If I were to describe the seasons of Aria I would do it like so. The Animation is the introduction, and it primarily focuses on getting us used to the characters. The Natural on the other hand has introduced all of the important characters, and so it focuses on expanding the world. Lastly, the Origination focuses mainly on wrapping up the show’s themes and character arcs. The Animation’s decision to focus mainly on characters was smart, but it left Aqua itself underdeveloped, and considering how important the planet is to the show’s tone, it was something that needed to be rectified.
4 shows ended this week, and 2 more are ending next week. In addition, Spring season is starting. I binged The Eccentric Family in order to watch the sequel, so I’m pretty excited about that. It’s always sad to see a season go, and I actually quite enjoyed winter quite a bit, especially compared to last year’s winter. Next season isn’t likely to have any shows I like as many as my top shows this season, but I hope we get one. I have a few shows from this season to binge real quickly just for completion sake, but outside of that I have to keep working on the backlog. It’s a grind but it’s a fun one, so wish me luck.
As we return to Aria for a second season, Ai-chan returns to Neo-Venezia to participate in Carnival. Carnival is a big event in Neo-Venezia, and the episode certainly knows how to use that to its advantage. This premiere focuses on re-acquainting us with the main cast while introducing one new key character: The King of the Cats, Cait Sith.
MAJOR Spoiler Warning for Nier Automata. Usually I wouldn’t do this, but this is an incredible game that everyone should play themselves if possible. Please only read if you’ve beaten the game or don’t care.
Nier:Automata has a lot of things going for it. It has excellent gameplay, great themes, fun characters, and it manages to merge all of those elements well. People might dislike some of those, but one thing everyone agrees on is that it uses sound excellently. Not only is the soundtrack itself one of the best I’ve ever heard in a game — something it shares with the first game — but the actual way the songs are used is excellent as well.
New Year’s is a time when we look back fondly on the last year while looking forward to the next one, and that’s what this episode of Aria really does. As another mostly original episode, the freedom is available to look back on what’s happened this season, and the show manages to do that without coming across as a recap or filler episode. This episode manages to serve as an excellent ending while still leaving ample room for more of the series, room which is, of course, quickly filled.
One OST I frequently find myself returning to even when I’m not thinking about the show is that of Gatchaman Crowds. Composed by the masterful Taku Iwasaki, it manages to succesfully convey a wide range of emotions, primarily using electronic sounds in order to create songs which often fit into genres like EDM. That said, it’s quite varied, presenting opera-esque songs as well. I’ll go into a few of the songs I like from this OST, and why I like them.
This is a totally anime-original episode, but it’s anything but filler. This episode adds some really meaningful detail to Aqua’s past, and it’s detail that only enhances the show’s themes. The last three episodes of the Animation are its best, and Episode 12 picks up from 11 perfectly, satisfying in its worldbuilding, its emotions, its relaxation, and its thematic depth.
This week saw the end of one series, and the penultimate episodes of many more. It wasn’t as happy overall as last week, mostly due to the influence of Kemono Friends, but overall it was still a pretty great time. As the season winds down I’m shifting into other anime while preparing to marathon a few of the ones that I missed. I’m likely to watch less shows next season, but I often say that before picking up shows in the middle of the season, so who knows. Either way, I have a lot of thoughts on this week’s shows, and here they are.
MAJOR Spoiler Warning for Nier: Automata, including some of its sidequests. Usually I wouldn’t do this, but this is an incredible game that everyone should play themselves if possible. Please only read if you’ve beaten the game or don’t care.
Nier: Automata has an incredible world. It’s a world that’s desolate and abandoned, and yet it contains more signs of being lived in than the world of most games. Nier: Automata manages to nail the feeling of desperation that the game needs in order to work, while also maintaining a strong sense of nature and life. This extends to every bit of the game’s world, from the backstory to the actual in-game actions. Everything in the game contributes to building a specific tone while exploring a few questions about life, and I’d like to explore how it does that.
During my first watch of this show, I already liked it by this point. The world and characters were all enchanting, and as someone who was already a fan of slice of life series, I thought Aria was great. It was this episode that really made me fall in love with it though, and it’s due to deeply personal reasons.