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From ADV Manga:
On the planet Aqua, a world once known as Mars, Mizunashi Akari has just made her home in the town of Neo-VENEZIA, a futuristic imitation of the ancient city of Venice. The technology of "Man Home" (formerly Earth) has not entirely reached this planet, and Akari is alone, having no contact with family or friends. Nonetheless, the town, with its charming labyrinths of rivers and canals, becomes Akari's new infatuation, along with the dream of becoming a full-fledged gondolier. Reverting to a more "primitive" lifestyle and pursuing a new trade, the character of Akari becomes both adventurous and heartwarming all at once.
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Perhaps the best manga I've ever read
Recently, I've read a few of the big-name Slice of Life series (e.g. Yotsubato! and Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou), and have found I really like it. So of course, I had extremely high hopes for this series. I started with the prequel, and even with those two volumes, I knew there was something special about this series, the same feeling I've gotten with all of my favourites.
I was excited to start this series and, apart from the first volume, it did not at all disappoint (the first volume did, not because of the plot or artwork or the like, but rather because the version I read was absolutely full of spelling and grammar mistakes, so many it legitimately made it difficult to read; luckily, this was (mostly) corrected in the future releases by the same group, and all but completely eradicated when the next group took over).
Perhaps the most powerful aspect of this series is the absolutely fantastic cast of characters. This is something which is basically a necessity for a really good manga; regardless of the plot or artwork, if the characters aren't relatable, it's hard to really enjoy it. Luckily, that wasn't a problem with this one. The characters, more so than in anything else I've read, really jump out of the page. Not only are they all extremely relatable, they really feel like actual people, all realistically flawed.
This review would not be complete without mentioning another one of the wonderful aspects, the artwork. It is polished and good, but I was never made to feel overwhelmed by all the things depicted on the page, as I have been with a few others (namely Kaze no Tani no Nausicaä). The scenery is fantastic; it, like the characters, jumps out of the page, making one feel as if (s)he is actually there. The characters are also drawn wonderfully; their appearances match their personalities to a tee.
Another thing I was glad about, but might not similarly delight others, was that they kept the romance to a minimum. There were some instances, but they were few and far between.
And last but not least, the story. Being slice of life, there is not much of an overarching plot (other than the main premise of the series, their journey to full-fledged undines). Instead, it simply follows their everyday lives. Not much to speak of there; the story is by no means the main draw for this series, but it fulfills its purpose quite nicely.
There is, however, one thing that I found pretty confusing was the time management. So as one could guess, on Aqua the years are longer, twice as long, in fact, meaning there are 24 months. They refer to this time period as a year. But then sometimes they refer to the Manhome (Earth) year as a year, which is a half of an Aqua year. So ages are confusing sometimes, and things are sometimes chronologically hard to place due to this. Additionally, though this series goes through multiple Aqua years, by the end, the characters seem not to have aged at all, even though as a manga which utilizes Mono no Aware (extremely well, might I add), it would make more sense for them to age, since a big deal is made of the time passing. But none of this is more than nitpicking, as it really doesn't matter in the slightest. It doesn't affect enjoyment of the series at all, it just raised a few questions at a few points, mostly toward the end. And I figured it would be remiss of me to write this long review giving the series glowing praise, and not mention the one thing about it that wasn't perfect, so I came back to add it in, to give at least some semblance of objectivity, though I feel that has failed.
All in all, it might just be because it's new to me, but as of right now, I'd say it's the best manga I've ever read. The entire time I was reading the final volume, I was crying, as I didn't want it to be over. I would 100% recommend this series to anyone who is currently thinking about reading it.
... Last updated on July 24th, 2016, 6:31am
I have a hard time thinking the rating...
Because the last book completely makes my heart ache and sad. It's very beautiful, the plot and how Kozue Amano sensei decide to end it. The cycle of Aria company told in a very brilliant way.
I have a complicated feeling toward the ending, that makes me hard to give a rating. Anyway aside from the brilliant of the ending and my own disappointment toward the ending, the story is brilliant. Light, full of positive spirit and great scenery of Neo Venesia. Thumb up for the character personality, and double thumb up for Akari's personality. How she sees something is very positive and nice. I love it //^ o ^//)/
◦(..˘ ⌣ ˘..)◦ already collect the physical book
... Last updated on July 21st, 2015, 7:28am
I first know Aria from the anime and I have been a fan since the 1st episode. Although this series has nothing that a manga usually has (like super powers or super talented character), but I was still drawn in by it. I don't know what exactly kept me to keep watching and when I came to I was already at the last episode and I still wanted more. Maybe it was the peaceful pace and the beautiful scenery? Maybe it's the girls (not so much about the guys there). Well I don't know. All I can say is that this series has something to keep you going on reading it. I love the anime too, the peaceful pace and beautiful sceneries are well depicted and the music was top notch (the story line is pretty much the same). If you like the manga, you should watch the anime too.
... Last updated on December 2nd, 2014, 12:14am
A Futuristic Venice Full of Magic!
Seriously, this manga is magical. The setting, the characters, the feelings, and the atmosphere of this manga is amazing. The mangaka does a great job pulling you into the world of Aria, and the art shows this. Definitely a must read for those seeking something light yet wondrous.
... Last updated on August 29th, 2014, 6:04pm
One of the best heroine...
All reviewers already said all greatness of Aria, so I just want to add one more things that comes from my heart when I watch the anime series...
Ahem... Well, Akari, if you somehow exist in real world (or someone resemble you) and if I meet you somehow, I will search you and try to make you to be my girlfriend...
I apologize, but a bit exaggeration will bring no harms for a masterpiece of tranquil and serene series...
... Last updated on January 19th, 2014, 7:23am
This series just has an incredibly peaceful atmosphere. As you read it, it is as though you are there as well, on a gondola floating across the water, bathed in sunlight as enjoying the breeze across your face. Despite its futuristic setting, this series is actually all about enjoying the little things in life: the changing seasons, the little facts about the city you live in, the companionship of your dear friends.
With our world growing more and more hectic, this series beckons you to slow down, take a rest, take a look around and enjoy your present moments, as well as look forward to new moments to come. It's an incredibly relaxing read that melts away your stress and leaves you feeling calmer and happier.
After four years, I have finally finished this manga that has been sitting on my computer. I was waiting for the English license during that time, since I was saving the last two volumes to be read in the palm of my hands, but that wasn't going to happen anytime soon since TokyoPop went out of business.
An absolutely captivating, enrapturing series. A set of vignettes following the lives of undines, as they enjoy the small bits of happiness from daily activities and spending time with others. Never have I ever read a series so beautifully written. All the characters are ridiculously lovable, and really pulls you in to understand their feelings and thoughts. Just, wow. 10/10, and definitely something everyone should read at some point.
A Snow Pure Fantasy that will draw you in
I was never a big fan of slice of life with happy go lucky main lead. So, when I began reading it, I thought I would be bored at the end at beginning itself. But that wasn't the case. It is truly a unique masterpiece that I have ever read. This truly made me realize that being optimistic isn't as bad as I thought. Simply put, it changed my view. The Story I can't really say is enjoyable. How do I say it, this manga isn't a story centered one. This would be a major flaw in almost all the manga but here, it plays out beautifully. When I began reading it, it just pulled me in with the art and the characters. Many may say the characters are just 2 dimensional, and they are right but that fact is a strength in here. When the characters speak, you don't imagine them as a third person or a protagonist speaking, but you can actually connect with all the characters and resonate with their feelings and I think that's the feature unique to this manga only The story revolves around Akari and here friends as they mature. It packs all their experiences as they aim for their dream in the terraformed Mars.The author really is a genius as he takes this simple content and creates a masterpiece. Usually when you read Manga, you are happy when the Main character is happy and sad when the main character is sad right? Although this manga is same, this goes into the next level. It makes us happy alongside the characters themselves, you can beautifully enjoy the happiness of the characters as if they are your own and that too with daily and common things! I truly believe this manga should be read by everyone. Sure it doesn't contain violence, action, romance, change the world stuff but it will really make you glad to be born
A Rare Masterpiece
If I described anyone about this series, I'd say -
Simply put, the reason why I loved this is the way the story is told, the way the author describes the everyday and so called uneventful moments that grasps you into a completely different world. It makes you fall in love... in love with everything that is around you, no matter how small or insignificant. After reading this, you just won't hate... you'll have nothing left in you to hate. Such is the power of it's story telling that was exhibited upon me when I read this.
Confectionary Slice of Life
Really I do quite like slice of life, but I think that there a lot of aspects to Aria that are too artificial for it to be that successful an example of the genre.
Aria is set on future Mars in a city that is very Venice/Italian themed but in ways of culture and signage sometimes seems more Japanese than anything; and which has a number of seemingly arbitrary chosen fantasy elements... and where for some inexplicable reason *everyone* has a name that starts with "A"...
Also, if you drew out a map of character relationships it would seem overly column/grid-like. It's almost as if each character in the manga came in sets of three (or looking at it from another angle came from one of three sets): three main girls, three cats, three seniors and three boys. It almost feels like the characters are collected into the story... They even pretty much all come with set phrases that they say!
This is a story about a supposedly idyllic world, but I'm not sure how it can be idyllic when so much of it doesn't seem natural... And surely when suspension of disbelief is necessary enough for a reader to go along with the actual core premise of the story you don't need all these secondary obstacles added on top of that?