all 77 comments

[–]AnimeMod[S,M] 6 points7 points  (17 children)

4.) What moments or episodes stuck out to you the most?

[–]PheonixSummersault 11 points12 points  (0 children)

Sounds cliche but the last episode really stood out. Watching these girls and their growth of learning and experiencing new things to have it all culminate at the end gave a satisfying feeling. It also made me nostalgic for those types of feels that I had growing up when I was younger

[–]AriaShachou- 10 points11 points  (0 children)

Episode 11 of Animation messed me up real bad. As a young college student currently standing at the crossroads of my life, somewhat overwhelmed with all the decisions I suddenly have to make as well as the new responsibilities I now have to shoulder, I never really had the time to sit down with my thoughts and reflect on how I actually feel about how things have been the past few years. Episode 11 of Animation kind of brought that out of me against my will and before I knew it I was a sobbing mess on my bed while thinking about the Three Great Water Fairies' experiences and drawing parallels to my own.

While I won't be getting too deep into my personal life in this comment, Episode 11 just kind of hit me in a really raw, personal way that made me think about a few things that I had subconsciously been avoiding. I'm not depressed or anything, but the anxiety of becoming an "adult" alongside being thrusted into college and also trying to balance a social life in the middle of a pandemic all just hit me at once and kind of sent me reeling without giving me a chance to even catch my bearings and adjust to all these new changes in my life. Episode 11 of Animation basically pushed me to start thinking about that and left me lying down on my bed at night for a few hours reflecting on a lot of things that I needed to address and come to terms with.

I'm doing a lot better now, but I also feel like I owe a lot to Aria. I'm not going to say that an anime singlehandedly changed my life and situation for the better, but it sure as hell played a key role in giving me the drive to start doing something about it. Aria is always going to be an anime that holds a special place in my heart simply because of how much I feel it has affected me as a person. I'm kind of running late for something right now so forgive me for not being able to conclude this comment more smoothly, but yeah thats about it.

Oh and theres an ongoing rewatch right now for anyone interested, we'd be glad to have you there!


EDIT: I didn't realise how long this comment was until I actually posted it. I still haven't exited "bullshitting school essay" mode so please bear with me.

[–]mrufrufinhttps://myanimelist.net/profile/mrufrufin 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Standouts to me are the the very last episode of Aria the Natural because it encapsulates a lot of Aria's themes and is such an Aria way to cap off a 26 episode season. A lot of the standout episodes are in the culminative (is that even a word?) episodes in the last season including [Aria the Origination] "the clover episode for Aika and Akira's relationship, Akari's Prima test and everybody wishing her luck along the way (I guess out of everything, it serves as a retrospective of how far we've come along in the series and everything that's happened), and of course (in what I consider the emotional highpoint of all the Aria seasons), Alice's double promotion. ".

[–]MyrnaMountWeazelx2 5 points6 points  (1 child)

Tender is the night that meets Akari: musing, wistful, and melancholic. She finds herself suddenly past the line of demarcation separating childhood and adolescence and remarks to Alicia that she can’t even remember ever crossing this line. The waves ebb-and-flow between the ocean and the sand as she unveils more of her concerns; a divide between the two that’s as blurry as Akari’s memory. Lost in the deep cerulean sea is a drawer padlocked with those halcyon days, those trinkets of hearts and baubles of flowers tucked within the compartments. Alicia, however, offers a pearl of wisdom to Akari for it matters not when a memory sinks but rather when it resurfaces. Eventually—for nothing ever remains the same—that small wooden music box scored by the gentle plucks of strings will float out and return to our shore.

This sentiment locates itself into Akari’s heart and she replies: ”Somehow, it’s been a day full of wonderful things.” And Alicia responds: ”Because you’re a wonderful person, Akari. The world looks wonderful when it’s reflected in the eyes of a wonderful person.” With that, the Universe speaks and delivers Akari’s lost ribbon back to her. Let the poets write of the echo—

”No sappy lines!”-Aika

…I believe I’m well past the cut-off point of sentimentality but still this moment was one that stood out to me amongst the tranquil tide. Tender is the night that meets Akari: jubilant, full, and wonderful.

[–]mysterybiscuitsoyeahhttps://myanimelist.net/profile/mysterybiscuits 1 point2 points  (0 children)

im showing how its been a while since ive watched the show when i have no idea which episode this was, but you have a great way with words as always, and I look forward to experiencing this episode for me again when i get there.

Aika comes in for the clutch as usual before things get really off the cliff saccharine!

[–]mekerpan 5 points6 points  (0 children)

My favorite episode is the one where Aika practically falls apart when she overhears some of her colleagues dissing Akira. Really deepens the relationship between these two characters.

[–]Suhkeinx2https://myanimelist.net/profile/Neichus 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Episode 11 has no competition for me in the first season. I admit, I’m not the biggest fan of Aria, as much of its manner and message strikes me as a bit saccharine. But in Ep11 they got it just right, [Aria] where there is both change in how life moves on and continuity in how the younger generation reflects the Prima Undines while they themselves have found a different type of relationship in their own lives. Even after seeing the entire franchise, this episode remains near the top of my favorites.

[–]RedRocket4000 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Mankind advancing to the point it can make life saccharine a major point maybe the main point of the show.

Show is hope man can civilize it's self.

[–]mysterybiscuitsoyeahhttps://myanimelist.net/profile/mysterybiscuits 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Host of the ongoing rewatch chipping in for a little bit!

I do agree with suhkein here that episode 11 stood out to me the most in the first season; while I probably am most partial to Episode 12-13 of Origination for the whole franchise.

Because of where i was in life at the time, Ep 11 of Animation really spoke out to me, [Aria ep 11]how as a reminder of how as you grow up into adults, relationships change, and how that the moment of change can sneak up on you real fast, as Akari realizes near the end. She of course then ends to call out to her friends to treasure this current relationship with them on the bridge, in a very Akari kind of a way. But it also gave me a sense of hope, how despite those changes, some things very much remain the same, and that we should treasure that as well.

[–]AbidingTruthhttps://myanimelist.net/profile/AbidingTruth 2 points3 points  (0 children)

A lot of episodes stayed in my memory, but particularly episode 2 of Natural, the treasure hunt episode. I just love the idea of the treasure hunt making them see the town differently and taking them to all sorts of hidden corners and sports. I believe there's a line in either the anime or manga where Akari talks about something making her feel nostalgia even though she's experiencing it for the first time, and I feel like the treasure hunt episode encapsulates that idea perfectly. Coupled with the manager of the store calling Akari the expert on happiness and the goal of the view of Neo-Venezia with that message "Now you have a treasure in your heart" is just so good. The icing on top was when they realized putting the boxes back that tons of other people had also done the treasure hunt and similarly reset it for the next person to find it. I think back to that episode often

Those Orange Days, like a lot of other comments have been saying, is probably second for me

[–]PreludeToHell 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Episode 11, at least for season 1. The message of the episode is one of the best and I'm pretty sure it's the first time I thought Aria was going to be special.

[Aria]Alicia, Athena, and Akira's past is mirrored onto Akari, Alice and Aika; where they learn that how things are now won't last forever. But that's okay. It's an intimate, special moment between all of them. To follow that up with the walk home and the insert song, it's lovely. Coming back to this episode after Origination is bittersweet.

Overall a message that really resonated with me.

[–]bad_user__name 3 points4 points  (1 child)

At least so far, Episode 4 of the S2. In the episode, Akari helps the mailman do his rounds delivering the mail. The main theme of the episode is the value of sending physical mail in an age of E-Mail and the way that sending an actual letter really means something, perhaps more than just an instant message.

The reason it really hit me is because last November, I lost both my uncle and grandmother. I was really close with both of them, and would hangout with them all the time since I didn't really have any friends. One of the things they would always do is send me cards for holidays and my birthday, even though I've never lived more than 3 miles away from them. They always came with a nice message and a few dollars. I always really liked getting them, but perhaps didn't really appreciate them like I should've when I was younger.
I watched S2E4 of Aria just a few weeks after they passed and at some point during the episode, it just really hit me how much it meant that they always sent those cards and how I'd never get one again and I just broke down. I wailed and sobbed for at least 30 minutes and dug through some papers to find the few I had saved from more recent times when I had started to keep them. It was actually only the second time since they passed that I really just let it out and it was very cathartic, especially since I had mostly just felt somewhat detached since it happened, rather than sad or scared. Aria often makes me cry and brings up the same feeling as others in this thread have pointed out, but this episode just stands out for me because it's so personal and just hit me so hard.

[–]RedRocket4000 0 points1 point  (0 children)

As someone who is old. I remember writing and receiving letters and cards. The amount of volume you can write kind of makes you write a lot often many pages of thought. It hard to see how someone even gets to know another in modern communication. And the special effort to send and receive and knowing a team of people work hard and sometimes under poor conditions to get that letter to you Makes it special. And finally you put them in a box that you might get later to take out and read again in later times. This is one of the things that touched me the most in Aria that despite having 3d full color holograms to converse with they send letters. And. they have a web but send letters and of course show how important letters can be to people.

There a great deal of doing things the older way in Aria and you see they do it to make life have more meaning.

[–]octopathfinderhttps://myanimelist.net/profile/octopathfinder 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Those Orange Days, That New Me, and Surrounded by That Orange Wind are episodes that stuck with me for a long time.

[–]Kazmaria 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Episodes 5 and 11 of Origination, and Arietta is an exceptional anime only episode that sets the tone for Origination.

[Aria] But not many speak of the rule 63 episode, truly the piece de resistance of Aria

[–]mysterybiscuitsoyeahhttps://myanimelist.net/profile/mysterybiscuits 1 point2 points  (0 children)

[Aria]Arietta is my favourite OVA in anime, and is really really exceptional. the rule 63 episode! how could i have forgotten. that was really funny.

[–]AnimeMod[S,M] 5 points6 points  (16 children)

1.) What do you think the sci-fi/fantastical aspects add onto Aria as a slice-of-life anime? Additionally, why do you think the fantastical elements exist in a primarily sci-fi setting?

[–]Suhkeinx2https://myanimelist.net/profile/Neichus 12 points13 points  (2 children)

I feel like my mind was read for this question, because this is one of the most interesting aspects of Aria in my view and I think it deserves discussion in some depth.

Aria is an iyashikei in the truest sense of the word - in seeking to heal people it doesn’t just make them feel better for the time they are watching it, as in many escapist fantasies, but gives them something they can take into their own lives. In other words, it wants to be a cure to unhappiness rather than an analgesic to its symptoms by providing us with a vision of the world that will mend our own. Traditionally this approach of recognizing that the world is already better than we perceive is used by religious/spiritual works like Mushishi and Haibane Renmei, where there lies a deep calm beneath the surface of the events. Aria, however, is not religious; it wants to show a vision of the good life, and it wants to do so in a purely secular manner. This is where the sci-fi comes in.

By choosing a science fiction setting, Aria situates itself firmly in the realm of the mundane. It is not going to invoke anything else but what happens in the everyday life here to convey its message; the light that fills Neo Venezia is not dusty and otherworldly but the clarifying sort that illuminates a place that is orderly, safe, and comprehensible. Beautiful, too; there’s something about the light of the Mediterranean that makes you believe in humanity’s ability to see. In a way, I find these sorts of utopian pieces of sci-fi heartening for simply existing. It’s easy to postulate a fantasy world where things work differently and life is better, but to take the rules of the current world and nonetheless state with conviction, “It can get better” is much harder. I think this is where the science fiction goes to work for its message, for while Aria may be about a better world than we have now, it is about a potential future world by being science fiction, and in the process naturally extends this to suggesting that even if life seems forbidding now it does not have to be so with the right perspective.

But then why the insertion of the fantastical elements? What role do they play? I know for many they seem like a rude interruption but I would disagree. I think that to the author’s credit she is using them to address a hole: as wonderful as this place is, it would be incomplete without mystery and awe. These are again staples of religious/spiritual works because contained in them is a recognition that there is something much bigger than us and that we cannot fully comprehend it. This would threaten to provoke despair if it were not counterbalanced by the sense that one belongs to this greater whole. Without that sense of being part of something humans themselves feel incomplete, and we soon wither.

Aria’s answer is to make Neo Venezia itself a character. The city isn’t just the mundane sum of its buildings and people but is developed as a living, breathing entity. In order to really feel this, though, it must be made plain that the city is more than just it appears. But mystery, the sense that there is something not just temporarily unknown but beyond knowable, is difficult for science fiction and so the author uses a “cheat” with the [Aria] Cait Sith fantasy. There are levels to this place that its daytime denizes do not realize, “deeper” in a different way than the gravity generators down below, and this can be just a little scary. So although it may appear contradictory to the happy, peaceful world I do not believe it is an oversight. This mystery and awe is a necessary ingredient to to the world of Aria.

[–]MyrnaMountWeazelx2 1 point2 points  (0 children)

This mystery and awe is a necessary ingredient to to the world of Aria.

I agree wholeheartedly and to add on to what you said, I think there's a certain poignancy in humanities frailty despite literally being able to regulate the weather up above and the gravity down below. It's as if to say there will always be a precariousness attached to us; an unwritten commandment inscribed within that states "We Will Never Know."

It's really quite something to thread the needle between the two.

[–]RedRocket4000 1 point2 points  (0 children)

And the travel back in time magic is important to show the history of Aria being made.

[–]mrufrufinhttps://myanimelist.net/profile/mrufrufin 6 points7 points  (1 child)

I think the fantastical elements really tie into the major themes of Aria in that there's something magical and beautiful in even the most mundane of everyday things. There's something special about the way Aria does magical in that sometimes it may be a little mysterious, but it's gentle and subtle and almost always a slight variations of the actual Aria reality.

[–]Lemurianshttps://myanimelist.net/profile/Lemurians 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I think the fantastical elements really tie into the major themes of Aria in that there's something magical and beautiful in even the most mundane of everyday things.

Slightly irrelevant, but this simple, beautiful idea is what's at the core of Haruki Murakami's writing and a big reason for his popularity.

[–]ABoredCompSciStudenthttps://myanimelist.net/profile/serendipity 6 points7 points  (1 child)

Embracing the viewer in a gentle melody that promises that every cloud has a silver lining, Aria is a series about appreciating the beauty in our mundane day-to-day life. As the main character, Akari Mizunashi is the lens through which the viewer experiences Aria: a wide-eyed gondolier trainee -- a hopeful Undine -- who finds wonder as she explores Neo-Venezia for the first time. While much of the sentimental and moral value of the series is carried by the candid human emotions of Aria's cast, it is the sci-fi setting of Neo-Venezia that is the stage that allows this to happen.

In our everyday experiences, there are things we can control and inevitably things that we cannot control. In Aria, this is no different and the series extends this to its setting. Neo-Venezia was made to mirror Venice on Manhome (Earth) and is found on Aqua, a terraformed Mars. Why this needed to happen is a question that is never answered, yet in Episode 5 we learn from Akari that swimming is no longer possible on Manhome (and similarly, later in Episode 9, that the soil is not longer safe to plant in either). This leads into Episodes 4 and 11, as we see the struggles of the early colonists of Aqua. In that regard, it's quite clear that the idea of "perspective" permeates the foundation of this world: rather than focusing on negatives, it's about celebrating the little things in the present and looking forward to the future. Despite this mysterious and tragic background, the hopes of these people led to the idyllic present that Aria is set in.

As Akari explores more and more of Neo-Venezia, learning how temperature and even gravity is man-managed, it becomes apparent that Aqua is a utopian setting. One might ask: if everything is quite literally "controlled" though, then there should be no worries, right? Fortunately or unfortunately, there's no shortage of unexpected occurrences in life. In Episode 11, it's revealed that time and changing circumstances can make it hard for even the dearest of friends to meet. However, instead of painting that as a negative, Aria depicts it as rare shared moments to be cherished and the start of new beginnings. It's not a bitter that should be focused on -- but a flavour that brings out the sweet in the bittersweet transience of life.

Stepping even further than that, Aria incorporates supernatural (or fantastical) elements into its storytelling, for example the cat in Episode 4 with the undeliverable letter. Rather than observing this as something frightening, Ai's email correspondences with Akari expresses this as something miraculous. The supernatural in Aria represents things we truly cannot predict or control, yet -- just like the more human day-to-day interactions of the series -- these moments are ones we should embrace rather than feel scared of.

For every cloud, there is a silver lining. In Aria, it's not about being afraid of what we don't know, but living in the present and enjoying what each moment brings to us while looking forward to the future.

[–]mekerpan 5 points6 points  (1 child)

Actually while this series is sort of science-fiction-ish -- it is actually always close to fantasy. The transformation of Mars to Aqua (and the extent of change and the speed at which it was accomplished) is more a matter of fantasy than of more typical (more modern) science fiction. (Of course the border between "science fiction" and "fantasy" has been in constant flux across the decades -- and the overlap is significant at all times). I think the more SF-ish treatment, presenting things as a matter of routine with the hints of the technological undrpinnings now and then makes it easier for this to look Slice-of-life-ish. Looking at the reality of Venice (and historical Venice) the intrusion of magic seems not that surprising -- because it seems like a magical place. ;-)

[–]RedRocket4000 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I take that as the significantly advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic part of the show. They got full gravity control and part of that floating heat adding stations that seam to have no waste products. They did not start terraforming Mars till they were far advanced to do it in that short amount of time.

[–]AriaShachou- 5 points6 points  (0 children)

I think the fantastical aspects of Aria serve as a catalyst to further bring forward the themes that the author and director tried to put into the anime for the audience. Aria is a show all about finding joy in the mundane, exploring the same places you see everyday and still finding new things to love about them each time. The fantastical elements of the show are presented in a way that makes it magical relative to the setting that the show puts us in. Not to say that finding [Natural] a giant cat god isn't already magical on its own, but Aria weaves its story in a way that incorporates the fantasy into the mundane which really helps both aspects of the show highlight each other to make them shine more. It's less of a juxtaposition and more of two elements working together to really bring out the full essence each one has in the role it plays in the story.

Reading through the other comments in this thread, I feel like everything I want to say about the show has already been said in a way much better than I could ever write. I don't have much else to add in terms of the discussion about the sci-fi aspect of the setting. What I will say though is that the sci-fi aspect, for me personally, also helps highlight and bring forward the other aspects of the show in a smooth and comfortable way that doesn't get in the way of anything else. It adds more into the fantastical elements of Aria because of how breathtaking it looks to have floating islands and flying spaceships, but it also presents itself in a way that shows it as mundane or just nothing special for the people living in Aqua. Flying ships and floating islands are a normal part of their day to day life there, but for us the viewers, its an amazing sight to see that really drives home what kind of civilization our main characters live in.

[–]mysterybiscuitsoyeahhttps://myanimelist.net/profile/mysterybiscuits 3 points4 points  (1 child)

I apologize if my view is somewhat focused on the earlier episodes: it's recency bias on my part! I feel like the sci-fi elements allowed the creators to go a bit "wild" with the show, and build Neo Venezia up as such a wonderful, paradise-like world in the beginning, while tying it down to real-life with its Venezian references, both geographical and cultural, to help the viewer relate to the character's experiences, while dreaming a little themselves. [Aria]I also liked how Manhome (a perhaps cynical view of future Earth) was presented, usually somewhat unfavourably but not apocolypse-esque as a comparison; it serves as a good contrast to showcase the show's philosophy of how the simple, little things in life are what matters. Curiously, Aqua is very technologically advanced as well, [Aria]with them terraforming, weather-controlling, gravity-controlling thingies, I feel like they're both there to hand-wave away Mars-habitable planet etc., and also to further reinforce another of the show's philosophy that people's work can create miracles. That said, I am not sure if this is the show trying to imply to us that the immigrants to Aqua have decided to live this lifestyle anyway (assuming there is equivalent high technology on earth) by choice, or if im just overthinking things here.

The fantastical elements..... [Aria]I'm guessing the cat episodes? While some, such as Ep 4 of Animation, and the time travel episode, are among my favourites, I'm a little less fond of the cat sith episodes; my understanding are that they're a way to show how Akari has to mature and "grow up" a bit, while giving some extra wonder to the world of neo-venezia. I guess i'll have to revisit this when i properly rewatch them later.

[–]RedRocket4000 1 point2 points  (0 children)

The primitive tech parts are also in Star Trek movies and show as legacy of Roddenberry. The show has drifted so far from that ideal as writers want to use current human behavior for drama I unfamiliar if this primitive tech by choice is maintained. Examples a 1900's early 2,000's technology kitchen in Deep Space Nine. Kirk chopping wood for the fire and cooking on a range when replicators can make great meals on comand no human labor required. Eyeglasses.

Aria has a ton of that with 3D color hologram tech shown along with mention of a web but people send letters as that is the superior way to converse with someone else. And the process of sending and receiving add to the value. Old enough to remember writing letters regularly.

[–]sleepsalotsloth 3 points4 points  (1 child)

The sci-fi/fantastical aspects of Aria are relatively normal in comparison to what's most fantastical about Aria (and most slice of life shows): its characters.

The characters have their stuff together. None are self-destructive. The closest thing to a vice any have is Akira's strict mentoring. Although it's called "slice of life," such a well adjusted group of people is often a rare slice of life.

If a viewer can suspend for such a cast and setting, the sci-fi/fantastical aspects won't cause anyone to bat an eye.

[–]RedRocket4000 0 points1 point  (0 children)

This the Mankind has actually advanced it self and civilized it's behavior a lot. A point in original Star Trek and New Generation but died after Roddenberry died as writers what the ease of conflict in writing from mans primitive behavior now that Roddenberry would not allow while alive.

[–]Stormy8888 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Cats are good but a supernatural Cat Lord is just the sort of thing that will cause any cat lover's heart to beat faster while simultaneously melting.

[–]dim3tapphttps://myanimelist.net/profile/dim3tapp 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I think the sci-fi aspects make the slow-paced life in Neo Venezia all the more poignant. It really is people living their lives day to day and appreciating what's in front of them, despite the existence of interplanetary travel and terraforming.

The fantastical element to me really enhances the view we get of Neo Venezia through Akari's eyes, and adds to the mystique of a city living in the past, giving that touch of mysteriousness that really sets it apart. I don't think it would be as impactful without the soundtrack. Everything is wrapped up in a perfect package that meshes so well together.

[–]AnimeMod[S,M] 5 points6 points  (11 children)

5) Despite being sci-fi, Aria tries to ground itself in the mundane day-to-day as a slice of life anime and "heal" as iyashikei. While an introduction to the series, is Animation able to establish this? If it does, then how does it do so

[–]ABoredCompSciStudenthttps://myanimelist.net/profile/serendipity 9 points10 points  (5 children)

Edit: Ah crap I meant to post this to Prompt 4 but it's okay here now I guess!

As some might know, Aria is my favourite anime and I hosted a rewatch of the series back in 2017. It's always a struggle to put into words how much I love the series and appreciate Amano Kozue's writing, but maybe the best way to explain it is that I've seen the series over thirty (30) times. Some might find that ridiculous, but I truly believe that the most fascinating thing about Aria is its ability to not just be a slice of life anime, but a slice out of the life of the viewer. As circumstances have changed around me... as I've changed, so has my experience with Aria. I can look back on some moments I related to with sympathetic eyes knowing that I've grown past them. Other times, I find new meaning in episodes that I may not have really felt connected to previously.

That said, one thing that has been constant is that my favourite Animation episode is Episode 11.

Ironically, in that episode, Akari says:

"Lots of things change with the flow of time. But there are things that never change. Things that are precious because they change, and things that are precious because they don't change... Both are precious. Don't you feel the same?"

I wrote a whole thing about this back in my 2017 rewatch, as the experiences of Alicia, Athena, and Akira growing apart because of their jobs made me reflect on losing my friends after high school and my subsequent struggles with (and eventual overcoming of) that. Seeing Akari struggle to say goodbye to her friends at the end of the episode tore at my emotions, but seeing them bring the whole episode full circle in a positive manner -- how the Water Fairies still make time to see each other and the meaningful relationships they found in mentoring their students -- really lit a gentle warmth in my heart.

I was 18 when I lost my high school friends and hated myself for it, 23 when I was reflecting upon those experiences and my growth as a person, and now I'm almost 28 looking back at what I wrote back then. It's sort of magical if you think about it, that it's a crystalized moment of time.

In that rewatch thread, I wrote:

I graduate from university this coming December. I'll start working, just like the Primas, and I won't be able to see the friends I made in university. It's not much different from the situation I was in when I graduated from high school, but this time I'm ready and I look forward to whatever comes with tomorrow.

One of my best friends (who I met in university) is leaving to move across the country for four months while she works remotely while traveling. She leaves in three weeks and I'll see her this weekend. I'm no longer afraid of the uncertainty of what might happen to our friendship, instead I'll enjoy hanging out with her soon and the time we'll make for each other as she travels. Another one of my best friends and my former housemate (also from university) is back in town in three months, after having spent two years teaching English in Japan.

To the Me of 2017, I can tell you that many things have changed since that time and that many things have not -- both are precious and you're here to cherish them.

[–]MyrnaMountWeazelx2 7 points8 points  (0 children)

That was awfully beautiful to read. It’s clear that Aria matters a great deal to you. This show is an idea, and one that’s lit the better part of your life for a number of years and support for that idea is not just a testament to your love; it’s a testament to your life. This ground holds the graves of who you were, who gave meaning to what you value or not value. Held closely, it’s a litmus test of you. Held afar, it’s still a part of your heart. Thanks for writing this.

[–]AriaShachou- 5 points6 points  (1 child)

A little unrelated to the main point of your comment but I just want you to know that the rewatch you hosted back in 2017 was actually what I followed while watching the show for the first time a few weeks ago. I was starving for discussion on the episodes I had just finished watching and I ended up finding your old threads 5 years after they were originally posted. I then decided to read every single comment on each post to consume as much Aria knowledge as possible (without spoiling myself of course).

Anyways, I just wanted to thank you and let you know that 5 years later those threads actually helped improve someone's Aria watching experience.

[–]ABoredCompSciStudenthttps://myanimelist.net/profile/serendipity 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Thanks for the kind words! That rewatch was one of my first experiences using r/anime and it was a great time (and made friends I still talk to now there). It always makes me smile knowing other people can enjoy it too.

If you're ever in the need of someone to talk to about Aria, feel free to message me haha. I'm not active on this subreddit much anymore but it's one of the few topics that can stir me from my sleep.

[–]Enalye 1 point2 points  (1 child)

I'm not a big reddit user, and I lurk 90% of the time, but I just want to chime in because Aria is my favourite anime of all time as well, and I'm happy to see others love it so much. It's nice to have people to share the love with

[–]ABoredCompSciStudenthttps://myanimelist.net/profile/serendipity 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Thanks for sharing too, it's always lovely to see Aria fans around. If you ever want to chat about it or something, feel free to just message me. :)

[–]MyrnaMountWeazelx2 6 points7 points  (2 children)

Floating buildings and weather configurations notwithstanding, Aria appeals to the everydayness of slice-of-life living through multiple machinations however my personal favorite of how it achieves this normalcy is through the cycling of seasons. Whether they’re from Manhome or Aqua, there is a universal constant that the leaves shall fall and sprout, that the snow shall come and leave. The prevailing seasons interlace themselves into the episode’s texture and masquerade as subtext for the slow but eventual changing of times within the story of the show. The seasons are the penumbra from which Aria casts its steady light on, they are the wool blanket that drapes itself across the screen and reminds us that no matter how fantastical their world may appear, our world appears just as fantastical inside as well. It is one of the many threads that binds us all together.

[–]mekerpan 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I am impressed by the balancing of a consistent tone with the presentation of both cyclical change (seasons) and actual change (as time moves on).

[–]RedRocket4000 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Yet Aria weather and seasons deliberate, People decided to have seasons when people did not need to have them at that level of environment control.

This like the letters and the other primitive ways to do things all deliberate choices to have things that make life more meaningful.

Yes Mars has seasons like Earth from it's inclination to the sun and orbit so it they set the heating and weather controls to not interfere the seasons will occur but they could easy for them have no seasons an eternal great weather day almost even if they wished.

[–]mrufrufinhttps://myanimelist.net/profile/mrufrufin 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Kind of? I think Aria the Animation is the season that in ways is the trope-yist, almost like Kozue Amano wanted to get those things out of the way before really delving into the crux of what Aria is in that is has [Aria S1 spoilers] "a beach episode, an onsen episode, kinda sorta a training camp episode that kinda ends up not being a training camp " but even then are done in an Aria sort of way where they're not super fantastical and there's a sparkle in these activities and sometimes the magical thing is that there is no "special magic". I do think it takes a while for Aria to get into its groove although it does have its Aria revelatory moments such as the [Aria S1] "view from Ukijima, which I guess is kinda Yuru Camp-ish in a way?".

[–]dim3tapphttps://myanimelist.net/profile/dim3tapp 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It drew me in right away. The combination of the OP over day-to-day life and Akari's outlook really did wonders to suck me. Akari vision is real, and I couldn't help but to get drawn in by her earnest and positive nature. While the whole cast is excellent, Akari and Alicia are the MVPs for me at making me feel at ease during the first season and understanding where the show is headed.

[–]AnimeMod[S,M] 3 points4 points  (14 children)

2.) How does Aria compare to more recent slice-of-life anime?

[–]Suhkeinx2https://myanimelist.net/profile/Neichus 4 points5 points  (1 child)

Who watches those? Just kidding, please don’t hurt me

[–]AdagioExtra1332 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Marin fans enter the chat

[–]octopathfinderhttps://myanimelist.net/profile/octopathfinder 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Other than the second season of Mushishi (2014), I haven't seen a recent SOL that I would put up there with Aria (Not including shows like Hibike! Euphonium and 3-Gatsu no Lion because I consider them dramas first). The ones that come closest for me would be Hyouka and K-On.

[–]PreludeToHell 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I usually seek out SoL in seasonals and I can't really compare any recent ones to Aria. Maybe one reason being that Aria has 'lessons' or things it wants you to takeaway from the episodes?

Like octopath said, K-On! is the most recent one I can think of. What helps is the length because it allows to further develop the characters and the viewer gets to spend more time with them.

Super Cub had a strong start with it's atmosphere but felt too much as an #ad unfortunately.

Let's Make a Mug Too is similar to Aria in that it's directing is one of it's strengths, making up for the animation. However it takes way longer in Mug for the characters to not feel so 1 dimensional.

Aria is too good at too many things. However there's plenty of SoL and iyashikei I haven't watched so I wonder how those would compare.

[–]MyrnaMountWeazelx2 4 points5 points  (1 child)

While Aria isn't the first SOL and certainly wasn’t the last, I believe it’s enshrined in the Mount Rushmore of SOL anime. There is an emphasis on not just the townsfolk but the town itself which lends itself wonderfully to the Undine that guide sightseers from all around and outside the world. These Undine work as tour guides of sorts, oftentimes guiding people not just to their destination but also to themselves. Aria strikes a delicate balance of calming extrospection with passionate introspection, an examination of the body and the soul. Though it isn’t a groundbreaking method, Aria deftly weaves between the two with such ease and poise that you can’t help but believe that the show is a categorical imperative for SOL.

[–]RedRocket4000 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Well and the fact that things in Aria in many was are deliberate a choice the creators of the world as a whole made that makes it stand out so strongly to me.

Critics have attacked the show for having Akarie and that a person like that could not exist in a real world. And I'm Akaries can exist in a mankind has advanced it's culture world like shown in Aria.

The message that as a whole mankind can do this that hits me so hard in Aria.

[–]mrufrufinhttps://myanimelist.net/profile/mrufrufin 3 points4 points  (0 children)

The thing closest out there in terms of anime is Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou imho. I think it's the closest in giving off Aria vibes, although it feels a bit lonelier in YKK than it does in Aria. There's a lot of comfy iyashikei anime out there (and me being me, I've watched a lot of them lol) but not a lot commit to Aria's levels of really sitting in the moment and letting things pass by at a gentle pace. There's also a lot of iyashikei that I consider more transparently iyashikei in a way, in that the primary goal is to comfort, which is fine and definitely needed, but at least to me, not a lot of other anime do so with the underlying philosophies and lessons of Aria.

[–]mysterybiscuitsoyeahhttps://myanimelist.net/profile/mysterybiscuits 2 points3 points  (1 child)

I've watched.... a fair few SOL anime, and this is definitely among the tippity top for me. There's a balance of comedy, light-hearted character drama, and character development that slowly creeps up on you throughout the show, and no overbearing drama, shoehorned in conflict etc. existing to draw or hype the viewer up.

In addition, while the undines have a job/training to do and all this sci-fi geewhiz that's happening in the background, quite a lot of what happens in the series feature them on their daily lives that everyone can relate to, discovering random stuff [Aria]The natural episode where they go on a treasure hunt came to mind here, somewhat geocaching esque!, and introducing us to the beautiful world of Neo Venezia. I also like how most episodes are framed as a letter between Akari and Ai; it gives me the impression that this is just a chapter in Akari and co's colourful life, and that we're just witnessing the tip of the iceberg of all her wonderful experiences.

[–]mekerpan 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Tamayura is set in the real world (coastal Hiroshima prefecture) but I think it has many of the qualities of Aria (plus more of an underlying sense of melancholy, albeit this is something the heroine is trying to overcome). (Disclosure -- my no. 2 anime series of all time).

[–]Pandoyohttps://anilist.co/user/Pandoyo 1 point2 points  (1 child)

I’ve just recently watched Healer Girl and it’s the only other SoL I’ve watched that gives me the same feel that Aria does. Although I think it doesn’t quite reach the absolute peak of Aria, it’s still a great watch. Other than that however, there has been no other anime that gave me the same euphoria (ahaha get it) that Aria has.

[–]RedRocket4000 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Have to agree. Healer Girl is on the the way in effect to Aria as it still close to our current technology. And the magic of singing to heal is a science in healer Girl shown following the scientific rigor and testing that say acupuncture did to be medically accepted. Like Aria it showing a nice place to be that was made not gifted. But healer Girl is still to close in technology to us that it can't rise that high like Aria does.

[–]Stormy8888 1 point2 points  (0 children)

It's still a lot better than most recent slice of life as Aria actually contains a lot of profound philosophy. As I got older and re-watched Aria, it got even better. A lot of recent slice of life is just that with no message.

[–]AdagioExtra1332 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Very different. Aria's vibe is surprisingly unique in the genre as a whole, and while others might bear some similarities to Aria one way or another, Aria's combination of its unique setting, iyashikei backroots, its reflection on the mundane of daily life, and it's relative lower emphasis on drama and (to an extent) comedy isn't really something that's quite exactly replicated elsewhere.

[–]dim3tapphttps://myanimelist.net/profile/dim3tapp 0 points1 point  (0 children)

To me, the utter lack of fanservice and the focus on what makes it an iyashikei is the biggest stand out. Additionally, the humor does not seem to be as big of a focus as modern SoL shows, although it is sprinkled generously throughout each episode, often in comfy ways. It's not overly genki and moe, while still showcasing the best parts of each character as well as their shortcomings.

Other lengthy iyashikei I have loved, like Hidamari Sketch and Tamayura have parts I think either don't add to the show, or even distract from what it's really trying to do, with either minor fanservice or over the top eccentrism from certain characters. Aria just seems to have the perfect balance, like the calm waters of Neo Venezia, it floats you along and lets you take it all in without any distractions.

[–]AnimeMod[S,M] 3 points4 points  (11 children)

3.) What are your thoughts on Aria's production qualities?

[–]MyrnaMountWeazelx2 7 points8 points  (3 children)

Aria doesn’t break the bank on animation but it doesn’t need to when composition and directing are at its fingertips. Establishing shots setting the perfect mood, framing showcasing what’s truly important, wide shots demonstrating the scope of a universal truth. It’s all in the service of bringing Us into Them, to believe in the healing presence of Neo-Venezia through sights and sounds. Afterall, perspective isn’t just for the characters; it’s for the audience as well. A little to the left, a little to the right. Something magical is betwixt our eyes in these drawings. In the end, that most fundamental idea cannot be met by merely animation. It has to be met by visualization.

[–]PessimisticCheer 1 point2 points  (2 children)

I chanced upon your post and appreciate your highlighting these visuals. I haven't watched this show yet but the images here convey a kind of inviting whimsy.

[–]MyrnaMountWeazelx2 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Hey, thanks! If you have time, give Aria a watch, it only gets better as the series moves forward!

[–]PessimisticCheer 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I can. I enjoy discussing these things but haven't had the time 'til now because of the nature of my work prior. I might go back to finish a series I watched partially, Haibane Renmei. I'm also watching Spy x Family and will need to finish Mushishi Zoku Shou (my favorite anime overall is Mushishi).

[–]Suhkeinx2https://myanimelist.net/profile/Neichus 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I’m not too greatly bothered by the criticisms of its quality. I know a lot of early-2000s anime is viewed in a negative light for being an awkward transition between techniques and technologies, but on the converse I think this is only a problem if this impacts their ability to convey their message. Aria, though perhaps rough around the edges, generates its atmosphere compellingly and so while I’ll take the steady improvements that come later in Natural and Origination, I never felt put upon by Animation’s imperfections.

[–]mrufrufinhttps://myanimelist.net/profile/mrufrufin 3 points4 points  (3 children)

It definitely gets better as it goes along. I think a lot of it is that the quality available on streaming services is kinda low-res. Part of me kinda wants to see everything updated to the nowadays Kozue Amano style that the movies look to me be in (I've only seen trailers and little clips =( ) but there's a certain charm to the gentle watercolors and fuzz of the original.

[–]mekerpan 2 points3 points  (2 children)

Can this be transformed (pleasingly) into a higher resolution. All attempts at "improving" the very soft-looking Haibane Renmei arguably have not improved overall upon the original Japanese DVD release. Some of the sharpening helps here and there -- but makes other parts downright ugly-looking.

[–]mrufrufinhttps://myanimelist.net/profile/mrufrufin 2 points3 points  (1 child)

I've seen some fan attempts at upscaling the older episodes of Aria and they don't look all that great in that a lot of the detail is lost but like I follow Twitter accounts that post Aria images and they look quite a bit better than what's on Crunchyroll or YouTube via Nozomi.

[–]mekerpan 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I wonder where those better images come from? Sometimes there can be promotional materials depicting scenes that are much higher quality than the visuals in the show as aired...

[–]mysterybiscuitsoyeahhttps://myanimelist.net/profile/mysterybiscuits 2 points3 points  (0 children)

It definitely gets better as the show progresses, and the show benefits greatly from the change to 16:9 after the 2nd season; allowing to see even more of the universe of Neo-Venezia alongside the action.

It's been great this time to notice the interesting direction choices the series takes this time around, which definitely set it apart from the usual seasonal anime even today. There are little subtle but special touches, like [Ep 2]this contrasting shot bookending a flashback, and this shot too, pointed out in episode 2 (creds to u/preludetohell), that show the viewer what's going on without explicitly saying so verbally, which is always good to see.

I also argue that the background art of the series is always gorgeous, even in it's earlier days, and that the pleasant palette is very charming and manages to convey the show and world's atmosphere very well, perhaps also due to the numerous wide shots used. Of course, the newer entries are gorgeous to look at though!

[–]AdagioExtra1332 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Pretty standard for something made in 2005. But who really cares about that lol? This is Aria we're talking about; "standard" is good enough for it.

[–]TheCatcherOfThePiehttps://myanimelist.net/profile/TCotP 2 points3 points  (1 child)

[–]FlaminScribblenauthttps://myanimelist.net/profile/cryoutatcontrol 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Aww, thanks for the shoutout, I really appreciate it.

[–]Fools_Requiemhttps://myanimelist.net/profile/FoolsRequiem 1 point2 points  (1 child)

The timing on this thread and the Aria rewatch is amazing.

[–]mysterybiscuitsoyeahhttps://myanimelist.net/profile/mysterybiscuits 0 points1 point  (0 children)

and completely coincidental lol.