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Time Goes Rushing By

Aria, volume 4

By Kozue Amano 

2 Nov, 2016



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Volume 4 of Kozue Amano’s Aria continues the series’ steady progression through the years. It is summer once again in the city of Neo-Venezia. Aria’s training will lead her to unexpected destinations and she will discover an elemental acquaintance she had heretofore overlooked. 

Navigation 16: Neverland 

Intrigued by an anonymous invitation, Akari travels alone to a hidden bay, one known only to a very special few. Just how special is revealed when she sees who is waiting for her. 


Luckily for Akari, this is an upbeat coming of age story and not, say, The Deadly Secret of Murder Bay. It says a lot about her society that she would travel to an isolated spot on the say-so of an unsigned invitation. Not taking anything in the way of a prudent safeguard. Not even a chainsaw.

Navigation 17: Mirage 

Aqua’s summer is long (twice as long as Earth’s) and hot. On one of the hottest days of the year, Akari finds herself all alone in what should be a crowded street. Stranger things await her. 


Or she has succumbed to heat-stroke. My money is on yet another one of Akari’s odd occult encounters.”

Navigation 18: The Fish That Swims in the Sky 

Akari realizes that occupations on Aqua represent the classical elements: Undines are water, Gnomes earth, and Salamanders are, of course, fire. That leaves only air without an associated occupation. Of course, utopia has no place for incomplete themes and Akari will soon learn who exactly represents the air: the flying messengers! 


I can see no way in which assigning a flying bike to a guy who has lots of enthusiasm and no sense of direction could end badly. Still, it’s worth the risk of riding with Woody for this view. 

Navigation 19: The Legendary Fairy 

The three trainees take a holiday, hoping to meet the legendary teacher who taught their mentor. Perhaps the old lady will teach them some new and wonderful Undine lore. 


The old lady’s lesson is actually quite straightforward. Nonetheless, Aika seems to be skeptical. 

Navigation 20: Redentore 

The best symbol for a sharp knife is a sharp knife, and the best test to see if the trainees are ready to host a party is assign them a party to host. Their friends — Akatsuki, Ai and Woody — and superiors will stand in judgment on the result. No pressure! 


I would think that got all the way through a social event with Akatsuki without braining him with an oar” qualifies as a pass all on its own. 

The gnomes look much younger than their years, which is a continual burden to Ai, the Undine’s gnome friend. There are all kinds of disturbing directions the author could go with that. I am very happy that she did not.

General comments

This was very amiable. I was a bit worried that the beach episode would turn into gratuitous cheesecake, but that did not happen. 

Readers may wonder why, if the Aquans have what seem to be antigravity-propelled flying bikes, they bother with gondolas. The answer seems to be because it pleases enough people to do so that there is a viable niche.” No weirder than New Yorkers eschewing internal combustion vehicles in favour of horse-drawn carriage rides through the park. 

Aria Volume 4 is available here.