All good things must come to an end. For that, I wonder what more amazing and wonderful encounters- “Embarrassing remarks aren’t allowed!”. Eeehhh???!!! I can’t believe I just cut myself off like that. Looks like I’ve caught the ‘disease’ and a little hooked in watching the Aria series and thus just into the final leg (as far as I am concerned) of this series.

Prior to the third season, an OVA called Aria The OVA ~Arietta~ was released way back in 2007. As we know this series is of the calm and soothing space so for those who are expecting something out of the ordinary just because it’s an OVA, well, don’t hope so much. This OVA follows the same recipe and ‘ingredient’ that makes its predecessor seasons well received and serves to whet your appetite for the upcoming season. If you’re an Aria fan, that is.

~Arietta~

As Akari waits for Alicia’s return, she wonders why she hasn’t put on her glove. As Ai pointed out, she has become a Prima. Because of that, Alicia is never coming back. But thank God that was just a dream. However because of that she is seemingly spaced out. After Alicia leaves with a customer, Akari wonders why she was chosen. Then the phone rings. It is Akatsuki and he is not happy she interrupted his “Alicia Time” since he can’t hear her voice message. I didn’t know he was this desperate and nutcase. However seeing her down, he didn’t feel like teasing her. Later as Akari practises with her friends, they talk about their future of being a Prima. Well, they don’t look too satisfied since their seniors are too good. They are after all the Great Water Fairies. Then they meet Al and they ask him about his time being an apprentice. The girls are grateful for having their seniors guide them and for now they’ve got to do their best and follow in their footsteps. Alicia returns with the customers and it seems they have become instant fans of hers. They even want to ‘molest’ President Aria’s flabby belly!

Later Akari tells Alicia about that Prima dream of hers. She felt unconfident when she’s no longer around. This has Alicia narrating her tale. When she became a Prima, she became selfish and didn’t want Grandma to leave because she doesn’t want to be alone. However Grandma said it’s not that she is leaving her, but rather it is Alicia who is leaving Grandma’s nest. Grandma has confidence in her of becoming a Prima and by just looking at her back, Alicia felt calm. Even when Akira and Athena became Primas, Alicia did not have the confidence to coach an apprentice. Akira with Aika as her apprentice comes by and notes Alicia still did not take on an apprentice. She wants her to come with her tomorrow. Akira brings Alicia to meet with Athena at the top of the Campanile tower. They are overwhelmed at the scenery overlooking Neo-Venezia. Akira mentions how the Campanile collapsed many times back at Man Home. Each time that happens, they just rebuilt another one. It’s like the Venezians wanted to leave this scenery behind. So this is also similar to the Undines. Just like the seniors who guided them, the day will come for them to hang up their oars. But if they can relay this feeling of this lovely town to them, the next generation of Undines will be the new Campanile. With Athena’s singing to cheer Alicia up, Alicia starts realizing that she wants to share those feelings she did with Grandma and discover herself with someone although she still lacks confidence. And soon, that’s when Akari came. So why did she choose her? It’s a secret. Teeheehee.

Akari is still worried about her first appearance when she arrived as an apprentice so Alicia suggests climbing Campanile. Now? At this time? Is it open? Well, Alicia had contacted the tower’s administrator so he lets them in via back entrance. Everybody in this town must be her fan. Easier to get favours done. As they walk up the stairs, Akari gets excited of feeling the serene, deep and gentle sounds of the city that she peeks through the windows. Then walking up hand in hand, Alicia notes that when she took Akari as an apprentice, she was worried if she would be a good one to her. But she always followed right behind her and with her pure heart, Akari discovered many things that Alicia never noticed. Thus, Alicia took her courage from her. At the tower top, they see the awesome night lights of Neo-Venezia. Akari narrates that the day for them to part will come. But for now, she wants to stay behind this person whom she cherish and love so much a little longer.

Aria The Origination

The OVA was sure a nice way to have a little peek into the past of the 3 Great Water Fairies. it tells us a lot that even they seem perfect as they are now, back when they first started, they are just like any other apprentices with feelings of nervousness and uncertainty. And as time passes by, they mature into the respectable Prima Undines that they all are known as today.

So basically when I watched the third season, based on the title, I thought this season was going to narrate the origins or the early development of Aqua. Well, you could say it’s a little misleading because it is not a prequel season of any sort but rather a continuation from the second season and OVA. Nevertheless, Aria The Origination is still a nice worthy sequel to watch and a big possibly the final series of the Aria instalment.

Episode 1
As Akari, Aika and Alice practice together, they see an unusual sight of Akatsuki and Al studying together for their promotion exam. Good luck. Back at Aria Company, Woody delivers a gift to Alicia. Turns out to be sakura tea and sakura jam from a customer they had during the Carnivale. They decide to call their friends over for tea. I don’t know what’s with President Aria today. It’s like he’s being clumsy. He nearly choked on lunch, fell off the chair, got his stomach bitten by a crab while fishing and yes, also another bite from President Maa when he tried to appeal to President Hime as a polite waiter. The tea party starts when the girls arrive. They talk about some of their experience with their customers like Alicia’s with the mother and daughter pair that sent her the gift. Aika also relates that Akira is cool. There was a customer who was fooling around, dancing around on the gondola. Akira never raised her voice and her superb control was preventing that idiot from tumbling over while Aika was about to snap. Then it happened. He trips and falls off but Akira shows why she is one of the Great Water Fairies when she not only keeps the gondola steady but pulls the fool up! Amazing! The only thing that fell into the water was his mask. Alice also mentions Athena also had experienced something similar. A kid was pestering his mom to buy ice cream and causing a ruckus when his mom refused. But Athena made some funny stupid faces and the kid started laughing. The juniors note how they have a long way to catch up but as Alicia mentions, they too have a long way to go themselves. What do they mean? Even if they’re at the top, they won’t be satisfied with how much they have progressed. If they ever do, then they won’t move forward and find their own radiance. In other words, they keep improving themselves, right? The juniors are all fired up to do their best so much so their juniors will have something good to say about them. The seniors are excited to wonder what kind of Prima Undines they will become. The kind that they have never seen before and will bring new wonderfulness to Neo-Venezia.

Episode 2
Akari gets a surprise request from a customer to row her around. Talking to her pals about it, Aika has suspicions on the customer and thinks she is someone who loves toying with Singles. Or worse. An inspector on some spot check and if she fails, she’ll be demoted! Next day, the customer, an elderly lady named Amaranta leaves Akari to show the Neo-Venezia that only she can guide her. Alicia and President Aria tag along. I guess Aika and Alice become stalkers, giving excuse that they’re worried about Akari so that they can tail them. As Akari guides her around, it seems Amaranta has been to these places before. I mean, she could even tell a butter potato stall has changed its butter! As their schedule is nearly up, Akari wants to show her one more special place so she agrees. Rowing through the narrow alleys and waterways, they come out to the back of the monastery to see a beautiful garden with colourful flowers. Then as Amaranta suggests, they decide to explore what’s behind that door. Paddling through the dark waterways, they eventually arrived at an area where a wisteria tree is in full bloom even if its blooming season isn’t here yet (something about this place has no wind reaching it or sun hitting it). Akari realized that Amaranta has been to all these lovely places she has showed and apologizes because she thought she had shown her special places to her. However she says her heart is filled with today’s wonderful memories since all the places she has guided were coming from her heart. That is very important since her heart wanted to show her around Neo-Venezia she truly loves. Besides, what she really wanted to see was Akari doing her best to show her around. And she is very assured that the legacy of Aria Company has been passed down successfully. Aika and Alice’s spying is busted so they start ‘accusing’ each other that the other wanted to follow Akari. On their way back, Amaranta explains that there are other people who prefer to ride on a Single’s gondola. There’s a system where one could have cheap rides using Singles which became widespread so everyone could help nurture them into Primas. Alicia says that when she was a single, she used to guide Amaranta around. She too had her fun memories with Akira and Athena then. Amaranta feels like Neo-Venezia has become even more beautiful each time a new Undine is raised. That’s why she rides on Singles’ gondola and it’s her pleasure to see their progress. She gladly accepts Akari’s proposal to guide her around again when she becomes a Prima.

Episode 3
The girls are talking some of the monuments brought from Man Home undergoing maintenance works. Wait a minute. The real monument itself is being brought from Venice to Neo-Venezia?! Why build a replica when you can have the real thing, right? Later as I found out, Venice was submerged in water, the reason for all these monuments to be brought here. They decide to see those places and have tea there. At San Marco Square, they see a patissier, Henri selling chocolates to a bunch of kids queuing up. Aika recognizes him as he is from a hotel that Himeya is associated with as a business partner. A kid trips and breaks his bottle of chocolates. He starts crying as the girls try to comfort him. Henri gives the kid a new bottle and after the girls bought their share, they enter Florian Cafe to admire its original paintings on the wall. When they leave, they don’t see Henri’s stall anymore and wonders if he has closed for business. Over the next few days, they notice Henri’s peculiar behaviour. He is selling his stall at different place and each time he seems to be looking at those monuments. They wonder if he is into building research. On a free day, Akari revisits San Marco Square and sees Henri entering Florian Cafe to admire the paintings. When they meet, he thanks her and wishes for her to meet tomorrow as he has something to give her. Next day, Henri shows her new bottle designs for his chocolates. When Akari showed concern for the chocolates when the bottle broke that time, that’s when he thought he wanted to make his customers smile. It’d be a pity if the chocolate was wasted before the feelings that were put in were delivered. He wonders when he forgot those feelings. Thanks to her, he was able to remember that feeling again. In order to make his customers smile more, he thought of a way to deliver those feelings and realized the need to put various wrapper designs. Thus he was walking around those buildings to draw inspiration or when he can’t think of anything. He gives Akari and President Aria free bottles of chocolates as gratitude. Then he treats them to cafe latte at Florian Cafe. They meet the cafe owner and discuss about the paintings. Then it hit Akari, things made by people contain feelings of people that made them so they become inheritances passed down over time. Cherished, yet natural parts of their surroundings. She feels Henri’s chocolate is also the same, as long as he puts his feelings in it, it’s the same as everyone else and that everyone can smile. Thus if his chocolates become a natural part of this town, it’ll become a wonderful natural belonging. With that, Henri continues to sell his chocolates, putting his feelings in it to make customers smile.

Episode 4
Akari notices Alicia’s busy schedule and wonders if she even has a day off. She is sad that she can’t be of more use to the company. Since her usual pals are busy tomorrow, Alicia suggests her to do a Traghetto tomorrow. Tra what? It’s a bigger gondola used as a ferryboat to ferry people across the Grand Canal. It is operated by 2 Undines, one at the front, the other at the back and there are many crossing points along the canal. Some use it as a means of practice to become an Undine. It’s also a means for Singles to accept customers in the water tourism industry and since different Undines from different companies are paired up, it’s become somewhat of an attraction. But rowing a Traghetto is different since it requires special sense of balance. The customers will all be standing and some may even carry luggage with them. Akari is paired with Atora (I thought she looked like Abel from Trinity Blood) and Anzu from Orange Company and Ayumi (I thought she’s a cross between Akira and Aika) from Himeya. Akari is the only one who is doing it for the first time while the rest are veterans. As they take turns to row across, Akari notices Anzu gloominess. Atora mentions she failed the Prima promotion exam the other day and even so, she keeps challenging herself to go on. She also mentions that their senior who supervised for the exam is very strict. Then from Ayumi, Akari learns that she doesn’t want to be a Prima but rather loves the Traghetto job since one can earn a reasonable income. Plus, seems Singles who failed to become Primas settle for this. Anzu tells Akari about her failure. But Akari notes that she herself isn’t skilled to take on the promotion exam since Alicia has not talk to her about it. Even if the time comes and she fails, she’ll keep pushing on like Anzu.

When it’s Akari’s turn to row with Anzu, the rest are amazed at her amazing rowing skills. At the end of the day as they finish up, they praise Akari for her skills and are glad that they got to train together. Ayumi notes at this rate, she may become a Prima the next time they meet. Oh, Anzu getting a little ‘berserk’ as she congratulates Akari for being a Prima. She’s still an apprentice lah. Atora feels Anzu shouldn’t blame herself since it’s their strict senior’s fault. It’s as though she doesn’t acknowledge their skills nor want them to become Primas. She is starting to get the idea of settling in as a Single specializing in Traghetto but Ayumi says they’re different because Atora really does want to become a Prima. Ayumi wonders why Atora doesn’t challenge herself again since failing her promotion exam a year ago. Atora couldn’t answer but Anzu knows how she feels. It can be painful and scary for one to fail something but once you’ve become stuck like that, you can’t adapt yourself. Thus, if you can’t change others, you can always change yourself. That’s why she wants to become flexible so she can take any shape, absorb anything and do anything. Akari is confident that they can do it as long as they don’t close up themselves. Atora and Anzu get their confidence to give it a try once more. Akari and the rest walks home as she narrates no matter what path one chooses, those who keep moving forward can see it shining brightly somewhere. She hopes to keep going forward no matter how far. I just wonder why Akari, Aika and Alice don’t do this Traghetto for practice sometimes. I thought they need all the practice and experience they can get? Aiming for a Prima so this kind of ‘low-level’ job isn’t in their sights? Nah.

Episode 5
As the junior girls are in town, they see Athena passing by and her singing has everyone stop and listen to her beautiful voice. They witness another extraordinary feat when a girl’s straw hat got blown away with the wind. Alicia gracefully manoeuvres her oar and gondola direction to retrieve and return it to the girl. Again the crowd applauses. During lunch, the girls talk about Alicia and Athena’s natural talent and probably the kind that is only one in a thousand. However this hit Aika very hard as she starts becoming gloomy. Her concern is how Akira felt when she’s among those naturally talented Primas. Looks like her depression season is setting in because she is further gloomy upon seeing Alice’s skilful handling of the gondola and Akari easily making friends. She doesn’t even have the heart to finish her trademark quote! When Aika gets off, she notes to herself how they don’t realize what it means to be a hard worker because these aren’t talents one is gifted with. Walking back to her room, she sees Akira (she is totally unrecognizable in different clothes and her hair tied up!) doing spring cleaning. How long has she been moving? Akira notices Aika more irritable than usual and forces her to help out. Aika sifts through the old photo album and sees a picture of the 3 Great Water Fairies. Then it’s depression time again when she notices Akira is the only Single among the pack. She feels so sad for Akira that she felt mortified. It’s like deja vu when those girls were badmouthing her, eh? Akira says though she lacked special talent and it didn’t took just hard work, that’s why she took a little longer to be a Prima. However she is glad she has them as her friends. But Aika still isn’t happy and wonders how she draws her strength for support.

Looks like it’s story time. That photo was taken when Athena just got promoted to a Prima. Though Akira was happy, however she soon sank into depression. She feels she is no match for them who are naturally gifted. It must really have got to her because she started searching for a four-leaf clover in a bed of ordinary three-leaf clovers. She couldn’t find one and thinks she is those unblessed ones and thus the difference of what makes a Prima and not. Till she meets a very young and happy Aika who notices her searching. She tells still-depressed Akira to give up since there is nothing can be done if there is none to begin with. Well, Aika isn’t being mean. What she meant was if that’s the case, all she needs to do is get what is missing. She puts together a three-leaf clover and a heart-shaped rose petal and makes it into a four-leaf clover. That’s when Akira learnt something important. If there are people naturally talented like her friends, then all she needs to have is a talent that exceeds their own through hard work. Aika is in tears with that story so Akira is relieved she doesn’t remember that meeting. Akira gives her a bookmark with a pattern of three-leaf clover and heart-shaped rose petal. Aika becomes happy and promises to cherish it. Well, if Akira says it’s a charm to become a Prima, why not? She is back to her usual self with Alice and Akari not having a clue what just happened. Aika notes how she has the best person in the world that everyone is proud of. A wonderful miracle born in Neo-Venezia. Then she realizes she said an embarrassing line and goes berserk with her kinshi line on herself!

Episode 5.5
This is the special unaired episode that comes with the DVD. Since Alicia will be out all day, Aria Company temporarily suspends business for the day. Akari and President Aria take a stroll through town. A residential place to be more exact. A place not part of the tour guide so it’s a little different. They get thrilled seeing laundry being hang between the blocks (?!), play some basketball, lie on the park, President Aria dancing a weird dance with the kids (or is he teaching them?), watch their meal made of dough been made freshly via rolling over some wires (see how the flock of birds and pigeons descend on President Aria’s crumbs! The guy next table sure is laughing like mad!). Akatsuki spots them and decides to pull off a prank on her to take his frustration for not being able to see Alicia on his day off. WTF?! Each time he chases after her, he gets lost due to the winding maze-like alleys. Then he sees her staring at a shop window and was in such intense concentration that he was oblivious to Woody. Yeah, he unknowingly agreed to everything he said to RSVP to some school reunion and even gave him his pizza! Man, he didn’t know the pizza was gone when he took a bite from it! Akatsuki is still hot on Akari’s heels, not really giving up as she makes her way back to the crowded tourist square. He sees her up the Campanile tower but was told to take the normal elevator like the public and not use the secret back entrance. Oh my. Good luck queuing at the long line. Well, he doesn’t have to since he spots her in another building. Aika and Alice spot Akatsuki being sneaky and decide to follow him. Seems Akari and President Aria are happily sitting about in a place that only they themselves know. A secret place not even Alicia or their friends know about. Akatsuki is having a hard time finding the stairways when he sees an opening and disregards whether he has authority to go up the dark stairs or not and climbs it. He reaches the balcony to see Akari sleeping. Then he surprises her by yelling a loud “Big Double Sideburns Attack!”. Thank God she didn’t die of heart attack. He learns that she is here to meet a gentlemen whom she secretly come to see him. Oh? Okay, turns out to be a head bust at the corner of the balcony. Haha. Then Akatsuki is shown a grand view of the plaza when he bows his head with the same level as the bust. Akari narrates the reasons why she considers this her wonderful secret place so Akatsuki also says he will make this his secret place too. Then they realize Aika and Alice spying so Akatsuki chases them before they get the wrong idea he ditched Alicia. Ah well, I guess this is everybody’s secret place now.

Episode 6
During practice, I’m not sure if Akari imitating President Aria would constitute some form of training. This has Aika scolding here and prompts if Alicia has ever scolded Akari. Nope. In fact, Akari has never seen her mad before. Yeah, there’s no way Ms Perfect would scold anybody, right? Akari also wonders if Athena scolds Alice. In fact it’s the other way round. Alice scolds Athena for her clumsiness and will never allow herself to get scolded! Wow. Who’s the senior and junior now? Alice still has her reservations so she tries to spy on Alicia and Akari in hopes to catch them in one of those secret moments whereby Alicia loses her cool. Each time, nothing that sort happened, Alice gets busted and gives a lame excuse of what she’s doing. Then Akari breaks Alicia’s favourite tea cup! Jenjenjeng!!! Could this be the moment? Nope. Alicia is glad she is not hurt. Suddenly Akari’s gondola drifts away but Alicia goes to retrieve it. What about now? Nothing either. Besides, it wasn’t really Akari’s fault as the rope was somehow cut by a sharp object. Then Alice starts drawing this weird conclusion: What if Alicia has given up on Akari? Over the next few days, Alice couldn’t find a reason to it all and decides to draw up a plan to have Akari make a genuine mistake to see if Alicia will get mad. While eating parfait at the cafe, fate has an unusual way of intertwining things. Yup, Alicia and President Aria are seated right across her! When they join her, Alice’s mind starts getting paranoid if this is some kind of punishment game and if she knows what she is secretly doing.

Then Alicia asks if she has anything in mind she wants to ask since she has been staring really passionate at her so it made her a little anxious. Now that they’re alone, she doesn’t have to hold back. Oh, she’s on to her! Alice sums up her courage and tells her straight the problem that is bugging her. However Alicia sends President Aria to deliver a sweet to a girl in another table. I don’t know why but he is taking a rather long detour before delivering it. When he comes back, Alicia has him deliver another sweet to a boy in another table. He seems faster this time. Then following Alicia on the stroll, Alice asks why she didn’t point out the mistakes President Aria did when he took a longer time the first round. Alicia replies if she kept saying like “No, not that way”, he might become afraid of making mistakes and eventually won’t be able to move. At least that is her way of doing things. But what happens if the same mistake is made over and over again? Then she will think it over and reflect upon her own lack of knowledge. After all, she is an imperfect human being too. Seeing there are times that won’t go well, it made her realize that teaching and being taught are similar. So all she can do is become one with Akari, face her ordeals and fail with her, and finally share her happiness. They meet up with Akari and Aika so Alicia hopes they can keep this conversation a secret. Why? Because it’s embarrassing. However Alice came out with a somewhat perfect comeback in a deadpan face: She doesn’t need to. Seeing them both so alike is already embarrassing enough! Oh my! How disrespectful? “Please scold me…” Haha! Oh Alice…

Episode 7
Today is the anniversary of Aria Company’s founding so it’s natural that it is closed. Alicia, Akari and President Aria make their way to Burano Island, a fishing village now and back at Man Home to visit Alicia’s senior, Anna. Seems she is happily married to her fisherman husband Albert and has a son, Ahito. She left Aria Company when she got hitched and pregnant with Ahito. But life isn’t a bed of roses as Anna explains. When she first arrived on the island, she was alone, her husband was always out fishing and the villagers treated her coldly. She took up sowing Venetian laces and from there gradually learned to mix around. Anna gets a surprise when her husband comes back. Seems Grandma is with him as he bumped into her and she’s here on Alicia’s invitation. Albert’s sumptuous seafood catch of the day has the ladies making splendid mouth-watering dishes. They talk about being grateful for the company and the encounters that brought them together. But Grandma says that it was President Aria who formed Aria Company instead. It was during a time Grandma was at a loss and was an Undine at Himeya. Back during her younger days (her real name is Akino – and a fine pretty lady too), she was known as the Ace and admired by many. One day she spotted President Aria staring at the ocean and sitting at the same spot. She got fascinated and joined him but no matter how many questions she posed, that cat never answered (duh!) or moved from his spot. As she continued to join him, it made her realized she was too busy to enjoy the many wonderful everyday moments and before she knew it, time flew by. She felt something wrong because President Aria continued to sit at that spot even when it’s raining! Out of sympathy, she sat by him and before she knew it, the clear blue skies of the morning greeted them. Then she understood, thanks to him she realized that she was pushing herself too much. Soon after, she went on to form Aria Company and wanted to see the world reflected in his beautiful blue eyes together. It beats me how President Aria became so playful. But that’s another story. Hey wait. Just how old is President Aria?! Back to our ladies, Grandma is confident that Akari’s own Aria Company will start. They all are excited to see her Aria Company that no one has ever seen before.

Episode 8
Alice eagerly plans for her much awaited picnic with Athena tomorrow. When she returns from bath, she finds a very tired Athena straight in bed sleeping. Next morning, Athena wakes up early and goes out for a job. Of course how would Alice feel? She starts playing picnic in her room when she can’t wait anymore. Then Athena storms back and apologizes. She is able to go on the picnic now but Alice is hurt. She doesn’t want to anymore and storms out although it isn’t Athena’s fault to begin with. In that instant, it’s like some sort of cliche because President Maa is happily munching on the banana, throws away the skin and Athena slips on it. Aria Company gets a frantic panic call from Alice. They head over to see Alice in a loss what to do. What’s wrong? Hmm… Athena seems pretty fine. She’s up and about doing things normally and in a coordinated way. That’s it! She’s not clumsy or dopey! But the actual fact is that she got amnesia when she tripped and fell flat on her face! She can’t remember their names except for President Aria. Then when Alicia goes up to her and smiles, Athena remembers who she is. What magic did she put? No magic. As explained, she just may have temporary memory mix up. Before Alicia leaves for work, she tells the duo to observe her for the day. If things don’t get better, take her to a doctor. They decide to bring her out to her usual places in hopes for her to regain her memories. But Alice starts having this thought: Wouldn’t it be better to have a no-clumsy Athena? Of course not! At the chocolate store, seems Athena only starts remembering President Maa’s name. Alice is pissed off so she decides to return to Orange Planet to have her pick out her favourite oar. Athena does it right and not only that, remembers Akari’s name. This strikes a bad chord in Alice’s books because she starts thinking if she is the only one she doesn’t remember. Going back to Aria Company, Alice sinks into depression so Athena asks her to describe how she was to her. An extremely senior who always caused trouble and worries her. So she hates her? Not exactly… So that means she likes her? Alice says if given a choice, she would choose the latter. Then she starts crying. Alicia tells Athena that it’s already enough. Athena apologizes and says that her amnesia was fake. WHAT?! When Alice stormed out then, she thought Alice was fed up and was really worried. So she wanted to know how she felt and pretended to have amnesia to find out her true feelings about her. A relieved Alice wishes for her to say it straight next time. And it is that part of her that she… HATES!!! Ooohhh. Alice getting mad now and giving Athena a real good lecture! After they leave, Akari wonders how Alicia has known this all along. Well, she knows Athena long enough to know she has been pulling crazy stunts like this for a long time. After all, they’re still simple girls too and will be worried about the feelings of the precious people close to them.

Episode 9
Alice graduates from her school. Yeah, she has got lots of admirers asking for her second button. Aika and Akari greet her as they continue their practice. Now free of school obligations, I guess she has more time to spend practising with them, right? Back home, Athena suggests to go for a picnic tomorrow. For sure. For real this time. But it’s not going to be just an ordinary picnic. Athena also suggests Alice to become an Undine with Athena acting as her customer. Alice is graceful, skilful and perfect handling the gondola as she takes Athena through several places. An exceptional extra-ordinary for a person her age. As they ride through the canal and while waiting for the water to fill the water elevator, Alice tells how she likes singing but is bad at it thus her low confidence. Athena gives the ultimate advice: If you don’t love your own singing, how can you expect others to love it? As they make their way to Hope Hill, Alice is surprise to see Akari, Aika and several higher-ups of Orange Planet standing by the slope. Athena tells that long before water came flowing on this planet’s surface and named Aqua, it was called Orange Planet. Hey, I thought Mars was known as the red planet? Must be that orange glow it gives off during this time of the day? As a final request, Athena wants Alice to sing. Well, I won’t say it’s the best but she’s not bad. At least enough to move Akari to tears. Then it is revealed that this is a test to see if Alice is qualified to become a Single! And she did it with flying colours! Hey wait! Athena is not taking off just 1 glove. She’s taking off the other glove too! OMG! This is unprecedented! Alice has become a Prima Undine! She is valued by the company so much that she is given the nickname Orange Princess! Way to go Alice! It’s tough juggling school life and being a gondolier so she really deserves this. Alice couldn’t contain her emotions and lets loose tears of joy. But it’s a different kind of tears for Akari and Aika when they realize she leapfrogged them! Nevertheless they are happy for her as the friends embrace each other.

Episode 10
It’s Alice’s first day as a Prima and she’s nervous stiff. I think the customer will enjoy it because she’s cute! Alice gets depressed when she finds out Aika and Akari have been spying on her job. For a long while… Akari invites her to go moon-gazing tonight. As the trio share the dumplings while watching the Moon, President Aria tries to share his with President Hime. Of course she ignores him. He tries pushing in his tummy so much so she gives in and shares his dumpling! Could this be it? Alice teases Aika that she was expecting Al to come seeing that she thought it was supposed to be only 3 of them. Embarrassed Aika sets off giving an excuse to find Al. Eventually she does and in her happiness, gets a little ahead of herself and stands on a plank on an unused well. Well, it breaks, she falls in. Al lends a hand to pull her up but he too gets pulled in. It’s either he got no strength or she is too heavy. I think it’s the latter since she admitted it. Yeah, all those dumplings. They try climbing out but each time, sliding back or falling off their balance. Just when they see President Maa as their hope, that little kitten jumps straight down into Aika’s palms! Aika wants him to go on an important mission to bring Alice but can that kitty cat understand what she says? I mean, each time she throws him out (don’t worry, he’s very light and agile), he jumps back in, thinking all this is fun and games. Finally when he is thrown out and doesn’t hop back in, all hope is lost because well, President Maa forgot what he’s supposed to do and wanders off. So the duo has no choice but to sit around till whatever help arrives.

With the Moon’s reflection shining brightly, Al starts his lecture about its forces of attraction and repulsion. Oh God. I don’t want to hear science… Aika notices this close romantic moment but Al had to spoil it with more Moon stories and legends. Better kinshi and forbid him before he starts telling tales of other planets too! It gets a little dark and I don’t know why, Al hinted he’s afraid of it. Don’t Gnomes work underground? Sure they have interior light but this contradicts a very early episode in the previous season whereby Al guided the girls through the dark. Aqua’s second Moon passes by and illuminates the area. Hey, Aika and Al are so close like in hugging position! They’re not embarrassed by it? I’m not sure when Aika said the little Moon got to close and having succumbed to far too much of Aqua’s influence, was she referring to the rocky satellite or Al? I don’t get it too because she slowly backs away and starts crying. Al’s answer of Aqua is under influence of the Moons as well calmed her. I’m sure everyone is waiting for this moment. The moment Aika goes up to him and… Her stomach growled… Ah! Damn it! I can’t believe it ruined the moment. How can she be hungry this fast when she had so many dumplings! As she laments her failure, Akari, Alice and the presidents wonder what was ruined for her. They pull them out and head back to Aria Company so Aika makes a lie that the centrifugal force was ruined. Huh? I don’t get it. Don’t worry. So do they. Then Al takes Aika’s hand as they walk along. He quotes this is the force of attraction. Oh Al… I didn’t know it… Or is it just the effects of the Moon? “Embarrassing remarks aren’t allowed”. And I’m not sure if the Moon is really the one causing strange forces of attraction on Aqua just for this night because President Aria and President Hime are gazing together! You’d never see this scene anywhere before.

Episode 11
Akira is having a tough time trying to figure out a nickname for Aika. Selfish Queen? The Great Princess? Forbidden Princess? Serenade of the Cry-baby? Amazing nicknames, huh? She sure does know her junior well. So is she ready to be a Prima? Yeah, this is going to be a tough choice. She hears nearby girls talking about Alice’s skipping a grade to be a Prima and how Aika must be under great pressure to live up to Himeya’s expectation. Akira seems troubled so much so Aika herself is worried that she may have done something wrong. Since Akira can’t really put it into words, she treats Aika to gelato. She hears Aika singing praises about Alice’s success but won’t lose out as well. But this only serves to depress Akira even further till the point she tells Aika not to worry about it and drop it. However in a role reversal, it is Aika who tells her why she will move forward to open up a future for an Undine. She is grateful to Alice for letting her taste this feeling. Looks like Akira worried for nothing. So this means, she wants Aika to cancel her next free day off shopping with Al to do some special training with her! Gah! Regretting it? Then she hands her the list of nicknames since it’s better to ask the person herself which one sounds better. Aika realizes the meaning of this and in her happiness hugs Akira. After all, everything is for the sake of her Rose Queen. Is that the nickname she picked out? Alice isn’t used to her nickname yet but she’s getting busier by the day with lots of customers streaming in. Though she has more confidence and can row around without breaking a sweat or like a zombie. Her customers are so satisfied that they plan to hire her the next time they come back. Even a little boy appreciates her work and thanks her by giving her a sweet. However, Alice notes that being busy has its pleasures, she feels she doesn’t have free time to meet up with her friends. She feels lonely. She gets a little down and goes back to her room to see Athena, Aika, Akira and the presidents munching bananas like nobody’s business! Don’t talk with your mouths full! And no Alice, you’re not dreaming. Seems her friends are here to share with her some delicious pizza. As they eat and chat, it’s like the good old times but Alice can’t help feel they might never meet again or have this sort of free time chance in the future. She laments she doesn’t have an excuse like this pizza to meet them. But Akira says she has one. In fact, she doesn’t even need one. If it’s Alice, that’s a good enough reason. Alice becomes happy and feels she’ll be fine because she has friends like them.

Episode 12
Akari practises with Aika and notes how it’s lonely without Alice. Nevertheless she’s going to do her best. However Aika is crying and in no mood to joke around. She starts apologizing that they can’t be together anymore. That’s when Akari realizes AIKA HAS BECOME A PRIMA!!! Look, ma! No gloves! Akari congratulates her but she still doesn’t look too happy. Several snippets of Akira undertaking Aika in a Prima promotion exam. She passed in the end and both senior and junior are in tears. Akari relates the happy news to Alicia so the latter mentions how relieved Akira must been because she’s always worried that Aika can’t just be a Prima but one who must carry the name of Himeya. Akari also tells another happy news how Aika is made to be a manager of a newly opened Himeya branch at Santa Lucia station. However she is puzzled why she started crying. I can think of an answer. Alicia drops a surprising news: Akari will have her Prima exam tomorrow. That night she can’t sleep so she takes her gondola out and meets Akatsuki who seems to have lost his wallet. He understands her feelings since he too is going to take a promotional exam soon. Then Woody comes by as his wallet has been found. With all the talk of dropping and falling, Akira must really be a nervous wreck, eh? The word ‘ochiru’ in Japanese though it means drop or fall, it can be synonymous with failing a test. I wonder how many times they said ‘ochiru’ in that sentence! Oh, the word ‘ochitsu’ (calm down) also sounds close enough… Oh Akari, will you be alright? Next morning, it is raining so Alicia suggests postponing the exam to a better day. But Akari insists taking it today since she has waited for this day. If it clears up by afternoon, that is. It does clear up so the exam begins with Akari rowing Alicia as her customer. She passes by several places and meets several other characters throughout the series and friends. As she passes a bridge, Akatsuki and Woody do an embarrassing cheering on pose for Akari (and perhaps Alicia too). But Akari wasn’t so much embarrassed, but a little worried when Woody notes that Akatsuki is nearly falling off. It’s that ‘ochiru’ word again…

The path has Akari rowing through a very tight and narrow waterway she never knew existed. Not even an inch for mistakes! However she doesn’t feel nervous before. Why? Because all those practice with her pals paid off. Reaching out at the end, Alicia is very satisfied and felt the gondola became one with the water. Her final task is to row to wherever she wants to because she must choose what kind of Prima she wants to be. Akari chooses Aria Company because she wants to be like Grandma, Alicia and a Prima of Aria Company itself. In Alicia’s closing statements, she mentions how her world completely changed when she came to Aqua. Her ordinary days began to seem like as if the world was sparkling marvellously like a casted magic spell. It gently wraps Aqua and goes on endlessly like the sky and sea. She is glad to have met her and thanks her Aquamarine. Aqua what? It means the unfathomable blue. Alicia takes off Akari’s glove and congratulates her on becoming a Prima! Hooray! Congratulations! They day she has longed for has finally arrived. All the juniors have graduated into Primas! But Alicia has something important to say. Oh no. Please don’t tell me…

Episode 13
Though Aika and Alice learn Akari became a Prima, the shocking news is not that Alicia is going to retire as an Undine, but getting married! SAY WHAT???!!! Who is that lucky guy?! Oh, the telephone rang. Who could it be? It’s Akatsuki! He’s damn shocked that his beloved Alicia is walking down the aisle. At least we know he isn’t the guy :p. Yes, this is not a dream. See all the customers cheering for her and the flowers she got? That show how much everyone loves her. Actually, she’s not retiring for good as she has been invited to join the Gondola Association and it has been her dream to devote herself to the future of Aqua’s Water Guided Tours Association. I know she’s the Ms Perfect that everyone knows but even so she’s human and not Super Woman so she can’t possibly handle 2 jobs at the same time. Till things at Aria Company settle down, Alicia will live here till her retirement ceremony. However Akari doesn’t seem sad as she goes about doing her daily chores and is busier than ever taking over Alicia’s duties. But is she really going to be alright? There was a document she didn’t understand and called out to Alicia but she isn’t in. It’s getting lonely, isn’t it? Then she starts crying as Alicia comes back. Akari pours out her feelings how everyone loves her because she’s kind and thus everyone doesn’t want her to retire yet. Alicia hugs emotional Akari and tells her the truth that she knew had skills of a Prima for a very long time. She was afraid of losing this precious moment spent with her and had to be strong since she is her senior. She blames her selfishness. Akari has calmed down and says that she has experienced many happy things and deep down in her heart was worried and scared when things changed. Noting how everyone else is walking their own path like how she first came to Aqua, she wants to send her off with a smile. Akari gets Mailman as her first customer. Seems he already is retired and is now doing management work in the office. During rest, Akari notes how it will be really lonely once the retirement ceremony is over tomorrow. Mailman assures her that even if she has inherited Aria Company, she has the entire Neo-Venezia behind her.

The retirement ceremony is soon here as Alicia is guided by Athena and Akira through the procession. Akatsuki can’t stop being a cry-baby. Alicia passes the baton (oar in this case) to Akari as the latter thanks her for everything. Alicia looks back one last time and bows, shedding a tear or two. Next day, Akari sees lingering visions of the gang in Aria Company. I guess the memories are so strong she gets to feel the nostalgia. Then it’s time to open for business. Akari narrates the rest of the friends on how they are doing. Woody continues to send fresh eggs to her and is rearing chickens back on Ukijima. Aika garners respect and is doing well at her new branch but is still the same cry-baby when she’s with Akari. Al has been promoted and it seems the both are going steady (at least this is what I observed). Hey, he’s taller now! Akatsuki is also promoted but sometimes stops by at Aria Company. What’s with the sour face dude?! Yeah, probably he still longs for Alicia or at least what she left behind. A way to show he cares? Don’t worry, time will heal your heart. Like, in 10 years. Haha! Alice also garners lots of admirers but she prioritizes meetings with Akari and Aika or else the world will be destroyed!!! WTF?! What kind of excuse is that?! Athena has retired from being an Undine and made her debut as a diva. Man, her voice rocks! With 2 Great Water Fairies out, I guess this leaves Akira to be the number one Prima Undine in Aqua, right? Alicia is still busy with schedules, meetings and lectures but from time to time, she still stops by Aria Company to visit with Grandma, much to Akari and President Aria’s delight. Best of all, her wonderful warm smile is still there. Ah… Lastly, Akari has taken a junior and my guess is right because she turns out to be Ai! She’s starting out as a Pair. And what’s this? Akari spotting a new hairstyle? She looks more mature too though her trademark sideburns are still hanging there. Oh, her character is starting to resemble Alicia and Ai so much like Akari during her apprentice days. Though it’s a new beginning, feels much like nostalgic history repeating itself, eh? Yeah, Akari is learning to give off a wonderful smile like Alicia too.

Ara, ara. The Owari (End)?
Wow. What else can I say? At first I thought that this series was going to be end on a slightly disappointing note because well, nothing pretty much changes except the fact Akari goes around meeting new people and new encounters. But when Alice becomes a Prima, that’s when the pacing and flow starts to change. This is where it got interesting. Soon, Aika and Akari stepped out of the shadows of their seniors to become Primas themselves. Thus I have mixed feelings when the series ended. I felt sad that Akari and her friends along with many of the other characters could not continue the wonderful times they always had together like before. Well, they had 3 seasons of it already, right? Isn’t that enough? Haha. But on the other hand, I felt happy that everybody has moved on and walking their own path. You can’t stay in your comfort zone forever because sooner or later, things will eventually change. And that time has come, which is a perfect fit and end to this nice and heart-warming series.

The way things are looking, I feel Akari won’t be the airhead or clumsy person anymore. I mean, in that final scene, she was exuding so much confidence, grace and maturity that she seemed like a different person. But I notice that Akari isn’t the kind of person that goes into total shock when she hears shocking news. Like when Alicia retired, got married or even Aika getting promoted, she doesn’t display that incredulous looks like she always did when Aika often used her comebacks on. Instead, she had that calm (in a way it looked a little silly) look on her face. Sometimes it makes me wonder if she really understood the impact and magnitude of what is being conveyed. I was also very curious to see who this guy Alicia got hitched to. I really wanted to. I know that she has many fans and even die-hard ones (like a certain Akari bully), but there were no signs over the seasons to indicate or show that she is even involve with a man or at least a guy whom she takes interest in. It certainly did not occur to me that way. Maybe we’re just overwhelmed by her beautiful smile and grace :). Aika and Alice have also matured and are taking on their responsible roles though they may still be the same people when the friends meet up. Maintaining their friendship is still very much top priority, right?

I don’t know if this is really a tradition of Aria Company but it feels like this small company always (if not for most of the time) will only have 2 employees at a time. I’m sure money isn’t the real issue here. So when the senior retires, the junior gets promoted and steps into her shoes and will take on an apprentice herself. One out, one in. Maybe it has got something to do with that musical term too. Aria also means a long song accompanying a solo voice. That’s why it has to be single. Isn’t it a wonder why Akari sometimes felt lonely when Alicia isn’t around or the thought that she will no longer be around? I know she has her friends and other people of Neo-Venezia but I thought another person in the company would make things livelier. Sure, she has President Aria tagging along wherever she goes but I feel he’s just a pet mascot despite his status of a president. Say, since President Aria has been with the company since its birth and will be with it for many more years to come, doesn’t it make that cat a very, very old feline? Doesn’t look old, but sure looks fat! Haha! Oops, just kidding. But it still attracts President Maa’s biting with many more years of pain still to come… I’m sure with all the mails exchanged, Ai too has grown fond of Neo-Venezia and she will have her first experience of what it’s like to experience those wonderful moments as an Undine and make her own memories and friends. This may be trivial but during the first few episodes of the show, Ai’s voice during the mail exchange narration doesn’t sound like the little Ai I used to hear. What I mean is that she sounded a tinsy bit mature and I thought oh, looks like she’s grown up and won’t be putting on that cute loli voice anymore. Then slowly it’s back to that sweet shrieky voice again.

I’m not saying I’m totally disappointed but I was hoping to see and learn more about Akatsuki and his Ukijima and Al with his underground Gnomes. Sadly, though there may just be an episode with them hogging more screen time than usual, they otherwise do not make much appearance in this series. It would have been nice to know how these different places are related and in turn regulate and keep Aqua and Neo-Venezia afloat. There are some of the other new minor characters whom Akari met, I thought it would be wonderful to see how they come together in the end. For instance that Traghetto trio whom Akari practised with and Henri. Also, Akira and Athena don’t make as much appearance except for the important turning point to make their juniors into Primas. But then again, with the lesser number of episodes this season as compared to the previous, I can see why. And I also noticed that Aika doesn’t say her trademark line as often as she usually does. Maybe Akari has learned to say more graceful words or has Aika learned to appreciate Akari’s expression?

But the one thing that I was relieved that was not present in this season: The supernatural element. I was (and still is) spooked by the unexplained supernatural events in the second season and with this third season around, there is not a single breathe of it. So in a way, can I consider it to be refreshing? Phew. Now I don’t need to have sleepless nights anymore. Probably they want to concentrate on putting a fine finish to the series. Alas, because of this, in a way it still bugs me to wonder if that large Cait Sith cat is still around, still interested in Akari. Should be since she is now a Prima. Maybe he’ll be when he comes back from that Galaxy Railways trip in the previous episode. Speaking of which, maybe that’s why he and the other cats weren’t around this season. They already went to the stars the last time round and who knows when they’ll return. Hmm… Thinking about it, now I think I know why the second season was named as Natural. Supernatural in addition to the natural beauties of Neo-Venezia?

The opening theme for the OVA is Nanairo No Sora Wo by SONOROUS. Though it is another one of those slow and calming tunes, however I felt that the singer’s voice was somewhat a little drowsy or a bit ‘lethargic’ (which is ironic to the name of the band, if you get what I mean). The OVA’s ending theme is Ashita, Yuugure Made by Erino Hazuki. A slow pop ballad that befits the lovely final scene of Akari and Alicia together at the top of Campanile. For the TV series, the opening theme is once again handled by Yui Makino. Entitled Spirale, it feels somewhat similar to the second season’s Euforia. Maybe it’s her way of singing and Choro Club’s trademark playing style in the background. But this season’s ending theme isn’t by Roundtable featuring Nino anymore. Instead, we have Akino Arai doing Kin No Nami Sen No Nami. Though I can consider this piece to fit into the category of a slow and calming piece, however there are choir-like voices and singing here. I’m still wondering if it’s a suitable as an ending theme since I came to expect and was used to Roundtable featuring Nino’s style for this series’ ending songs. And yes, I still have to credit Choro Club for those beautiful background music. I am not sure if there are new ones played but I will never get bored of the favourite old ones even if they played it a million times, over and over again.

So is this really the end? Well, even if everything has to come to an end one day, it’s just a start of another new beginning. So perhaps the title of Origination for this series doesn’t mean a flashback season, but rather the origins of Akari’s new path as a Prima and Aria Company. Perhaps if they are to continue this series, they will continue and focus the story on Akari-Ai pair. If not, a flashback and origins. Either way, I hope I will be able to catch it during that moment and not wait for like half a decade down to road to decide whether to watch it or not. After all, it’s not a bad thing to see and experience the many spectacles, wonders and amazing discoveries that are not only peppered throughout the series but in real life as well. And if you have anything to say about that, hope it’s not “Embarrassing remarks aren’t allowed!”.