Mania Grade: B+
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- Art Rating: A
- Packaging Rating: B+
- Text/Translatin Rating: B+
- Age Rating: 16 & Up
- Released By: TOKYOPOP
- MSRP: 9.99
- Pages: 208
- ISBN: 978-1-4278-0510-2
- Size: B6
- Orientation: Right to Left
- Series: Aria
Aria Vol. #01
By Danielle Van Gorder
April 07, 2008
Release Date: January 30, 2008
Translated by:Elina Ishikawa
Adapted by:Gina Lee FerenziWhat They Say
On the planet Aqua lies the watery city of Neo Venezia, a tourist hub in which people travel around in gondolas. Professional gondoliers known as Undines are well-revered as they act as tour guides for the people.
Akari Mizunashi is a gondolier in training and also an employee of Aria Company. She gets to meet all sorts of people as she takes them on the gondola rides, from friendly mentors to special individuals, all amidst the beautiful scenic backdrop of the entire city.The Review
Cute girls and goldolas - how can you go wrong?Packaging
With a horizontal cover design rather than the usual vertical one and bright, saturated art, this book practically jumps off the shelf. Another nice touch is the color plate inside. The overall print quality is better than I usually expect from Tokyopop, although the blacks could stand to be darker at some points.Art
Kozue Amano's strength is cute girls, and she definitely knows how to play to his strengths. Aria's art is adorable, even when the girls have funny expressions. She has a strong grasp of anatomy and is definitely fond of showing off her characters in unusual poses. There's a lot of detail packed into each panel, but never enough that the pages seem busy or cluttered, and her backgrounds are simply gorgeous.Text/SFX:
Sound effects are not translated, with a very few exceptions like crickets chirping. There doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason to what's translated and what isn't. The translation itself flows smoothly.Contents (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Akari is a journeyman undine, studying hard to become a full-fledged gondolier tour guide in the aquatic city of Neo Venezia. She likes to spend time with her friends like the more serious Aika, study with the experienced undine Alicia, and generally enjoy her life to the fullest. President Aria, the martian cat who heads the company Akari works for, is usually by her side during all her adventures.
When a grouchy older man gets separated from his family, Akari takes it upon herself to help him look for them - and gives him a tour of the city at the same time. His tough exterior is a challenge to even Akari's good nature, but she does her best to show him everything she loves about Neo-Venezia. Even when doing difficult chores like cleaning the gondolas, she never loses her good cheer, and manages to find the best in everything she attempts.
On a day she was supposed to meet with Aika, Akari chances upon Akatsuki-san, who was her very first customer back when she started as an apprentice undine. He's supposed to meet someone as well, but when his friends are also late, the pair go on a small tour of the city. Later, Akari and her friends decide to visit a small island renowned for it's autumn foliage, and find a beautiful shrine dedicated to a fox god. There's even a legend - if you see the fox, you mustn't follow it, or you'll become lost in another world. When Akari gets separated from her group, strange things start to happen.
Finally, it's back to work for the big yearly gondola race, rumored to be the proving grounds for undine promotion. Poor Akari can't seem to catch a break, though, as a series of chance events distracts her from her goal.Comments
While this is the sequel to Aqua, it stands alone very well, so readers unfamiliar with the first series don't need to shy away. From beginning to end this book is utterly charming. Akari's attitude is refreshing - she just sits back and enjoys life for what it is, rather than wanting something more than she already has. While nothing really happens in the way of major events, the simple slice-of-life stories have an appeal that's sure to grab both casual manga readers along with more serious collectors. There's a lot to love here, and I can't wait for the next volume. Recommended.