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ARIA The AVVENIRE – capitolo 03 (END)

「その 遙かなる未来へ… / その みらくるな未来へ…」 (Sono Haruka naru Mirai e… / Sono Mirakuru na Mirai e…)
“Towards the Faraway Future… / Towards the Miraculous Future…”

This is the last of ARIA. Before actually watching this episode of The AVVENIRE I actually took some time to let that sink in. It’s a bit sad, of course, as it is whenever a quality series of anime ends. I tell myself, though, that ARIA actually ended long ago, with The ORIGINATION, and what we’re getting in The AVVENIRE is just a little bonus. While I’ve been glad for the epilogue we got, I think it’s also important that any anime series eventually finds a good place to end. ARIA has had a very good run, relatively speaking, and perhaps it’s best that we don’t overindulge. This is especially because The ORIGINATION is about endings, about goodbyes, about change, and about coping with all of those things positively. It would hardly do for ARIA to betray its own principles. And hence I’m glad to see The AVVENIRE adapting the bonus AQUARIA chapter in its final OVA. As in the rest of The AVVENIRE, Towards the Faraway is a combination of both un-adapted manga material and new, Ai generation, and this time the latter takes up the majority of the episode time. While AQUARIA was short, though, it was certainly important, for it is Alicia’s story, and she, of the entire cast, is the most hesitant to say goodbye. Not only is it inherently interesting because we never got to see much from Alicia’s point of view, invincible senpai that she was most of the time, the way she was eventually able find peace is a fine way to wrap up The ORIGINATION, and perhaps a lesson for us as well.

I’ve previously talked about the elements I think make up the soul of ARIAnostalgia and magic—and now I’d like to add the third one: catharsis. Catharsis is from the old Greek word for ‘cleansing’, and for the purposes of drama means emotional moments. In my most bitter moments (by which I mean my most satirical moments) I sometimes do a rant about how tragedy is the only high art, for from tragedy we experience catharsis. And indeed, the two have traditionally been closely related to each other, and catharsis seen as that moment when we are frozen between pity and horror, and experience a purging of emotions. I don’t actually believe that catharsis is the sole provenance of tragedy. Release only in death? That’s way too sad. I like to think that this is how the healing anime came to be, in the belief that positive emotions can cleanse the heart too.

ARIA is, of course, not tragic in any way. As Towards the Faraway Future reminds us, Aqua was full of nothing but good people and good memories. But that is why, when it comes time to say goodbye, it is sad. What ARIA is saying, though, is that it is okay to be sad. It is healthy to be sad. Treasure that sadness. Indulge in that sadness. For that is cathartic. It is what lets us sit back, breathe out, and think, ‘Ah, that was great‘. Only then is the emotional experience complete. In that way the effect of ARIA is threefold. When we watched each episode, we delight in the wonders of Aqua. When they end, we savour the emotion of the parting. Later, we can look back on the memories and remember the good times. And perhaps a bit of the spirit of ARIA, its gentle optimism, it’s childlike joy and its inner serenity, will stay in our hearts forever.

Let’s mix things up a bit. As some of you may know, both the original seiyuu for Athena, Kawakami Tomoko and her singing voice, Kawai Eri were taken away by cancer before ARIA The AVVENIRE. There seems to have been a conscious decision not to recast Athena. I can only support the staff’s choice, but I did feel her absence sometimes. Sure, she never had the largest speaking role, but I hold every piece of ARIA precious. This was doubly exacerbated by the fact that I had read the manga, and know where she is missing. There was a hole in the cast. I must admit that part of me watched this last of The AVVENIRE thinking it wasn’t right. Surely, ARIA The AVVENIRE could not end without one last song from the Siren. Of course, Satou Junichi-sensei would never let me down. When Athena came out with own performance of Lumis Eterne I couldn’t help but smile. It was cathartic in its own way. And I thought, ah, yes, this is how it should be.

And so for the briefest of moments, the two great talents, passed before their time, came back to life. Little miracles. That’s ARIA.

 

ED1.03 Sequence

ED: 「ピアチェーレ」 (Placere) by 西沢幸奏 (Nishizawa Shiena)

End Card

July 12, 2016 at 11:58 am
8 comments »
  • July 12, 2016 at 12:18 pmduck

    My favorite anime series ever ended with this episode :_( I will always hope for a new season or anything that can get close to the quality of this series in the future. For now we have Amanchu! so there is a bit of a consolation.

  • July 12, 2016 at 2:50 pmSeedStriker

    In a way, for Satou-sensei and their marvelous staff, they need to do this before diving (no pun intended) into Amanchu!, just because ARIA is one of those stories that needed this kind of finale. Because even though we see that the new generation of Unines will carry on, our lovely trio, their marvelous Aqua Faeries and Grandma needed to gave us one final miracle, and with that, the ever present hope that tomorrow will really be as good as life in Neo Venezia.
    I’m still crying for Athena. When Eri Kawaii’s voice started the song, I broke. Just started to cry, which became a sea of tears after hearing again Tomoko Kawakami in the flashback. I know that life isn’t fair, but their absence still hurts, after all these years. Thanksfully, ARIA The Avvenire returned them to us, for our last visit to heir world.

    • July 13, 2016 at 10:25 amShieldheart

      I’m with you on this.
      And old man like me, couldn’t even hold back my tears when Kawaii Eri’s voice started Lumis Eterne (and it wasn’t only “mere tears”, but sea of tears like I finally meet my very dear old friends again, after all these years).

      I’m also glad that my fellow OZian Passerby covered the review.
      He knows,… no, to be precise, he completely understand the StrangeReal World that is Aria.

      “And I thought, ah, yes, this is how it should be.”
      Yeah, it is…

      Thank you for changing my life to what it is now, Amano-sensei, and all of the people involved in the creation of the manga and anime.
      Really, thank you.

  • July 12, 2016 at 5:13 pmAlec

    There’s so much nostalgia that I end up not caring about the animation flaws. It is supposed to be a healing anime, but it really makes me want to cry to see it go again after saying farewell to it 7 years ago. Hands down best pure slice of life anime of all time.

    Been playing Aria music on guitar these past few years, and it won’t be changing anytime soon

  • July 12, 2016 at 6:54 pmKarmafan

    You either like this series or you don’t and all those that like this series actually LOVE it. Was wondering why we saw so little of Athena. Sad to find out the reason why.

  • July 13, 2016 at 1:23 amHalfDemonInuyasha

    *cries in a corner*

  • July 14, 2016 at 12:18 pmzeroyuki92

    I must say that the entire dialogue felt kinda different when I can’t stop thinking about the reason behind the absence of Athena in this episode. It’s almost like they are also making the speech as the last farewell for both of the Seiyuu.

    So yeah, at the end of the episode, when the last note of the piano echoes, I feel it. This will be the last of Aria. It’s also the time for us to move on. Can’t stop myself from feeling somewhat empty, or sad when after that note ends, the credit froze and nothing happens anymore.

    But as the show telling me in the very same episode, it’s also the proof of love. ARIA will always have a spot in my heart, but there are a lot of life moments (and anime) waiting in the horizon to be discovered.

    Should have saved the new Amanchu episode to watch AFTER this, that would be perfect.

  • July 16, 2016 at 8:21 amKayjay

    I Felt it was always a treat when Athena spoke, and the loss of those taken from us far too early is still painfull.

    I feel the same way whenever I watch Tamayura or Hidamari Sketch and hear Miyu Matsuki voice.