A new volume of Aria is like a cool breeze on a hot summer day. It doesn’t last for too long, but while you are in the midst of it you can just close your eyes and relax, drifting away to somewhere more beautiful and peaceful than whatever your present circumstances may be.
In the terraformed world of Aqua (formerly Mars) life drifts along as lazily as the ubiquitous canals that cover the surface. Undine-in-training Akari is thrilled that her second Autumn on Aqua brings with it the return of the winter uniform for the Aria gondolier company, and a new series of adventures. Her new day begins when the mailman’s personal gondola is broken, and he needs Akari to take him on his rounds. Because she is still in training, Akari cannot take him as a customer but uses the excuse of “extra training” to carry the mailman in his duties.
That is about the extent of the trouble that Akari gets into in the fifth volume of the acclaimed series “Aria.” A slice-of-life comic, there are five vignettes in all, each with showcasing some beautiful aspect of the planet Aqua, or some minor hiccup in Akari’s life. In one funny chapter, called “Canzone,” Akari’s friend Alice becomes frustrated that her left hand is not as useful as her right hand, and decides to go on a system of training to bring the left hand up to the right hand’s level.
If you are familiar with the “Aria” series, volume five is more of the same, and that is good. The only slight dissapointment here is the same as with all other US-released versions of “Aria.” The beautiful colored pages that appear in the Japanese-release are black-and-white. It doesn’t seem like it would cost that much to print those few colored pages as they originally appeared.
If you are unfamiliar with the “Aria,” then you are missing out. The art, story and pacing here are simply beautiful, and artist Amano Kozue has created something really special.