Aria Manga, Volume 5 (English)

May 12th, 2010

Aria Volume 5 (Aria (Tokyopop))In Aria, Volume 5, we stop pretending that there is any Yuri and just look at this wonderful world of Neo-Venezia for the simple joys it represents.

For two chapters.

Then Athena shows up and all the Fanboys are at it again, pairing her and Alice because they can’t stop themselves.(On this topic but as an aside, I am watching an anime on Crunchyroll right now that has no romantic pairings at all, but you’d never know that from the comments which are singularly obsessive on that topic. It’s like a broken wire in the collective fandom. One I share, obviously ^_^)

So, Aika, who was our slight delusion of Yuri, has turned her gaze away from Alicia towards Al – and it is good. Except for Al’s bad puns, which are execrable in any language.

Akari has eyes for no one and nothing but the grandeur and artistry of the town she has adopted as her home. In Volume 5, the town officially adopts her in return. I am told, by the way, that Venice really does this – people either love it with all their love, or dislike it. My parents feel deeply and passionately in love with Venice at first sight. They, like Akari, have spent an afternoon on San Marco Square following the sun and drinking coffee and accounted it the best afternoon ever spent anywhere.

For me, the most interesting and best chapter is a chapter in which Alice learns that left hands and sempai may seem clumsy or awkward, but when left to do what they are best at, excel. This chapter has some personal resonance for me, as well as just being a fun, sweet chapter.

I’d like to comment on the translation, as well. I think it is actually very in keeping with Akari’s personality to have her say things like, “What’s shakin’ bacon?” or “Holy guacamole!” Nonetheless, I loathe the choice. It jars with the overall tone and pace of Neo-Venezia, which is old world elegant and sedate. Translators, adaptors and editors ought to keep the big picture in mind, as well as the specific scene or character. There is nothing wrong with these idioms, I just find them irking.

There is no Yuri, as I have said from the beginning, in Aria. There is only delusion and wishful thinking. But, with the winter sun shining on the canals of Neo-Venezia, what better is there to do but sit, drink coffee and engage in some wishful thinking.


Art – 8
Story – 8
Characters – 8
Yuri – 0
Service – 1

Overall – 8

It is my sincere pleasure to thank Okazu Superhero Amanda M for her sponsorship of today’s review! It’s always a good afternoon when spent in Neo-Venezia.

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3 Responses

  1. Sapphire says:

    I absolutely adore Aria. It remains one of my favorite anime. After reading this post, I feel more keen in checking out the manga as well.

    Thank you.

  2. George R says:

    I agree that Venice is one of those places it’s hard to be indifferent about. I fall into the “love it” group, though perhaps my mom is the one to thank for that. Piazza San Marco is nice, but I prefer some of the smaller campi and fondamenta.

    I first picked up Aria for the scenery porn (which is excellent), but continue for the calming, heartwarming stories and characters.

  3. ArcaJ says:

    I, too love all things Aria. (while my pocketbook gently weeps) Who knew a story of a girl and her gondola could keep me so enthralled over the years. I’m not quite sure why we see Yuri where there is none. Something about this series (manga and anime) just screams it. Perhaps the romantic setting of Neo Venezia is distorting my sense of reality. Either way, after a soul-destroying day at work, Aria is just the right medecine to pick me back up again. Thanks for the review Erica. ^_^

    BTW: Who is your favorite non-pairing? (I’m a big Akari/Alicia fan myself)


    Arca Jeth

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