Production Studio: J.C.Staff
Was this provided by the publisher? Yes
More Info: Anime News Network
Are you a fan of girls with guns? Do you like wild and crazy adventures with a hint of real-life issues and a pinch of mystery? Do you love the art of “anime physics?” Aria the Scarlet Ammo can provide you with all of those things and more. The series was released back in… 2011? Where have I been!? I hadn’t heard of Aria until it was assigned to me!
Aria the Scarlet Ammo kicks things off with a literal bang, as viewers are thrust into the action. The series starts off with the foppish Kinji Toyama, who finds that the bike he is riding to school has a bomb attached to it, which brings me to my first point…
Viewer be warned, there are tons of gags that reference 1994 action flick Speed. Somehow, though, they work beautifully in the context of the show’s over-the-top antics.
Now where was I? Oh, yes! The series is set in the a mysterious school known as “Butei High,” where students are taught the ins and outs of the deadly arts. Aria Holmes Kanzaki, a transfer student from London, is one of the institute’s brightest students. In her rise to the top, though, Aria became somewhat of an outcast on campus. Lately, though, a mysterious murderer known only as the “Butei Killer” has resurfaced and has been targeting students of the school. Aria has taken it upon herself to take him down, no matter the cost. Will she be able to bring the Butei Killer to justice and find a partner she can depend on?
Aria the Scarlet Ammo is a rare series that is able to cater to both ends of the gender spectrum. For the guys, there’s an overload of action and fan service. For the ladies, a truly hysterical romantic comedy awaits.
The series is peppered with numerous historical and literary influences, which hints at a world that’s much larger and richer than presented to the viewer. For example, the opening credits offer a brief flash of 221B Baker Street, the famous address at which Sherlock Holmes resided. There are plenty of tidbits of this nature, which will have literary buffs squealing with excitement.
And, let’s face it. After Benedict Cumberbatch, the number of Sherlock Holmes fans in the world multiplied faster than bunnies in heat.
While there are nods to Kinji and Aria’s historical pedigrees – Arsène Lupin and Sherlock Holmes, respectively – little was really done with either, outside of lip service. I was a bit disappointed. From a fangirl’s perspective, the phrase “go big or go home” really does fit. If references are going to be made, we need to be given more than the bare minimum.
This is a minor complaint, though, as Aria The Scarlet Ammo could carry itself without the name drops. The show’s hysterical dialogue and over-the-top antics were a joy to watch, even if they went a bit too far at times. I half-expected Kinji to comment that he was related to City Hunter’s Ryo Saeba. Kinji’s character is awkward and girl-crazed until he hits “hysteria-mode”, at which time he becomes quite serious and charismatic – both of which are characteristics of Shinjuku’s infamous gun-for-hire.
If I were to pick a favorite episode, it would have to be “The Butei Come and Train at the Hot Spring” (I really had to stop myself with the “boot-ay” jokes as I watched this series). This was a side-story OVA, which provides a welcome break from the “shoot-em-up” main story to place the cast into a fun, teen-horror plot.
What can I say? I’m a sucker for good horror anime.
All the same, the anime has more to offer than these little Easter eggs. I was able to feel for the characters as well. The trials they face hit home, particularly for those who grew up in the shadows of another person. One has to feel for poor Kinji. who lives with both a yandere and a tsundere. That has to take a toll on a person’s mental well-being.
That said, Shirayuki totally stole the show. While yandere is a touchy subject, Shirayuki’s able to play the part beautifully. She’s so sweet when she’s being adorable, that one can almost forgive her for the sheer amount of crazy she radiates on a daily basis. – almost.
On the visual end of things, I want to give props to the artists for their obsessive attention to detail in and accuracy of the firearms in the series. It’s a specific that is often overlooked in other weapons-based shows.
Aria the Scarlet Ammo was one of those shows that had me wishing there was more. With only thirteen episodes in the first season, I was left wanting another by the time the final credits rolled. It’s a great, re-watchable series that kept a fantastic pace through its entire run. The characters – even the crazy ones – are endearing, and the finale leaves the viewer wondering what awaits for these incredible teens once the cameras turn away.