Aria, Episode-by-Episode: The Animation, Episode 8

This is a weird episode, for a number of reasons. The first is that it’s a two-part episode. These aren’t non-existent in Aria, but they are rare, as the anime tends to adapt one chapter per episode. The second and main reason it’s weird though, is the focus on President Aria. President Aria is a fun side-character and a good vessel for comedy, but due to his rather limited vocal range and small stature, he’s rarely treated as a serious character. This episode tries to do something with him, and I don’t think it works perfectly, though it isn’t a total failure either.

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Aria, Episode by Episode: The Animation, Episode 7

This is another episode which focuses on exploring the beauty of Neo-Venezia. The episode centers training and a tour in order to give justification to the exploration as well as to serve an important point about perspective, but ultimately it’s an episode for world-building, and it does a great job at it. These episodes become more and more common as the show goes on now that we’ve got an established cast, and every one of them manages to add something new to the show.

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Aria, Episode-by-Episode: The Animation, Episode 6

I was sort of lying when I said that the introductions were over last episode. This episode immediately introduces another character, so to an extent, I said something false. That being the case, while Athena is introduced this episode, the focus is entirely on fleshing out and developing Alice as a character, primarily using ideas that come from her debut episode. Athena is a fully realized character, and one with a good amount of personality, some of which is introduced here, but her primary role in this episode is to serve as a tool in Alice’s development, and I think she does a very good job at that.

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Aria, Episode-by-Episode: The Animation, Episode 5

The truly supernatural elements from episode 4 aren’t present here, but this is still a magical episode. I think I’m safe in saying that all of the main elements of the series were put in place by the end of episode 4, and here onwards the show plays with them in various ways. There will be new elements, but for the most part it’s going to be new messages told through previously introduced elements, and this episode serves as the first example of that.

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Aria, Episode-by-Episode: The Animation, Episode 4

The focus of this episode is on three major elements: communication, magical realism, and melancholy. All three of these are important to the show’s main themes and really make their debut here, though they have been touched on briefly in the first three as well.

Communication is introduced both through Woody and through the letter plot. Woody himself is more of a joke character than anything, and is mostly only around when the whole cast is there or when he’s going to serve a role in the plot. He’s fun, but he isn’t a character with much depth or importance, so I don’t plan on going into detail on him. That said, his thoughts on treasured feelings here are important.

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Do Genre Labels Hurt Viewers? (Yes)

Genres can be very useful categories to have. There are certainly flaws with them — the definition of Slice of Life is overly broad and used to describe dramas far too often for example — but it’s useful to be able to categorize things. Even if things don’t perfectly fit in boxes, it makes sense to describe a general collection of styles and tropes as a genre. But I think this “genrefication” can unfortunately lead to a large number of viewers totally passing over things they’d be into.

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Aria, Episode-by-Episode: The Animation, Episode 3

Episode 3 isn’t the last episode to introduce important new characters, but it is the last to introduce one of the main three girls, this time by introducing Alice as well as Akatsuki. Like Aika, Alice serves an important role in the series as a contrast to Akari, though in a totally different way.

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Aria, Episode-by-Episode: The Animation, Episode 2

If episode 1 focuses on introducing Akari and Neo-Venezia, episode 2 focuses on making us further connected to the city, as well as to Aika. Aika got some screen time last episode, and she got to hear her catchphrase, but outside of that we didn’t get any deep insight into her character. This episode manages to introduce her in a way that makes her purpose within the show clear, while also further fleshing out the city as a whole.

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