krpalmer: (anime)
[personal profile] krpalmer
Deciding what anime series to pick off my crowded shelves, open and watch next seems something of an intuitive process for me, but settling on a title can still leave me wondering about the impending experience. When I opened up Aria: The Animation quite a while after I'd received it in the mail, I was certain the time had come to see it, but how I'd take what I would see was still sort of an open question. I knew it had to do with "female gondoliers (all of whose names start with 'A') in a Venice in space," and I knew a lot of other people were very positive about it, but I did have an impression the show was slow-paced and more "pleasant" than anything. Perhaps, too, making the decision to order it just because a preorder from one particular online store (affiliated with the company producing the North American release) would include a set of postcards with some art from the series, and collecting three more boxed sets of follow-ups to the series before I could get around to opening the first, lent an odd sort of complexion to how I thought about it. I might even have worried that through some fault of my own, it wouldn't be for me.

When the first episode had a sort of "getting to know and like this place" theme to it, though, that might have helped ease me into it. There was, indeed, something quite "pleasant" about a fictional world where the challenges were on a small scale. I also, despite touches of "magic realism," began thinking about the "this is on another planet" part of the series and how it is encouraging in a small way to imagine a positive future. However, one other "science fiction" element of the series left me a little more ambiguous. I had picked up along the way that the planet "Aqua" the series takes place on is really Mars terraformed and flooded, but in the series itself the only real hint of that is how the seasons are twice as long as on Earth. Something about Mars, that notable and mutable world in science fiction, being flooded out of memory did start to leave me ambiguous, even if I tried telling myself this could just be more like Ray Bradbury's "The Martian Chronicles" than Kim Stanley Robinson's "Red Mars." Then, though, when watching the penultimate episode of the series a change in circumstances happened to make me think, "Oh, right, Mars--canals!" After that, I felt a bit better.

In fact, the themes of the final three episodes of the series seemed to me an exceptionally fine way to wrap up an anime adapted from a longer manga (in this case, one its fans lament over how it's been printed over here only in part by two different manga publishers now both out of business); care was taken to look back and forward instead of just bringing things to a sudden stop. At the same time, I should acknowledge how I still have those three boxed sets to open, but now I'm not so concerned about how I might react when I get around to them.

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