Aria the Natural, Part 1 Anime Boxset (English)

April 26th, 2009

I need to say this first, because I am sick and tired of getting nasty emails, comments and blogposts from people who have no grip on reality. I do NOT think that Aria is Yuri. Many other people who are not me do. I review Aria as Yuri because the *other* fans  insist on seeing all sorts of couples in the mostly all-female cast, since so often they talk to each other, or are in the same frame. They even touch once in a while, so clearly there’s sex involved, in the eyes of this group.

I *do* enjoy imagining a relationship between Alicia and Akira. That is the only Yuri I have ever seen in this series and I am completely honest about the fact that I have wholly made it up in my head, encouraged only by Raku-Gun and Crush doujinshi. So please, stfu about me ruining Aria for you because I had the nerve to call it a Yuri series. If me calling a series Yuri pisses you off, then its probably a bad idea to read this blog since it is a *Yuri* blog and covers many things that other people who are not you think of as Yuri.

Moving on….

Unless you have your Yuri goggles on very, very high, you’re not going to see much Yuri in Aria the Natural, Part 1 boxset. What you will find is a story about a young woman who finds joy in the smallest things of everyday life. And by moving so slowly that she has time to see and enjoy these things, she brings the people around her into her world full of wonder and beauty – whether they want to or not. I believe that that is, in part, the reason why so many of the fans of this series are otherwise absurdly cynical people, with nothing specific to be angry at, so they rail at me, or The Man, or whatever, without actually doing anything about anything. Akari’s “my pace” attitude and appreciation for everything – bugs, bread, hats, weather – forces us to slow down and at least take a look at what she’s looking at, even if we don’t appreciate it as much as she does.

As with the previous Aria boxset, Right Stuf does a nice job on reproduction and translation, managing to communicate Al’s old man puns and Akari’s wide-eyed perspective uniquely. And although I did not order the set from them directly, I’m told that the extras for direct pre-order are way fun – in this case, an Aria-shachou squeeze toy. (Thanks to Sean for ruining it forever reporting on it with this line, “Hollowed out, it’s the most amusing condom ever!”) Unlike the first season box set, the extras for these disk live on a separate disk of their own and are entirely worth watching, if you care about such things as staff and VA interviews, trailer videos and the like – which I enjoy, no matter how insipid the comments. An Episode Guide Booklet is included as a physical extra for the set, as well.

Nevertheless, there are some scenes that will be imagined as Yuri. Alice’s shadow-hopping episode was very popular with Alice x Athena ‘shippers, for one. In my opinion, the hottest romance in the series is Aika and Al. ^_^

Of course, the number one reason I watch Aria is not Yuri, real or imagined, it’s the scenery porn; the love in our eyes with which we gaze at the shadow in St. Mark’s Plaza, a meteor shower, a street vendor making dolls dance or the evening sun shining on Venetian glass. It’s this that makes Aria worth watching and rewatching. And if your love of the series is affected by anyone’s opinion then you’ve missed the entire point of wearing Akari-colored glasses.

Ratings:

Art – 8
Story – 8
Characters – 8
Yuri – 1
Service – 3

Overall – 8

Many many thanks to new Okazu Hero Tricolor Cavy for sponsoring today’s review! I have enjoyed not only the hours it has taken me to rewatch this anime, but also the renewed appreciation it gives me every time for the simple joys of my real life. Thank you.

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3 Responses

  1. Kaja Rainbow says:

    I’ve sat and just looked at things, so I enjoy Aria for the sort of scenery porn, as you put it, that I often indulge in. Even plain looking places can be beautiful when you look at them closely with an appreciation for the details.

    Your Yuri goggles really just amuse me. :) It can be a fun game to play though, yes.

  2. Ed Sizemore says:

    This is such a marvelous series. It’s so relaxing to watch. It helps wash away some of the cyncism of daily life. It reminds me that I should take time to enjoy all the wonder around me.

  3. Ojisan says:

    I think that it’s the contribution of Choro Club’s music (of YKK fame) that takes Aria from lovely to perfect.
    And yes, the shadow-dodging was wonderful. I want an all-Athena episode. Or an all-Athena CD –

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