OP: 「七色の空を」 (Nanairo no Sora wo) by SONOROUS
ED: 「明日、夕暮れまで」 (Ashita, Yuugure Made) by 葉月絵理乃 (Hazuki Erino)

“Where could Alicia-san be?” asks a familiar voice. A calm opening song sweeps through like a warm breeze, as we see images of an evening in Neo-Venezia. Akari brings out Aria-shachou’s dinner, then gazes at her gloveless hand as if she was still new to the idea – yes, she’s become a Prima. Ai-chan walks down the stairs as an unfamiliar figure walks through the door: “Sorry I’m late, Akari-san! Was too into practicing so I lost track of time!”

“Oh, that’s right… I’ve become a Prima. That means… Alicia-san won’t be coming back here…”

This morning, like so many mornings before it, Akari was awakened by the sunshine gleaming through her attic window. A dream. Peeking into the kitchen to reassure herself, Akari saw Alicia-san standing there, as always, preparing breakfast. Woody-san with the morning delivery of fresh eggs. Everything is as it should be, and yet, the memory of the dream still weighed heavily on Akari.

“Dear Ai-chan, this morning was like any other morning at Aria Company. It was the beginning of any other day. Doing things as usual is of course wonderful in itself, but because of my dream last night, I couldn’t help but think about when those days would end. I don’t know when that will happen, but when it does, I’ll welcome it with a smile!”

After the morning customer and an unexpected call from Akatsuki, Akari heads off to practice with Aika and Alice. After a chat about their future as Prima and the senpai they are succeeding, they meet up with Al-kun and talk with him about Apa-jiisan, and how Al feels about learning under him. Akari heads back to welcome Alicia-san back from her afternoon booking.

That evening, over a cup of iced tea and warabimochi, Akari tells Alicia-san about her dream. “You weren’t there, Alicia-san. Even though I had a new junior to look after, I didn’t have any confidence at all. I guess I still have a long way to go before I become like Alicia-san!”

“When I first became a Prima, and Grandma was leaving, I made a selfish request. I asked for her to stay,” Alicia replies. She then goes on to recount her early experiences as a Prima. Having Akira and Athena there by her side was a huge source of support, as Alicia didn’t pick a new Pair to bring into Aria Company immediately. One particular evening, Akira and Athena brought Alicia to the top of the clock tower, overlooking all of Neo-Venezia. “This is… the town that we live in! It’s our job as undines to show visitors how wonderful this place is!”

“And then, you came, Akari.”

Alicia takes Akari to that same clock tower, with Akari making embarrassing remarks the whole way and nobody to stop her. Hand in hand, they head to the top. “When I first chose you, I was unsure… nervous if I could be a good senpai to you. But when I saw how straightforwardly you followed me, how pure your heart was, and all the little wonderful things about you, I gained some confidence in myself.”

“Hehe, it feels a little ticklish inside…” Embarrassing comments are prohibited!

“There will come a day when we will have to go our separate ways. But until that day comes, what’s wrong with following the ones precious to us?”


Thoughts

You remember that time they went to the hidden beach on the island? Alicia said something to Akari that has stayed with me the whole time: “it’s because you’re such a wonderful person that you’re able to see all the beauty in this world.”

Indeed. And the same could be said about people that enjoy watching this show – which is to say, pretty much everybody who’s seen a few episodes or read a few chapters of the incredible manga. Aria brings out that beautiful side of the human soul, the kind that makes you want to help the grandma across the street or give your little brother the bigger piece of the pie, if for no other reason but to see a smile on their face. And while this OVA was distinctively different from the TV series in length, animation, and overall production quality, that same Aria spirit shone through clearly.

For those who haven’t had the blessing of enjoying Aria – well, there’s not much to say about it besides that it’s more of an experience than anything. It’s about a group of undines (gondola-rowers) on the planet of Aqua, and their various experiences with each other, the mysteries of the planet, their past, present, and everything in between. While some episodes are more successful than others, each one is guaranteed to give you that sigh of soothing satisfaction.

While the OVA had by far the best production quality of any Aria episode to date, it was a bit odd to see the characters in their new high-res forms. Then again, the transition from manga to anime was slightly odd too – which reminds me, if you haven’t checked out the Aria manga (and the prequel Aqua), do it! The art is fabulous, the pacing every bit as relaxingly addictive as the anime. Anyways, it’s not the best episode I can recall, but it was definitely an important one in further developing Akari and Alicia both as individuals and together in their unique teacher-student relationship.

Fans of Aria, don’t miss this; newcomers to Aria, time to get started – you got a couple months before season 3 airs!

-jaalin

40 Comments

  1. @Pureaura: That would be the President of Aria Company. He’s a Martian cat, which apparently live for a very long time and are as intelligent as most humans

    @Sniper: It’s a very relaxing series. The atmosphere created by the scenery, plots, characters, and especially the music by Choro Club blend perfectly. Like the city of Venice is supposed to be, the atmosphere created in the ARIA series is equally relaxing. There’s funny moments, but ultimately the series is just supposed to leave you with a good feeling.

    melchior
  2. “Calm your heart and relax your soul for a moment of bliss” that say it all

    the animation in this OVA is an huge improvement if you compare it the second season

    P.S: is it just me of does the ova is giving me Akari X Alicia vibes yuri?

    Nigredo
  3. So many tears this week.
    Tears of Joy ( ARIA 3rd Season Announced! )
    Tears of Sorrow ( Colbert Sensei is Dead T-T , All the series have only a few episodes left T-T )
    Tears of Happiness ( Kanata’s smile has never been better )
    Tears of …Where the f**k is my Lucky Channel! ( Where the f**k is my Lucky Channel! )

    Yen
  4. YES! ARIA SEASON 3 for next year!
    this has always been the best anime to watch ever since season 1
    i’m happy with this ova release and now a season 3 news? thats just the best news so far for me 🙂

    jeffng9
  5. @Sniper:
    Its not an exciting show, nor is it particularly funny, there’s virtually no action and the plot meanders. But you always feel calm and relaxed after watching it, often with a warm fuzzy feeling.
    It’s kinda like visual Valium.

    Plus the girls are moe.

    Philip72
  6. this series is just chockful of warmth and happiness and fluff. :] i love it! i’m so glad that there’s going to be a third season. i wonder if anything will happen between akatsuki and akari?

    jay chao
  7. Exactly! This series is just purely something that makes you really relaxed and calm. That’s is the reason why it’s so popular. When the first season came out, I simply loved it because after a hard day of school and extracurricular activities, I would watch an episode then go to sleep feeling all giddy and happy. I just simply loooove this series so I’m really happy that a third season came out. From what I heard, Aria is pretty popular in Japan.

    Silver
  8. This series, it calms me down and makes me feel better, that’s why I really love it.
    Didn’t know it’ll air today 🙂 The thing with season 3 was reported on Animenewsnetwork some days ago, looking forward to it 🙂
    And yes Silver, Aria is quite popular in Japan, you notice i.e. since there’s plenty stuff sold on Yahoo Japan. I myself got an original poster from Japan and put it in a silver frame 🙂 There’s also a game out for PS2 in visual novel style, never played it though, you can only get it on the Japanese Auctions, moreover I heard it isn’t that great.

    But two shop recommenditions: Get the soundtracks! There is one out for each season, they are very nice designed and the music is superb.

  9. Fantastic OVA. It was really great to see a full 30 minutes episodes of ARIA with a much higher grade of animation. Everything was smooth and extra beautiful compared to the tv series. I was even quite fond of the way they drew the characters, a little different but I thought they all looked great. Another bonus is that this revolved mostly around Alicia and Akari, who are my first and second favourite characters respectively. The scenes where they were together were great, especially the last.

    I cant wait for another season of ARIA, after I watch an episode its just impossible for me not to have a smile on my face.

    Fuhrer
  10. What’s great about this anime?
    * moé characters
    * soothing music
    * beautiful scenery
    * great setting
    * relaxing pace
    * light stories
    * pure relationships

    These are the types of stories that you could tell to a 6 year old child before they sleep. It feels like a fairy tale.

    xau
  11. @Fisherman Horizon — Yes, the DVD comes out on the 21st. This appears to be from a “preview broadcast” on AT-X.

    I’ve never been a fan of ARIA, but maybe I’m beginning to get it. This was very nice, for the reasons people have mentioned. There was some lovely voice-acting — especially Ohara Sayaka as Alicia.

  12. Luv Ohara Sayaka!! Loved her in xxxHolic, and love her as Alicia!! Wonder how season 3 is gonna turn out. Man, quite a lot of nice news lately. Aria, Suzumiya Haruhi, Mahou Shoujo Tai Alice…YAY!!

    Jayars
  13. Little confused after watching the raw given my poor Japanese skill, but after watching the Chinese sub, everything clears up. A great OVA indeed. Can’t wait for the DVD with better resolution.

    Got to love the ED sung by Hazuki Erino (Akari). The music is nice, but I always had difficult time understanding Japanese lyrics, now with the help of translation in the Chinese sub, it turns out to be a great ED on par with all the previous Aria OPs and EDs. A must have collection to all Aria fans.

    Can’t wait for season 3 and most of all the new OST! I hope the new songs are as good as those from season 1 and 2 and OVA!

    Firefly
  14. ??? BIG QUESTION ????

    Please correct me if I am wrong.

    I remembered that Aika first didn’t know that Alicia and Akira knew each other.(both in Anime and Manga). What happened with the scene we saw Aika Alicia and Akira altogether.

    Also, on that scene, Akira has short hair(just after became undine)and she already had Aika as her apprentice ?? How old was Aika at that time… 10? 11?

    zzz

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