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And the Dream Was Just the Same

Aria, volume 9

By Kozue Amano 

7 Dec, 2016



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Once more into the Aria archive. This time is volume 9 of Kozue Amano’s utopia: melancholy, longing and deathtraps await!

Navigation 41: Palina”

The palina — a post for hitching gondolas — has stood in front of the Aria’s dock for many years. No Undine now at Aria can remember a time when it was not there. But time and rot have taken their toll. It is yet another opportunity for Akari and her friends to reflect on the transience of all things.


Do all Japanese utopias come round to reflections on death, decay, and rebirth?

[Editor’s note: Well, yes, thanks to the Buddhist element in Japanese culture. Even the paradise of Amida Buddha (the goal of Pure Land Buddhists) is temporary. If you do not manage to achieve enlightenment there, well … back on the wheel of rebirth you go.]

Navigation 42: Self Rule”

Amusing herself with a new, solitary game, Alice refuses Athena’s help. Then Athena offers Alice a new perspective. 


Alice seems a bit old for the shadow-stepping game.…

Navigation 43: Young Friendship”

Who shall be Neo-Venezia’s champion? A test of skill and courage is required! 


That slide looks awesome!

and by awesome I mean death-trap.”

Poor Akatsuki. He may be brave but he certainly isn’t perceptive.

Navigation 44: Prima Donna”

Undines are elite but mean girls are everywhere.


I am not at all surprised the person singled out for mean comments is the one who worked their way up from nothing.

Navigation 45: Moon Viewing”

What was supposed to be a quiet evening of moon viewing turns into an adventure for Al and Aika, who manage to get trapped at the bottom of the well. While they wait for rescue, Al fills the time with a discourse on Aqua’s moons, seemingly oblivious to the depressing subtext. (Two objects orbiting each other without ever coming into contact. At least Weaver Girl and Herd Boy can meet once a year.)



I am not saying love-struck Al and Aika end up as bleached bones found decades later, but I will say that their escape plan seems dicey. It depends on a cat following instructions. Not a cat. A kitten.

Special Navigation: Aquamarine”

The secret origin of the Aria Company!

General comments

I don’t know why couples like Al and Aika find it so hard to articulate what is clearly apparent to the most casual reader. Other people’s romantic problems are so easy to solve, I don’t know why they insist on being so inefficient, unless it is that they are being difficult on purpose. I can tell you, shy glances and a desperate hope the other person will make move isn’t going to cut it. 

It has not been a particular point so far but that slide of DOOM and the fact idiots like Woody can zoom around in the sky without worrying about truncated lifespans suggests Aqua has impressive medical services, technology able to patch back together the goo is left after the inevitable mishap.