Moment the Eleventh: Sing on, Silent Bob!

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.

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17 Comments

  1. Cuchlann

     /  15 December 2008

    Argh. Beaten by mere moments. Curse you, Pontifus, you magnificent rival/nemesis/inexplicable_buddy you!

    Reply
  2. Cuchlann

     /  15 December 2008

    Interestingly, I usually love the characters I see as most like me. Not to be the quintessential fanboy, but I most identify with Madarame on Genshiken. Not because of the whole “I’m so lonely” vibe, but because he’s so fucking nuts. I shouted for about half an hour recently about how the square root of negative one can go fuck itself.

    A mathematical abstraction. I drew diagrams, I ranted, I threw things. It was beautiful, and I wish more people were there to see. So, yes, I identify with Madarame and he’s my favorite. I just think it’s fascinating, looking at the way other people work.

    Also, you make Aria sound interesting, but I’m not gonna make any promises about watching it any time soon, what with years of backlog still to go.

    Reply
  3. Pontifus

     /  15 December 2008

    Years of backlog…yeah, I feel you. I’ve decided that, some time in the near or distant future, I want to watch all the UC Gundam shows, all of Macross, LoGH, Ranma 1/2, and Rurouni Kenshin. I wonder if it’ll ever actually happen.

    Though I never outright dislike the characters I see myself in — usually I like them to a point — my favorite characters seem to be the ones I’d most like to hang out with if they were real. Madarame is one of my favorite characters because I’d totally grab a beer with him every Friday night and listen to him rant about how it’s the people who can’t get off on drawn porn who have a problem, and then, when he was drunk enough to talk about it, console him about the girl he wanted but knew he could never have.

    The square root of negative one, though…man, I can rant about a lot of things, but math is not one of them. Math is actually my kryptonite. It burns.

    Reply
  4. What a beautiful post. Pontifus you make me feel so good about blogging anime.

    I rather enjoy how bloggers reveal themselves directly – as opposed through having to decode them through what they don’t say.

    You make it a success in the same terms you described for Athena’s moment: sufficiently cheesy, neither particularly bad or good, full with the possibility for love. You brought an awkward symmetry if that’s possible: and the fact that I see it, makes me feel so good to be me.

    So fuck you Pontifus, for introducing me to Aria and making me feel things I never asked anime blogs to make me feel. Favorite post of the fucking year.

    Reply
  5. 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.

    Yeeeah, I had to stop myself from having each day be Aria. Seriously, thirteen episodes of the Origination this year? I could have blogged one a day for this 12 days thing. And I wouldn’t have been exaggerating when I would have said that “yeah, these twelve moments are simply better than any other anime I’ve seen this year,” because I really believe that.

    But I held myself back and now I only have two Aria moments in my twelve.

    Ahhh well.

    Anyway, good post Pontifus. ghostlightning already played the sycophant so I won’t bother with that but yeah. Nicely done :)

    Reply
  6. @ lolikit

    I ain’t done playing the sycophant (what a dirty sounding word for fanboying) for this post. I’ll pimp this post to the high heavens.

    Reply
  7. Pontifus

     /  15 December 2008

    @ghostlightning

    And here I was thinking this post might not have turned out very well. Maybe I was wrong. But thank you; my writing is habitually pseudo-formal, so I may have trouble expressing it, but it means a lot to me to hear that someone could’ve gotten so much out of something I wrote. Your comment is now in my “stuff to read when trying to make a life out of writing seems futile” queue.

    The real test, though, I suppose, is whether I can make you feel things you never asked anime blogs to make you feel again.

    @lolikitsune

    It’s kind of a good thing that I still haven’t watched the second and third seasons of Aria; I really don’t know if I could’ve resisted writing about Aria twelve times in as many days. But I will watch them soon, since I only have a few more blog posts about Animation planned, so we’ll see what my twelve moments of 2009 look like.

    Reply
  8. I love Athena. If I ever figure out how to make a futuristic martian gondolier uniform, I’ll cosplay as her.

    Reply
  9. Remembering that makes it even more of a shame that the singer seiyuu for Athena, Eri Kawai, died earlier this year. :/

    Reply
  10. Pontifus

     /  16 December 2008

    @Baka-Raptor

    And the world shall bow to your sexiness.

    @TheBigN

    T-T

    Reply
  11. I rewatched this episode just now for a picker-upper and I remembered love, and also my favorite post of fucking 2008. Fucking fuckity fucking fuck. *BROSHIDOFIST* (‘_’)=эє=(∞)

    Aria isn’t the most appropriate anime for #BROFISTING, but I don’t fucking care.

    Reply
    • Pontifus

       /  31 March 2009

      2008 was a good year, and I was feeling it during these posts. Unfortunately now I’m beleaguered by real life and such. Who the hell does 2009 think I am, etc. etc.

      Also, you just reminded me that I haven’t even started the second season yet. Someday…

      Reply
      • Just started Origination last night. You not watching Natural is like a thirsty man refusing a fine scotch because it’s too good a drink. Get on a damn gondola and let the girls do their work.

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