What They Say:
Get ready for cute girls and serious weapons in the brand-new spinoff from the hit series, Aria the Scarlet Ammo!
Akari Mamiya wants to become a powerful BUTEI like her idol, Aria Kanzaki, but her skills are…lacking. In fact, she’s just a lowly E-rank student at Tokyo Butei High School, and her chances of getting to the top are slim. Determined to be more than she is, she makes the move to become Aria’s Amica and receive training to be just like her! But is the double pistol-wielding ace ready to take on the challenge of teaching?
Between the struggles of high school and intense training, Akari must work her hardest to prove she’s worthy of being Aria’s Amica and ready to be a true BUTEI! Which is way easier said than done. Luckily, with her friends close by her side, anything is possible! But anyone can become your enemy—even your closest allies.
When danger lurks around the corner, Akari must master the power within her to protect her friends and herself. All while facing the truth of her past.
There are two audio tracks here, both in Dolby TrueHD: English 5.1 and Japanese 2.0. For this viewing, I listened to the English track. The sound quality was very good with no discernable issues.
The episodes are presented in 1080p High Definition 16:9 (HD Native) and they look very good. The colors pop and there are no issues with seeing what’s happening on the screen at all.
Aria the Scarlet Ammo AA comes in a standard Blu-ray case. The twelve episodes are spread over two Blu-ray discs that are housed on the inside of both the front and back covers. Akari and Aria stand in the foreground against a red background, both posing and holding guns and looking both deadly and cute as buttons. The spine has the show’s title in red over a white background, which really makes it pop on the shelf. The back cover features the standard show summary, stills from the series, cast and crew credits, and Blu-ray specs. Pretty standard packaging here, but that’s not a dig. It’s well-designed, has a clear and pleasing aesthetic, and it doesn’t take up much room on the shelf, so that’s all wins in my book.
The menu is the same on both discs and is nicely minimalistic. It’s actually the same image as the cover. Akari and Aria stand in the foreground against a red background, both posing and holding guns and looking cute as buttons, in this writer’s opinion. Gun-toting buttons, but you get it. The menu resides in the bottom fourth of the screen with three options: Play All, Episodes, and Setup on the first disc, and Extras on the second disc. It’s easy to navigate and looks cool, which is all I ask from Blu-ray menus.
Nothing to write home about here. Clean Op/Eds, trailers, and that’s about it. Given that this is an “Essentials” title, that’s not surprising or disappointing.
Aria the Scarlet Ammo AA (God, I love anime titles) is a spinoff of Aria the Scarlet Ammo, a manga and anime series based on the light novel series by Chūgaku Akamatsu and illustrated by Kobuichi. Aria is a student at a specialized school in Japan that trains young men and women to be Buteis—super-powered police who combat the rising tide of criminality the world at large faces. Aria’s specialty is dual-wielding two M1911 pistols, and being all cute and sassy. She’s a bit of a legend in the Butei world, and thus has many admirers, especially Akari Mamiya.
Akari wants nothing more than to be Aria’s Amica (basically, her trainee). The problem is Akari is a Type-E, the lowest rank of skills and powers at Butei High. There’s no reasonable way that she would become Aria’s Amica, and yet she does. When she’s not fangirling out over Aria, she proves herself surprisingly capable. In fact, more capable than a Type-E should be, which is one of the reasons why Aria takes her on. Aria knows that Akari is hiding secrets, and it turns out those secrets could endanger everyone the girl knows and loves.
Aria the Scarlet Ammo AA is a little difficult to get a bead on at first. When I first put in to review the show, I thought that it was going to be like Gunslinger Girl–a show where young women are turned into trained assassins. While this series does feature girls in school uniforms going around and toting guns, it has more in common tonally with shows like Azumanga Daioh or K-On!, shows I typically refer to as “cute girls doing cute things”; only this time the cute things are learning how to shoot and foiling international crime syndicates. Po-tate-oh, po-taht-oh, I guess.
Which isn’t to say that this is a bad show, it’s just more basic than I anticipated. It’s definitely a bildungsroman where Akari must find the confidence and strength within to achieve her goals. The series hits the standard story beats with the general anime flourishes, and it’s all entertaining, but, for me, quite forgettable.
There’s also quite a bit more fanservice in this show than I anticipated (although that might be on me). Fanservice didn’t use to bother me too much, but knowing that I’m a forty-year-old man watching high school girls in revealing school uniforms and whatnot kind of changes the experience. The show also features the kind of psycho Sapphic desire that I’ve seen in quite a few animes like this, where two or more of the supporting characters are absolutely gaga over the protagonist to the point where they engage in ridiculous Three’s Company-esque schemes to get her attention. That also got a little old after a while.
Aria the Scarlet Ammo AA is a good show if you’re looking for some light fanservice mixed with action, superpowers, and a decent coming-of-age plot. The show doesn’t re-invent the wheel, but it’s a fun twelve episode series that doesn’t overstay its welcome. Dr. J gives this a…
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Content Grade: B-
Audio Grade: A
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A
Menu Grade: A
Extras Grade: C
Released By: Funimation
Release Date: March 26th, 2019
Running Time: 300 minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
TCL 50S425 50 inch 4K Smart LED Roku TV, Sony Playstation 4 w/HDMI Connection