Aria volume 01


What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Mars?

Red dust?

Martian invaders?

Remote controlled toys, sent there under the pretence of being “scientific research probes”?

 Well, how about Gondolas?

 …..hang on a minute, I’m going somewhere with this…..

 Imagine a Mars far in the future which, due to unexpected developments during terraforming, has resulted in 90% of the surface being covered in water.

Now, imagine on this world, now called Aqua, there being home to the city of Neo – Venezia [which looks suspiciously like a certain eastern European city, south west of Constantinople] which, as a means of transport, uses gondolas.

 Intrigued? Then welcome to the wonderful world of Kozue Amano’s “ARIA”.

 The series, which was previously released up to three volumes  from ADV manga [ and for which the licence has now been picked up by TOKYOPOP] and has also been released as three animated series in both Japan and in America, follows the life and times of Akari Mizunashi who, whilst working for the Aria company, trains to become a gondolier, or Undine, and all the while meeting the many people and sights of this strange, and yet all too familiar, world she lives in.

 The first thing that will grab the attention of the reader is that the pace of this series is all together more…subdued, considering it’s a sci -fi series, yet it is this relaxed pace that enables you to step back and experience not only the relaxed, philosophical writing  but also the artwork which is so detailed that every time you read the same page a different detail reveals itself.

In summery if your idea of reading is to curl up with a cup of tea in one hand, and good book in the other, then ARIA is for you.

 If, on the other hand, you like your manga action packed, fast paced, and containing non – stop thrills…… then you might find Aria a surprisingly compelling change of pace.

 You never know, you may like it…….


Well, lets get this Blog started.

Hi everyone, and welcome to Chuo – Dori!

I’m Russell, an ongoing British resident, long time animé fan, oft time’s reviewer for and now rampant blogger.

“So, why do a blog?” I hear you say.

Firstly because, with the plethora of blogs out there, there doesn’t seem to be that many written by UK fans and I thought that was a crime that to be rectified.

Secondly I’m hoping to try my hand at writing professionally one day and I figure “hey, where better to improve my skills than via a blog?”

 …….yeah, that’s the theory anyway.

 “So, what’s the plan for this blog?” I hear you say.

 Well, the current plan is to do regular reviews of  anime/manga series that are either out now,  that are available in Japan but might get released over here at some point or even series which, despite being good,  may not get ever released over here [because of being considered  either too niche or too “out there” for the west].

I’ll also be looking into a lot of other little items and news snippets of life from the land of the rising sun – from the ubiquitous vending machines to even to the new otaku item – dolls?

 Wish me luck.

 P.S.  A cookie for whoever figures out the origin of the blog name.