Posted on 17 July 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews



it’s been a long while since I took so long in finishing a mere 13 episoded series, but this is not meant against this series: the episodes here just have this tendency to suck all energy out of you, but for once in a good way. While I wouldn’t consider this anywhere among Sato Junichi’s best series, I still enjoyed its calm atmosphere.

Aria’s genre, the slice of life moe series, is a genre that I usually don’t really enjoy. It’s definitely one of the better series of the genre, though. While a lot of time is spent on just showing the every day lives of its lead characters, it sets itself apart with two things:

First of all: its dialogue. Between the characters it feels natural, while the voice overs have this tendency to talk about pseudo-philosophical themes that have to do with the episode’s content. It actually works quite well in both making the episodes interesting and fleshing out its characters. The characters in this series aren’t exactly well developed, but they’re neither stereotypes or one-sided. They’ve all got this natural charm to them.

Second: it actually takes place in quite an interesting and original setting. Instead of yet another high school series in Japan, we’re brought into the future, where Mars has been colonized and a new Venezia has been founded. This series is excellent at portraying the city, as well as the jobs that the main characters have as gondoliers. The series explores the past as well as the present, and also managed to create an entirely new culture. It’s this part that managed to impress me the most about this series so far.

By far the most annoying part of this series was the portrayal of cats, especially the strange blob that is the pet of the lead character (named as President Aria). This cat is just way too over the top with its attempted cuteness, and a large potential turn-off for future audience. I know that this was the case me, when I first tried to check it out, back in 2005 when it first aired.

Overall though, you can see that Aria the Animation is only the beginning for its story: the side-characters actually received much more development and background than the lead characters, while instead a ton of time is spent on building up its setting and fleshing out its characters. Things really have to move in a weird way if its sequels aren’t going to surpass it.

Storytelling: 8/10 – A ton of slice of life, but also doesn’t forget to put meaning to its scenario.
Characters: 8/10 – Not much development, but the human characters are all nicely down to earth. The animals are annoying, though.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Not the best, not the worst. The soundtrack especially has its moments.
Setting: 8/10 – Original, interesting.

Suggestions:
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou
Anne of Green Gables
Kino no Tabi

12 Responses

  1. Firechick says:

    “The characters in this series aren’t exactly well developed, but they’re neither stereotypes or one-sided. They’ve all got this natural charm to them.”

    I guess that’s why the 2nd season of this is called Aria The Natural. You gonna watch that, too? Along with the 3rd, which everyone thinks is awesome? I haven’t watched it myself, but considering how everyone thinks it’s good maybe I should.

  2. Asfad says:

    I pretty much felt the same way after watching the first season. Loved the atmosphere and setting so I watched through the second and third season and OVA. While the cats are still portrayed the same way throughout the series, they are definitely given less focus as the series progresses. In it’s place are more world building and character development episodes. Definitely recommend watching the rest. Still rank Origination as one of my favorites.

  3. Shippoyasha says:

    Oh, but the sequels and the OVA do surpass it.

    I agree with the cat-fetish. It’s almost too much. Wait till you see more Cait Sith. It kinda detracts from ‘appreciate the natural beauty’ thing with the supernatural and cat-worship.

    BUT, characters do get deeper delved into, relationships gets deeper and you get to see more and more about the charm of Neo Venezia to the hardships of their profession and so forth. I’d DEFINITELY say it gets better.

  4. ariafag says:

    nice to see you finally get to review this one. looking forward to your impressions on Natural and Origination

  5. Esque says:

    I was pleasantly surprised to find a review on Aria. Finally! It’s one of my favorite series.

    About the pseudo-philosophical parts, I quite liked them though. Even if they were not conveyed in the most natural way, it was still good food for thought on certain stuff that we may have forgotten.
    Maybe I think too much, but putting it into the context of my own life made me ‘open my eyes’ in a non-literal way.

    Aria the cat is quite strange. I found him rather weird but later on he seemed more adorable to me haha.

  6. Troyen says:

    Yeah, the only things I didn’t like about this series were the cats (especially Aria, though I actually liked Cait Sith) and the dopey face animations that were used every time someone was embarrassed. Fortunately, the cats get seen less as time goes on, but the lazy facial drawings don’t.

    Interesting you didn’t talk about the music, which plays a big part in setting up the atmosphere. In an interview with the director, he even mentions that he’d often set up shots to fit the music, rather than cut the music to fit the shots.

    And as others have said, it does get better. I found the Origination to be pretty powerful emotionally, by far the best of the entire series.

  7. kagura says:

    Aah, Aria, finally :)
    I remeber I wasn’t really impressed with the first season. Sure, it was a nice and pleasant watch, but nothing too mind-blowing. But then came Aria the Natural, and I got totally sucked in. Natural still stays as my favourite Aria season, though, objectively speaking, Origination is probably the best of the three (well, it definetely has the best episode). So yeah, I’ll be looking forward to your reviews of Natural and Origination :)

  8. Puran says:

    I thought origination was the best. It’s one of those series that gets better as it goes, so whatever you do, don’t stop now. It seems you did enjoy the series so far, so it would be a pity to stop.

  9. cutemi2 says:

    I love this anime, that reminds of my favorite quotes from Aika with the no forbidden words and Akari got embarrassed, like this in Filipino Dubbed version
    Aika : Nakakahiyang Salita, Bawal
    Akari : Nyah!!!

  10. Hellomotto says:

    Oho, finally got around to seeing it, eh? Glad it didn’t disappoint.

  11. miden says:

    Glad you’ve gotten around to this! One of my favorites of all time! It’s just so good! You should try it’s sequels, I promise it won’t disappoint!

  12. Mooniecat says:

    This is the best de-stressing anime to watch, I found. I really liked how they did the opening song especially, which they continued doing thru all the seasons. Like everyone mentioned, it does get better as one watches the seasons and ova. No reason to read deep into this, just decent animation, nice soundtrack and simple everyday stories. So good to watch after a day of blah work.

Leave a Reply

Shoutbox

Name:
Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • Mikey
    (Thursday, Apr 17. 2014 12:11 AM)
    The second episode of Hitsugi no Chaika was quite good.
  • TheUltimateReaper
    (Thursday, Apr 17. 2014 12:07 AM)
    I lost it when No Game No Life made that Jojo reference.
  • TheUltimateReaper
    (Thursday, Apr 17. 2014 12:03 AM)
    @ninjarealist of course but I find that to be a fallacy in and of itself. @Friend more like whether or not you were one of the idiots 8man talked about. But the show still has the parallels, so I think it was more about if you liked the genuine edge, and the truth to it
  • Friend
    (Wednesday, Apr 16. 2014 10:39 PM)
    SNAFU was one of those shows that hinged on whether or not you related to the main character, if I remember.
  • ninjarealist
    (Wednesday, Apr 16. 2014 09:36 PM)
    @TheUltimateReaper You’re right in the scientific sense of the word animal. However, people have traditionally also used the word animal to mean “non-human”. That’s the way I was using the word. I’m not saying that this kind of distinction is even a good one to make, but it’s central to the psychology of mass murderers.
  • TheUltimateReaper
    (Wednesday, Apr 16. 2014 09:10 PM)
    @ninjarealist human beings are animals though, in short, it’s just idiots thinking they’re better than other idiots, ego, ego, ego
  • ninjarealist
    (Wednesday, Apr 16. 2014 09:06 PM)
    @Aidan The Congo Free State, Columbus, in all these acts of mass murder the perpetrators were able to convince themselves that the people they were killing were sub-human. It’s not hard to slaughter people like animals if you honestly think that those people ARE animals. It’s why discrimination is so evil.
  • TheUltimateReaper
    (Wednesday, Apr 16. 2014 09:02 PM)
    Still ecstatic about SNAFU, and man, No Game No Life is friggen awesome. With ep2 I’m convinced its going to be a wild ride. The tracks are clear, everything is in order.
  • JaK
    (Wednesday, Apr 16. 2014 07:30 PM)
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Apr 16. 2014 12:29 PM)
    I just read the book. Never saw the films.

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Clipboard04

Space Dandy – 11 – 13

The end of episode 13 showed us the standard “Tsudzuku”, or “to be continued”. You’d better keep your words, Space Dandy! But still, what a ride, what a ride. Space Dandy is a series that was totally worth it, and even the final three episodes pushed all of the right buttons with me. Again, vastly […]

Clipboard04

Space Dandy – 07 – 10

THIS. This, this is everything I’m looking for. This is the mentality that I have been waiting for for so long! This is what more series need to be like. Every single one of these past four episodes was amazing, but not only that: they were all completely different from each other and they all […]

Clipboard02

Kill la Kill – Up to 21

So, the past week I put my effort into catching up with Kill la Kill, hoping that it at least would show how to tell a story correctly. And yeah, as much as I’d like to stay positive here, it turned out to be yet another hit on the list of the disappointments of the […]

Clipboard05

Space Dandy – 04 – 06

Okay. So you might wonder what I’ve been doing. I’m indeed on kindof a break. The reason for that is due to some weird reason, I can’t sit down and watch an episode anymore. It’s bizarre, but what used to be so normal in the past now is incredibly diffcult for some reason. I keep […]

Clipboard03

Space Dandy – 02 & 03

Here is another thing that also really bugged me about anime of the past few seasons: the ones that have a very promising first episode only to just fail trying afterwards. I mean, I hate it, but I have to swallow my words about Nobunaga the Fool after watching its second and third episodes, due […]

Clipboard02

Samurai Flamenco – 12

Oh, Samurai Flamenco… what are you doing? I used to praise this show for being so well put together. Obviously I can’t say that anymore, but still it’s quite a ride to see how crazy the show can get next time. This episode was this really weird combination between the first half of the show […]

Clipboard01

Samurai Flamenco – 11

I think my brains just exploded… I knew that this series would spiral out of control. Just not in this way. In one episode, the creators YET AGAIN completely changed the genre of the entire series, along with the feel, mood, themes and everything. At this point the only similarity between episode 1 and 11 […]

Clipboard03

Kill la Kill – 11

So finally, we’ve got the first big hint at what the second half of this series will be about. In this case, it’s in the form of a bunch of characters who just showed up from out of nowhere. Okay, that can work. It’s typical that everything about them screams fashion, and this indeed is […]

Clipboard02

Samurai Flamenco – 10

Usually I blame writers lately. This time however, the writing was fine. I see what this episode was trying to do, and it had me at the edge of my seat. Perhaps a bit fast-paced, but I see what the writers were trying to do. This really could have been an amazing episode. But god, […]

Latest Reviews

Clipboard03

Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]

Clipboard01

Kyousogiga Review – 90/100

Everyone’s taste is different, and that’s a wonderful thing because that allows us to have so many different forms of media that all aim toward their own niche. My blog is obviously written from the perspective of my own taste, and even when a show doesn’t cater to it (which is nearly always), I love […]

Clipboard04

Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Lovecome o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru Review – 80/100

Noucome! You do not want to know how long I have been waiting for a series like this. More than half a decade, at the very least. Finally a series comes along and puts the incredibly overused harem genre in its place. And it actually does it well. Thank you! So to elaborate: the harem […]

Clipboard01

Pokemon: The Origin Review – 75/100

Normally I try to avoid spoilers with these reviews, but screw it, it’s Pokemon. Pokemon The Origin is a bomb of nostalgia. If you haven’t played Pokemon Red, Blue or Green, then you will not enjoy this one slight bit. This really is made as pure undilluted fanservice for the fans of the first games. […]

Clipboard08

Tamayura – More Aggressive Review – 75/100

I’m not going to dedicate a post for my impression for the final three episodes of this series. It was just too boring to write much about. I guess that that gives a pretty accurate indication of what I think about this series. Right at the start of Tamayura’s second season, I asked one question: […]

Clipboard04

Silver Spoon Review – 86/100

When Noitamina started airing two series per season, it was amazing. It’s a timeslot that on average tends to be aimed at a much older audience than usual, and having two series with the same mentality definitely helped to bring more diversity to anime overall. Unfortunately it’s a schedule that could not be kept up […]

Clipboard07

Yondemasuyo, Azazel-San Z Review – 82,5/100

Reviewing a comedy sequel usually is quite simple: in most cases it just drops the bomb and runs out of inspiration, and in rare cases it actually manages to stay hilarious. The tricky thing with these kinds of series is that you need to remain funny, and you need to have the inspiration for that. […]

Clipboard05

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet Review – 81/100

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet tells the storyline of a planet that is completely submerged, with only giant ships residing on the surface, while one of those ships gets visited by this guy and his AI-mecha from this very technologically advanced civilization. Yes, this show is about world building. What this show managed to do […]

Clipboard01

Yahari Ore no Seishun no Love Come wa Machigatteiru Review – 82,5/100

I like surprises, like when a series comes that just turns out to be good against my expectations. Yahari Blahblah from the outside had all the signs to turn into yet another one of those high school comedies: snarky male lead, pointlessly long title that fails at being witty, various other cliched side-characters. And they […]