Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Sentiment on ARIA

ARIA (アリア)

ARIA, by mangaka Kozue Amano (こずえ 天野), is serialized in Mag Garden’s monthly magazine Comic Blade. There are currently 9 volumes of manga, excluding 2 volumes of Aqua which are the prequel to Aria. ARIA depicts the story of a young Undine, Akari on planet Aqua. Over these 3 years, ARIA has gained tremendous fandom and generated a diversity of merchandise on its success.


Two seasons of ARIA animation has been produced. The first season ARIA the animation comprised 13 episodes and was first aired in 2005. It was also released in 6 DVDs. After the success in the first season, the director and team continue to produce ARIA the Natural. ARIA the Natural was adapted as a 26 episodes series and gained much recognition and popularity. One success in the DVD sales is the bonus that comes with the DVD such as box art, clear files, postcards and even crafts.

Manga & Books.

There are 9 volumes of ARIA manga and 2 prequel Aqua released, as well as a novel. Kozue Amano has made a success out of ARIA due to her artistic and dedicated artworks, especially in the colour settings. There were 2 guidebooks, 2 calendars (desktop & wall version), 3 artbooks and a poster book released. There also a poster book, a guide and calendar scheduled for release at the end of year. Furthermore, 3 monthly undines have been released and came with bonus toys.


With just two seasons of Aria animation adaptation, it has produced 15 albums in just two years time. Aria the animation has generated 2 Drama CDs, 3 Characters CDs, 2 singles and 1 OST album. Aria the natural generated 2 Drama CDs, 2 singles, 1 OST album, 1 Piano collection and a vocal collection.


Another success of ARIA is the massive variety of merchandise available. These include items such as keychain, cups and bowls, straps, necklace, card holder, stickers, notepad, mat, tray, towel, clock, pouch, calculator, plush, tissue and underlay. ARIA has also released a number of figures.

In addition an ARIA PS2 game has been scheduled for release in November 2006. The graphics and settings are impressive. There is both limited and regular edition as well as a single CD for its theme. The limited edition would feature many bonuses such as pins, single CD and SD figures.

My Sentiments:
Many would have thought that a manga or animation such as ARIA which depicts the spice of life genre would not make a hit. However, many are wrong and its merchandises are widely sought after. The reasons for the huge success in ARIA are the artworks and the merchandises that emerged from it. There are also incentives such as gifts to purchase the DVDs as well as the books. The diversity range of merchandises would easily market its popularity to fans. In addition, the dedicated effort in the director and the animation team add to the success of ARIA.

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Sentiment on Ah My Goddess

Ah! My Goddess (ああっ女神さまっ)

Kosuke Fujishima (藤島 康介) first introduced Ah! My Goddess in the Kondasha monthly Afternoon magazine in 1988. Since then, AMG has created a fandom and resulted in a diversity of commercial interests. Four animations have been adapted from the series and 33 volumes of manga have been released.


Ah! My Goddess OVA
First episode OVA has been adapted from AMG in 1993-1994. The OVA was based on earlier development of the manga followed by an ending scripted for the OVA.

Ah! My Goddess The Adventures of Mini-Goddess
After the OVA production, a 48 episodes TV series featuring the chibi version of the goddess was broadcasted.

Ah! My Goddess The Movie
Ah! My Goddess rewarded its fandom in 2000 with the release of AMG The movie. The story was composed intrinsically and featured casts from AMG previous production.

Ah! My Goddess TV
The first season of AMG TV adaptation aired in winter 2005. The TV series typically followed the canon of the manga with some minor deviations. 24 episodes have been aired in the first season. The TV series has generated 8 DVDs with the 9th DVD comprising bonus adaptation.

Ah! My Goddess Sorezore no Tsubasa TV
The second season, started in Spring 2006, feature 22 episodes continuing the first season.

Manga & Books

There are currently 33 volumes of AMG manga. AMG has generated several artbooks and graphical collections over the years. Several artbooks on the OVA and AMG movie has also been released. In addition, Touma Yumi, the voice cast for Urd, published an AMG novel entitled First End in July 2006. Furthermore, there are 3 deluxe reissue of AMG complete with figures.


There are 2 OSTs and several musical album released by the Goddess Family club for the OVA and mini-series. The movie has also released its OST while the AMG TV series generated several releases including 3 OSTs, 4 singles and 5 drama CDs.


Many types of merchandise have been generated from the popularity of the AMG, such as cups, shitajiki, posters, postcards, calendars, stationery, apparel and many others. In additions, dozens of figures have emerged for AMG in particular Belldandy.

Recently, it has been announced that MMV would produce a PS2 game on AMG. The only game ever released for AMG was the trivia game “Quiz: Ah! My Goddess” in 1998 for the Sega Dreamcast. The PS2 game is scheduled for winter release, possibly early 2007.

My Sentiments:
It has been more than 15 years since AMG first appeared. The fandom for the AMG is tremendous and it has even made Fujishima a household name in Japan. However, the fandom has started to deteriorate primarily due to the dragging development in the story as well as the once-a-month release of the serialization. Even with increasing new mangaka and manga emerging, Fujishima continue to drag the story, making the fans wondering if he knows how to conclude his work.

The AMG movie release has sparked and renewed the interest of fans in AMG but recent adaptation of the TV series has resulted in unfulfillment. The first season has been animated fairly well but the second season animated many arcs which are chronologically inappropriate. The pace and the development in season 2 looked fragmented and repetitive. Several arcs have been anticipated but failed to deliver or not even adapted in the season. In addition, season 2 was scripted with an alternate season finale.

In my opinion, Fujishima should really work towards an ending for AMG instead of dragging the story further. In addition, either he or his team should release more artworks on AMG to maintain the interest of AMG fans. The animation on the other hand, should put more effort in the flow of the story. The animation and setting was of high quality and there were no deformation. However, the pacing and story plot really need more touch-up and efforts.

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