Anyway, we still have lots of manga to talk about!
I remember so little about the circumstances surrounding our translating this manga that I had to pull up the email where we got the assignment. Based on that email, there's not really much to say (which is actually the case for most of our TokyoPop assignments from here on out). This one is slightly unique in that...actually, never mind. It's not unique at all. Apparently, there was another translator originally assigned to the project. I guess what makes it unique is that that translator had to give up the assignment before volume one, and so we got to translate it from the beginning.
We had had prior experience with this series, because there was an anime of its sequel. This is another one of those series that started out as an Enix series, and then switched publishers before it was over, probably because Enix merged with Squaresoft to become Square-Enix. So by the time it had gathered enough attention to be animated, it was Aria, no longer Aqua. But of course the premise is the same. In the future, terraforming or something made Mars habitable, but when they melted all the ice, the planet became a water-world, so all the cities there are like Venice, and the planet has been renamed to Aqua. The series takes place in Neo Venezia, and focuses on Akari, the newest recruit at the Aria gondolier company. (We checked Wiktionary to see if there's a term for female gondoliers, because all the gondoliers on Aqua are women, but we couldn't find anything. It doesn't matter too much, though, because in this series, they're all known as Undine.) It's one of those soothing series, with just a little bit of fantasy.
I remember for this series we tried to get a little more into the Italian theming. Since it doesn't take place in a Japanese-style world, when characters used things like -chan, we thought it would be neat to use the Italian equivalent. It would have worked really well to have Alicia call Akari "Akarina" (plus it sounds just like that neat musical instrument!), but the other main character was Aika, and that would not have worked nearly as well. (We also suggested calling Alicia "Alethea," but only because there's another character in Aria named Athena, and that would have been cool. But Alicia is more Italian, so.)
Except for the Italian stuff (which wasn't really in the Japanese version anyway, and we didn't spend that much time on it) and the opening narration, this series was very easy. It was more of a visual series--immersing you in the world of Aqua through pictures--than a dialogue-driven series. I don't remember exactly how easy, so I'll give it a three, just because. I seem to remember having a difficult time looking up information about the...cat kingdom? With a cait sith? Something about an Irish legend? But other than that it was all "life on Aqua."
I don't remember any of the characters enough to really choose a favorite, but I do remember liking Alicia.
We didn't translate Aria at all. I imagine our boss assigned it to whoever it was that was going to translate Aqua, but since names were not named, we may never know.
Today I'm thankful for getting to try peanut butter Poptarts, already having plenty of tobatsu points in the current Kingdom Hearts [chi] event, getting to finish the reading session that had been interrupted yesterday, nobody being injured in the Page vs Storm clash last night (there's not a whole lot to tell about that--we heard cats yelling, ran to check it out, and there they were, facing off), and a high probability of getting to play Ace Attorney tonight.