That Melancholy President... / That Cool Hero...
Previously, I looked at President Aria’s actions as being something to look at while others are talking, but this episode solidly presents him with a greater level of intelligence than an ordinary animal would have. It’s surprising that a series with as many info-dumps as Aria the Animation has had wouldn’t have commented on this outright.
Looking at his actions, President Aria has an intelligence comparable with a young human child. He tries to help out around the house, but only causes trouble. He can type a letter in plain English (er, Japanese). He tries to run away, but fails at this, too. He makes a mess of things trying to cook a meal. He even plays the role of a superhero.
Over at Himeya Company, there is President Himeya. She’s a lot more “together” than poor President Aria, keeping composed and respectable. She acts more as a figure and less as an actor, by what little has been shown of her. She’s all about show and presentation.
I again wonder how it’s decided which content goes into an episode. I’m going to figure that all 13 episodes are based on stories from the source material, material which can have any number of chapters without having to meet the same strict episode requirements a television series requires to fill a season. Given a limitless number of stories, it could be interesting to see how President Himeya spends a day.
If Aria and Himeya have child-like intelligence (although Himeya’s appears higher), what does this say about President Maa’s future? (Considering how he is around President Aria in the present, I almost want to write his name as President Maw…) Will Maa have the same (general) intelligence as the other two? Is this intelligence something all cats have? Or all blue-eyed cats? Or only certain species of cat, regardless of eye color?
A side conversation, a meeting, an introduction takes place with no fanfare, as the viewer greets the A-name of the underground, Al the Gnome. I like him already, and hope he’ll appear in another episode, as Akatsuki has had an episode with a large role, and Woody…well, he has some screen time, at least. While Akatsuki has his calling to hear Alicia’s recording, and his time being guided around by Akari, only to treat her to a snack as thanks, the same can’t be said for Woody. We’ve seen Akatsuki’s brother, alongside learning that Akatsuki isn’t the most financially secure right now. Woody, we know only as a good friend of Akari’s. Will Al be seen as simply a friend of Aika’s, and that’s the only link that puts him into a later episode? It’s easy to let third-class characters remain unutilized with a low episode count.
What I wouldn’t want to see, on the other hand, is a “character episode” simply for the sake of using a character, only to (essentially) ignore them for the rest of the series. In Seven of Seven, each main cast member gets their own spotlight episode, but before and after they remain as one of a large cast, with little standing out. I’d rather see a consistent use of characters when it makes sense to show them, and Aria the Animation is doing this right. It’s the low episode count that’s the problem. If the manga makes more use of these characters, I’d have to look into buying the source material while waiting for the next animated series to be released by RightStuf!.
Thanks to the on-screen text (which uses a very nice font and design, drawing my eyes right to the English subtitles without my noticing the Japanese behind them), I missed a lot of the dialogue between Aika and Al on my initial watching of the episode. Some other scenes with long subtitle text, such as when Aika talks to President Himeya at the window, while looking at the sunset, I couldn’t read the subtitles fully before they went away. I still believe Aria the Animation to be a series that would have made for a great English dub.
I didn’t notice if Athena’s name came up in the credits after the prior episode, but did notice this time around. Glory makes sense as a surname. It leaves me wondering what the reference to Aika’s surname, Granzchesta, is. Alicia’s I imagine to be a reference to Florence, Italy, and Akari’s I imagine to be a pun.
Al’s voice actress isn’t given in the English credits, but the Japanese credits lists 渡辺明乃 (thanks to the Japanese dictionary I have for the Nintendo DS, which allows me to draw in kanji and magically have it be recognized). Akeno Watanabe is known to me as the voice of Fuuko (I My Me! Strawberry Eggs), although I’d probably recognize the voice as Robin in Witch Hunter Robin had I watched the series in Japanese.
As a side-note, this is one of those episodes that seems to be more enjoyable during a second viewing. I’m not sure how this works, but it does for me with this series.