Ever the community man, lelangir is keeping stock of as many Twelve Moments blogathons as he can somewhere in the recesses of his Unlimited Blog Works, so check that out. Speaking as a member of the community whose progress it chronicles, that Anitations thing is interesting in general. We need people like lelangir to offset people like me, who can’t even comment reliably on the blogs they read.
This may be the first of my Twelve Moments™ to hail from Aria the Animation, but it isn’t the last. Oh, no indeed. Unlike majordomo CCY, I allowed myself to choose as many moments from each show or manga as suited my fancy. Gluttonous? Perhaps, but before I take us too far off track (and you may know I’m very good at that), let’s talk about Athena Glory.
Athena is ostensibly the Silent Bob of the Aria crew. She has very little to say until it really counts, at which point she’s exceedingly helpful. We first get a feel for this in the sixth episode, in which Athena’s singing saves Maa the cat (soon to be President Maa) from unfortunate ejection into the cruel streets of Neo-Venezia — the subtle support characters are important, too, this episode tells us. By episode eleven, Athena’s Silent Bobitude is present in full force, and she gets in a few remarks toward the end about the nature of friendship. I could go on about that, but I won’t, as that isn’t my eleventh moment of choice. My eleventh moment occurs a bit earlier in the episode, and is, I must admit, slightly more embarrassing.
Not that Aria isn’t unapologetically packed with sappy, potentially embarrassing scenes. It even pokes fun at itself for this (“Hazukashii serifu kinshi!”). And the scene I’ve chosen as #11 isn’t even really embarrassing in itself; I’m just embarrassed that it sent me into emotional overdrive as it did. I could see it coming from a mile away, I decided it’d be necessarily cheesy but probably endurable, and, when it happened, I might’ve teared up if I had any less willpower. Aria had — nay, has — that effect on me in general, but the scene in question was particularly bad…or particularly good, I should say, as only those stories that really stir me in some way have a chance of earning a place among my favorites.
Anyhow, the eleventh episode of Aria details the apprenticeship of Alicia, Akira, and Athena, the prima undines we come to know and love throughout the preceding episodes. In particular, Alicia and Akira meet Athena, and, by virtue of her being Akira (not that there’s anything wrong with that), Akira promptly decides Athena is more or less inept. As time goes on, the would-be Water Fairies continue to practice their gondola skills together, and Athena proves to be devastatingly absent-minded…until the trio decide to work on their singing. Having lost a rousing game of rock-paper-scissors, Athena is chosen to sing first, and everyone’s perfectly content, no doubt not expecting much…
…until Athena opens her mouth.
Not content to shock the bejesus out of her gondolier comrades, Athena keeps at it until everyone within earshot stops whatever they’re doing to listen. You can almost feel the planet grind to a halt. And let me just add here that this is not as short a scene as it seems like it’s going to be. If you feel yourself losing it toward what you think is the end, and you don’t want your present company to see you cry like a newborn baby, then you’d better man up, Hoss; you’ve got a long way to go.
Lest she accidentally coax Dread Cthulhu out of the depths of the Neo-Adriatic Sea or something, Athena is forced to stop. And the world resumes its turning.
You may wonder why this particular scene got to me like it did, and, to be honest, I find myself wondering the same thing. I think it has to do with how closely I identify myself with Athena. She’s not my favorite character, by any means, but those characters who most make me think about myself rarely are. I tend to think of myself as occupying a position on Earth (or Manhome, if you prefer) similar to Athena’s place on Aqua; I come across to most people as thoroughly unremarkable, but when things get serious, I can pull myself together for epic, albeit brief, forward charges. I’m a good person to have at your back, in other words. In doing no more than exercising her talent in the eleventh episode of Aria the Animation, Athena demonstrates that, for all their flaws, people like her — people like me — are worth far more than the credit they’re given by most.
Thanks, Athena. Sometimes I really need that.