This year’s 12 Days of Anime starts with my favorite world, the music of which accompanied my walk down the aisle (I think only one guest recognized the song). While I watched the last episode of Aria the Avvenire back in June, I never got around to talking about the finale of the three-part special since there was work and all the wedding craziness zapping away my willpower to do anything else. Now that both are out of the way (yes, both!) and I can finally focus on blogging, writing, and cooking, we return to Aqua.
I believe this was the first time that viewers actually witnessed Alicia, pre-Akari, considering her future. Previous seasons had already shared her history as a young undine training with Athena and Akira. It turns out that even before Akari’s time, Alicia was considering a career with the Gondola Association. However, the nature of Aria Company’s formation meant that a successor would have to found before she could move on to the next step.
When Alicia puts out a request for applications, she is shocked to receive an almost immediate reply–a response which turns out to be a miraculously timed inquiry by a girl from Manhome who could not have known about the recent open recruitment. The next scene where Akari arrives asleep in a gondola rendezvous with the main story as we know it from the series.
When we return to the present time with Ai, Azusa, and Anya, we re-experience Aqua Alta, a yearly event where one evening’s rain brings Neo Venezia to a near standstill by flooding its streets and buildings. Memories of roses aside, this time the girls see the day as an opportunity to bring together their busy seniors. They create their own miracle and everyone attends however they can to dine and reminisce together about the past, present, and future.
There’s a clear pattern to the theme of these specials, with the first focusing on encounters, the second on farewells, and this final installment combining the two and looking ahead. Throughout “To That Faraway Future…”, characters muse on the difficulties of juggling work and play, becoming a Prima Undine, and fulfilling seemingly lost hopes. We’ve already seen the first topic brought up multiple times both in the original three series and in earlier episodes of Avvenire. The following two topics, however, take more shape here with the additional background on Alicia and almost everyone’s evolving goals.
From what little we have seen of the succession from Pair to Prima, the path seems clear enough. But discussions with traghetto Singles and Aika’s fears of never catching up to her friends underlines the truth that not all hopefuls are granted the coveted title. I find it interesting that some members of the Gondola Association seek to reform the path which I had viewed as a necessary gauntlet ensuring the high quality of service that undine provide. With Alicia as their flag bearer, it’s easy to assume that their cause is just, but I would like to know more about what it is exactly that they’re seeking to change.
That focus on the future is also exhibited by many of the other Primas. Akari’s farewell to Cait Sith in the previous episode and solitude earlier in the day on Aqua Alta shows an Akari I don’t know as well as I had thought. My image of her includes several other people at almost all times of the day. Time has passed and she has grown. As Grandma so aptly puts it, “The miraculous thing is that a wish you never thought would come true will change its form and sneak up on you. That’s something to look forward to.” Akari may no longer spend almost every waking moment with her friends, but she can still see them in the technique of an apprentice or hear them in a melody lingering in the air.
“The miraculous thing is that a wish you never thought would come true will change its form and sneak up on you. That’s something to look forward to.”
-Grandma, “To That Faraway Future…”, Aria the Avvenire
All together, these episodes gifted fans with a return to the world and people who warmed our hearts and taught us to appreciate every little moment. I repeatedly felt like the creators were thanking us for taking this journey with them, as well as encouraging us to pick our chins up and venture out into our own lives with hopeful persistence. Readers of Anime B&B will see this lesson’s effect on me very soon in the coming year, so stay posted for more. 🙂