Going Down The List: Aria the Animation

(MAL LINK)

Disclaimer: This is about the whole series rather than just the first season, so it may contain spoilers for everything.

I have many memories of the Aria series, too many to count actually, but a few in particular stand out to me: How I’ve tried to write about Aria before, and how it’s always ended in failure. It’s difficult to write about Aria, and I’m surely not the only one who thinks so. However, I may be able to write about why it’s so difficult to write about Aria. In short, it boils down to the fact that Aria is made up of a small amount of very complex elements, the most important ones being the characters. When I tried to write about the show, I felt like introducing the individual characters only briefly would have done a disservice to the show. It was also difficult to decide where to begin.

And it still is. I’m now convinced that deciding which of the elements to start with is impossible for me, so I’m just going to jump straight to the conclusion. Aria, to me, felt like a show about people trying to be good people. But it wasn’t the kind of show that touted goodness as a moral obligation that, if broken, has ruinous consequences. However, it also didn’t treat goodness as a virtue that entices people with promises of fortune and happiness. Instead, I think Aria is about goodness being a reward in and of itself. That’s just my opinion, though, and it’s also a very narrow interpretation of the show. One of the wonders of Aria is that I think it can be interpreted in one of many ways, or in multiple ways, or maybe not at all. It’s certainly enjoyable even if you don’t think about what it means.

I should also note that my interpretation of the show is inherently and intimately linked with my way of viewing the world. Not only do I nowadays believe in the essential goodness of people(though maybe not humanity as a whole), but I believe that (collectively) believing in it strongly enough can change the world. Believing in goodness gives me strength, it gives me energy, and, above all, it gives me hope. In this way, I want to call Aria my “Bible”, but it’s maybe not that strong of a connection, in the end.

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