Aqua is a world where each day moves slowly and where every encounter with a new person or place feels like coming home. And yet there are plenty of experiences that emphasize how many mysteries still shroud the city of Neo Venezia. You could spend your whole life there and never even delve beneath its surface of water canals and cobbled lanes. Aria the Natural, the second series in the franchise, features both Neo Venezia’s secrets and the very special undine who comes closer than many others do in discovering them. Among the several supernatural events, my favorites always include the border along the kingdom of cats, a world supposedly ruled by a cat larger than two humans stacked together. Akari’s strange ability to both see and interact with Cait Sith and other cats in the border between worlds conveys the depth to which she has come to understand and love this city entrenched in the past.
The very first episode of Natural not only re-introduces us to Neo Venezia and its cast of undine, but also adds in an element of magic that transcends both time and space. The city celebrates Carnevale, a celebration that hails back to the original city on Manhome and its colorful culture. While everyone joins in on the festivities in the main square, Akari and her friend Ai embark on a journey of dance and song through the city led by the masked “Casanova” and his similarly masked entourage. The combination of decorative masks, tinkling instruments, and the group’s marching rhythm entrances both the girls in a style reminiscent of the Pied Piper. When unmasked, “Casanova” reveals himself to be Cait Sith, the supposed king of all cats. And despite the time spent with him, Akari and Ai are forbidden from going any further into the cat world.
Through Akari’s repeated explorations of the city, she stumbles across various similar situations that overlap the human and the cat worlds. As each encounter follows yet another discovery and deepens Akari’s love for her home, Cait Sith begins to represent Neo Venezia itself. As she is one of the few people willing to give in to her curiosities and march across untrodden paths without hesitation, she in turn receives the love of the city; it truly “welcomes” her into its arms by allowing her to see what others do not.
Aria the Natural is where I fell head over heels for the Orange Planet, and for Neo Venezia in particular, and is the very reason why I return to this series again and again whenever I need a moment of peace. I am at home in the dim light and shadows of the city, and yet still marvel along with Akari as she re-discovers loves that are both old and new. And despite the comfort the setting brings, there’s also a thrill of danger with each brush against Cait Sith’s world, one which traverses time and even death.
Remembering Love Participants (Week 2):
- TRazor: Haibane Renmei : A whole new level
- Nopy: Martian Successor Nadesco (Part 2)
- Justin: Reliving Daikichi and Rin Once More (Part 2)
- Kai: Gintama and the Art of Seriousness
- Kluxorious: Detroit Metal City
- foomafoo: Kare Kano – Role of Family Backgrounds to Character Relationships
- Ty-chama: Rock Lee vs Gaara, a True Underdog Story
- chikorita157: Clannad After Story Part 2
- Nadav: Aria
- glothelegend: How Samurai Champloo Made Me Remember How Awesome Anime is