ARIA Vol. #03 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B+

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  • Art Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: All
  • Released By: ADV Manga
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 180
  • ISBN: 1-4139-0089-5
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

ARIA Vol. #03

By Eduardo M. Chavez     January 12, 2005
Release Date: November 01, 2004

ARIA Vol.#03
© ADV Manga

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Amano Kozue
Translated by:Kay Bertrand
Adapted by:

What They Say
THE CANALS of Neo-Venezia are crowded with determined gondoliers, and while sweet Akari Mizunashi may hold rivals, it doesn't mean she can't have fun with her competitors! Join the life-loving Akari and her fun-loving friends as they meet with new and exciting adventures in another tale of magic and delight.

The Review
ADV has done a fantastic job with this. They kept the original cover art and kept it in its original landscape format. It is a beautiful breezy image of the canals of Neo-Venezia with Akari ankle deep in a canal collecting flowers. This image, full of blue and green feels like late spring early summer, it is a little more active than previous covers as it feels more exciting than relaxing. Above the image, ADV Manga keeps the original info that follows the spine. ADV also kept the original logo: the word "ARIA" in blue with kana between the romaji letters.

Inside there is a color volume header, featuring Alicia and contents page with an image of a new character Alice in her rarely seen casual ware. The back cover has a night version of the volume header to the right of the volume description. The printing is some of the best I have seen from ADV. Tone looks solid and does not appear to be bleeding or blending to much. At the end of the GN, there is an ato-gaki, now called Monogusa Club (once called the Lazy Man's Club), with Amano sharing info on how and when the stories were written. There are a few ads as well: Tactics, Mythical Detective Loki RAGNAROK and Anime Network.

The art is fantastic. Amano presents Neo-Venezia with wonderful architecture, lots of open water, floating islands with gondolas and airships. Mars never looked better. In some ways, it really reminded me of Europe, as there were long rivers along beautiful historical architecture. The layout is simple but with nice art inside all those panels, I really did not think about it too much. This is done purposely to keep the focus on the detailed background art.

Character designs are very nice. Whether it is the women or the cool mars cats they are all done with a lot of style. A good mix of thick and thin lines gives off a slightly flat feel (noses are not drawn in often, except in profiles). Costumes are very cute. Gondoliers and salamanders have to wear them and they are a mix of old and futuristic. Amano also mixes in some cute SD in this series. It can take a little time getting used to, but work perfectly in this very light, visually based title.

The translation looks really solid. It really keeps the pacing and tone of the original. ADV does not use honorifics, but they always refer to Aria Pokoteng (the Mars-cat president of ARIA Company) and Alicia as President Aria and Miss Alicia, respectively. I was really pleased to see ADV not Americanize some of the dialogue. Instead, they shared notes on some Japanese and Italian culture (they should do that more often). Decent job but this title does not really have a lot of text.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
A year has past since Akari first arrived on AQUA and now she is ready to take on the spring with open arms. She cannot wait for springtime breezes and the memories they bring of when she first stepped on AQUA. She cannot wait for longer days that she can spend exploring the canals and calles (alleys) of Neo-Venezia.

This new year will definitely bring new adventures to take, but what Akari did not know was that she would have a new friend to explore Neo-Venezia with this year as well. Last year she met Aika in the spring. She had already met Alicia and President Aria that spring as well. In all last spring was full of new people, new experiences and a new life for Akari. In many ways, spring is always a new chapter in life; it is a time when nature itself starts over again. Therefore, it is not strange to see new beginnings this spring on AQUA. Alice a fellow gondolier, is just as happy to see spring here and despite her initial reservations is more than happy to share the new season with those who can appreciate a spring breeze and a relaxing trip through town whether on a boat, on foot or knee deep in water.

ARIA continues to be a wonderful escape from hustle and bustle of winter shopping season, death and destruction of wars and natural disasters and the frustration and confusion of traveling cross-country to visit the family. ARIA is a does little to make its readers think; instead it makes its readers feel. It focuses its attention to the senses, by creating scenes that force readers to appreciate the subtleties of life’s journeys. There was a time when I felt Amano was taking readers to on a trip where the senses were overwhelmed by beauty and tranquility. Now, I feel as if Amano is trying to get readers to appreciate what they already have around them. The effort in actually going through with those adventures, wherever they may lead, is what is really important. Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder, but in this volume of ARIA that is an understatement. Whether it is going through the narrow quite alleys of your town or maybe getting lost in the suburbs, there is a whole world out there to be explored and if seen with the right frame of mind it will fascinate and stimulate just as much as going to Venice.

Essentially ARIA is a remedy for what ails me. If I have read too much Berserk or Battle Royale, picking up a volume of ARIA puts me in a comfortable mindset. If I am stressed over the latest Metroid incarnation, ARIA brings my heart rate down to normal levels. It is Amano's evil little pill that happens to be 180 pages long and is cheaper than most prescription medication. What I am trying to say here is that ARIA is perfect if you are looking for something relaxing in a manga. It does not stimulate with writing or fan service, but what it does do is refresh the mental and spiritual palette and gives me a sense of longing for what I might be missing.



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