Tuesday, 17 June 2008

My ARIA Story + Ep04 of ARIA the Natural

Having been rather busy of late, I have been unable to to much research, but the good news is, I'm up to re-watching ARIA the Natural ep04. My first run was a marathon, the worst possible way to watch ARIA and now I'm enjoying at my own pace. Which is also the reason why the blog has been slow.

In my RL, I have two people whom I can call "best friends". I became close with the first after watching Gundam SEED. One day, her MSN avatar was that of a "Haro", a Gundam mascot and it all started from this random chat! My second best friend was started when he randomly asked me about the Ichigo 100% manga. We had known each other for years at high school but it wasn't after we left, that we got close, so my best friends exist because of the world of anime/manga! Anime/manga = suteki na deai?

Before I digress too much, the second best friend of mine suggested me to watch ARIA during the summer of 2006. I was not into slice of life back then, favouring shows which had plenty of action or hard comedy, with Fafner and School Rumble being my latest titles. However, I somehow decided to give ARIA a try in June 2007 and I was actually extremely bored at the start but I persisted. ARIA took time for me to grow and I eventually became hooked towards the end of The Animation. "Undine" is one of my favourate OPs.

By the time I got to Natural I was really smiling through the whole episode, having discovered what a treasure ARIA really is. My impression of ARIA grew and improved the further I got into the show. I have also been amazed at the ARIA poster scans, drawn in watercolour by Amano-sensei and thought "now, this is REAL art!", having had a slight vendetta against the popularity of modern abstract art.

The news of Origination could not have been any better and it by far exceeded my expectations. It has by far the best art of any anime series I've ever watched and was mindblowing. January 2008 also coincided with me handing in my dissertation for my degree and as a reward, I had wanted to go to Continental Europe before I left the region after my studies. My initial thoughts were either Amsterdam or Swiss/Austria but my fondness for ARIA had reached slightly unhealthy levels. I checked the fares on Easyjet and it was £50 return including taxes. The rest is history.

In the early hours of April 1 2008, I watched the grand finale of ARIA (the Origination ep13) which was bittersweet. There was no time to re-watch it immediately as I had to leave for the airport immediately. Venice, here I come.

Describing my Venice experience at this stage would be too "spoilery" for the sake of this blog. Stay tuned as I do have plenty of ideas still left to be researched!


Episode 4 of The Natural was always something I wanted to research but unfortunately, I ended up fairly empty-handed, but I did pick up a few things.

The Post Office is located in what seems like a converted Church. I took my maps out and tried looking for locations but it seems the post office is entirely fictional. Then comes Sora-kun, who wants to deliver a letter - fast.

When Akari asks Sora about the delivery address, he becomes even more depressed. For the post office is in Cannaregio (as mentioned earlier by Akari as she arrived) is in the Northernmost district of Venice, while the wedding it turns out was at the Chiesa di Santa Maria della Salute (pre-refurbishment!) being in the Southernmost area of Venice. It could take anywhere up to an hour by foot to get there - if you don't get lost - and people in general have a habit of under-exploring their own hometown.

Image to compare with from Wikipedia

As for the letter collection system, unfortunately I saw conventional mailboxes rather than the rather elaborate method used in collecting and delivering mail in ARIA.

The mailbags in ARIA better be watertight! Akari makes such a cute face here.


WiLL said...

Well, I always thought that the letter collection system in ARIA is too inconvenient to be true.

As for the story... I think everybody who likes ARIA has a story about it. It's not like any other animes, it's always a new discovery and a wonderful experience.

I, too, have a long story about how I found ARIA and how it saved my life...

madeintaiwan said...

My first time with ARIA was chance as well. Before from what I've heard of the plot, it didn't interest me at all. But from strong recommendation of many people, I finally watched it.

From that first episode of Animation, I was instantly drawn in. I didn't stop watching until halfway through the Natural. And now I've finished it all, and am slowly re-watching it every day.

ARIA did wonders for me, without it, I don't think I would've been able to handle that stress of me just moving away from home for University.

Tamas Feher from Hungary said...

The depicted letter collection system is of the Japanese standard, including the stylized T marking.

Inthernet said...

Interesting to see how ARIA has changed peoples lives!

Yep, the logo and uniforms are distinctly Japanese.