*Aria Book 2 — Recommended

Where Book 1 covers autumn, as Aria Book 2 begins, winter is coming. The first chapter introduces the snowbugs, small creatures mistaken for dandelion puffs. They have seasonal lifecycles, coming out only in the cold and leaving right before the first snow.

Aria Book 2 cover
Aria Book 2
Buy this book

Lead character Akari is at least a teenager, with a career, but in the beginning of the book, when she’s never seen a fire in a fireplace, she seems very young. On the other hand, she’s from a more technological world that’s completely lost touch with nature and seasonal changes, so these kinds of concessions to weather really would be new and different for her. I sympathize with her getting used to shivers and her frequent exclamations, “It’s cold!” It reminded me of the first time I spent a winter in the Midwest, after previously living mostly in the South.

I appreciate her wide-eyed innocence. It’s a great reminder to slow down and consider the turning of the seasons and the appealing factors of each. Some will complain that nothing happens in this series, but I really enjoy seeing Akari’s approach to the world, where everything is new and wonderful. Customs and rituals like those she learns about are important markers of time passing. They should be appreciated and welcomed.

Her temporary adoption of a snowbug acknowledges that relationships may also be transitory, passing like the turning of the calendar or available only for a short time. And that’s ok. The art is perfectly suited to this kind of meditative storytelling. Lovely images of what Akari sees in her world encourage the reader to ponder both her surroundings and by extension their own.

The next chapter features that classic of manga, the trip to a hot spring. This one is different in two ways, though, from most versions: the spring is an abandoned flooded mansion instead of an outdoor pool, and the girls keep their towels on the whole time. That gives the whole thing an air of relaxing warmth instead of the usual nudge nudge wink wink titillation approach many other artists take. I have never before wanted so much to go to a spa as I did after finishing this chapter.

That’s only half the book, and already, it’s well worth the read. Additional stories include touring the city’s underground in the company of a young man, the festival celebrating New Year’s Eve, and in preparation for spring, Carnival. The excuse for having such similar events is that the colonists of this water planet are memorializing their ancestral home. Me, I just like seeing the rituals captured so well.

6 Comments

  1. [...] 1 of Satisfaction Guaranteed at Kuri-ousity. At Comics Worth Reading, Johanna Draper Carlson adds vol. 2 of Aria to her “Recommended” list. Sabrina checks out vol. 1 of Aqua at Comics Village. Isaac [...]

  2. [...] like the Aria series, but I no longer preorder manga from any retailer. I want to be able to browse, and usually [...]

  3. [...] the cancelled titles eventually come out when, but so long as we get the promised continuation of Aria with book 5 in March, it’s all been worth it. (Although my suspicious side wonders how [...]

  4. [...] picked up this gorgeous, pastoral manga by Kozue Amano from ADV, republishing the first three volumes and finally continuing the series. It’s a reflective meditation on the joys of simple living, [...]

  5. [...] art doesn’t have the same refined, classic illustration as something like Aria, but the simple lines are in keeping with the natural approach of the story. (Although the various [...]

  6. [...] Draper Carlson from Manga Worth Reading) shares her past link of Book 1, Book 2, Book 4, Book 5, Book 6 These are individual reviews of the volumes that has been written, though [...]

Leave a Reply