Modern Visual Culture

Recommended Works



Mangaka: Kozue Amano 天野 こずえ
Born: 26th of May, 1974 Saitama Prefecture, Japan
Original Publisher: Mag Garden
English Language Publisher:
Published: November 2002 to April 2008
Status: Finished
Number of Volumes: 14
Serialized: Monthly Comic Blade 月刊コミックブレイド
Genre: Slice of Life, Science Fiction
Demographic: shonen

    On the terraformed planet Mars in the early 24th century lies the city of Neo-Venezia, patterned after the real-life Venice, Italy. Just as in the real Venice, Neo-Venezia is a maze of canals that can be traversed with the help of human-powered gondolas. Aria primarily focuses on happenings at the smallest gondola company, called Aria, and its two employees, Alicia Florence, and her apprentice, Akari Mizunashi.

    As an apprentice gondolier, called an undine in the story, Akari Mizunashi keeps an extensive blog detailing her adventures for the people back home on Earth. The series is mostly episodic in nature, with each chapter showing a different aspect of life and work in Neo-Venezia.

    While the story sometimes depicts the good-natured rivalry between the various gondola companies in Neo-Venezia, it is mainly a mood-piece depicting the transient and sublime pleasures of everyday life in a beautiful city. An excellent example of when the "cute girls doing cute things" motif works out well, Aria is often compared to the similar, albeit much more melancholy, Record of a Yokohama Shopping Trip.
    Background & Impact
    Aria was originally published for two volumes under the title Aqua. after the new name of the terraformed Mars in the story. The name was changed when Kozue Amano switched to Mag Garden as her publisher.

    Aria has generated over three seasons of broadcast anime, as well as an OVA series. Two visual novels were developed for the PS2, and four series of drama CDs have been released. A series of light novels have also been released.

    The series has been both a commercial and critical hit, with millions of volumes sold.