Title: ARIA 

Genre: Sci-fi, Slice of Life, Shoujo

Author: Kozue Amano

Status: On hiatus due to ADVs Translations

It's a cute series and the art is really nice. The books are a bunch of little short stories centering around a central theme. It was not what I first thought the story would be about but it is still interesting. The whole book series takes place in the future on Mars, now renamed Aqua. It has been renamed this because when human's tried to terraform (clicky here to learn about this) the planet it flooded the planet so now it's more water than land. Because the technology of Earth is to expensive to get up to Aqua people live on the planet mostly like what they do today, not a lot of sci-fi to it then. The story takes place in the town of Neo-Venezia (New Venice) and the only way to get around the city is by gondola. The books follow the live of Akari Mizunashi and her life in training to become an undine (gondolier).

Akari- main protagonist
Aika- Akari's best friend
Alicia - Akari's boss
Aria - a cat, the name of the company Akari works for
Akatsuki - Akari's guy friend (may have a crush on her?)
Alice - Akari's friend
Akira - Aika's boss
Hime - a cat

Review: The stories can sometimes be a little boring, but it's made for all audiences, and each story is self-contained. The one thing I like about manga is that I learn a lot of Japanese culture. In this book it's a combination of Japanese and Italian, which is actually quite interesting. The artist is really gifted in drawing the buildings of Venice. I also especially like the use of overhead drawings of the characters that she does quite frequently. One thing you'll notice from this manga is that all, except for one, the characters have "A" names.

The only real problem I have with this series is the way Aria is drawn. I thought he was an alien-cat because he doesn't look like a cat at all.

I'm really harsh when I give things a rating. I give this series thus far a 8. If you want to go on the way I rate others I gave Planet Ladder a 5.5 and Fruits Basket a 9.5 thus far.