With the release of the second OVA we finally come to a part of the Avvenire OVAs that I have been anticipating the most ever since they were announced – the animation of one of my favorite and most moving scenes in the source manga, which is the final farewell scene between Akari and Cait Sith before she becomes a full fledged Prima Undine. And it absolutely did not disappoint. It was handled in such a lovely way … once again I found myself tearing up. Together with the animation of this great part of the manga, though, we get more material focusing around Ai – we get to have a glimpse at the beginning moments of her practicing with Aika and Alice’s students and singles (we got a glimpse of them briefly in the first Avvenire OVA) as well. And … it appears Cait Sith had his paw in that as well … interesting.

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The OVA opens with Akari returning to Aria Company from a guided tour, only to be greeted by an exuberantly excited Ai (with Aria-shachou in tow) running up to greet them as she is shouting something about “A miracle! A miracle!” After Akari gently reminds her that there are customers present the brakes are (temporarily) put on and Ai immediately helps the guests out of the gondola and even chats with them about how wonderful Neo-Venezia is – which tickled my funny bone, admittedly. After the customers head off to eat Akari asks Ai for more details, and it turns out that Ai may have had an unexpected glimpse of Cait Sith, and encountered the miracle in trying to catch up to him.

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The miracle in question was in Ai meeting up with two other Singles while catching a glimpse of what appeared to be Cait Sith’s shadow. Singles are “promoted apprentice Undines” who wear one glove – as distinct from “Pairs”, who are “unpromoted apprentice Undines” and wear two gloves, and Prima Undines, who are full-fledged professional Undines. Ai is a Single in training with Akari, and the two Singles she meets up with are Azusa and Anya. Azusa is a Single studying under Aika and Anya is studying under Alice. This is the beginning of a third generation of Undines practicing together … Alicia -> Akari -> Ai; Akira -> Aika -> Azusa; and Athena -> Alice -> Anya. So after Ai, Azusa and Anya all introduce themselves to one another they decide to look for Cait Sith together, though they are unsuccessful. After searching without success, though, Ai works up the courage to ask Azusa and Anya if they could all practice together and is delighted when they happily agree.

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It is in the second half of the OVA that we were finally able to see what I had been hoping for for so long. After telling her story of meeting the other Singles Ai asks Akari more about Cait Sith, and after a moment Akari tells Ai about the final farewell meeting she had with Cait Sith back before she became a Prima. At one point she, Aika and Alice were speaking about Cait Sith himself, and thinking that being able to see him is something that goes away as one becomes older. Akari laments if that were so, and wishes she could she see him one last time. It is then that Alice remembers one of the “mysteries” of Neo-Venezia surrounding a large pavement stone regarded to be cursed that passerbys avoid. Well … long story short, Akari deliberately jumps on it and suddenly finds herself teleported miles and miles in the air above Neo-Venezia hurtling headlong towards the ground! But even more to her surprise, she finds Cait Sith is up in the air with her as well….

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Sure enough … Cait Sith has arranged for a final farewell with Akari, and it is obvious that the two of them dearly love one another (Akari cries with happiness at being able to say farewell for the last time but also knowing that it is farewell), having a bond as close as family. And even if Cait Sith were unable to appear in front of Akari thereafter, he would still be watching over her and caring for her. In parting he gives her a necklace with a beautiful little stone to remember their time together by, pulls her close to himself, and holds her all the way down to the ground, where Akari suddenly finds herself safe and sound in a gondola with Aria-shachou sitting next to her. As the episode closes Akari is showing Ai the necklace Cait Sith gave to her and the two of them continue to muse about how grateful they are to be on Aqua doing what they do.

I loved this episode, yes, but it also drove home the fact that there is only one more OVA of the Avvenire series to go before its end. Like Akari I am grateful for the opportunity to say goodbye, and will be smiling with happiness when looking back at how wonderful the series, but I also suspect that, again like Akari, I will be crying when it is over as well. See you all at the final Avvenire OVA!

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Currently the “oji-san” of the staff members age wise (in his mid 40’s) yet the most recent addition, he is also a Japanophile from his teen years while not quite an “otaku” who lives in the United States. Came to actively following anime late in life (in 2008), but in general loves the traditional arts, history and culture of Japan as a whole, both ancient and modern.

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