At a Glance: Aria

Updated on December 5, 2016

In this show, "the red planet" has become rather blue, and is now called Aqua rather than Mars, reflecting this change. Female gondoliers called "undines" navigate the canal system in a city full of water, acting as tour guides. The show has mostly female characters, and all of them have names that start with "a".

Akari, our pink-haired protagonist, is a rookie undine. So the show revolves around her learning the job of an undine and making mistakes and learning from them. It also shows older, more competent undines Akari idolizes. Even though it takes place in the exotic location of a futuristic inhabited Mars, it feels very down-to-Earth in the fact that the main character faces many small everyday problems, rather than having to fight a supervillain for the sake of the world. That's the essence of slice-of-life as a genre.

Aria the Animation
Slice of Life, Drama, Coming of Age
Source Material:
Manga, "Aqua" and "Aria" by Kozue Amano
Hal Film Maker
2005-2008 (2nd OVA: Sep. 2015-Present)
52 + 1 DVD Bonus Episode
Additional Material:
OVA entitled "Aria the OVA: Arietta", OVA entitled "Aria the Avvenire"


Well, I didn't see a whole lot that interested me when I watched the first five episodes, but that doesn't make it bad. I just thought nothing really compelled my interest and I often have that problem with the slice of life genre in general. When the stakes are low, I just kind of wonder why I'm watching at all. When I first saw the show, I didn't really like it because I don't really think there's a way you can make a show about rowing up and down some canals all day like a watery version of a tour bus driver and make it still seem interesting.

But, Aria has its good points. It was cute, the main character was sympathetic and likeable, and not all shows have to be dark to be enjoyable or entertaining. The show is beautiful and elegant, and you really find yourself wanting to see the main characters succeed. You feel kind of like one of the customers going to this exotic vacation, and there is something special about that feeling. And if you're tired of anime makers thinking every show has to be super dark, edgy, cynical and violent, this is definitely one to check out.

Rating for Aria: 7/10

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