Aria (manga)

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This article is about the science fantasy series. For the light novel action series by Chūgaku Akamatsu, see Aria the Scarlet Ammo.
Aria
Aria-1-manga-cover.jpg
Cover of Aria volume 1 as published by Mag Garden, showing Akari Mizunashi
アリア
Genre Drama, Science fiction, Slice of life, Coming of age
Manga
Aqua
Written by Kozue Amano
Published by Enix (former)
Mag Garden (current)
English publisher
Demographic Shōnen/Shōjo
Magazine Monthly Stencil
Original run 20012002
Volumes 2 (List of volumes)
Manga
Aria
Written by Kozue Amano
Published by Mag Garden
English publisher
ADV Manga (former), Tokyopop (current)
Demographic Shōnen[1]
Magazine Monthly Comic Blade
Original run 10 November 2002April 2008
Volumes 12 (List of volumes)
Anime television series
Aria the Animation (Season 1)
Directed by Jun'ichi Satō
Studio Hal Film Maker
Licensed by
Network TXN
Original run 5 October 200528 December 2005
Episodes 13 (List of episodes)
Anime television series
Aria the Natural (Season 2)
Directed by Jun'ichi Satō
Studio Hal Film Maker
Licensed by
Network TXN
Original run 2 April 200626 September 2006
Episodes 26 (List of episodes)
Original video animation
Aria the OVA: Arietta
Directed by Jun'ichi Satō
Written by Jun'ichi Satō
Studio Hal Film Maker
Licensed by
Released 21 September 2007
Runtime 30 minutes
Anime television series
Aria the Origination (Season 3)
Directed by Jun'ichi Satō
Studio Hal Film Maker
Licensed by
Network TXN
Original run 8 January 200831 March 2008
Episodes 13 + 1 (DVD bonus) (List of episodes)
Portal icon Anime and Manga portal

Aria (アリア?) is a utopian science fantasy manga by Kozue Amano. The series was originally titled Aqua (アクア Akua?) when it was published by Enix in the magazine Monthly Stencil, being retitled when it moved to Mag Garden's magazine Comic Blade.[2] Aqua was serialized in Stencil from 2001 to 2002 and collected in two tankōbon volumes. Aria was serialized in Comic Blade from November 2002 to April 2008 and collected in twelve volumes. The series has been adapted as an anime television series, with a first season broadcast in 2005, a second season in 2006, an OVA released September 2007, and a third season in 2008 that ended around the same time as the manga serialization.[3]

ADV Manga released English translations of the first three volumes of Aria in 2004, before dropping the license. Tokyopop then acquired the English-language rights to Aqua as well as Aria. Tokyopop released the two volumes of Aqua on October 2007 and February 2008, and six volumes of Aria between January 2008 and December 2010. The anime is licensed in North America by The Right Stuf International, which released all three seasons a box sets under its Nozomi Entertainment imprint between 30 September 2008 and 2 March 2010.

The series is set in the 24th century on a terraformed Mars, now named Aqua, and follows a young woman named Akari Mizunashi as she trains as an apprentice gondolier (known as Undines). The series has been praised for its calm pacing, optimistic worldview, beautiful art, and, for the anime, the quality of the soundtrack.

Story[edit]

Aqua and Aria take place in the early 24th century, starting in 2301 AD, in the city of Neo-Venezia on the planet Aqua—formerly Mars, which was renamed after being terraformed into a habitable planet covered in oceans around 150 years beforehand.[4] Neo-Venezia, based on Venice in both architecture and atmosphere,[5] is a harbor city of narrow canals instead of streets, traveled by unmotorized gondolas.[6]

At the start of Aqua, a young woman named Akari arrives from Manhome [sic] (formerly Earth) to become a trainee gondolier with Aria Company, one of the three most prestigious water-guide companies in the city. Her dream is to become an undine, a gondolier who acts as a tour guide (see Terms below). As she trains, Akari befriends her mentor Alicia, trainees and seniors from rival companies – Aika, Alice, Akira and Athena and others in the Neo-Venezia city. Aqua covers Akari's arrival on Aqua and her early training as a Pair, or apprentice, while Aria continues her training as a Single, or journeyman, culminating in the graduation of her, Aika, and Alice as full Prima undines.

Each chapter is a slice of life episode of Akari's exploration of the worlds of gondoliering, Neo-Venezia, and Aqua itself.[5] Amano frequently uses several pages of lush art to depict an environment, showing the wonder of both everyday activities as well as one-of-a-kind events. It has been described by reviewers as very similar in tone and effect to Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō.[5][7][8][9]

Main characters[edit]

Aria Company[edit]

Aria Company is a very small water-guide company, with only two employees. Its uniforms are lined with blue, and its president (and namesake) is Aria Pokoteng.

Akari Mizunashi (水無 灯里 Mizunashi Akari?) Voiced by: Erino Hazuki[10]
A native of Japan on Manhome (Earth) who immigrates to Aqua when she is 15 to become an undine. While not as skillful at rowing a gondola as Alice nor as familiar with the history of her adopted city as Aika, Akari makes friends quickly and easily converses with customers and other strangers. She is depicted as optimistic and cheerful,[11] finding enjoyment in things or events that others think humdrum and mundane,[12] for which Aika and Alice call her "mysterious"; in the anime, Aika and Alice separately comment that Akari seems to attract mysterious phenomena to her. Akari often says Hohe or Hahi, which is her short version of "wow." When Akari used gondola simulations on Manhome, she accidentally learned how to row backwards and has to relearn the proper method when she starts at Aria Company; however, as Alicia puts it, "When rowing backward, Akari-chan is unrivaled!"[13]
Most chapters of the manga and episodes of the anime are framed with narration taken from e-mails written by Akari. In the anime, the recipient is a young girl named Ai, a customer in the first episode who becomes Akari's pen pal,[14] but in the manga the recipient is someone she does not name and is referred to as zenryaku but has never seen.
At the start of Aqua, Akari arrives on Aqua as a new Pair (apprentice) at Aria Company. In chapter 5 of Aqua, when Aika is promoted to Single (journeyman), Alicia tests and promotes Akari as well. Later, in chapter 58 of Aria and episode 12 of Aria the Origination, after Aika is promoted to Prima (full undine), Alicia gives Akari the test for Prima. When Akari passes, she is given the title "Aquamarine" (遙かなる蒼 Harukanaru Ao?, lit. "Distant Blue").
Alicia Florence (アリシア·フローレンス Arishia Furōrensu?) Voiced by: Sayaka Ohara[10]
The only other undine with Aria Company, Alicia is one of the Three Water Fairies of Neo-Venezia, known by the title "Snow White" (白き妖精 Shiroki Yōsei?, lit. "White Fairy"). At the start of the series, she is 19 years old and the most popular undine in the city, noted especially for her graceful rowing style. She was promoted to Prima at 15, the youngest ever to do so. Like Akari, she is relaxed and easy-going, but she also likes to tease others, especially her childhood friend Akira. Her favorite phrase is ara ara ("Well Well") and she frequently giggles, to Akira's annoyance.[15] According to Grandma Akino, she is an excellent undine because of her ability to enjoy everything.[16]
At the end of the series, Alicia announces her upcoming marriage (though to whom is never stated) and retirement to take an administrative position with the Gondola Association. She tells Akari she had put off her Prima exam because she had been planning to retire after that, and did not want to leave her student and friend.[17] According to issue No. 6 of Monthly Undine, after her retirement, "Snow White" is designated the 8th "honored appellation" by the Gondola Association, as an undine who made great contributions to the industry.
Akino Ametsuchi (天地 秋乃 Ametsuchi Akino?) , nicknamed "Grandma" (グランマ Guranma?) Voiced by: Yoshiko Matsuo[18][19]
A famous and long-serving Prima undine, who started Aria Company with Aria Pokoteng after realizing she was missing too much of life as Himeya's top ace. She was Prima undine for 30 years and mentor to Alicia, her last disciple, to whom she left the company on her retirement. She is highly respected by younger undines, who call her "Grandma".[20]
Ai (アイ Ai?) Voiced by: Kaori Mizuhashi[10]
A girl from Manhome. In the anime, she befriends Akari in episode 1 and becomes Akari's e-mail correspondent, while visiting Aqua whenever she can. In the manga, she first appears in chapter 60 as Aria Company's newest employee. In both versions, at the end of the series she becomes a Pair under Akari after Alicia's marriage and retirement.
Anna (アンナ Anna?) Voiced by: Risa Hayamizu
A retired undine who trained under Grandma Akino, becoming a Prima before Alicia. She left Aria Company shortly after Alicia was promoted to Prima to marry a fisherman named Alberto. She has a son named Ahito, and she began working lace while she was pregnant with him. She lives with her family on Neo-Burano Island.

Himeya Company[edit]

Main cast as they appear in the third season of the anime: from left to right, Aika, Akari, and Alice

Himeya Company is the oldest and currently second-ranking water-guide company in Neo-Venezia. It employs 80 undines, with a uniform lined with red. Its president is Hime.

Aika S. Granzchesta (藍華·S·グランチェスタ Aika S. Guranchesuta?) Voiced by: Chiwa Saitō[10]
The first friend Akari makes on Aqua, Aika is 16 when they meet. Aika is a Pair and then Single at Himeya Company. She is the only daughter and heir of Himeya Company's owners, but does not enjoy the distinction as she feels the company's employees fawned on her too much.[21] Aika speaks bluntly and often responds to Akari's idealistic comments with "Embarrassing remarks are not allowed!" (恥ずかしいセリフ禁止! Hazukashii serifu kinshi!?).[22] Despite their contrasting personalities, she gets along well with Akari and Alice, but frequently squabbles with her mentor, Akira, whom she resembles.[23] Aika considers herself reliable, especially compared to distractible Akari and antisocial Alice,[24] but both her friends call her a crybaby for her tendency to tear up when emotional. She is proud of her gondola skill as an undine, and can be very competitive about it. She also greatly admires Alicia, and finds any excuse to visit Aria Company—and once tells Akari that if not for her family obligations, she would have joined Aria Company.[25] Over the course of the series, Aika develops feelings for Al.
In chapter 58, Aika becomes a Prima, taking the title "Rosen Queen" (薔薇の女王 Bara no Joō?, lit. "Queen of Roses"). She takes charge of a newly opened Himeya branch office, in preparation for one day taking on the whole company.
Akira E. Ferrari (晃·E·フェラーリ Akira E. Ferāri?) Voiced by: Junko Minagawa[10]
One of Neo-Venezia's Three Water Fairies, and a native of Aqua. As a Prima undine, Akira is called the "Crimson Rose" (真紅の薔薇 Shinku no Bara?) and is famed for her conversational skills. She has many admirers among her customers, especially her female ones,[26] but she considers herself very feminine.[27] In flashbacks, Akira is shown as very tomboyish when young, to the point of using a male pronoun for "I" ( ore?) (see gender differences in spoken Japanese) and being mistaken for a boy by Akatsuki. Akira is mentor to Aika, who calls her the Demon Instructor for her strictness and her loud, brusque personality.[28] Akira is particularly harsh with Aika because she believes there is potential in her, and Aika admits that it is only due to Akira's strictness and honesty that she has become a good undine.[28]
Akira and Alicia are childhood friends, and their relationship mirrors Aika and Akari's, though Alicia teases Akira far more than Akari does Aika. Akira still resents that Alicia became a Prima before her.[29] Upon Alicia's retirement at the end of the series, Akira becomes the undisputed top undine in Neo-Venezia.
Ayumi K. Jasmine (アユミ·K·ジャスミン Ayumi K. Jasumin?) Voiced by: Ryoko Shiraishi
Ayumi is a cheerful Single for Himeya Company, who often works as a traghetto rower with Atora and Anzu from Orange Planet. Unlike many undines, Ayumi doesn't plan to become a Prima because she wants to specialize on the traghetto, which gets her involved with the city and its people as well as lets her make money.

Orange Planet[edit]

Supporting cast as they appear in the anime: from left to right, in front President Aria, Mr. Postman, President Hime, Ai, Alicia, and Al; in back "Grandma" Akino, Akira, Athena, Akatsuki, and Woody

Orange Planet is the largest water-guide company in Neo-Venezia, employing 81 undines (including 20 Primas). Its uniforms are lined with yellow, and its president is Maa.

Alice Carroll (アリス·キャロル Arisu Kyaroru?) Voiced by: Ryō Hirohashi[10]
Alice is an undine for Orange Planet. She first appears (in volume 3 of Aria/episode 3 of Aria the Animation) as a standoffish, detached girl of 14.[30] Aika later describes her as anti-social and complains about her tendency put on a grim face and speak in a quiet voice. Alice speaks in a deadpan manner, though she frequently uses dekkai (でっかい?, literally, "huge") as an intensifier. Although initially only a Pair, her rowing already surpasses both Aika and Akari's—for which skill she was scouted by Orange Planet despite her young age.[31] Despite working for rival companies, Alice, Akari, and Aika often practice together, and Alice sincerely enjoys the others' company, though this does not stop her from telling them to be quiet when they argue. Because of her age and lower status, Aika often addresses her as "kōhai-chan" (後輩ちゃん?, "junior" said in a friendly manner). Through her friendship with Akari and Aika, Alice lightens up as the series progresses, though she still struggles with her detachment.[32]
For a long time, Alice is not confident in singing skills, until Athena advises her simply enjoy what she sings and not worry about her performance. In volume 11 of Aria, after Alice graduates from middle school, she is promoted to Prima straight from Pair, the first undine to do so, and is given the title "Orange Princess" (黄昏の姫君 Tasogare no Himegimi?, lit. "Twilight Princess"). Her name comes from Lewis Carroll, author of Alice in Wonderland.
Athena Glory (アテナ·グローリィ Atena Gurōrī?) Voiced by: Tomoko Kawakami[10]
One of Neo-Venezia's Three Water Fairies, known by the title "Siren" (天上の謳声 Tenjō no Utagoe?, lit. "Heavenly Voice") for her beautiful singing voice. She is Alice's mentor at Orange Planet. She is quiet most of the time and often appears to be an airhead who does not pay attention to her surroundings (in the anime, she is shown more than once forgetting to duck while rowing under a bridge), but she genuinely cares about Alice. Athena has a strange laugh that comes out sounding as though she is angry. She was a trainee undine with Alicia and Akira, and joined them in joint practice sessions much like Akari, Aika, and Alice do now. At the conclusion of the series, Athena semi-retires from being an undine in order to debut as an opera singer.
Atora Monteverdi (アトーラ·モンテヴェルディ Atōra Monteverudi?) Voiced by: Houko Kuwashima
Atora is a Single for Orange Planet and often works as a traghetto rower with Anzu as well as Ayumi from Himeya Company. Atora took the Prima exam once, but did not pass and became too discouraged to try again. After meeting Akari during her stint on the traghetto, she decides to train harder to retake the exam.
Anzu Yumeno (夢野 杏 Yumeno Anzu?) Voiced by: Kana Asumi
Anzu is a Single for Orange Planet and often works as a traghetto rower with Atora as well as Ayumi from Himeya Company. Although Anzu has failed her Prima exam several times, she continues to work hard at it and is determined to become a Prima.

Cats[edit]

Because blue-eyed cats are considered lucky on Aqua, all undine companies have a blue-eyed cat as a mascot, who is given the title President.[33] Cats on Aqua have been bred to be as intelligent as humans, though they cannot speak.[34]

President Aria Pokoteng (アリア·ポコテン Aria Pokoten?) Voiced by: Chinami Nishimura[10]
President and namesake of Aria Company, and an Aqua cat. Aria is large and fat, massing 10 kg.[35] He is attracted to President Hime, who does not appear to reciprocate his sentiments; his pursuit of her is a common comic relief scene.
President Hime M. Granzchesta (ヒメ·M·グランチェスタ Hime M. Guranchesuta?) Voiced by: Kaori Mizuhashi[36]
President of Himeya Company, a small, delicate, black female cat from Manhome.[37] "Hime" means princess in Japanese.
President Maa (まぁ?) Voiced by: Akeno Watanabe[38]
President of Orange Planet, an Aqua kitten with very tiny blue eyes.[39] Alice calls her "Maa-kun" after her unusual meow.[40] Maa often bites President Aria's belly. The volume 8, Special Navigation, an annual President checkup reveals that Maa is actually a female cat and much attracted to President Aria.
Cait Sith (猫妖精 Kyeto Shii?)
A very large cat with mysterious powers, said to be Cat Sìth from Scottish folklore. He has been the king of the cat kingdom in Aqua for at least 100 years. In the anime, Alicia and Akari suggest that he is the spiritual guardian of Aqua. Jun'ichi Satō, the director of the anime, claimed that his interpretation is "a little different from the original manga's interpretation.". It is revealed that he is penpal of Akari in the end of the manga.

Other characters[edit]

Akatsuki Izumo (出雲 暁 Izumo Akatsuki?) Voiced by: Hirofumi Nojima[18]
Akari's first customer as a Single. He is a tall, impatient young man who calls Akari "Pigtails" or "Sideburns" (momiko) to tease her.[41] He works as an apprentice Salamander, someone who helps maintain Aqua's climate in the floating buildings that are tethered overhead. Although drawn like a typical bishōnen, his constant scowl combined with a loose-fitting robe usually cover up his more "attractive" features, which he rarely displays. Akatsuki has an older brother who teases him to the point of rage.
Akatsuki is not on the ground often, so every visit to the surface is an adventure for him. He claims to be in love with Alicia,[42] though Alicia and his older brother suggest that he is really attracted to Akari.[43] In any case, every visit to Neo-Venezia, no matter his official reason, he spends most of his time with Akari.
Udo Ayanokohji the 51st (綾小路宇土51世?) Voiced by: Yuji Ueda[44][45]
More commonly known as "Woody." Woody is a Sylph who delivers packages and other goods to people in Neo-Venezia. He has a bad sense of direction and cannot navigate without a map.[46] His physique is well-built, and he is usually seen wearing goggles. He was childhood friends with both Akatsuki and Al.
Albert "Al" Pitt (アルバート·ピット Arubāto Pitto?) Voiced by: Akeno Watanabe[47]
Al is a Gnome, a person who lives underground regulating Aqua's gravity so that it is the same as Manhome's.[48] Gnomes rarely come to the surface except to shop. He looks younger than Akari and Aika, but he is actually three years older. His young appearance is due to the stronger gravity underground making him smaller. He and Aika start dating near the end of the series.[citation needed]
Namihei Anno (庵野波平 Anno Namihei?) / Mr. Postman (郵便屋さん Yūbin'ya-san?) Voiced by: Motomu Kiyokawa[44][45]
An elderly mailman in Neo-Venezia, called Mailman-san or Mr. Postman by Akari. He is the first person that Akari meets after arriving on Aqua. He is a kind man who is devoted to his work and his younger co-workers. Akari does not learn his name until near the end of the series, when he hires her for a gondola ride after retiring from his job.

Terms[edit]

Several terms of the world of Aqua are derived from elemental mythology:[49]

Undine (水先案内人 Undīne?)
A female gondolier acting as a refined tour guide for visitors to Neo-Venezia.
Pair (ペア Pea?)
An apprentice undine who has just begun practising sculling a gondola. A Pair is recognized by her pair of gloves, worn to protect her hands as she builds up calluses. When a Pair is promoted to Single, she removes one glove.[50] This is translated by Nozomi and ADV as "Pair", and by Tokyopop as "apprentice".
Single (シングル Shinguru?)
A journeyman undine qualified to take customers only under supervision. So-called because she wears only one glove.[50] This is translated by Nozomi and ADV as "Single", and by Tokyopop as "journeyman".
Prima (プリマ Purima?)
A fully qualified undine. A Prima does not wear gloves.[50] This is translated by Nozomi and ADV as "Prima", and by Tokyopop as "full-fledged Undine".[51]
Salamander (火炎之番人 Saramandā?)
A person working at controlling the weather and adding heat to the atmosphere as part of terraforming Aqua. Salamanders live in floating islands tethered at high altitude.
Gnome (地重管理人 Nōmu?)
A person working underground to regulate the gravity of Aqua, so that it is as strong as Manhome (Earth). Because of their environment, most gnomes are short and have bad eyesight.[48]
Sylph (風追配達人 Shirufu?)
A person who makes deliveries by air bike. Deliveries are done by air in Neo-Venezia because only unpowered watercraft such as gondolas are allowed in the smaller canals of the city.[52]
Traghetto
A gondola designed to ferry a number of people across the Grand Canal. Because of its size and the number of passengers, the gondola is rowed by two Singles.
Three Water Fairies (水の三大妖精?)
Neo-Venezia's three most accomplished undines at the time of the series: Alicia Florence, Akira E. Ferrari, and Athena Glory.[28]

Development[edit]

Photograph of the Palazzo Ducale in Venice, seen from the sea
Doge's Palace in Venice as seen from the sea
Drawing of the Palazzo Ducale, with a spaceship behind, and a gondola loading passengers in the foreground
The equivalent location in Neo-Venezia (from Aria volume 5, Navigation 24)

According to her original afterword to Aqua volume 2, Kozue Amano's goal in writing the series was to have readers find happiness in small things and so not focus on their failures.[53] In another afterword, she stated that writing Aria has forced her to pay attention to the four seasons and that she hopes the series shows her appreciation for them.[54] Amano developed a 24 month calendar system for Aqua,[55] based on Mars's real orbital period of 668.6 local days (see Timekeeping on Mars), making every season 6 months long; Amano marked the passage of time and the seasons throughout the series through such means as Akari explicitly telling her correspondent the time of year[56] and depicting seasonal observances such as fireworks at the end of summer (Aqua volume 2, Navigation 9 and Aria volume 4, Navigation 20), New Year's Eve (Aria volume 2, Navigation 9), or birthdays of characters (Aria volume 10, Navigation 46).

In the universe of Aqua and Aria, Neo-Venezia's builders modeled it after the city of Venice before its demise in the 21st century,[57] including counterparts to such public landmarks as the Piazza San Marco and the Bridge of Sighs. In creating Neo-Venezia, Amano also based some of the fictional locations of the series on real Venetian locations.[58] Examples include:

  • The Aria Company headquarters corresponds to the location of a vaporetto stop.[59]
  • The Himeya Company headquarters is based on the Danieli Hotel, located on the southern promonade, near Piazza San Marco.[60]

Other locations on Aqua that Amano based on real places include the Japanese shrine visited in Aria volume 1, based on Fushimi Inari-taisha near Kyoto.[61]

Adaptation as an anime[edit]

As part of the preparations for first season of the anime adaptation, the production crew led by director Jun'ichi Satō made a trip to Venice for location research. As a result of filming the movements of gondoliers sculling, they had to redraw the animation of undines rowing in the first episodes to make it realistic.[62] Satō reported that seeing a gondolier use his paddle to toss a bottle out of the water inspired the scene in episode 11 of Aria the Animation where Alicia does the same with a ball, which was not in the manga.[63] As part of the production company's commitment to adapting the manga faithfully and gesture of consideration toward the voice actors, they provided the collected volumes of Aqua and Aria to date, rather than requiring them to purchase their own or giving stacks of photocopies.[64][65]

According to Jun'ichi Satō, it was a struggle to fit the available material into the 13 episodes of the first season, which focused closely on Akari.[66] The title of the second season, Aria the Natural, came about because he had 26 episodes to work with, letting him treat the story in a more "natural" manner,[67] allowing the series to develop other characters more.[68]

Choro Club and Takeshi Senoo composed 30 works of music for the first season of the anime and 15 for the second.[69] Jun'ichi Satō and sound designer Yasuno Satō assigned Choro Club and Takeshi Senoo abstract themes instead of plot points,[70][71] which was an unfamiliar method for the composers, who did not have much experience working for anime shows. Takeshi Senoo and the three members of Choro Club make a cameo appearance as musicians in episode 23 of Aria the Natural.[72] Jun'ichi Satō has commented that the lyrics for the songs "Barracole" and "Coccolo", sung by Eri Kawai as the voice of Athena Glory, were gibberish. The lyrics for the first two seasons' theme songs were also initially meant to be gibberish,[73] but after reading the manga Eri Kawai decided to write Japanese lyrics: "I read the original manga and wrote the lyrics, using my image of Neo-Venezia as a starting point. Then did my best to match words that flowed with the melody."[74] Kawai made demo recordings for Yui Makino as a guide for her performance of the theme songs.[75] Takeshi Senoo has described "Smile Again," the second ending theme song of Aria the Natural, as a song about the end of summer, and envisioned it being sung by Erino Hazuki as Akari.[76]

Media[edit]

Manga[edit]

Main article: List of Aria chapters

The manga was written and illustrated by Kozue Amano, and has a complicated publishing history. Aqua was originally published by Enix in Monthly Stencil magazine from 2001 to 2002 and collected in two tankōbon volumes. When the series moved to Mag Garden's Comic Blade magazine in November 2002, the title changed to Aria. Mag Garden later re-released the two volumes of Aqua with additional material and new covers.[2] Serialization completed in April 2008. In all, the 70 serialized chapters of Aqua and Aria were collected in 14 tankōbon volumes, each volume containing five chapters covering a season of the year. Each volume is called a "voyage" and each chapter a "navigation."

In English, Aria (but not Aqua) was originally licensed by ADV Manga, who dropped the license after publishing three volumes.[5] The North American license for Aqua and Aria was picked up by Tokyopop,[77][78] which began releasing the series starting with the first volume of Aqua.[79] The series has been licensed in France by Kami,[80][81] in Germany by Tokyopop Germany,[82][83] in Italy by Star Comics,[84][85] in Indonesia by M&C Comics,[86][87] in South Korea by Bookbox,[88] in Spain by Editorial Ivrea,[89] in Taiwan by Tong Li Comics,[90] and in Thailand by Bongkoch Comics.[91][92]

Anime[edit]

Main article: List of Aria episodes

Aqua and Aria were adapted by Hal Film Maker as a 54-episode anime television series comprising two seasons titled Aria the Animation and Aria the Natural, an original video animation (OVA) titled Aria the OVA: Arietta, and a third season titled Aria the Origination. The series was directed by Jun'ichi Satō with character designs by Makoto Koga, and broadcast on the TV Tokyo Network between 2005 and 2008. All three seasons have been released on DVD in Japan.[93] The series broadcast in Italy on the Rai 4,[94] and in Philippine on QTV 11.[citation needed]

The series is licensed in North America by The Right Stuf International. A DVD box set of the English subtitled first season was released on 30 September 2008 under its Nozomi Entertainment imprint.[95] The second season was released in two box sets on 29 January and 24 March 2009.[96][97] The third season box set, including the Arietta OVA and the bonus episode numbered 5.5, was released on 2 March 2010.[98] The series is licensed in Korea by Animax Asia,[99][100] in Taiwan by Muse Communications,[101] in France by Kaze,[102] and in Italy by Yamato Video.[103]

Soundtracks[edit]

Several soundtrack albums were released for Aria, including an album for each of the three seasons of the anime, two piano music collections, a song collection, and a tribute album. Singles were released for the opening and closing themes for all three anime seasons, the OVA, and the two visual novel adaptations. Most of the releases charted on the Oricon charts, with the highest ranking album being Aria the Natural Vocal Song Collection at 30th,[104] and the highest ranking single being "Euforia", the opening theme for Aria the Natural, at 18th.[105]

Drama CDs[edit]

Four series of drama CDs have been released. The first series was produced before the anime began and uses different voice actors; the other three were produced in conjunction with the three seasons of the anime, using the anime voice actors.

  • The first series comprises two volumes dramatizing episodes from the early volumes of Aria, released 25 August 2004[106] and 24 August 2005,[107] and one volume dramatizing episodes from Aqua, released 22 September 2005.[108]
  • The second series was produced in conjunction with Aria the Animation. It comprises three volumes titled Blue, Red, and Orange, after the uniform colors of Aria Company, Himeya Company, and Orange Planet, which were released 25 November 2005,[109] 22 December 2005,[110] and 25 January 2006,[111] respectively. Red and Orange peak ranked 237th and 161st on the Oricon albums chart respectively.[112][113] A drama CD box containing the second series was released for 27 July 2009, including a new drama CD as bonus material,[114] and peak ranked 62nd on Oricon albums chart.[115]
  • The third series was produced in conjunction with Aria the Natural. It comprises two volumes released 23 June 2006[116] and 21 July 2006.[117] The first and second volumes peak ranked 132nd and 166th on the Oricon albums chart, respectively.[118][119] A drama CD box containing the third series was released for 27 January 2010, including a new drama CD as bonus material,[120] and peak ranked 82nd on Oricon albums chart.[121]
  • The fourth series was produced in conjunction with Aria the Origination. It comprises three volumes titled Yuki ("snow"), Tsuki ("moon"), and Hana ("flower"), released 21 March 2008,[122] 23 April 2008,[123] and 21 May 2008,[124] respectively. Yuki, Tsuki and Hana peak ranked 87th, 55th, and 48th on the Oricon albums chart, respectively.[125][126][127]

Additional drama CDs were included as bonus materials for each volume of Aria Perfect Guide.

Radio CDs[edit]

An Aria radio show called Aria the Station was broadcast on Internet through onsen.ag and Animate in conjunction with the three seasons of the anime.[128][129] The 115 episodes were later compiled on "radio CDs" released in three seasons. Each volume contains a CD-ROM with the radio episodes in MP3 format plus an audio CD containing additional material. The radio show starred Erino Hazuki as Akari Mizunashi and Chinami Nishimura as President Aria Pokoteng, with other voice actors from the anime as guests reprising their respective roles.[130]

  • The 12 episodes of the first season were collected on one album called Aria the Station Neo-Venezia Informale, released on 29 September 2006.[131]
  • The 51 episodes of the second season, Aria the Station Due were collected on four volumes. The first volume, numbered Cour.1, was released on 24 November 2006;[132] the second, Cour.2, on 29 December 2006;[133] Cour.3 on 23 February 2007;[134] and Cour.4 on 25 May 2007.[135]
  • The 52 episodes of the third season, Aria the Station Tricolore, were collected the four volumes. The first volume, numbered Cour.1, was released on 28 September 2007;[136] the second, Cour.2, on 21 December 2007;[137] Cour.3 on 28 March 2008;[138] and Cour.4 on 27 June 2008.[139]

Video games[edit]

The Alchemist company produced two visual novel video games for the PS2 based on Aria. Both were released in regular and special editions on the same day.

  • Aria the Natural: Tooi Yume no Mirage ("Mirage of a Distant Dream") was released 28 September 2006.[140] This was later re-released on 6 March 2008 as part of the Alchemist Best Collection.[140]
  • Aria the Origination: Aoi Hoshi no El Cielo ("The Sky Over the Blue Planet") was released 26 June 2008.[141] It ranked 30th for its first release week on Famitsu sells chart with 7221 copies sold.[142]

Other books[edit]

Art books[edit]

Four art books were published by Mag Garden containing drawings and sketches for Aqua and Aria by Kozue Amano:

Mag Garden published a fifth art book containing additional artwork used in the anime, video games, drama CDs, and merchandising:

In addition, three poster books have been published, each containing ten A2-format posters:

Guide books[edit]

Four guide books to Aria have been released by Mag Garden:

  • The first guide book, Aria Navigation Guide (ISBN 978-4-86127-212-7), released 29 October 2005,[156] is focused on the manga. It includes background materials, character profiles, and a summary of the series by chapter from the start of Aqua through volume 7 of Aria.[157]
  • Three guide books cover the three seasons of the anime, containing episode summaries, descriptions of primary and secondary characters, and other anime-related materials. Each books also contains a bonus manga chapter and a drama CD. Aria the Animation Perfect Guide Book (ISBN 978-4-86127-263-9) was released 29 March 2006,[158] Aria the Natural Perfect Guide Book (ISBN 978-4-86127-327-8) was released 22 December 2006,[159][160] and Aria the Origination Perfect Guide Book (ISBN 978-4-86127-510-4) was released 30 July 2008.[161]

Additionally Shinkigesha published guide books for each of Alchemist's two Aria video games, containing background materials, character profiles, and plot summaries covering all outcomes of the game:

Novels[edit]

Aria has also been adapted as series of light novels published by Mag Garden, with two released as of December 2008:

Monthly Undine[edit]

Monthly Undine is a spin-off facsimile of the undine-focused magazine mentioned in the Aria universe. Six issues of Monthly Undine has been released as of March 2008, with a different character on the cover, each containing collectible item. First three magazines contain, a toy house parts with Himeya's Akira and Aika, a toy house parts with Aria Company's Alice and Akari, a toy house parts with Orange Planet's Athena and Alice respectively. When the three magazines' collectible items (toy houses parts) combined, they formed an "ARIA Company".[167]

Issue Cover character ISBN Release date
No. 1 Akira E. Ferrari ISBN 978-4-86127-268-4 10 July 2006[168]
No. 2 Alicia Florence[169] ISBN 978-4-86127-269-1 18 July 2006[170]
No. 3 Athena Glory[169] ISBN 978-4-86127-270-7 24 July 2006[171]
No. 4 Alice Carroll[172] ISBN 978-4-86127-449-7 10 March 2008[173]
No. 5 Aika S. Granzchesta[172] ISBN 978-4-86127-450-3 21 March 2008[174]
No. 6 Akari Mizunashi[172] ISBN 978-4-86127-451-0 31 March 2008[175]

The President Cat Picture books[edit]

In March 2007, Mag Garden published a series of three Aria picture books. Each hardcover book contains a full-color short manga story focused on a cat president, and included an additional collectible item written and illustrated by Amano Kozue.[176]

Sheet Music[edit]

Shinko Music published a selection of sheet music called Aria the Best Selection (ISBN 978-4-401-02030-0) in July 2008. It contained the themes from the three anime seasons of Aria.[180]

Reception[edit]

Akari and Aika lost inside a flooded warehouse complex (from Aqua volume 1)

In Japan, new volumes of Aria routinely reached the best-seller list for manga,[5] and had sold over 3 million copies as of July 2007, representing 11% of all manga volumes ever sold by its publisher to date.[181] In 2009, this number increased to 4 million.[182]

The English translation of the Aria manga was described by a reviewer at The Comics Journal as "quite conceivably the best comics series ever created for elementary-school girls," calling it "a masterpiece of storytelling and illustration, gorgeous to look at and a feast for the young imagination in its ability to present an inviting, fully realized world."[5] Aqua and Aria together have been praised for their joyful calm,[183][184][185] vividly depicted futuristic world,[186] moments of magic,[185][187] and sense of whimsy.[186][187][188] Amano's artwork is praised for her crisp lines and details, especially in the backgrounds and landscapes.[188][189] Amano has also been criticized for confusingly giving every character a name that begins with A,[185][187][190] for letting some slice-of-life stories "drift too far out,"[184] and for making Akari's character too sweet and effusive.[191]

In 2006, the anime of Aria was ranked in the top 100 animated television series of all time in a poll by TV Asahi.[192] As of June 2007, the two first seasons of the anime adaptation had sold more than 300,000 DVDs.[181]

The anime has been praised for its quiet atmosphere,[193][194][195] beautiful visuals,[196] especially the backgrounds and character designs,[197] and exceptional soundtrack.[198][199] Anime News Network described the first season as "a gorgeous future fantasy populated with loveable characters," where "each episode is a finely fashioned tone poem steeped in a love of the slow rhythms of everyday life and told with an elegant self-possession that places it light-years beyond the vulgar moralizing of most "uplifting" stories."[193] IGN contrasted Aria with Maria-sama ga Miteru as another series where not much happens, noting that "Maria-sama ratchets up the tension level whenever possible, though, and never mind that all the drama revolves around something completely inconsequential. Aria, on the other hand, is calm and relaxed. It freely admits that the plot is not the point."[200] Several reviewers cited the characters as key to the appeal of the series,[195][201][202][203] though some criticized the characters as unrealistic;[204] the voice acting of Erino Hazuki (Akari) and Junko Minagawa (Akira) were particularly praised.[205][206] Several reviewers point out that the series does not fit all tastes, being a slow-paced drama with an optimistic outlook.[207][208][209][210]

References[edit]

  1. ^ This is the identified demographic of Comic Blade; see "Mangaoh's page for magazines" (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 23 December 2007. Retrieved 1 January 2008. 
  2. ^ a b Thompson, Jason (2007). Manga: The Complete Guide. New York: Del Rey. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-345-48590-8. 
  3. ^ "Aria Manga to End in 60th Installment in Japan in 2008". Anime News Network. 27 December 2007. Archived from the original on 19 January 2008. Retrieved 20 January 2008. 
  4. ^ Amano, Kozue (January 2008). "Navigation 01: Neo-Venezia". Aria volume 1. Tokyopop. ISBN 978-1-4278-0510-2. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Dirk Deppey (24 January 2007). "ADV's Abandoned Manga". The Comics Journal. Retrieved 22 January 2010. [dead link]
  6. ^ Beveridge, Chris (1 October 2008). "Aria The Animation Season 1 Collection". Mania.com. Archived from the original on 2 December 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2009. The people who came to live here took Venice as its model and have carved out a very ancient looking city but one that is brimming with life and character. People who live here from birth are obviously quite adjusted to it, with its lack of roads and mainland transportation, and find moving about its small streets and using gondolas as something that is extremely nature. 
  7. ^ Northlander. "Manga review – Aria". Uknighted Manganime. Archived from the original on 13 August 2007. Retrieved 11 September 2007. 
  8. ^ Høgset, Stig. "Aria the Origination". T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews. Archived from the original on 17 December 2008. Retrieved 4 January 2009. Much like when I finished the Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou manga, the ending of Aria fills me with a certain sense of melancholia as much as happiness over having been given the chance to view it in its entirety. 
  9. ^ Colié, G. (5 January 2007). "Aqua 1. Tome 1" (in French). BD Gest'. Retrieved 23 July 2009. Ici, pas de méchant, pas de combats, même les actions évoluent au rythme de la ville: flottantes et imprécises ... À classer quelque part entre Yotsuba & et Yokohama Kaidashi Kikô. (Here, there is no meanness, no combats, just stories evolving with the rhythm of the city: floating and timeless ... To be classed as somewhere between Yotsuba&! and Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō.) 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h "TVアニメーション「ARIA The ORIGINATION」公式サイト – Cast/Staff" (in Japanese). AriaCompany.net. Retrieved 27 March 2009. 
  11. ^ Kimlinger, Carl (25 October 2008). "Aria The Animation Sub. DVD – Season 1". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2 January 2009. It's a fantasy of course—no where in the real world does as idyllic a city as Neo-Venezia or as indefatigably positive a person as Akari exist—but it's a gorgeous, seductive fantasy. 
  12. ^ Høgset, Stig. "Aria the Natural". T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews. Archived from the original on 17 December 2008. Retrieved 4 January 2009. Akari is.... well, still being Akari; cheerful and optimistic to a fault, eagerly taking in everything her environment has to offer. 
  13. ^ Amano, Kozue (February 2008). "Navigation 06: My First Customer". Aqua volume 2. Tokyopop. p. 36. ISBN 978-1-4278-0313-9. 
  14. ^ Beveridge, Chris (1 October 2008). "Aria The Animation Season 1 Collection". Mania.com. Archived from the original on 2 December 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2009. Ai is the simple cute character that's designed to be our introductory eyes into the world. When she returns to Manhome Akari keeps writing her in email about her exploits and those that she meets, just like writing in a diary. These pieces are done as narration here and there, not always at the end, where Akari talks about what she's experienced and Ai even has some dialogue in return about how she can't wait to visit again. 
  15. ^ Amano, Kozue (September 2008). "Navigation 14: Three Major Fairies". Aria volume 3. Tokyopop. p. 119. ISBN 978-1-4278-0512-6. 
  16. ^ Amano, Kozue (December 2008). "Navigation 19: The Legendary Major Fairy". Aria volume 4. Tokyopop. p. 133. ISBN 978-1-4278-0513-3. 
  17. ^ Amano, Kozue (March 2008). "Navigation 59: The Future (未来 Mirai?)". Aria volume 12 (in Japanese). Mag Garden. ISBN 978-4-86127-482-4. 
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  20. ^ Amano, Kozue (December 2008). "Navigation 19: The Legendary Major Fairy". Aria volume 4. Tokyopop. p. 111. ISBN 978-1-4278-0513-3. 
  21. ^ Amano, Kozue (September 2008). "Navigation 14: Three Major Fairies". Aria volume 3. Tokyopop. p. 133. ISBN 978-1-4278-0512-6. 
  22. ^ D. F. Smith (24 November 2008). "Aria – Season One DVD Review". IGN. Retrieved 2 January 2009. Aika, Akari's best friend and fellow undine-in-training, has to tell her to stop being such a wide-eyed grinning sap maybe two or three times each episode. 
  23. ^ Beveridge, Chris (1 October 2008). "Aria The Animation Season 1 Collection". Mania.com. Archived from the original on 2 December 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2009. The initial focus is spent on getting us used to Aika and her instructor Akira. The two are definitely alike and Aika is absorbing a lot of Akira's traits, though some of them she seems to come by quite naturally. Akira is rather feisty by nature and that pushes against Aika, though Aika is almost much the same way which is why it subconsciously irritates her. 
  24. ^ Amano, Kozue (September 2005). "Navigation 35: Hair, Hairpin, and Me (髪とヘヤピンと私 Kami to Heyapin to Watashi?)". Aria volume 7 (in Japanese). Mag Garden. pp. 140–141. ISBN 978-4-86127-194-6. 
  25. ^ Amano, Kozue (September 2008). "Navigation 14: Three Major Fairies". Aria volume 3. Tokyopop. p. 125. ISBN 978-1-4278-0512-6. 
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  27. ^ Amano, Kozue (July 2006). "Navigation 42: Childhood Friend (幼なじみ Osananajimi?)". Aria volume 9 (in Japanese). Mag Garden. p. 83. ISBN 978-4-86127-282-0. 
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  29. ^ Amano, Kozue (September 2008). "Navigation 14: Three Water Fairies". Aria. Volume 3. Tokyopop. p. 118. ISBN 978-1-4278-0512-6. 
  30. ^ Høgset, Stig. "Aria the Animation". T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews. Archived from the original on 17 December 2008. Retrieved 4 January 2009. [w]e also have another quiet and, at the beginning, out of touch with herself girl in Alice 
  31. ^ Hal Film Maker (2008). Aria the Animation, Episode 3: "With That Transparent Young Girl ... " (Aria The Animation DVD box set (DVD 1/4)). USA: Nozomi Entertainment. 
  32. ^ Høgset, Stig. "Aria the Natural". T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews. Archived from the original on 17 December 2008. Retrieved 4 January 2009. Alice does occasionally get her own episode. Being the youngest of the undines – of ALL of the undines, even – her episodes usually touches on the topics of her fights against loneliness and her relationship with the other undines in Orange Planet, but most importantly against herself. 
  33. ^ Amano, Kozue (2007). "Navigation 03: The City Submerged". Aqua volume 1. Tokyopop. p. 92. ISBN 978-1-4278-0312-2. 
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  36. ^ Kaori Mizuhashi (voice actor) (2009). Himeya Roundtable Discussion (Aria The Natural DVD Collection part 2 (Extra DVD)). USA: Nozomi Entertainment. Event occurs at 0:11. I'm Kaori Mizuhashi, the voice of President Hime. 
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  38. ^ Akeno Watanabe (voice actor) (2009). Orange Planet Roundtable Discussion (Aria The Natural DVD Collection part 2 (Extra DVD)). USA: Nozomi Entertainment. Event occurs at 0:11. I'm Akeno Watanabe the voice of President Maa. 
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  40. ^ Amano, Kozue (January 2005). "Navigation 29: Lost Child (迷子 Maigo?)". Aria volume 6 (in Japanese). Mag Garden. p. 99. ISBN 978-4-86127-110-6. 
  41. ^ As translated by Tokyopop and Nozomi; it is translated as "Pigtails" by ADV.
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  44. ^ a b "Episode 4: That Undeliverable Letter ..." (Credits) (Aria The Animation DVD Collection (DVD 1/4)). USA: Nozomi Entertainment. 2009. Event occurs at 22:52. 
  45. ^ a b "Episode 26: The Fruits Of That Encounter ..." (Credits) (Aria The Natural DVD Collection part 2 (DVD 4/4)). USA: Nozomi Entertainment. 2009. Event occurs at 22:54. 
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  47. ^ Akeno Watanabe (voice actor) (2009). Orange Planet Roundtable Discussion (Aria The Natural DVD Collection part 2 (Extra DVD)). USA: Nozomi Entertainment. Event occurs at 2:27. I'm being interviewed right now as President Maa, but my main part is Al, actually. 
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  53. ^ Amano, Kozue (March 2002). Aqua volume 2 (in Japanese). Enix. p. 177. ISBN 978-4-7575-0647-3. For some reason, bad memories remain longer than good ones. You start to think how unlucky you are. It could be that because you neglect to recognize your happiness, you end up focused on your failures. 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. (反対に幸せなことって 見落としがちだし すぐに馴れて幸せとも 感じなくなっちゃうんだなぁ そんな小さな「幸せ」が 少しでも見つけられたら いいな---なんて思って AQUAを描かせて いただきました この作品を読んだ後で ほんのちょっぴりでも 「幸せ」を感じてくれた人が いてくれたなら...私は 最高の幸せ者です)  This afterward was not included in the Mag Garden reprint or the Tokyopop translation.
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  63. ^ Jun'ichi Satō (Director) (2008). "Venice, I'm Sorry", part 6 (Aria The Animation DVD Collection (DVD 4/4)). USA: Nozomi Entertainment. Event occurs at 12:30. We were just sailing along and a bottle came floating our way. All the sudden, there's this loud noise behind us. When we looked back the bottle was flying through the air and landed on the ground. 
  64. ^ Tomoko Kawakami (voice actor) (2008). "Primas Interview", part 1 (Aria The Animation DVD Collection (DVD 3/4)). USA: Nozomi Entertainment. Event occurs at 3:00 then 3:15. Instead of sending copies, they're usually like, "X volumes are out from X publisher so please buy it and study it on your own." [...] I felt like they were treating me like a lady. 
  65. ^ Sayaka Ohara (voice actor) (2008). "Primas Interview", part 1 (Aria The Animation DVD Collection (DVD 3/4)). USA: Nozomi Entertainment. Event occurs at 3:09 then 3:28. They send stacks of photocopies sometimes too.[...]They were taking good care of us. 
  66. ^ Jun'ichi Satō (Director) (2009). Interview with Director Junichi Saito (Aria The Natural DVD Collection part 1 (Extra DVD)). USA: Nozomi Entertainment. Event occurs at 3:50. In the previous series, the story revolved around the character of Akari. 
  67. ^ Jun'ichi Satō (Director) (2009). Interview with Director Junichi Saito (Aria The Natural DVD Collection part 1 (Extra DVD)). USA: Nozomi Entertainment. Event occurs at 0:56. Well, I wanted things to progress naturally, so that's kind of reason why. 
  68. ^ Jun'ichi Satō (Director) (2009). Interview with Director Junichi Saito (Aria The Natural DVD Collection part 1 (Extra DVD)). USA: Nozomi Entertainment. Event occurs at 4:05. I'd like to incorporate some of those stories about the other characters. 
  69. ^ Yasuno Satō (Sound Designer) (2009). Aria and the world of sound (Aria The Natural DVD Collection part 1 (Extra DVD)). USA: Nozomi Entertainment. Event occurs at 1:22. I had thirty songs composed for "The Animation". For "The Natural" How many songs were there? [...] They composed fifteen songs, so they've composed forty-five songs in total 
  70. ^ Shigeharu Sasago from Choro Club (Music co-director) (2009). Aria and the world of sound (Aria The Natural DVD Collection part 1 (Extra DVD)). USA: Nozomi Entertainment. Event occurs at 3:04. It was very abstract. For example she'd say, "Make the blue sky into a song." She gave us a lot of abstract themes to work with. 
  71. ^ Takeshi Senoo (Music co-director) (2009). Aria and the world of sound (Aria The Natural DVD Collection part 1 (Extra DVD)). USA: Nozomi Entertainment. Event occurs at 3:43. They'd say, "Make the mountains and oceans into songs." 
  72. ^ Jun'ichi Satō (Director) (2009). Aria and the world of sound (Aria The Natural DVD Collection part 1 (Extra DVD)). USA: Nozomi Entertainment. Event occurs at 10:50. Yes, it was episode 36. So, episode 23 in "The Natural" series. 
  73. ^ Jun'ichi Satō (Director) (2009). Aria and the world of sound (Aria The Natural DVD Collection part 1 (Extra DVD)). USA: Nozomi Entertainment. Event occurs at 5:23. The lyrics to the songs Kawai sings are all giberish. [...] In the beginning, we were planning the theme songs to have gibberish lyrics too. 
  74. ^ Eri Kawai (Lyricist and performer) (2009). Aria and the world of sound (Aria The Natural DVD Collection part 1 (Extra DVD)). USA: Nozomi Entertainment. Event occurs at 5:39. 
  75. ^ Rachael Carothers (10 February 2009). "Hai Fidelity Eri Kawai: Himawari". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on 13 February 2009. Retrieved 19 February 2009. This version is a sample track that Kawai made for Makino 
  76. ^ Takeshi Senoo (Music co-director) (2009). Aria and the world of sound (Aria The Natural DVD Collection part 1 (Extra DVD)). USA: Nozomi Entertainment. Event occurs at 13:26. The song is about the end of summer. [...] She's not just any singer. She performed it as the voice actress from the anime. I envisioned the song being sung by the character in the picture. 
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  183. ^ Anderson, Lisa. "Aria v1 Review". Manga Life. Silver Bullet Comics. Archived from the original on 23 December 2005. Retrieved 16 January 2008. Aria reads much like a treasured old journal, recounting life events – some big, some little – with the warm personal touch only true joy can bring. 
  184. ^ a b Santos, Carlo (20 January 2008). "Aria GN 1 – Review". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on 20 January 2008. Retrieved 20 January 2008. Aria's first volume is 180 pages of pure, serene happiness. 
  185. ^ a b c Carlson, Johanna Draper (8 March 2008). "Aria Book 4". Comics Worth Reading. Archived from the original on 10 March 2009. Retrieved 9 March 2009. This entry in the series has it all: the quiet wonder that's the bedrock appeal of the books; exploration of the world's mythology; fantasy, action, humor, astounding art. The only thing I'm left wondering is why every character's name begins with an A. 
  186. ^ a b Cha, Kai-Ming (23 October 2007). "Aqua Vol. 1 Review". IGN. Retrieved 20 January 2008. Whimsical, smooth, the measured pace of the chapters follows a "slice-of-life" rhythm, but in a magical, imaginative frontier. 
  187. ^ a b c Friedman, Erica (8 February 2005). "Yuri Manga: Aria, Volumes 1,2 and 3". Ozaku. Retrieved 16 January 2008. What really makes Aria work, though, is the sense of whimsy that fills the pages ... very chapter is filled with some moment of life that was totally worth having been there for. 
  188. ^ a b Rasmussen, David (22 May 2005). "Aria GN 2". Homemademech formerly Anime Boredom. Retrieved 9 July 2008. The stories are just brimming with this delightful innocence and whimsy that captivates the readers, and sticks with you after you read it. Its artwork is wonderous [sic], and sometimes captivating in its wide visuals of the beautiful city of Neo Venezia (both above and below ground). 
  189. ^ Santos, Carlo (20 January 2008). "Aria GN 1 – Review". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on 20 January 2008. Retrieved 20 January 2008. Yet this precise style still manages to capture the sense of wonder on planet Aqua: the airborne confetti at the gondola race, the falling autumn leaves in the first chapter, and especially the Japanese architecture and landscape on the shrine island. It's really the backgrounds and landscapes that are the main character in this series. 
  190. ^ Beveridge, Chris (1 October 2008). "Aria The Animation Season 1 Collection". Mania.com. Archived from the original on 2 December 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2009. If there's anything that annoys me about the series, it's the names being used. Obviously done on purpose, but on planet Aqua, we're dealing with lead characters named Akari, Alice, Aika, Akira, Alice, Athena, Aria and Ai among others. Way too many A's and way too many very close sounding names. 
  191. ^ Badman, Derik (12 October 2005). "Aria by Kozue Amano". Retrieved 9 July 2008. The character of Akari is a little too much the overly sweet, wide-eyed gawking girl. She is often too enthusiastic about learning new things, meeting new people, about life in general. Too often Amano shows us Akari's effusive reaction to something but does not let us linger on that same discovery. 
  192. ^ "Japan's Favorite TV Anime". Anime News Network. 13 October 2006. Retrieved 10 January 2008. 
  193. ^ a b Kimlinger, Carl (25 October 2008). "Aria The Animation Sub. DVD – Season 1". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2 January 2009. Aria is unquestionably the nicest anime Junichi Sato has made in his long and storied career as a director of nice anime. It's a nearly perfect pairing of source material and animator. 
  194. ^ Beveridge, Chris (1 October 2008). "Aria The Animation Season 1 Collection". Mania.com. Archived from the original on 2 December 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2009. It's one of those shows that really does a solid job of creating an atmosphere and design sensibility that sets it apart from other shows. It's not a show about nothing, but a show about the lives of these women as they go about their jobs and relationships with each other in a little piece of heaven. 
  195. ^ a b Høgset, Stig. "Aria the OAV ~Arietta~". T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews. Archived from the original on 17 December 2008. Retrieved 4 January 2009. But then, character interaction and quiet, serene atmosphere has always been Aria's greatest boon, along with the optimistic and curiously non-pretentious outlook on life. 
  196. ^ D. F. Smith (24 November 2008). "Aria – Season One DVD Review". IGN. Retrieved 2 January 2009. Although Aria might not have any exciting conflict to speak of, it's unquestionably lovely to look at. The setting is very pretty, designed as a deliberately idealized version of Venice, and the girls are prettier still. 
  197. ^ Høgset, Stig. "Aria the Origination". T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews. Archived from the original on 17 December 2008. Retrieved 4 January 2009. Some of the background works are just breathtaking, especially near the end of the show. 
  198. ^ Kimlinger, Carl (25 October 2008). "Aria The Animation Sub. DVD – Season 1". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2 January 2009. delicate score (featuring the crystalline arias of the late, great Eri Kawai) 
  199. ^ Høgset, Stig. "Aria the Natural". T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews. Archived from the original on 17 December 2008. Retrieved 4 January 2009. Aurally, on the other hand, Aria is just fantastic. 
  200. ^ D. F. Smith (24 November 2008). "Aria – Season One DVD Review". IGN. Retrieved 2 January 2009. 
  201. ^ Kimlinger, Carl (25 October 2008). "Aria The Animation Sub. DVD – Season 1". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2 January 2009. The sweet simplicity of the characters complements that of the stories woven around them, the warmth of their interplay a mirror of that inspired by the series' quiet celebration of the magic of normalcy. 
  202. ^ Beveridge, Chris (1 October 2008). "Aria The Animation Season 1 Collection". Mania.com. Archived from the original on 2 December 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2009. The interactions between the girls and their instructors as well as how the Prima Undines interact with each other is amusing in general. 
  203. ^ Høgset, Stig. "Aria the Natural". T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews. Archived from the original on 17 December 2008. Retrieved 4 January 2009. Ultimately, though, your enjoyment of this show will – much as with the first season – depend on how you feel about the characters, as they are the main focus of the show. 
  204. ^ D. F. Smith (24 November 2008). "Aria – Season One DVD Review". IGN. Retrieved 2 January 2009. Most of the characters are so inhumanly pleasant and cheerful that one starts to wonder what they put in the water on Aqua. 
  205. ^ Kimlinger, Carl (25 October 2008). "Aria The Animation Sub. DVD – Season 1". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2 January 2009. a sweetly convincing performance from Erino Hazuki 
  206. ^ Høgset, Stig. "Aria the Animation". T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews. Archived from the original on 17 December 2008. Retrieved 4 January 2009. The Japanese actors really do a good job on this show, in particular the VAs for Akari and Akira. Akira's stern and strong voice carries all the warmth of the character she carries underneath the tough exterior without losing any of her personality no matter what mood she's in. And Akari's actually managing to play a somewhat ditzy character without it becoming majorly annoying, which is a pretty hard task to succeed in. 
  207. ^ Høgset, Stig. "Aria the Animation". T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews. Archived from the original on 17 December 2008. Retrieved 4 January 2009. I'll have to admit that Aria is a show made for a certain audience. Hardened cynics will probably hate it for what it is, while the restless ones out there might find it a bit slow and boring for their tastes. And those who like to give their minds something heavy to chew on might want to look elsewhere as well. Aria is a show about life, about friends, about everyday situations and challenges and about all the small things we sometimes take for granted. And for that, I love this show. 
  208. ^ D. F. Smith (24 November 2008). "Aria – Season One DVD Review". IGN. Retrieved 2 January 2009. This isn't a show for everyone. Aria is not without its strong points, though. Visually, it's something special, and the tone is very pleasant if you happen to be in the mood for it. 
  209. ^ Kimlinger, Carl (25 October 2008). "Aria The Animation Sub. DVD – Season 1". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2 January 2009. Slow, deliberate, and anti-dramatic, Aria isn't a traditionally entertaining series. It dabbles in humor and pathos, but more than anything it is a soft but magnetic invitation to submerge oneself in a world where kindness reigns supreme and life is overflowing with subtle beauty. 
  210. ^ Beveridge, Chris (1 October 2008). "Aria The Animation Season 1 Collection". Mania.com. Archived from the original on 2 December 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2009. It's not for everyone, but for those that are looking for something to engage them in a way unlike a lot of other shows, this is one to get. 

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