I would like to christen my new blog with a short review of a particular series: Aria.
Aria is… extremely beautiful. I look at it not as an anime or a manga but as artwork. Kozue Amano’s use of scenery is baffling. While the characters are perfectly fleshed out and the plot is rather interesting, the major hook in this series is the world; crafted by the hands of a maestro it seems. The aspect that I adore is the depth. Reading a manga is two dimensional, quite literally. Artists have been using shading, vanishing points, foreshortening to represent the illusion of three dimensions on a two dimensional surface. Amano takes this and runs with it. She invigorates her planet: Neo-Venezia with her creativity.
I am not an expert in the field of art by any means. Hell, I haven’t even drawn or been to a gallery in over four years. However, this is something that I have not seen much of in the genre of Japanese comics. While many manga artists tend to focus on the characters, their clothing and personality, or plot, the majority of Aria is about the scenery. So much so that each opening of the anime displays a different side of Neo-Venezia never before seen. There are whole arcs are designed around a particular location. An example: a treasure hunt with the prize being a view of the whole of Neo-Venezia, the perfect spot to appreciate the town. These short one to two episode arcs are perfect for the genre as well as the development. It’s Slice of Life, you really can’t go wrong.
While the genre gives the author complete freedom and cool vistas are nice, there are still things that are crucial its success. You are following the life of a person. If their hobby is reading then wouldn’t that be boring? As stated before, Aria’s world is expansive. The premise of another planet is already inciting but a planet filled to the brim with water (coupled with Amano’s realistic depiction of water) framed after Venice is simply magical. It is a bit more complicated than that though. To create an Earth, or in this case Man-home, environment, gravity and atmosphere are both needed. There are jobs, people who control the gravity or heat up the sky. Two of such engineers are major characters in the story. How do you navigate the tight avenues of a second Venice? By Gondola of course! The main gimmick of Aria. Add in a couple of eccentric characters, the classic anime personalities, and you have an experience to behold.This is a powerful series, though I’m not sure how many people will enjoy it. If you do, it will linger with you for many years. To put this in a way you can understand. Aria breathes life into an otherwise bland world. If you can imagine yourself sitting at a cafe and watching the people walk by, that would be what Aria is like. It is a pleasure to watch, listen, and embody. One of my favorite animes/mangas of all time. There are appropriate scenes of heartwarming or imbuing moments. Never is there a calculating, underlying ploy. You may laugh and you may cry but it’s all in the spirit. Simply brilliant.