Note: After talking to a few bloggers on IRC, I have changed my episode review slightly. I will still cover the episode summary in a briefer fashion and write more about my thoughts about the episode and the characters inside. Thanks for the comments and reflections!
As we looked out into the sky, have we ever wondered about the beauty of the sky. Has life become so frentic and busy that we do not have time to enjoy ourselves. What is life if full of care, if we have no time to stare at the marvels of this world? This is the question that this episode is trying to ask us. Sometimes, the only thing we need to do is to simply slow down in the rat race and relax in the surroundings that we are in.
Episode summary and my little incoherent thoughts below!
Autumn had started in the world of Aria and the cool wind brings about a spirit of melchanoly around Aika, who was feeling a little troubled due to the weather. She had been puzzled that the combined training had been repetitive and was starting to worry that she would not be a good prima anytime soon. Aika wanted to be like the legendary water fairy, the one that had been first in the undine world before Alicia’s time. Akari did not know who she was, but was told by Aika that she was the pioneer, the Aria undine before Alicia.
Alicia then came out with drinks for the three of them and they asked for Alicia’s advice or the grandmother’s advice on being a good undine. Alicia said simply.
“Why dont you meet the grandmother herself to ask her?”
The three girls had a break given by Alicia and they travelled through the railway on a train in order to get to the “grandmother”. The grandmother was waiting for them in the mountain stop and they went over, with Aika excited over the possible training that was approaching them. When Aika said whether the grandmother wanted them to do anything, the grandmother asked them to pick up chestnuts at a nearby area.
Aika thought that it was training in order to perceive which chestnut was good for picking (trust her warped mind to figure this out) but the other two girls picked up as many as they could. When they came back, the grandmother asked whether they picked up lots just as to roast them. Their next task was to get sweet potatoes on the field and Aika thought it was training once again, in which she was explaining the mechanism of getting a sweet potato. Aika really had to learn how to relax.
It was now cooking time and they enjoyed the sweet potato and chestnuts that they have picked up. As they rested after the whole thing, Aika started to think whether it was the right time to do, to enjoy all this when they were supposed to work hard. However, Akari simply said that it was fun to do it. Dinner time and they had a good dinner.
Aika thought that it was really time for the words of wisdom from the grandmother but all she got was a bath that was heated by firewood. As they finished their bath, they were moved to another room to take some rest at an early time. Aika was starting to worry that she was not going to be a proper prima soon. She was also thinking that the grandmother felt that they were not good enough to be taught.
Alice suddenly opened the door, as they went out to observe the night sky. they were looking at it, with the beautiful skyline meeting them. The grandmother came out and noticed that the three girls were still awake. Talking to them, she asked them what was the special thing about Alicia. Aika said that it was Alicia’s skilful oarring and that Alicia was taught properly by the grandmother. However, the grandmother said that it was simply that Alicia was able to enjoy everything, no matter sad or happy things. The grandmother then asked them whether they enjoy being in a Gondola. They said yes and the grandmother simply said, “Then there is nothing else I can teach you.”
A beautiful episode. I like the part where they talk about how people enjoy things. Actually, it is really true. The people who succeed do their things well because they enjoy every single thing that comes at them. Alicia often takes a casual, relaxed mood toward anything that happens to her. In that case, there was never a point of time to despair and get panicky for nothing. In fact, it was probably why Alicia can always seem so happy, simply because she was simple and appreciate whatever she has.
That is the same as Akari. Akari is not as talented as Alice and Aika in terms of sailing but she was always able to enjoy whatever she has, and her beautiful smile was a clear indication of the pureness of her heart within. She is simple and unsophiscated, with the keen eye to enjoy whatever life has to offer. That is probably why in an earlier episode, the thing about “the master takes over the student” not only applies to Aika and Akira, but also Alicia and Akari. They were the same type of people, simply in a different form of maturity.
In this episode, it is really amusing to see Aika’s antics because she was always thinking of mundane things as training. Her desire to work hard is admirable though and I must say that the continued attempts to move up the ladder is something that I should learn. However, the episode also showed one simple rule. When people are blinded by trying to succeed, they lose focus of their lives when they do not see results and they started to turn melancholic. This was exactly what happened to the genki Aika, even though she was disillusioned by the sheer need to succed, finally found the bridge in which to go back to the roots of the problem.
In order to work well, you have to enjoy what you do.
That is probably what the whole episode tries to tell us. Success might be important but it should not be a goal. It should simply be a side benefit but the real measure of success is the process and the journey. It is not the end product.