Yuri Anime: Aria OAV Arietta

September 4th, 2007

Even as I watched Arietta, the Aria OAV, I boggled at the sharp upswing in Alicia x Akari coupledom it provided. By the end, one can’t call it subtext at all.

As I am a diehard Alicia x Akira fan, I was less thrilled than some, I imagine.

Nonetheless.

The OAV begins as Akari dreams of herself as the Prima of Aria Company. She should be happy, but then she remembers that Alicia is gone and won’t be coming back. She wakes to find that Alicia is safely still there and she’s a lot more relieved than she expected. When Akari asks Alicia about when she became Prima, Alicia bares her soul to Akari just long enough to express how sad and lonely she was when Grandma left Aria Company.

We learn a little more about Alicia’s past, and get to spend some time with the three fairies of the water as young trainees, as they bond and plan for the future. My favorite scene of the anime, as Akira drags Alicia out on an obvious date, even if it ends up with the three of them together at the end. Young Athena was especially adorable, I thought. To recreate that moment of joy with Akari and bond a little closer with her trainee, Alicia leads the girl up to the tower above St. Mark’s Square to view the city at night. It’s an undeniably romantic scene – and Akari reacts as one might expect, charmed and attracted by her charming and attractive senior. When she expresses a wish that her time with this woman, her important person and the person she loves, will continue for some time, we’re all nodding. Of course.

Several times through this OAV, we get full-on “scenery porn” as Sean Gaffney puts it so accurately. The entire OAV has excellent animation, with a softer, more gentle focus that fits the general tone of the story perfectly.

Yuri aside, this is a lovely example of why I enjoy this anime. Every episode is a slow ride along the canals of Neo-Venezia, with no destination in mind. It really doesn’t matter whether we’ve been past this same square ten times, we’re just glad to see it again in this light, in this season, as opposed to some other. (I’m reading a book right now that basically says that that’s what Venice does to some people – just captivates them and makes them obsess, in a relaxed way, about the quality of the light and the view. So it all works for me.)

As for the Yuri, well, I’m happy for the Akari x Alica fans, but I’m sulking here in the corner for my own fave couple, thanks. ^_^

Ratings:

Art – 9
Story – 8 (I like when we get glimpses of the Primas as youth.)
Character – 8
Yuri – 7
Service – 1

Overall – 8

Aria is still not Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou, but it edged just a little closer during this OAV.

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16 Responses

  1. Adam says:

    Why sulk? There was at least one very nice bit of Alicia/Akira romance in this OVA as well… Heck, I maintain that Athena is secretly attempting to set the two of them up together, having realised that they’re too clueless to work it out on their own.

  2. Maybe “pout” would have been more accurate. :-) Yes, I liked that bit quite a lot, as you can imagine. I don’t think *Akira* is clueless about it, at all. lol

  3. patrique says:

    I keep wondering: what is it with anime and ugly sidekick pets? The cats in Aria irritate me to no end. The series would have been far more enjoyable if they had (far) less screen time.

  4. neo_hrtgdv says:

    I just watched it and is beautiful, simply beautiful.

    I always thought Alicia and Akari were meant to be something and this ova was just the thing.

    I liked the eyes Akari had one or twice (they looked different from their usual form) and even though I’m not extremely good at Japanese I got most of it (a lot was thanks to this preview :P), also, some parts of the ova seem done by computer (some of the buildings or the wind rooster).

    about the cats. well I like Aria President, and Kozue Amano seems to like cats a lot too.

    Finally, I hope we get more scenes like this in the future.

  5. Anonymous says:

    ??? 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?

    PS. Kuzue Amano has planed Akira x Alicia relationship nicely. So many clue .. so many clue

  6. Aika has to know that Alicia and Akira are friends. Aika is the daughter of the Hime Comapny owner. She would have been around when Akira joined Hime Company, and would have seen Akira, Alicia and Athena together.

    In the scene you refer to, Akira has not just become and Undine – she had just become a Prima – and one of the three fairies of the water. So of course the daughter of the house is given to her as an apprentice. Aika’s probably about Alice’s age there, say 12 or 13.

    When we start Aria, Akira and Alicia are about 20 years old. So this might have been 3, maybe four years previously.

  7. neospike says:

    hey, i was wondering if there is arietta with english subtitles. I have been looking for it and have been unable to find anything online. Would any of you know where I might find such a thing, or even just scripts to this anime?

  8. It only just came out last week. I’m sure that the subbers will get to it eventually…

  9. Gundam says:

    Well… I’m great fan of shoujo-ai and Yuri (I do even have my own web about it, even though it’s in reconstruction right now and in Slovak language) but to be honest, I utterly fail to see any kind of Yuri in Arietta. Certainly, there are few looks and the last scene but I don’t really see there anything more than a simple admiration. You have to have really big fantasy to call that Yuri or even something closing up to this term. Shoujo-ai (what I understand as deeper friendship, sometimes maybe bordering love itself) yes, Yuri definitely not.

  10. I am in agreement with you. And yet…if I were a fan of Alicia and Akari as a couple, I would see the same scene and call it Yuri.

    Anime and mangaa creators do that on purpose. They consciously put these relationships in an ambiguous spot between friendship and love, for titillation, and to make profits.

    I see Fate and Nanoha as a couple in Nanoha Strikers – there are PLENTY of people who do not.

    I did not see Alita and Farith as a couple in Murder Princess, but there are PLENTY of people who did.

    And I still get “why do you not want Yumi and Sachiko to get together” emails? Whether I do or not.

    The ambiguity is on purpose.

    We really need to stop being surprised already. :-)

  11. Gundam says:

    Lol.I wouldn’t really say that that ambigutiy is on purpose (or in Aria series at least). Just we are so deformed that we may see it like that. :)))

    But I do have to admit that on me ambiguity never works. MariMite for example si great anime but I don’t see Sachiko and Yumi as a Yuri pair (even though I may wish for them to be one sometimes) and never did. Yuri pair exists only when Yuri is present in anime, of course. Therefore, not Alicia and Akari or Sachiko and Yumi are one, but for example Shizume and Nagisa, Himeko and Chikane. Of course, this is just my opinion. If people like to use their fantasy to fill up the blank spaces, well, that’s up to them. ;p

  12. Demon Eyes says:

    Dear Gundam, all those you put up as evidence are ‘Yuri served on a silver platter’.

    I hate to say it but you have a long waaay to go!

    And Dear Erica-san, I feel your pain about AliciaxAika though I am a AliciaxAkari fan!

    So in this case, I am having a party over here.

    But I do still feel for you for I have experienced such pain before, for example, I am a MaixMikoto fan as opposed to NatsukixShizuru and then there is that Oh so painful burden of being a YasunaxHazumu fan! The Pain~!!!

    But although I have seen this OVA countless times, then some more with subs, when I read your summary, it felt like another re-watch, except this made me more mushy than the actual thing!

    You have a way of summarizing topics and making them feel good!!

    Thanks for all your hard work!

  13. Thanks for the kind words, Demon Eyes!

  14. Anonymous says:

    what does scenery porn mean?

  15. anon – Sean responds:

    “Porn is designed to arouse you in some way by showing you naked people doing sexy things. Scenery porn is designed to amaze you by showing you awesome scenery in long, slo-mo pans.
    They tend to involve the same lingering close-ups. If you like, I can say something about money shots too, but I suspect that some people still don’t know what those are.”

  16. Anonymous says:

    I honestly NEVER considered Alicia/Akira before I read your blogs, but I can almost see it. They are certainly closer together than they are to Athena.

    I think, though, that Alicia is clueless all the way around and that while Akira and Akari both have a ‘thing’ for her, she doesn’t see it or reciprocate it past deep friendship.

    I’m a big fan of Akari/Alicia, so I LOVED this OVA, but I’d feel super bad for Akira if anything came of it. Its one of those lose/win situations so often seen in a Yuri-esque anime.

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