Looking For Quacks In The Pavement

3WA 2017 #17: Aria the Animation

Last week’s entry was a high-energy story. Let’s dial things down a bit this week. Okay, we’re dialing things down a lot. A whole lot.

What is it?

Aria the Animation is 13 episodes long, adding up to the first installment in a series of anime releases based on the Aria manga.

What kind of story is it?

On the face of it, this is the story of a young girl in training to be an “undine,” a kind of tour guide mixed with entertainer who serves as a gondolier in Neo Venezia, a replica of Venice on a now-terraformed planet Aqua, formerly known as Mars. And if that last part sounds all science-fiction-y and exciting to you, take a deep breath and let it out slowly. This will reset your excitement levels to something more appropriate for this viewing.

Two undines meet on the water. This is the drama level you can expect.

Let me put it another way. Aria the Animation is a sci-fi show the same way that The Seven Samurai is a movie about rice farming.

Really, this is just a group of girls learning their trade and growing into their new roles in life, interspersed with scenery and quiet interludes. It’s relaxing. It’s soothing. It’s heartwarming.

Go on, tell me you wouldn’t want to watch 13 episodes of these two being adorable.

Why do you like it?

Sometimes what you need is something calming and positive and quietly delightful. Aria is that, through and through. Also it’s quite pretty. (Keeping in mind that the first series is a bit dated by modern standards.)

Water and bridges and buildings. You see a lot of this in the show.

What might one not like about it?

The “president” of Aria Company is supposedly a cat. Maybe cats on Mars are different from our Terran variety.

The President has a seat at the table, of course.

I can imagine that people might find the show simply boring. You do need to be in the right mindset and I understand that this sort of thing is never going to be appealing to some folks. That’s fine. I won’t judge.

Other thoughts about it?

I regret not catching the later couple of series, especially the one released just a few years ago. I’ll have to remedy that some day. (I imagine it looks spectacular.)

Where can I watch it?

There’s no streaming that I can find at the time of this writing, so you’ll have to pick up the DVD set instead.

UPDATE: Crunchyroll has Aria the Animation now.


  1. Okay, so it’s no secret that the ARIA franchise is very high on my list of favorite shows. What’s amazing is that it was last broadcast in 2008… nearly 10 years ago. Yes, “…the Origination” looks about as spectacular as you’d expect, given that it’s the first of the series to be in widescreen and 720p.

    I’ll advise to listen closely to the background music, mostly performed by Choro Club. Incidentally, the show Yokohama Kaidashi Kiko also features music by Choro Club, which strengthens my personal belief that the two franchises are based in the same universe… the Earth in YKK is Aria’s Manhome. I’m probably just wishing too hard for it, but it does kinda fit.

    But I digress. Music, right! A good playlist can be found here: I’m particularly fond of playlist #5: Shourou no patri and #2: Undine, which is the OP of “…the Animation,” in fact.

    I think it’s time I do a rewatch, actually…

  2. “Cats on Mars.” Proof that the Cowboy Bebop OST isn’t musical perfection.

    You know, I’ve never heard someone come out and say they flat-out disliked ARIA. SDB didn’t like Alicia in the second season so he stopped watching, but that’s not the same as not liking the show.

    Well. I guess I make up for all the people like that.

    • Yeah, you’re right about the Bebop thing but I couldn’t NOT link to that piece as soon as I wrote the sentence, now could I?

      I think I mostly just wandered away from ARIA… the OVA and Origination landed when I was slogging through the worst couple years after losing the radio gig and I was just… maintaining. When my budget settles down after the next month or so, I will look into starting in on the DVD collections.

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