Posted by psgels on 26 August 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews

Watching Aria the Natural was… a challenge. Seriously, watching it (especially its first half) was a unique experience in trying to not doze off while still paying attention to the dialogue. I was nearly put to sleep by how calming the storytelling is here; that’s usually a really big insult!

Aria is all about making memories: those small events that leave a lasting impression on you, and the Natural is also full of episodes that focus on moments like these, in the middle of a ton of slice of life. Calm and soothing beyond belief, it’s very much an “Iyashi-kei” (healing-type) series that even more than the first season of Aria, is perfect if you just want to relax, or get rid of some stress.

The dialogue is also very important for this series, as it loves to flesh out its cast and setting with it. I especially liked how detailed and imaginative the script was. The thing that also sets Aria apart from most other slice of life series is that it really pays attention to the unique setting it’s in: the culture, history, traditions and people of Neo Venezia all get their turn to show a bit about themselves, and to be honest: I actually enjoyed this part more than the characters themselves.

Whether it’s the best slice of life series out there, though… I can’t say that. Aria is very good at what it does, but personally I enjoyed series as Windy Tales and Akage no Anne more. Even though the main characters have gotten 39 episodes worth of screentime, in which we do get to know them quite a bit, I still think they’re missing something. It’s like… they were trying too hard at times to be adorable, especially with the overuse of those comical chibi-faces. I’d also have liked a bit more variety in the different episodes. There were a few times at which I felt that this series might have gone on for a tad too long. This is just nitpicking, though. I enjoyed this show a lot regardless.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Calm, soothing, yet detailed, and a great script.
Characters: 8/10 – A charming cast.
Production-Values: 8/10 – An excellent soundtrack. The animation itself is nothing special but nice to look at.
Setting: 8/10 – Neat idea, well fleshed out, well used.

Windy Tales
Ristorante Paradiso

9 Responses

  1. Sandshark says:

    I recommend you to finish the Aria series since you have endured it :P The last part is the best.

  2. Asfad says:

    Animation is the introduction, Natural is the world-building, and Origination finally develops the characters. Thats how I see the series as a whole at least. You made it this far, might as well finish it with the best part.

  3. Alec says:

    this actually one of my top 5 animes… There are times that I wish I didnt marathon it

  4. Shippoyasha says:

    The problem with Windy Tales: The character designs are the stuff of nightmares. PURE BLACK EYES? AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

  5. Machi says:

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with Windy Tales designs its just something you get used to as you see that it “works”, similar to how Kaiba’s animation “works” as well as you watch the series further.

    Sure they have pure black eyes but looking at how the faces were drawn I honestly couldn’t imagine anything different and in fact with the details away from the eyes they had the challenge of how to express certain emotions, since normal animation would rely on eyes. In Windy Tales rather than using the eyes their entire body was rather expressive, from their small fidgets to just being beet red when embarrassed, that helped to give the series its more slice of life feel. In that it focused on body language that you more commonly see than with the eyes, also it helped with what the series was going for in mostly using medium to long distance shots to reveal the landscape without losing the characters being in them and expressing something.

    So I definitely disagree in calling the animation of Windy Tales a nightmare when it fits to a T with what the series aims for.

  6. Shippoyasha says:

    I agree overall, but the black eyes is just…. wrong to me. I can’t ever get over it.. While Aria characters are quite easy to love since they express everything through their facial expressions.

  7. Sarynn says:

    Psgels, are you’re trying to marathon this show?

    I never felt sleepy watching this show. Then again, I just watched a couple episodes a day. It was so nice after a long day to sit down relax and see what interesting antics the world of Aria would give me today.

    Or maybe I’m wrong, and your mind just isn’t used to a calm show like this. xD

    Either ways, glad you’re bothering to experience it. I watched it so I had a calming world to escape to every day, a place where you’re reminded to appreciate even the smallest things in life. It’s like listening to a waterfall or river for an hour. Though if I go longer than that, yah, I’ll probably fall asleep. :P

  8. Puran says:

    Yup, Origination completes the character development. While you shouldn’t expect a ton of it, it does make the characters more rounded and they don’t miss something anymore.

    You’re definitely enjoying aria so far, so don’t stop now.

  9. Hellomotto says:

    Don’t worry; I felt the same way about the Natural. There were A LOT of episodes, and a few of the episodes were a bit boring. Others were calming and sweet; yet there were some that I struggled to sit through.

    As for the characters, they really did need to have an extra dimension. As of now, they’re a bit too flat; and 26 episodes didn’t do much to make them characters that are explored. (As the people above me have commented, Origination manages to complete it to a certain extent.)

    That being said, I don’t think the Natural was meant to be a character analysis; rather, it was about the journey that these three girls have undertaken. They are explorers; and Neo-Venezia is their Atlantis. That’s why, as you said before, you liked the episodes about the culture of Neo-Venezia more than the extra-dimensioning of the characters.

    Anyways, nice review. I hope you get the time to finish off the series with the OVA and the Origination.

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  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Nov 30. 2015 10:31 PM)
    I’m trying not to get my hopes up however, given that it wouldn’t be surprising if he gave us another filler chapter like he did with that pointless flashback.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Nov 30. 2015 10:26 PM)
    I enjoyed this chapter of berserk and it made me immediately think “Finally now we’re getting somewhere”. I have been flicking through older chapters of the manga and wow, this really has turned into something fairly different. Bam is right about Gut’s reason to go to elfland. I think its impossible now to get a satisfactory ending out of berserk though we’ve been waiting too long.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Nov 30. 2015 10:14 PM)
    The alternative is that Miura wants to bank on this till he dies; can’t blame him cuz you can always bet on black (swordsman).
  • Bam
    (Monday, Nov 30. 2015 10:13 PM)
    @Aidan: I think the point was originally to heal Caska (hence Farnese showing hesitation in fear of losing Guts when Caska is back) but then so many people tagged along that I don’t think the party knows anymore why they’re going there, just that they were supposed to. I have said before but I’m sure that either Miura doesn’t know what to do or has serious doubts about the ending.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Nov 30. 2015 09:52 PM)
    Fairy dust, stargate, riding dragons, ruby slippers…anything to get Gut’s back on track to taking revenge. Miura needs to end this. He’s sick of making it and we are sick of waiting yet he drags the thing to high heaven.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Nov 30. 2015 09:48 PM)
    It’s been so long I can’t even remember why they were going to elfhelm in the first place. Also was that a one piece joke?
    I like his art but yes, going simpler for moving the story along would be a better idea. Even if he needs to downgrade to the level of one punch man webcomic standards to bring weekly releases.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Nov 30. 2015 09:14 PM)
    I just hope they teleport back to Midland or something, or ride faeries or whatever, I don’t Gove a damn, just anything but the boat. #NoMoreBoat
  • Bam
    (Monday, Nov 30. 2015 09:13 PM)
    The artistry remains incredible, with every frame filled to the brim with details, almost to the point of tiring the eye. It looks great and all, but I wouldn’t mind some simplicity for the sake of more frequent Berserk. I swear Guts’ entourage has grown so numerous and colorful that they’re almost like a traveling circus. I didn’t even remember that Roderick and a whole bunch of other people are also on the boat.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Nov 30. 2015 09:06 PM)
    I enjoy Rickert but this chapter made me remember how better the story gets when Guts is back in the picture. This was a primer chapter and spent most of its time touching bases and getting the story back on track, and it did that wonderfully and humorously.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Nov 30. 2015 09:01 PM)
    I was tryna stay spoiler free, but you’re goddamn right they got there! Few months back when Miura got it running again I said I believed that if Guts didn’t get to Elfhelm before the next hiatus then the series will probably never end. I really did feel that way and had little hope, but alas, rejoice indeed.

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