Last month I finished watching all three seasons of the Japanese animation Aria. (Picture Source) Love it endlessly. Wikipedia says it’s a science fiction series. This description is very, very misleading. The complete series, totally 52 episodes and an OVA, largely consist of slices of life which everyone can feel sympathetic to in one way or another. No dazzling future-science effects at all. No complex plot. No fighting actions. Even hardly any romance. Just ordinary happenings in the daily life or yearly events of a group of gondolier girls in a city called Neo Venezia on the Planet Aqua (formerly known as Mars) in the 24th century.
The city Neo Venezia is a remake of the Venice of Earth. So the atmosphere is not really futuristic but rather nostalgic. The visual art is amazing. Forgot who said it: “Aria well visualizes the paradise for human.” Technologies only takes place where they are really necessary, for example, the whole climate environment on Aqua is artificially created to make Aqua livable for human. But you don’t see too many motorized vehicles. People ride gondolas, bicycles or simply walk. There are traditional European bake houses, Cafes, and such. When the girls took out freshly-baked Brötchenen topped with nuts from the paper bag, I could even sense the smell. The gondolier girls are all ordinary people with shining characters and also their own quirks. The main character Akari is a master of enjoying every small bit of life. These small bits are usually totally overlooked or ignored by most people. She takes everything easy and always see things positively. Akari’s senior Alicia never blames other people or anything even if the others did wrong. She said: “I don’t like to say ‘Don’t do like this’, I’d like to say ‘Do like this’. After all, I myself am an ordinary people who would make mistakes too.” I can learn so much from this pair of master and pupil. I myself share many similarities with Aika. Ehrgeizig, energetic, less talented than her friends in many ways and cries a lot. You have to watch the whole series to find out how she live with love, proud and grace. When her senior Akira finally assigned her the qualification she had long aspired, I cried for more than 10 minutes….
In order to survive in the highly competitive modern world, most people have to set their goals firmly and every action taken has to carry a purpose, be calculated as accurate as possible. The animation Aria shows another world where people live with more care, love and appreciation toward her/his environment (people or liveless stuff) but less calculation. Alicia became a Gondolier simply because her childhood friend Akira thought being gondolier is cool, she’d like to be it and dragged Alicia to the training. In the last episode of season two, Akari asked Alicia “When you were a child, what did you want to grow up to be like?” Alicia did not answer her. Instead, took her out for a walk in the snow, and started rolling a snow ball. The snow ball got bigger and bigger and many passers-by lent a hand. Finally everyone was happy about the snow ball and had a nice celebration after a huge snow man was done. She said to Akari: “When I was a child, whenever it snowed, I would play, and make snowballs. When you start rolling a snowball, someone will always appear out of nowhere, and help you make it bigger. And in the end, everyone goes home satisfied. And it was then that I suddenly thought, this is what I want to grow up to be like.” My tears came out again.
May Aria’s kindness reach the hearts of many people….
PS: I collected songs from the Aria series in my last blog.