Production: Hal Film Maker
Publisher: Nozomi Entertainment
DVD Release Date: January 7th, 2014 for Part 1 DVD, March 4th, 2014 for Part 2 DVD
About this time last month, I had the pleasure of watching Aria the Animation for review. Its witty comedy, meaningful direction, and relaxing music were completely uplifting. It was an anime whose end was only a beginning, and that beginning was continued in the series’ second season: Aria the Natural. Continuing the vibrant story from the last season, Natural delved deeper into the supernatural happenings between Akari and the cats on Aqua, as well as her friendships and Undine adventures with Aika and Alice. Above all, Aria the Natural exceled in endearing music, emotional storytelling, and excellent visual direction. Many, many thanks to Nozomi Entertainment for the review copy.
Aria the Natural picked up immediately where Aria the Animation left off. Akari continued to strive (and made gains) on being a Prima Undine alongside Aika and Alice. At the same time, Akari experienced more supernatural feline adventures (and one with a fox spirit!) and kept up her e-mails to Ai back on Manhome. Through training and challenges, the three apprentices learned to grow further as gondoliers and entertainers. Also, through her experiences, Akari learned more about herself and those she communes with daily.
As for my experience with Aria the Natural, I absolutely adored it. The second season had twice the number of episodes as the first, and felt more… ’natural.’ The comedy, funny faces, and storytelling from the last season returned with ramped-up effort and made the series shine even more than with the first season alone. Akari’s experiences with the cats on Aqua were slightly confusing at first; however, with time, we were given more of a perspective each time. What truly impressed me at first listen definitely was the music.
Attention to sound detail and music would generally be what determines if I continued a series that I began watching or not. Aria the Natural kept up the amazing music from the first season and added more vocal pieces in addition to background pieces. Not only was the music used to set the tone, but it also kept me, the viewer, emotionally invested. Having multiple versions of songs such as Euforia and Undine in this season was a very powerful choice. Returning songs from the first season like Athena’s Baracarole and Rainbow (by Round Table [f. Nino]) connected me audibly to events that happened in Animation and earlier in Natural and kept the story going round and round for me.
Ah! Speaking of storytelling, Aria the Natural was storytelling at its finest. Without spoiling, I felt that the narrative within the series was extremely well-told. Akari’s growth as an Undine also tied into her growth as a person; however, the series would often step outside of Akari’s shoes and showed development of other characters, such as Athena, Al, and even Woody. (What. No A-name? Don’t worry. I looked it up. Woody is a nickname.) Not only did Akari grow, but the entire cast would also develop as we, the viewers, continued to watch.
Also, what helped make Aria the Natural a most enjoyable watch was also the direction. To be honest, the many camera pans and angles sold me on the direction of the series. At times, it was as if I was viewing one long movie, especially during the gondola episodes. Seriously, I almost teared up while writing that last sentence. The gondola episodes were particularly well-directed. In fact, I could have kept going on about the gondola episodes as a separate blog post, but I’ll end it here. (But I might do that blog post later.)
Above it all, Aria the Natural was a fantastic anime. If you need something in your life that could possibly help with depression, this series felt like the golden ticket. With constant reminders that life is a series of beginnings and endings and that happiness is what you make of it, I would highly suggest to anyone to give this series a try. Starting from the first season is the best, but if you can only afford one, Aria the Natural is easy to get into without seeing all the first season, though some very emotional moments later might go over your head. For the prices of $39.99 USD for Part One and $39.99 USD for Part Two, Aria the Natural is a steep, but very well-placed investment.
Lolinia gives Aria the Natural a Drastik Moé Measure of 9.5 out of 10.0 (95).