Looking For That Treasure...
As it turns out, it’s still winter on Aqua. Apparently things were warm enough for the festivities, which might explain why Akatsuki had to get back to work. I can fully see the Salamanders increasing the temperature for a holiday, but I’m not sure about for a festival which appears to be local (by mention of the number of tourists visiting Neo Venezia from elsewhere on Aqua). A better explanation would that that the weather becomes too warm for snow, but remains mostly cold, near the end of the six months of winter. It seems that even on another planet, one cannot escape cherry blossoms when spring approaches.
It’s good to see Alice get as much time in an episode as she did here. It was clever of her to her Akari stay behind, knowing that Akari would never be able to solve the riddle without experiencing following the shadow.
This is the kind of episode I expected back when I watched episode one of Aria the Animation. Rather, I didn’t expect it from the first episode (you have to be given time to get to know the characters to a point first), but it’s the kind of episode I expected to see often within the series. It’s the kind of episode you see training on an island together, learning from the founder of Aria Company together, and visiting a hot spring together. It’s the togetherness of Akari, Aika, and Alice, and the things they do when they are together. It’s the places they go, the people they meet, and the experiences they share. It’s their individual take on each event, and how they compliment and contrast one another.
I can enjoy characters with no great and interweaving story in the background (cue most slice-of-life). On the other hand, a plot with flat characters just doesn’t go so far with me. To me, those interactions between personalities, between people, is a great and necessary thing for any story. The focus on Akari, Expert of Happiness, simply seals the deal. It’s those interactions that keep me enjoying episodes of Petite Princess Yucie which a more casual viewer tends to find (perhaps unconsciously) unnecessary for the plot, and therefore (very consciously) boring to sit through.