If there is such thing as perfection in this world, then this final episode of ARIA is exactly that. So many things happened this episode which brought out so many emotions as we come to the end of the journey for Alicia, but start once again with Akari’s journey in becoming a prima and taking over the company. Although it was certainly a surprise to find that Alicia was also getting married, but thanks to a few fellow ARIA fans, I got spoiled about this many weeks ago. But it was nice to know that this wasn’t the end of the road for Alicia, but a new road and a new life.
Akari has certainly come a long way since she came to Aqua and she is truly a strong person. But this was definitely the first time that we’ve ever seen Akari cry and boy, I really felt like crying then as well. Her strength in believing she will be fine without Alicia is something to admire and shows she really is ready to take over ARIA Company. Alicia’s farewell ceremony was just beautiful and the snowing was the icing on the cake. It felt like Aqua was also saying thank you to Alicia as well (hazaukashi serifu kinshii!).
Seeing everyone once again towards the end and how they are progressing in their life was great as well. And although Alicia is no longer an undine, she still takes the time to visit Akari. But the perfect ending to this series has to be right at the end with Akari and Ai. We all could see Ai being Akari’s apprentice, especially with the dream that Akari had in the OVA. But what I loved best was how Akari was staring at Ai with a smile on her face. Akari really knows how to enjoy life, but I believe at this point she truly understood why Alicia was smiling back then and why she felt happy. It does come around in a circle with all the themes, but each time it’s always a new adventure, but it’s a shame that the adventure for Akari and all of us ends here.
Two years ago I remember getting the first few episodes of ARIA The Animation from my good friend Roobar. I had no idea what it was and he told me it was about water. So I gave it a shot and instantly fell in love with the series since the first episode. There was something so captivating, something so pure that had made me come to appreciate this series so much, and as we learned more about the life of Akari and the world of Aqua, I began to realise what it is that makes ARIA that much more special. It’s the way it portrays the beauty of the life of one person, and the lives of others around her. I have seen other slice of life series, but nothing can compare to ARIA in character development, artstyle, and that overall warm fuzzy feeling you get after watching an episode.
When the third season was announced, I was truly excited, but it was also at that point that I realised that the ARIA fanbase was growing. Back in the days of ARIA The Animation and ARIA The Natural, hardly anyone was talking about it. Though I can understand that the slice of life genre isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but series like these are exactly the things I want to watch after a long day of work. But it is a shame that the series has now come to an end as I feel that we may never see something like ARIA again for a long time.
Although the slice of life aspect is only one part, the other part is the characters. Each character is very unique and the favourites keep changing after each episode. Before in ARIA The Natural, the pacing of character development felt really slow, which isn’t a bad thing, but with Origination, it had certainly picked up the pace and it brought us some excellent development. The soundtrack was also beautiful and hearing Makino Yui’s insert songs were just great. When they started playing Undine towards the end, all the memories of all the previous seasons came rushing in. The soundtrack is something I listen to often as a way to relax but also remind me of the many adventures of Neo-Venezia.
Many people have their list of favourite anime series of all time and I am no exception. Since the beginning of my otaku fandom, Toei’s Kanon has sat on top for the past 5 years and nothing else could take it’s place. But just like Jeff Lawson, ARIA has been promoted to a Prima and it now takes the number 1 spot on my favourites and I hope it will stay like that for many more years to come.