ARIA The Natural Perfect Guide Book
Another ARIA merchandise item that arrived with the Premium Poster Book and it’s none other than the ARIA The Natural Perfect Guide Book. Having some free time again today and after watching a lot of Hokuto no Ken episodes, I thought I’d take a break and actually read through the Guide Book to see what was what.
When I opened up the Amazon Japan box that contained the Premium Poster Book and this Guide Book, I was trying to find the Guide Book but to my surprise, covered in a lot of newspaper, I discovered the Guide Book was the size of a tankÅbon. I thought it was rather odd seeing how the ARIA The Animation Starter Book was a proper sized book (just under A4 size). Well not that it matters.
Just like the other ARIA tankÅbons, removing the cover reveals a 4-koma. I always like these small surprises.
The first few pages reveal a coloured outline of the 26 episodes of ARIA The Natural. After that we come across character profiles (including the cats) and profiles about the Company followed by a seiyuu interview. Starting with ARIA Company, moving onto Himeya, and then finally Orange Planet.
Between each company and seiyuu section, we are given a coloured collection of images, a small encyclopedia on gondolas, and the various fashion items that the characters wore throughout the series. I really like the various clothing that Aria-shachou wore and the comparison of Aika’s hairstyle is just awesome. I think the semi-long suits her quite well.
Following we come across the Sub-Character section, a Mystery of Cait Sith section, and also a Guest Character section. The Guest character section is covers briefly every single character that Akari encountered.
We reach the last coloured sections which covers briefly some of Amano Kozue’s sketchwork for the anime and a section covering the opening and ending theme songs.
The rest of the Guide Book is black and white starting with an interview with Amano Kozue herself. Right after we have an overview per episode of the first 13 episodes. Between the episode overviews we get a small section on the background sketches and the various food items, followed by another staff interview.
More food coverage after the last 13 episodes overview followed by another staff interview.
Next up we get an ARIA glossary section. All the terms, names of locations and name of events that are presented throughout the series. Following we cover another music section including interviews with Choro Club and Round Table feat. Nino. I like how they included the sketch of the band members we saw in episode 23.
Finally we get the final sections which is a coverage of the available ARIA merchandise that you can currently purchase with the retail pricing. And last but not least, a Special Navigation chapter. For some reason I find Ai-chan in manga form a bit weird.
Of course just like the ARIA tankÅbons, at the back we have a mini character profile. This one is of Cait Sith but all his details just have question marks. The last is the back cover.
Also included with the Perfect Guide Book is a Special Drama CD. Right now I haven’t actually listened to the CD so I can’t tell you exactly what is on it, but knowing me I’ll probably end up forgetting to listen to it.
Overall this is not really something to get excited about. If you have seen the TV series this Guide Book is more focused towards the hardcore fans who want it for collection purposes, like myself. For Â¥1,980 (I paid Â¥1,886 since it was pre-order) it’s probably not worth spending the money on, especially if you cannot read Japanese, even more so if you can’t even listen to the Drama CD. Though one thing I like about it though is that it’s the size of a tankÅbon so I can sit it with the rest of the manga. So if you want something ARIA-ish, you’re better off spending money on the Premium Poster Book or one of the 3 Illustration Artwork Books that are out.
But if you insist on buying this anyway, Amazon Japan and HLJ still have them in stock.