Monday, November 07, 2005
Aria episode 4 is a little different from the first three because it crosses the line into the supernatural. Near the beginning of the episode Akari encounters a little girl, who asks her if she'll promise to deliver a letter for her. While most people would probably tell her to go buy a stamp, Akari's nice enough that she promises to do so. This turns out to be more complicated than she thought, since the address doesn't seem to exist--but Akari feels bound to her promise, and eventually she finds out the address is for a "base" a couple hours' flight from Neo-Venezia, which was used to mine water and terraform Mars back before it was called Aqua.
Akari enlists the help of a messenger to take her there, since it's way too far to go by gondola, and she ends up riding to the old base on the back of an airbike. I guess they don't have safety regulations or seatbelts on Aqua--I can't believe Akari didn't fall off and/or have a heart attack, just hanging onto a bar as the bike shoots a couple thousand feet up in the air. They reach the old base that the address of the letter refers to, only to find it's not there--an accident a long time ago put the whole base underwater, killing those who worked there. It turns out the little girl wasn't what she seemed to be, and in the end although the letter's recipient wasn't there, the feelings of the person in the video mail still got across when Akari played it back.
This is the first time Aria has dealt with any kind of tragedy, as well as the supernatural element with the little girl (I was having Da Capo flashbacks for a minute there). Aqua's been portrayed as an idyllic vacation spot so far, but this episode reveals life was harder in the past, with people giving their lives to help terraform it. I guess this is as close to "dark" as Aria gets, although the ending was more bittersweet than tragic. I wonder if they'll do anything else in this direction, about the sacrifices people made to make Aqua what it is, but it doesn't look like it--next episode is a beach ep. Yes, even slice of life shows have to have fanservice (not that I'm complaining).
On a side note, I was about ready to strangle Aria-shacho in this episode--maybe it's because I was working until 1:30 in the morning, but I know what cats sound like and Aria-shacho does NOT sound like a cat. Although it's cool to see at the beginning of the episode that Alice isn't a one-ep wonder, since Alice, Aika, and Akari (again, what's with everyone's name starting with "A"?) seem to be hanging out regularly now. The OP for this show really suits it well...after watching the first episode this didn't do much for me, but every episode I watch it seems to draw me in more somehow.