

Those Orange Days...

Episode 11

Those Orange Days...

That Soft Wish...

Episode 12

That Soft Wish...

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Reviews

Qplayer
8.5

Disclaimer: This review is about all 3 seasons of Aria. The scores correspond to the franchise as a whole. There seems to be a prevalent idea among reviewers of this anime that Aria is an anime about nothing. In fact, sothis said in her recommendation for Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou that Aria was a show about “absolutely nothing” and said you'd like it if you like “series where nothing happens.” I will respectfully say to the owner of this website that I cannot possibly disagree more. Aria is not an anime about nothing. No one would put effort into creating a piece of entertainment if it were about nothing. Aria is about the little things in life that often go overlooked, in particular, the small things in life that make it worth living and, taken together, can help us find happiness. The author of the series said in her own words “I wrote this Aqua to let you all find that small "happiness" and to make you think. After you've read my work, if there are people who were able to find that "happiness", it would make me the happiest person out there.” In my opinion, there's no better way to summarize the franchise than that. Figure 1: Let's begin The idea that Aria is about nothing comes from the structure of the anime and its genre of storytelling. The anime is mostly episodic, in which each episode deals with a new challenge facing our main characters. Usually they aren't monumental challenges; often they're frivolous things such as treasure hunts or stargazing, things that are done by ordinary kids on ordinary days. The idea of an anime about ordinary things isn't particularly unique either (see: Nichijou, literally “my ordinary life”). What sets Aria apart is that it isn't really a comedy (such as Nichijou or Lucky Star) or a drama (such as Clannad or Kanon). It's really just a portrayal of life without an overarching narrative. In a way, it's like K-on or So-Ra-No-Wo-To, but with a much different setting and different character archetypes. The combination of the setting and the storytelling is really what sets this anime apart. Aria takes place in a nearly utopian future on Mars which has been terraformed to become a replica of the city of Venice, Italy. On the one hand, this setting allows the anime to show the beauty of the city and a nostalgic look at a simpler life. On the other hand, setting the anime in the future on another planet allows for a fresh start, the building of a society without having to worry about what already exists on earth. The way the animation portrays this setting is timeless. The lighter, almost watercolor-esque tones may not be as good as the ones in the manga, but they compliment the setting in its own right. The vast sweeping landscapes when they show full shots of the city are the definition of “scenery porn.”   Figure 2: Scenery porn Of course, you can create the perfect setting, but the anime wouldn't be worth watching without a strong set of core characters. Aria delivers with not just one, but two of my all time favorite sets of anime trios. The first trio is the main cast, Akari, Aika, and Alice, the friend, the hardworker, and the genius. They all have their strengths and weaknesses and therefore face different challenges on their quest to becoming Primas, masters of their tour guide trade. The second trio are their mentors, Alicia, Aikira, and Athena, the mother figure, the strict teacher, and the ditz with a heart of gold. Each character provides their own perspective on how a problem should be faced, but in the end what the characters, and the viewer, learn are valuable life lessons that go beyond the specific skills they need to learn for their work. The anime can be Aesopic at times in this regard, but usually its mature about it (not as many preachy “Dear Princess Celestia” speeches). Finally, what makes this anime work is the overall mood it sets when you watch it. This is an anime that should be used to treat high blood pressure and hypertension because it is just that relaxing. When I watch it it's like listening to one of those meditation music tracks where your heart rate slows down and you feel like you're wrapped in a warm blanket of calmness. The music underscores this mood, which was composed with the intention of conveying abstract ideas rather than specific plot points. Therefore the music works well with the anime or on its own and has created one of my all time favorite original soundtracks. Figure 3: Seriously, even if you don't end up watching the anime give the soundtack a listen  I'd recommend that everyone watch this anime. Yes, everyone. I don't care if all you watch are Michael Bay action movies; this anime will change your perspective on life. The optimistic worldview of this anime will make even the greatest cynic rethink whether or not the world is truly doomed. After all, if someone can dream that humanity can reach these heights, then the only thing left is having people actually do it! I'm not audacious enough to say everyone will like the anime, but at the very least it'll lower your stress level while you're watching it and maybe extend your life by a few minutes as a result. “The fact that there’s many things you don’t know yet means there’s still many wonders out there!” ~Alicia Florence!  

duchessliz
7.5

Aria is an anime with a very calming, laid-back atmosphere. It's soothing and relaxing to watch, but not something to marathon. Aria is the type of anime where you watch only two or three episodes at a time or else that calming, slow pace may come back to bite you in the ass as you will assuredly start to fidget ... wanting a faster pace. I, personally, enjoyed the slower tempo. I took my time with it and enjoyed the growing friendship between Akari, Aika, and Alice as they worked towards becoming Prima's and ultimately well known Undine's. The plot, while episodic, was tied together by the overall main story. I enjoyed each and every episode ... from the carefree ones, to the sad ones, to the mysterious ones, to the ones that deepened the friendship between the girls, etc. The animation, while slightly outdated, was still very lovely and fit Aria admirably. The soundtrack though was absolutely gorgeous! I loved the soft, soothing, breathtakingly lovely OST. It was wonderful! The characters were very endearing! You had the bubbly, slightly clutsy Akari, the very talented but rather blunt and shy Alice who could also be sweet and was definitely adorable, and the upfront, somewhat abrasive, incredibly lively Aika. There were also the Presidents of each company; Presidents Aria, Hime, and Maa whose added warmth and comedy never failed to make me smile. Alicia, Akira, and Athena were the girls wonderful teachers who each had a different style of teaching. Alicia had a very sweet and calming personality and tended to just go with the flow of what was happening around her. Akira was very hands on, strict, brash, and slightly abrasive ... but her heart was in the right place and really only wanted what was best for the girls. Athena was a bit of an airhead who did everything at her own pace, but she had a sweet personality and an incredible singing voice ... the voice of an angel, really. All in all, a wonderful cast of characters. Overall, I had a great time watching Aria. While the slow pace makes it an anime that wouldn't suit everyone ... I, personally, found it suited my taste rather well.

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