14 months after volume five, TokyoPop has brought out the sixth volume of the Aria manga.
Akari is spending her second winter on Aqua. Life has settled into a pattern of daily practice with her friends Aika and Alice.
This volume contains stories familiar to fans of the anime, and, I’m afraid the manga suffers a bit in comparison. The stories here are: Alice discovering Maa; Akari considering a ride on the Galactic Express; the Three Water Fairies reminiscing about their apprentice days (and how rarely they are able to take time to sit together over cocoa these days — a prospect that’s a bit daunting to their three apprentices); President Aria’s adventures in a gender-swapped alternate universe; Akari transports a gondola full of Neo-Venetian glass; and “What Makes Alicia So Magical?”.
Kozue Amano’s art is clean, and her principal characters are as lovely as ever. Still, the anime managed to bring more magic to most of these stories. Here in the manga, the Night on the Galactic Railroad story is a bit goofy (or perhaps I should say akary) the anime managed to make it just a little creepy (you give a little sigh in relief when Akari gives her train ticket to a cat forlorn at being forced to say farewell to its friends as they board the train).
The printing is okay — Amano’s lines come through crisply and clearly. There appear to be some monochrome reproductions of what were probably color plates in the Japanese editions, and these look a bit disappointing. Plus TokyoPop uses an ugly modernist font for the title of the book.
There is a preview of volume seven at the back of the book. Hopefully it will come out before 2013.