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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The tides of life
Aria belongs to what I like to call "slice of life manga" - that is, it does not posess complicated plot, but rather follows a character and shows all the little things that happen to him/her during their days. So it is with Aria, which follows its main character, Akari. In a future Mars which has been terraformed into a planet with an earth-like environment but...
Published on April 19, 2004 by Peter Oksman

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars LET'S LAZE ON MARS
After 150 years of terraforming, the barren planet of Mars has been turned into a new water-covered planet named Aqua. Akari Mizunashi, parentless and alone, has come to the city of Neo Venezia (modeled on Venice) to become an undine (gondolier) on the labyrinthine water boulevards. She's made a couple of friends after 11 months, such as her mentor Alicia and fellow...
Published on June 12, 2004 by Sesho


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The tides of life, April 19, 2004
By 
Peter Oksman (Bronx, NY United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Aria Volume 1 (Paperback)
Aria belongs to what I like to call "slice of life manga" - that is, it does not posess complicated plot, but rather follows a character and shows all the little things that happen to him/her during their days. So it is with Aria, which follows its main character, Akari. In a future Mars which has been terraformed into a planet with an earth-like environment but too much water, and renamed Aqua, Akari lives in Neo-Venezia, a recreation of earth's Venice. She is an apprentice gandolier, called undine in the world of Neo-Venezia. The manga has a slow, dreamlike pace. It shows all the little, wonderfull things that happen during our lives. You know the statement "life is what happens while we are busy doing other things"? Akari washes her gondola and notices that the spray from her hose forms a rainbow. She guides a grumpy old man on her boat through the beautiful canals of Neo-Venezia in autumn, leaves drifting gently from the trees. She meets an aquaintence and they both wait for their mutual friends on a bridge, and feed the ducks below. She goes on a trip to another island that has a japanese shrine on it and witnesses an unusual wedding.
The art is beautiful, full of joy and good at conveying the quiet (or sometimes raucus) beauty of the surroundings. The production of the manga is very good - the paper is of good quality, there is a color insert, the sound effects are in original Japanese with a subtitle in English below them. The translation seems good, without any "Americanisms", and there is a page of translator's notes in the back.
Overall, I liked this manga quite a bit. If you are looking for action, a fast moiving plot, or lots of emotional angst in your manga, this is not for you. But if you are the type that likes to stop and smell the roses, you will like this as well :)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes you long for the not-too-distant future, May 14, 2004
By 
This review is from: Aria Volume 1 (Paperback)
(Out of 5)
Story: 5
Cover:5
Artwork: 5
Characters: 4
Extras?: Full Color (beautiful) first page
The story isn't totally brand-new (terra-forming Mars) but it's still very interesting. When Mars was terraformed, the polar ice caps were melted too much and this resulted in covering the surface of the planet with 99% water, that's why it's now called Aqua. The planet is also a little behind in technology, so the lifestyle is more laid-back and relaxed. That's where Akari comes in. She's an undine, and her job is to travel along the channels of Neo-Velenzia (much like modern day Venice) giving people tours of the grand city. She enjoys her job, and is a very happy girl. She loves to meet new people and man her gondola.
This is one of the first manga that I have ever seen with the cover flipped. It makes the volume both eye-catching and intriguing.
The artwork is clean, detailed, and utterly breathtaking.
The characters only got a 4 out of 5 because we're really only introduced to the main character, Akari Mizunashi. Her friends and fellow undines are mentioned and shown, but very little background is given. (This is only the first volume though.)
So far there's only 4 volumes planned for publishing by ADV Manga, but hopefully more volumes will be picked up of this wonderful new series.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Like an Afternoon Stroll through Venice, May 30, 2004
By 
Kelly (OMAHA, NE, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Aria Volume 1 (Paperback)
Aria has some of the most beautiful artwork of any manga I have ever read. Both the characters and the city are rendered with excellent detail. This is reason enough to buy the book.
Akari, the star of the series, is cute and innocent without being too ditzy. She's genuine and heart-felt, making it easy to like her. The other characters aren't entirely fleshed out, but it's only the first volume, and it does seem promising that we'll get to know them better later on.

Each of the book's chapters follow a day in Akari's life as a gondolier. While I realize that the book isn't meant to be an 'action' book, some of the stories drag on with very little action or unusual events happening. In one chapter, one of the most exciting things that happens is a bunch of birds flying by. Pretty? Yes. Exciting? Not really. Even with that said, some of the other chapters can be truly charming once things get rolling.
The language and story of the book is appropriate for all ages. There's no foul language or nudity. Aria has a very warm, family-friendly message of enjoying life and trying your hardest in everything you do. And that's a message both kids and adults can appreciate.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars LET'S LAZE ON MARS, June 12, 2004
By 
Sesho (Pasadena, TX USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Aria Volume 1 (Paperback)
After 150 years of terraforming, the barren planet of Mars has been turned into a new water-covered planet named Aqua. Akari Mizunashi, parentless and alone, has come to the city of Neo Venezia (modeled on Venice) to become an undine (gondolier) on the labyrinthine water boulevards. She's made a couple of friends after 11 months, such as her mentor Alicia and fellow co-worker for the Aria corporation. She also has a strange overweight cat/dog named President Aria that serves as her good luck mascot on her travels as a sort of wholesome taxi driver.
You can't just become a full-fledged gondolier without meeting some prerequisites, which are not made very clear in this first volume. Akari loves her work, if you can call it that, since she loves to introduce tourists, or anyone for that matter, to the charms and beauty of her new home. Along the way she brings some light into people's lives, meets ancient spirits, and competes in a race.
Aria has a gentle beauty to it. It's not an action manga. It's more like a haiku with words and pictures. Sometimes a couple of panels will take up the subject of the motion of the boat through the water as leaves twirl in the air around it. What we're really dealing with here is the daily life of a person who just happens to be an undine on Aqua. Whether you find joy in simplicity should be the gauge for this manga. The characters are a little sketchy yet and you wonder how long the story can survive on charm alone. There's a great gem of a story in this volume about Akari and a friend visiting a shrine and encountering a spirit that bodes well on the storytelling aspects that need to equal the visuals. I'm curious as to how volume 2 will turn out.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Charmed Exsistence, February 21, 2005
By 
This review is from: Aria Volume 1 (Paperback)
A pictureque, relaxing tale of young Akari who apprentices with the Aria Company to become a Gondolier (called "Undine" in this series). Aria is pretty much a living journal of Akari's experiences on Mars: Her friends, customers, adventures, fears & hopes. Nothing truly tragic ever happens to any character in this book (and we don't want it to). This is the place of dreams where we'd love to live. Full of seasons and natural beauty, where the future meets the love of nature, and friends are faithful and only a "hello" away. Rated ALL. This manga is an enjoyable read for all ages - if your looking for an uncomplicated, peaceful journey.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life, gondolas, and baked potatoes, October 3, 2005
This review is from: Aria Volume 1 (Paperback)
Imagine this...the year is 2301 AD. You are a gondolier-in-training in Neo-Venezia (A city made to look like our Venice, Italy), or what people on the planet Aqua (terra-formed Mars) call "undine". You wake up to a bright and sunny morning. You get dressed and admire yourself in the mirror. Tugging on your trainee glove, you grab your laptop diary and leave to meet your best friend. Such is the beginning of every day for Miss Akari Mizunashi, a carefree undine trainee who just moved to Aqua. To her, everything is an adventure, be it from showing the Bridge of Sighs to an impatient young man and helping an old man relocate his daughter to scrubbing gondolas and witnessing the wedding procession of an inari fox bride.

Kozue Amano does a wonderful job on the beautiful scenery, loveable characters, and a fun, simple outlook on a simple life. I love the way Akari works her charm on even the toughest of customers (like the old man and Akatsuki). In my opinion it's not violent nor is it "shoujo manga" (girl's comic), so this is a great manga to turn to if you feel you need to take a break from a lot of the more "hardcore stuff".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Day in Neo-Venezia, March 12, 2005
A Kid's Review
This review is from: Aria Volume 1 (Paperback)
Wow . . .what a GREAT manga! It is set in a city on Aqua (a terra-formed Mars) called Neo-Venezia. This city was built to be like Venice on Earth, which exixted until 2050. Just moved from Man-Home, or Earth, is Akari Minuzashi. She is an undine (like a gondeleir) in this beautiful city. This story tells her every day life in such a way that every fine detail, from cleaning gondolas to eating cake, becomes a beautiful memoir to be cherished forever. True, nothing very exciting happens. No blood is spilt or kisses exchanged. But that just makes the book more enjoyable. It gives you that funny feeling you get when a beautifully calm, peaceful moment happens. I promise you'll be smiling the whole way through.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tokyopop just doesn't get it, January 18, 2008
By 
V. J. Han (Middletown, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Aria Volume 1 (Aria (Tokyopop)) (v. 1) (Paperback)
Not to be a nitpicker, but compared to the first US release by ADV, this cover is UGLY. The creator doesn't just slap some random font for the sake of font. She thought through to use the font that reflects the series the most. And not too surprisingly (as evidenced by Aqua), Tokyopop just goes on and mangle perfectly tasteful cover art by replacing the title fonts with something done by whom has absolutely no idea about the series itself. Well done, I guess this hideous thing is what we will be seeing for the next 10+ volumes. That, and cheap-changing on color pages that no longer exists in US release. Very disappointing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Beautiful: Slice of Life on the Planet of AQUA, February 26, 2009
By 
Tsuyoshi (Kyoto, Japan) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Aria Volume 1 (Aria (Tokyopop)) (v. 1) (Paperback)
Meet delightful young girl Akari Mizunashi, who is a novice undine, or gondolier tour guide in the futuristic city of Neo-Venezia. Creator Kozue Amano's beautifully illustrated series follows the everyday life of Akari and other colorful characters - ever-smiling Alicia, Akari's mentor and caretaker; lovely but a bit irritable friend Aika and one humorous Mars cat - all living in the city of many canals and bridges, 150 years in the future on the planet of Aqua, formerly known as Mars.

I don't know why, but Tokyopop categorized this manga into "Sci-fi" group. This is misleading as slowly unfolding episodes of "ARIA" are in fact about Akari's daily life on this quiet aquatic planet, where she trains to become a full-fledged undine. The greatest part of Amano's "ARIA" is its charming characters and imaginative world. Like in her earlier works, reality and imagination gradually merge as the story goes on in a relaxed pace, to create a magical world where little things literally mean a lot.

"ARIA" Vol. 1 is actually the third entry of Kozue Amano's "AQUA / ARIA" series set in the planet Aqua. But you don't have to read the two preceding "AQUA" books to enjoy "ARIA" as "ARIA" vol. 1 will provide the background knowledge of the world and characters as each episode unfolds. Plus Tokyopop's English translation offers a two-page introduction "Story So Far" for those who haven't read two "AQUA" volumes. Still I recommend you read from the very beginning as two "AQUA" volumes are as great as this one.

And here is good news for you. Finally Tokyopop listened and provided two COLOR pages, same as those of the Japanese edition. Translation is very good, but as in "AQUA" most FXs are not translated.

The fourth episode of the volume "Sun Shower" would be more interesting with some knowledge about Japanese culture. In Japanese folklore foxes are often depicted as mischievous tricksters (hence Akari's "adventure"). Also, "kitsune no yomeiri" (literal translation "wedding procession of foxes") in Japanese means "sun shower." This explains one important part of the episode.

As Amano says in the postscript of the book, the small island of this story is based on Fushimi Inari, real-life shrine in Kyoto City. You can see the shrine's stunningly beautiful red-colored gates (torii) which became the inspiration of the episode in Rob Marshall-directed 2005 film "Memoirs of a Geisha."

Enjoy the world of "ARIA." I hope you like it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As close to Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou as possible..., February 21, 2005
This review is from: Aria Volume 1 (Paperback)
This is a great manga. It's about the closest manga I've ever seen to Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou - in that it's paced very calmly, accomplishing much through small actions. I had no idea what it was about, to be quite honest, when I picked it up. I thought the premise and art were intriguing, and by the time I was done reading, I wanted the next one! I highly recommend this one to all YKK fans and to those who love reading manga with a slice-of-life feel to it.
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Details

Aria Volume 1 (Aria (Tokyopop)) (v. 1)
Aria Volume 1 (Aria (Tokyopop)) (v. 1) by Kozue Amano (Paperback - January 8, 2008)
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