Aria The Avvenire

September 9, 2016

Wait a minute. I thought it was over? Too good to let it go? Well, I suppose it was good enough that Aria The Avvenire was produced to celebrate the 10th anniversary since Aria The Animation first broadcasted over the airwaves. Wow. Come to think about it, it has been a long time. Feel so old… Feeling so nostalgic. Ah, I guess that is why this is another reason to bring back up this series for one last time (assuming this would be the last one). Those who have watched the series and loved it would have fond memories of all the miracles, meetings and character bonding the series had to offer. Now we get to relieve it again with its 3 episode specials.

Episode 1
I’m not sure of President Aria’s plan in making friends with seagulls with an equally ugly seagull doll. No wonder he gets pecked! As Ai has been promoted to a Single, she sets out for another practice with Akari. So this sets another flashback as Akari tells to Ai. When Alicia was still active as an Undine, Akari noticed her busy schedule. At this rate she won’t get a moment’s rest. Then she spots Akira outside spying. Seems she is here to give Alicia a present for her faux birthday. Unlike on Man Home (Earth), Aqua (Mars) operates on a year with 24 months. This means everyone has a second ‘fake’ birthday. She doesn’t mind waiting but it seems there is change in the schedule that increases Alicia’s workload. Thus Akari hopes Akira can help her practice during this time. At the end of the day, Akira mentions how pathetic and nostalgic she feels about this. The trio used to be together all the time when they were Singles. When they became Prima, they hardly had time for each other. Times they spent together were precious. She doesn’t want to go back to those days, it is just that she really wants them to get together for today. Then a miracle happens. Alicia is seen rowing in front of them. Making it better is Athena is also in the picture singing. Akira then tosses her present like throwing a baseball. Nice catch. The best present would be their radiant smiles. Ai is encouraged by Akari’s story. She wonders if she could find her own friends like she did and those before her. Of course she can. Because Aqua is the planet of miracles. Even their meeting is a miracle itself.

Episode 2
Ai wants to show Akari a miracle. Flashback to what happened. While Ai and President Aria were rowing their gondola, they spot a mysterious cat shadow in the alley. They think it is Cait Sith and went to go after it. As hard as they follow, it led them to some unknown part of town where they stumble into Azusa B. McLaren of Himeya and Anya Dostoyevskaya of Orange Planet who are looking for the same thing too. They know all about Ai since they researched her since they are curious about the new girl at Aria Company. The trio agree to look for Cait Sith together but to no avail. So as they take a break at plaza, Ai notices the duo are training together so she requests if she could join them. But of course. And that is the miracle that Ai is telling Akari. The miracle of Cait Sith granted her this miraculous meeting. Akari still believes Cait Sith is watching over them. Time for her to tell her experience in meeting Cait Sith for the last time.

When Akari told Aika she couldn’t see Cait Sith anymore, she thinks it is because they are becoming adults so the first step is to stop seeing things they see as children. Then Alice brings them to one of the 7 mysterious of the town. There is an unfortunate stone where everyone avoids stepping. It is believed to bring bad luck. Alice immediately jumps on it and nothing happens. She explains she has been doing this since young. Perhaps it doesn’t work on her. Perhaps this is an experiment to see if it anything would happen to her friends? After Aika and Alice leave for their work, Akari gets curious and steps on it. You know what they say about curiosity and the cat. At first nothing happened but suddenly she drops down into the stone! Then she finds herself free falling from the sky above the town! Also falling with her is Cait Sith. She is happy to see him again and wants to do so in the future. However Cait Sith hints this is the last time they’ll ever see each other. Akari is sad but he points out he will always be in her heart. As long as you remember, right? Akari hopes she will always stay with her in her heart. Cait Sith hugs her as they plunge into the river! I think smashing into the river at this speed is like hitting a brick wall… But when Akari opens her eyes, she is on a gondola with President Aria. In her hand is a pendant from Cait Sith proving she did meet him for one last time. Now Akari shows the pendant to Ai and they believe the lights inside it must be miracles. Akari feels that despite saying goodbye to Cait Sith on that day, she was able to see him again thanks to Ai. Could it be the feelings of love awakened this miracle?

Episode 3
We go back in time to see Alicia putting up a recruitment poster outside. Shortly after, she receives her first applicant. We all know who that is, right? On the phone, Akari was a bundle of nerves. The first time Alicia laid eyes on Akari, she was attracted to her and knew she would be the one. In the present, Ai continues to hang out with Azusa and Anya. They vow to work hard to become a Prima. With the rainy season, they realize the Aqua Alta phenomenon is around the corner. Next morning, Ai is ecstatic to experience her first Aqua Alta as the ankle deep waters flood the area. Akari would love to spend the day with her but it seems Ai has her own plans. Looks like lunch and dinner will be on her own… Ai then meets up with her friends. By noon, Akari receives mail from Ai to meet. It seems the young ones have planned a celebration feast for their seniors. Not only them but the Water Fairies as well. Except Athena couldn’t come. As the celebration goes along, they notice Alicia has fallen asleep. She has been tired from working with the Gondola Association and trying to change things for the better. We see her dream how the association guys visit her numerous times to convince her to join them. At first she declines but their persistence has her curious and interested. Though, she vowed to train someone enough to take over her company. And she wanted to take her time to slowly nurture her. So we have more flashbacks of their time together, the happiness and the sadness of their meeting. When Akari was ready and promoted to a Prima, it was time for Alicia to move on as she can’t stay in the same place forever. Her time that had stopped had begun to move again. Alicia wakes up and tells the rest of her wonderful nostalgic dream. Their discussion turn to Athena whom they lament would have loved to attend this party. Then a miracle happened. They hear her trademark singing. There she is. I guess she could make it after all. What a happy end to the day. Now everyone can look forward to more miracles in the future.

Embarrassing Nostalgia Is Not Allowed!
Sniff, sniff. Yup. It wasn’t anything much except that it played very well on my nostalgia. So well that at times I could feel tears welling up and that squeeze in my heart thinking back about the old scenes (although I have mostly forgotten many of them). This special stays true to its Aria-style of storytelling and doesn’t break the mould. Like I said, it is mostly to play on old fans and viewers’ nostalgia. For newer audiences, they might be bored to death and not understand a thing or what the heck this is all about. But then again, this special was intentionally made with such old audiences in mind.

And yes, it goes without saying that they played again all those cool and easy going BGM soundtracks. From Aqua to Tenki Ame, they are very familiar tracks that would instantly evoke nostalgia for those who heard and love their brand of music (like yours truly). It is nice to hear them once more. Even the opening themes are the familiar Undine, Euphoria and Spirale. Ah yes. More nostalgia at your service. So if you think that the music for all the specials are just rehash of old music, there is a new music for it and that is the ending theme, Piacere by Shiena Nishizawa. Another calm and soothing (read: Beautiful) slow piece that is in line with the Aria songs that you have heard so far. And do I need to mention the awesome backgrounds and scenery? Still breathtaking after all these years.

As for the characters, everyone is the same and kind soul like they are on this planet. Nobody are vicious criminals because if there were, they’d be in the wrong anime! So anyway, this special now gives Ai the focus and introduces a couple of new characters who would no doubt as expected become her friends. I guess there is this trend that Undines have to follow throughout the generations. Uh huh. One budding Undine from each company becomes close friends with each other. We can’t have more than that since Aria Company always and will only have a single apprentice at any given time. For the rest of the Undine veterans, some may feel they lack much screen time but with only 3 episodes to spare and they want to bring the focus to a new generation, I guess I can pretty much forgive that.

Despite the nostalgia hype in this special, there is also a small amount of sadness it brought out. For fans, you would know it is very subtle in Athena’s case. Her seiyuu has passed away many years ago and thus you would notice that her character doesn’t have much appearance and if she does, she does not have lines. Besides, her singing voice (even in the TV series) was done by another singer and the lines you hear in this special are actually taken from the TV series. No new recordings for her. RIP Tomoko Kawakami.

Overall, this series only holds a special place in the hearts of fans who have watched the entire series in the mid-2000’s. Newer generations might not hear of this gem and would just go, “WTF is this piece of boring sh*t” but that is understandable seeing there are too many animes these days and so many just fail to live up to decent expectations. Although there is not much of a story in this special, that is where the miracle of nostalgia starts to weave its magic and work on our senses. That is why even though if the plot offers nothing new and no new direction (despite the constant ‘reminders’ and ‘spamming’ about the wonderful future the characters will have and miracles to meet), the wonderfulness of the TV series of the bygone era was there, still in its effect. It may be so too if they ever make more of such specials in the future. Yes, this is one truly miraculous series that has stand tested throughout time.

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