The Wonder of that Rainy Day... / The Discoveries on that Spring Day...
For some series, the half-length episode works. Bottle Fairy and Ground Defense Force! Mao-chan are two good examples. For Aria, I’m not sure I care for it as much.
The first half-episode felt overly forced to me. The fox-kid scouting out the inari to take for the wedding seemed a bit overdone. I can only excuse all those appearances as a means of showing that he’s following closely enough for Akari to notice someone there. Then as quickly as things went into motion, it was all over. The episode felt very “let’s let Akari see something mysterious and wonderful” to me, without giving it time to build up. Too rushed.
I also wonder if Alicia actually disappeared on purpose. Her vanishing act was very sudden, but I don’t imagine she’d act like it was unintentional after finding Akari again. Maybe they need to have a meet-up location in case they get separated. Something like, “Meet up at the fox statue wearing the red bib.”
I did like the reflections of Akari in the puddles. Those were nicely done.
The conversation with the old lady makes me think again about language. Considering Akari and the others likely speak English (as opposed to the Japanese used for ease of a Japanese audience), this suggests to me that the old lady speaks English as well. Each country with its own island, with its own culture, but with English as the common language of the planet, and perhaps of Manhome as well.
I felt better about the latter episode, and it’s good that they chose to have Akari choose the wrong path. Obviously the whole point to the episode was finding something greater than the intended location by mistaking the path taken. From there, cue the Aria take on bringing in Spring with a cherry tree in blossom.
I do have to ask, though: can snapping a power line really turn on the lights in a rail car? My guess is that losing power kicked on a battery back-up which turns on all the lights (regardless of whether they were on before). Not sure about the fallen petals floating up into the air, though…