#62 – Neo-Venezia

2015 is the 10th anniversary of the airing of the first ARIA anime project ARIA The ANIMATION and much to my surprise, it was announced that there will be a new ARIA anime project to celebrate the milestone. I didn’t think it possible since both the singing and acting voices of Athena had sadly, passed away, but it looks like the main creative forces behind the anime (original manga creator Amano Kozue, director Sato Junichi and producer Iizuka Hisao) are determined to make this work.

The idea to make an all-new anime was originally borne out of Iizuka’s desire to celebrate the 10th anniversary by releasing an up-converted Bluray quality/compilation film for theatrical release using previously available ARIA material. Sato, believing the effort needed to edit and compile such a recap film was ‘too much hassle’, suggested to Iizuka that he’d rather make a whole new anime. They then approached Amano-sensei with the idea and having gained her blessing, began production. A short CM has been airing during a Tamayura theatrical run, and an ARIA The AVVENIRE screening event has been set for 26th September. Iizuka has mentioned that they also plan to hold screening events of certain parts of the older series, with the original cast hopefully in attendance, while Sato is pushing for a second edition of ARIA The CONCERT (first held in 2007 at Nippon Seinenkan, featuring Makino Yui, SONOROUS, Round Table, Kawai Eri, Kubota Mina, Hazuki Erino & Choro Club feat. Senoo Takeshi).

An interview with the original cast was posted on the official site this week which should serve as a little appetizer gearing up to major information reveal such as new characters and new cast members.

There is still quite some time to go before ARIA The AVVENIRE arrives, but before that we should be getting the entire ARIA series in a BD-box, with new illustrations by Amano-sensei. 2015 is turning out to be a super year for fans of Neo-Venezia!

L-R: Minagawa Junko, Nishimura Chinami, Hirohashi Ryo, Hazuki Erino

L-R: Minagawa Junko, Nishimura Chinami, Hirohashi Ryo, Hazuki Erino

Hazuki Erino (Mizunashi Akari)

Q: 10 years have passed since the original TV series aired and now, a completely new animation project has been announced. What does ARIA, as a series, mean to you?
A: When the anime first went on air 10 years, I never imagined that I would end up spending such a long time together with a single work as I have with ARIA.
So many opportunities have been afforded to me as an artist – not just studio recordings but also in radio shows, live events and music. It was all thanks to ARIA that I was given a chance to participate in such activities that have allowed everyone to get to know who “Hazuki Erino” is.
Now that 10 years that have passed, in these special yet ordinary days that have naturally blended into the norm, ARIA remains a precious series that is always by my side.

Q: Please tell us about your feelings for, and the charms of your character.
Each and every work was new and led to a succession of firsts for me; I was always anxious and flustered over every single performance and every comment made, without actually knowing whether what I said was suitable or whether it was good enough.
The warm and fluffy Akari that you see in the end resulted from my attempts to overcome my lack of self-confidence.
It was thanks to the help from all my cast members as well as the staff who I have come to be so friendly with, that I have gained as much experience as Akari has grown.
I truly do see my own development and results mirrored in Akari as she progressed to become a Prima. Her becoming a Prima too, was only possible because of the people have always been by her side.

Q: Please leave a message for everyone who is looking forward to ARIA The AVVENIRE.
A: So we meet again!
ARIA may have ended, but I can tell how you have remained fans of the series foreveeerrr!
You may have progressed in your education, become members of society, become fathers or mothers, visited Venice, faced troubled times at school or at work, had happy experiences – I’m sure that a lot has happened in these 10 years.
While looking back at the footprints you have made, immerse yourself in the world of Neo Venezia once again. There will be things that have changed and things that have stayed the same, there will be new discoveries to be made.
I am extremely glad to be able to share this space where we can all enjoy ARIA together.

Mizuhashi Kaori (Ai)

Q: 10 years have passed since the original TV series aired and now, a completely new animation project has been announced. What does ARIA, as a series, mean to you?
A: I think this is true not just for myself but for everyone else as well, but ARIA is a work that is like an oasis that floats gently amongst the hustle-and-bustle of our daily lives. It’s a series that will warm you up as you’re watching it.

Q: Please tell us about your feelings for, and the charms of your character.
Just as Akari-chan has inherited Alicia-san’s feelings, I’d love to see Ai-chan become independent as soon as possible so that she can inherit Akari-chan’s feelings too. It’s alright if she takes things slowly, I just want her to grow up well.

Q: Please leave a message for everyone who is looking forward to ARIA The AVVENIRE.
A: It’s been a long while for ARIA, but I believe this is a show that will not betray everyone’s expectations. If possible, I wish that you will share this moment now, and forever, together with us. We ask for your support.

Ohara Sayaka (Alicia Florence)

Q: 10 years have passed since the original TV series aired and now, a completely new animation project has been announced. What does ARIA, as a series, mean to you?
A: Though it has been a while since my last involvement with the series, my memories of it have not dimmed at all. Rather, they have grown more vivid and more precious…Neo Venezia feels like my hometown, a place that will always hold a special place in my heart.

Q: Please tell us about your feelings for, and the charms of your character.
A: Sometimes, when I feel frustrated or lose sight of myself, I’ll try to recall how Alicia-san goes “Arara, ufufu”; I think of what she might say whenever she finds wonderful happenings in the mundaneness of everyday life … Someone who always has a smile on her face, someone can slip effortlessly into people’s hearts. To me, she is the embodiment of the perfect adult, and I long to be a woman like her.

Q: Please leave a message for everyone who is looking forward to ARIA The AVVENIRE.
A: When this new ARIA production was green-lit, I was surprised by the overwhelmingly positive response. I feel very blessed that despite 10 years having passed, the series remains as alive in the fans’ hearts as it does in mine. The unchanging cast and staff as well as the nostalgic Neo-Venezia – we await you!

Nishimura Chinami (Aria Pokoteng)

Q: 10 years have passed since the original TV series aired and now, a completely new animation project has been announced. What does ARIA, as a series, mean to you?
A: ARIA is a precious treasure to me. I cannot find words adequate to describe just how wonderful it is. It’s very, very dear to me. It reminds me of the beauty of everyday life; enveloped in its shining words, I have received so much treasure from it.
I have nothing but gratitude for being able to participate in a work that is so loved by the staff, cast and all the fans.
And of course, the wonderful relationships formed during ARIA that are still going strong even after 10 years, it’s amazing!
The pleasant, gently flowing music of Choro Club in the recording studio. The tea served to go with our chats during break-times. What wonderful memories they are.

Q: Please tell us about your feelings for, and the charms of your character.
A: I don’t actually remember my first impression of President Aria all that well (lol), but I do recall that I had already formed a solid image of what he should sound like as soon as I read the parts in the manga where he goes “Puinyuu~”.
What I try to keep in mind for characters whose dialogue consists solely of “sounds”, is not to make it sound like they’re merely making sounds, but to make it sound as if they’re actually talking.
President Aria does resemble me a lot – a real glutton (lol). It’d be great if everyone could warmly watch over the President as he devours his food deliciously.
When I am voicing President Aria, a fluffy and fuzzy feeling descends over the studio and the others start giggling and inwardly, it makes me go “Yeah, I’ve done it!”(^^)
Over the course of the 2nd and 3rd series I was given the freedom to act as I wished (lol); the other cast members have jokingly accused me “You just said XXX, didn’t you?”
Satojun-san, thank you so much for allowing me to get to know President Aria (*^_^*)

Q: Please leave a message for everyone who is looking forward to ARIA The AVVENIRE.
A: I am truly happy that you continue to think so highly of ARIA even now.
I could tell the depth of the fans’ feelings towards ARIA during my time on the radio show.
So many people have travelled to Venice because they watched ARIA!
The seeds of this one work named ARIA helped sprout buds of all your love, and now they have bloomed into lovely flowers.
This is a work that has been made by all the staff involved in the creation of ARIA, the cast, and all the fans that have supported us.
Truly, truly, thank you(*^_^*)

I am happy to be able to share this wonderful moment with you.
Please do always keep ARIA close to your heart and never forget it.

Saito Chiwa (Aika S. Granzchesta)

Q: 10 years have passed since the original TV series aired and now, a completely new animation project has been announced. What does ARIA, as a series, mean to you?
A: Wow, it’s been 10 years already. That by itself was a big surprise to me. It has after all, been something that has always been by my side, right next to me. It is rare to find a team like ARIA’s that still holds regular reunions even now; it is a work that remains very important to me.

Q: Please tell us about your feelings for, and the charms of your character.
A: Aika’s charm is in her attitude of “be ambitious, spare no effort”. Akira-san is the same so that must be the Himeya spirit. There are many times in the past where I’ve found things tough at work, thought of Aika and used her as my inspiration. Also, when she switches to her “girlish heart” mode (lol)! She really is a character I love.

Q: Please leave a message for everyone who is looking forward to ARIA The AVVENIRE.
A: I have always wished for, believed and waited for this day to come, where I can meet you again. Ah, I wonder what wonderful meetings are awaiting me, what miracles the world of ARIA will bring; just imagining it makes my heart dance…or not. EMBARRASSING REMARKS ARE NOT ALLOWED*! Not for me!

*Aika’s trademark 恥ずかしいセリフ禁止! (Hazukashii serifu kinshi!)

Minagawa Junko (Akira E. Ferrari)

Q: 10 years have passed since the original TV series aired and now, a completely new animation project has been announced. What does ARIA, as a series, mean to you?
A: It is a very, very important work to me. Its existence is like a treasure chest that lies within my heart. At times, with a key, I gently unlock the chest and allow it to fill me, to heal me. During recordings I have cried, when I watched ARIA on air I too cried; I’ve even cried because I’ve worried over whether I am a failure as an actress due to my inability to control my own emotions (lol).
But these tears, they flow because of the gentle feelings that stem from a person thinking about another person. Every time (I cry), it cleanses my heart.
I am thankful to have been able to meet with this work and to have been able to act as Akira; from the bottom of my heart, it truly is a wonderful series.

Q: Please tell us about your feelings for, and the charms of your character.
A: I think it’s probably the same for all of the characters in the series but I love each and every one of Akira-san’s lines, all of which resonate in my heart. I often wonder what is going through her mind when she says such words, what sort of feelings she has when she’s saying them. And as a result of all these things I’ve been pondering when voicing Akira, I believe that the person who has learned the most from her is not Aika-chan, but me.
I mean, Aika-chan is a girl who is so much better than I could ever be.
Akira-san is a character I admire, and someone who makes me wish I could be more like her.

Q: Please leave a message for everyone who is looking forward to ARIA The AVVENIRE.
A: To all ARIA fans, it’s been a while.
I personally never thought it possible, but when I heard that a new ARIA anime was being made I was so happy that I yelped out in a strange voice (lol)
I am sure that for everyone who loves ARIA, you will think of the series as preciously as I do. That is why its existence is like a treasure chest in our hearts.

Keeping that in mind and as to not disappoint anyone, I will give my all in acting Akira; I’ll cherish her, take care of her, be bold and yet sensitive, so that you will think “Ah, I really do love ARIA”.
Please do look forward to the show.

Hirohashi Ryo (Alice Carroll)

Q: 10 years have passed since the original TV series aired and now, a completely new animation project has been announced. What does ARIA, as a series, mean to you?
A: ARIA’s Alice is a role which I am now able to look back upon and see myself reflected in her.
During interviews and comments made back then, I would blush whenever I spoke about Alice – it felt as if I was talking about myself. There are so many ways in which Alice and my childhood self are similar – the way we express our happiness, how we’re both impatient, and so on. That’s why, even if it’s embarrassing for me to say this, ARIA is truly “a show that is precious to me”.
I also realize (that ARIA) has enabled me to notice how wonderfully rich my perspective and perception of life has become.

Q: Please tell us about your feelings for, and the charms of your character.
A: She is a really, really important, cute friend of mine.
She’s a lot clumsier than the people around her seem to realize; she’s really just a child – stubborn yet honest, always doing her best and she just can’t help but watch over other people. She may speak frankly, but she does put a lot of thought into things and often takes others by surprise. I love all of the stories, but the scenes where Athena is singing still brings tears to my eyes when I watch them now.

Q: Please leave a message for everyone who is looking forward to ARIA The AVVENIRE.
A: A truly unexpected, completely new anime. I am even more surprised than you are.
There is no greater miracle than to be able to meet the ARIA members and act with them once again.
Please HUGELY* look forward to this!!

*Alice’s signature phrase でっかい (dekkai)

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