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Aria The Origination Anime Review

Aria The OriginationTitle: Aria The Origination

Director: Jun’ichi Sato

Studio: Hal Film Maker

U. S. Distributor: Nozumi

U. S. Re-Release Date: May 6th, 2014

Format: DVD / 13 Episode / 380 Minutes

Genre: Slice of Life, Fantasy

Age Rating: 13+

Overall Personal Rating: B+


Set in another world, in the quiet tourist town of Neo-Venezia, Aria follows the journeys of young women who are training to become the top gondoliers and tour guides.


Series: Neo -Venezia is a town re-created to be like Venice in Italy. There are seveal companies that employ people who guide the gondolla boats through the canals. They are both like taxi drivers and tour guides. Each must go through long training and lots of practice to move through the ranks to be the top level godoilers called Primas.  Akari is training  as a gondolier at the Aria company under her Mentor Alicia.

Aria The Origination is the third season. Akari is working hard to learn about the city and its treasures. The warmer weather is here and the city seems more relaxed and quiet. Each new passenger helps Akari discover more about the city, the people and herself. In one trip, a lady passenger helps her to see an exceptionally beautiful hidden gem.

The 3 friends, Akari, Aika and Alice often practice together, and when they can, they head into the city to have a little fun spending time together. They  visit places like Cafe Florian which has an amazing and elaborate interior.  One day the see new cart selling little chocolate in cute jars. Akari eventually becomes the seller’s friend.

Besides being tour guides, the gondoliers can work with others from different companies on the taxi boats. They are a bit bigger and service the residents of the city. By meeting others, they not only make friends but learn and sharpen their skills.

To become a prima, it takes skill in managing the boat, in depth knowledge of the city and its sights, the characteristics to work with people and something a little extra. A special skill or something that makes one stand out. Becoming a Prima is not only reaching a goal, but it is a major life change. Alicia tells Akira her story of when her and her friends were working to become Primas and how that affected their lives. We also learn the history of the Aria company.



Aria really is about a Utopia. An ideal life where opportunity is gained by persistent work and practice, with a general appreciation for the world and all the places and people in it. The makes Aria inspirational, and a direction to aspire to. The characters are so grateful, even if they are feeling down and unhappy, their friends help pull them out of it and they then can find resolve to appreciate what they have and how they are to continue on their journey.

As an anime, the music support was really wonderful, it really help set the tone with out being distracting. It also created a way to feel what was going on inside the characters.

Visually, Aria is stunning. Great importance was put into the setting, making it nearly a character of great influence. The waterway, the skies and the buildings have a defined beauty. The architecture is taken from the real Venice, which is wonderfully brought to light in one of the extras.

President Aria, the cat mascot, was a real missed opportunity for cute. The way it looked with blank circles for eyes and walnuts for eyebrows were weird and distracting. It really confuses me why a anime that lives in the realm of beautiful and cute would have a character, especially a cat, have blank and nearly emotionless eyes. Really, eyes are vital in expressing a lot in anime. To mess it up further, the eyes are so low on President Aria’s  cheeks, it takes a couple of episodes to figure if the eyes are the circle or the brown things floating on its forehead.

The pacing of this anime comes across to me as rather slow. There’s little to be excited about as everything seems to float along. Except for some self doubt, there isn’t much that goes wrong, and nothing goes really bad. I never felt a need to see what happens next.  In fact, in long doses, it got tedious. I think the best way to see it would have been on episodic TV, where once a week I could look forward to taking respite in a beautiful world with wonderful characters.

Aria is suitable for all ages, and I assume is preferred by girls. It seems like the main audience will be girls, maybe 4th grade and up, but all the reading might be too advance for the younger age. I’m not saying that this isn’t enjoyable for a wider age range. But by not dubbing it, it always limits the audience, and for anime that seems to target an American audience not in the serious fan group, this can really hurt its scope.

This final set doesn’t use the other worldly setting much as in the firs two. It could have easily been in the real Italy except  for a few Japanese cultural influences.  The focus is with the characters, their relationship, and mostly about achieving their goal of becoming Primas.



There are several picture drama that include stories like a trip to the hots springs and ghost stories.They are basically episodes where the camera moves around still pictures or cuts to a new one, but all with Japanese voice overs and English subtitles. Perhaps these were story boards that never made it into an anime episode.

Two of the participants in making the anime travel to Venice, we travel along to a video of the trip and the traveler’s later commentary. I highly recommend you watch this on the Extras disc.

Overall Grade: B+ The simple beauty of everyday life with deep appreciation for the world and community around us.