On the planet Aqua lies the watery city of Neo Venezia, a tourist hub in which people travel around in gondolas. Professional gondoliers known as Undines are well-revered as they act as tour guides for the people. Akari Mizunashi is a gondolier in training and also an employee of Aria Company. She gets to meet all sorts of people as she takes them on the gondola rides, from friendly mentors to special individuals, all this admidst the beautiful scenic backdrop of the entire city.
On the anniversary of Aria Company's founding, Akari and Alicia visit one of its former Primas, Anna, on Neo-Burano Island. Alicia tells Akari how Anna fell in love with a fisherman named Alberto who was visiting the city. Anna admits she was lonely, the first few years on an island where she knew no one, but says eventually she met other women through lace-making. Grandma Akino arrives as a surprise visitor for dinner. After dinner, Grandma tells the story, shown in a flashback, of when she, then Himeya Company's undisputed top Prima for 14 years, first meets President Aria on a seawall staring out at the water. She tries talking to him several times, but doesn't find out what he is waiting for. On a rainy night, she finds him still sitting and shelters him with her umbrella through the night, and as the sun rises she realizes it had been the first time in a while she had spent time just sitting.
When Aika berates Akari for not taking practice seriously, saying at this rate Alicia will scold her, Akari says Alicia has never scolded her, nor even gotten angry. This startles Alice and to learn why she begins stalking Alicia—inventing lame excuses when she gets caught—but can't figure it out. After a week, Alice meets Alicia at a cafe and at Alicia's prompting asks her directly. In response, Alicia asks President Aria to give a candy to a girl at another table, and they watch him get distracted by sparrows and the waiter before finally succeeding, for which Alicia praises him. She then has him deliver another candy to another customer and praises him for being even faster. Alicia explains that criticizing people makes them fear making mistakes, and so she prefers encouragement over correction. She then says that if President Aria had continued making mistakes, she would have reflected on how she was instructing him wrong, and that teaching and being taught are very much alike.Watch Now:iTunes
During a study session, Akari learns that the interior decor of Caffè Florian was transported entire from Venice, and mentions she's never been inside despite knowing the owner. They visit during a break, and spot a candy-seller's cart in the Piazza San Marco. When a boy trips and drops his candy, the seller gives him a replacement bottle, but Akari still feels sorry for the chocolates spilled on the ground. Inside the cafe, Akari is impressed by the art. Some time later, Akari sees the candy-seller looking at the renovations to the Ca' d'Oro, and is disappointed he hasn't been selling since that first day. One morning Akari meets him outside the Piazza cafe, where he begins selling again, and he thanks her for her chance remark about the spilled chocolate, which reminded him of how he once wanted to give his customers joy, and says that after wandering the city's sights he figured out better packaging for his sweets. He treats her to a latte, and Akari realizes that Caffè Florian's art contains their creators' feelings, just like his chocolates, and the latter bring just as much beauty to the Neo-Venezia.
An older woman, Amarantha, requests a tour from Akari, who stays up late planning her route. At next morning's practice, Aika suggests the commission is suspicious, and Alice speculates it's an inspector from the Gondola Association. When Amarantha arrives, she requests Akari show her the Neo-Venezia that only she can. Aika and Alice follow them secretly. Akari takes Amarantha to a spot where a statue appears to cradle the floating climate-control island, and the woman shows her an even better vantage where two statues seem to hold it up together. Throughout the tour, Amarantha is shown knowing more about the city than Akari, and when Akari ends it by taking her to an abandoned monastery garden that ran wild after the water rose, Amarantha has Akari go through a door that leads to another flooded courtyard covered by a wisteria in bloom. Akari is disappointed to learn that Amarantha already knew everything she's been shown, but Amarantha thanks her for a tour that showed the Neo-Venezia she loves. Aika and Alice are discovered, and Alicia tells the trainees that Amarantha likes to test Singles, and once tested herself, Akira, and Athena as Singles.Watch Now:Amazon
Akari and Aika secretly observe Alice during her first day as a Prima, and when Alice asks how she was, Aika says she looked as stiff as a toy robot. To cheer Alice up, Akari invites her over for autumn moon-gazing. That night, Akari introduces her friends to Japanese Tsukimi customs, and Alice thanks her for helping her relax. When Al runs late, Alice teases Aika about inviting him, and Aika goes off flustered to find him. After they meet, Aika falls into a dry well, and when Al tries to pull her up he is pulled down instead, trapping them both. They are found by Maa, whom they send back to Alice for help. While waiting for rescue, they talk about Aqua's two moons, gravitation, and attraction, and it becomes apparent they are both attracted to each other. Akari and Alice eventually rescue them, and as they walk back to Aria Company, Al takes Aika's hand.
During their first practice after Carnevale, Alice speculates that Akari and Aika will take the Prima exam soon, but Akari is uncertain as she doubts her own skills after watching Alicia. Alicia receives a package of jam from satisfied Carnevale customers and invites Akira, Athena, Aika, and Alice to tea to share it. In a flashback, Akari tells the others how Alicia impressed the customers (and Akari) by accurately predicting when snow would start falling. In flashbacks, Aika describes how Akira saved a dancing customer from falling out of the gondola, and Alice how Athena stopped a toddler's tantrum by making funny faces. The three trainees admit they have a long way to go as undines, and their mentors tell them they themselves have more to learn, saying that if you're ever satisfied with your performance, you will never improve—the best thing to do is cherish the fact that there's more to learn and have fun along the way. On the balcony afterward, the trainees recall that this last was Grandma Akino's advice, and from inside their mentors watch them and conclude that their students will be wonderful undines, like none seen before in Neo-Venezia.Watch Now:iTunes
Alice tells Akari and Aika she won't be at practice tomorrow because she invited Athena on a picnic. That night Alice makes elaborate preparations, but in the morning Athena leaves for work at dawn without speaking with her. When Athena finally returns, in her disappointment Alice snaps at her then accidentally rips the invitation, and in the ensuing fuss Athena slips and falls. Alice calls Akari and Alicia for help in a panic, and when they arrive, they learn that Athena has amnesia from hitting her head and cannot remember anyone around her. As they talk, her memories slowly come back, starting with President Aria and Alicia. To further jog her memories, they take her to familiar places, and by the end of the day she remembers everyone but Alice. When Athena asks what she was to Alice, the latter breaks down in tears, and Alicia makes Athena reveal she'd been faking amnesia to find out how Alice feels about her.
When Alice leaves Orange Planet, Athena notices she doesn't stay with the other Pairs but goes off alone. After practice Akari and Aika visit Alice and Athena's dorm room, and when it becomes late without their noticing, Athena invites them to stay the night. That evening, Alice notices that Athena is more clumsy than usual and accuses her of being happy, and Athena says it's because Alice seems to be having fun with her friends. Alice receives an invitation to a party with other Pairs, but turns it down despite Akari's urging because she thinks they're jealous of her talent as a younger undine. Athena tells her that people are like mirrors, and that they reflect her fear of being rejected, which she sees as envy. After watching Maa go to great effort to climb onto a bed to bite President Aria's belly, Alice resolves to try to smile more and attend the party.Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
To get more gondola practice while Alicia is busy, Akari works on the traghetto ferry for the first time. One of the three Singles she's teamed with, Atora, gives her a candy to calm her nerves and says she can observe from the shore for a while. Another, Anzu, is gloomy and Atora tells Akari it's because she recently failed the Prima exam yet again. Anzu says that while she's depressed at the moment, she hasn't given up, and Akari tells her she thinks Alicia hasn't tested her yet because of her own lack of skill. When Akari takes a turn rowing, the other three realize she's actually very good, capable of balancing the traghetto with its standing passengers on her own. At the end of the day, they praise her rowing ability and tell her she'll be a Prima soon. Atora tells Anzu they all should be Primas and criticizes their examiner at Orange Planet as too strict. After talking about how discouraging it was to fail the exam six months ago, with the encouragement of the others, Atora agrees to take the exam again.
Two weeks after Alice's promotion to Prima, Akira hears some Himeya Singles gossip about how Aika, the heir to the company, is handling "losing" to a competitor. Akira worries over whether Aika is holding up, but has difficulty talking about it with her until Aika mentions she was present at Alice's promotion. Aika assures Akira she's been motivated by the competition and asks to be trained hard. Akira sets the date for Aika's Prima exam in a month, and says she won't forgive her if she, as the company's future queen, fails. Meanwhile, Alice is settling into her working life as an undine, but has little free time. She realizes it's been several days since she last saw Akari and Aika, at the moon-gazing, but can think of no excuse to call her friends, even though she misses them and is lonely. When Akari and Aika pay a surprise visit with a pizza, Akari tells Alice that being a friend is reason enough.
Akari tells Aika that practice has gotten lonely without Alice, and Aika apologizes that she can't practice either anymore: she's been promoted to Prima, with the title Rosen Queen, and will be managing a new Himeya Company branch office. When Akari tells Alicia, she wonders why Aika cried over this, and in response Alicia sets Akari's Prima exam for the next day. That night, Akari is too nervous to sleep and practices rowing until very late. In the morning it's raining, but Akari asks that the exam not be postponed, and by afternoon it has cleared enough to hold it. As Akari guides Alicia through the city, a number of friends greet her, and Akatsuki and Woody cheer her on from the Rialto Bridge. Alicia directs Akari down a very narrow, difficult channel, which she successfully negotiates, then gives Akari the choice of their final destination, which will determine what kind of Prima she'll be. Akari takes her to Aria Company, where Alicia thanks Akari for coming into her life and takes off Akari's glove, promoting her to Prima with the title Aquamarine, then says she has something important to tell her.
Akari is asked to deliver an old letter. With the help of Woody, a sylph (airborn deliveryman), she find its destination but discovers it is now under water. She and Alicia read the letter and learn that it is from a woman writing to her husband who was away working on the terraforming of Mars from before the oceans rose and the planet was renamed Aqua.Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
When Akari asks Alicia why Aria Company doesn't have a distinctive palina, or pole for hitching boats, Alicia doesn't know and suggests that Akari design one. Looking for inspiration, Akari searches the company archives and finds sketches for a palina design. Grandma Akino visits while in the city on business and tells her the sketch was made by one of her first employees, and was never executed because the company colors hadn't been decided. Akari comes up with a design in blue (for the sea and sky) and white, based on the old design and current company uniforms, and paints it herself. As they admire the new palina, Alicia says that one day, after she retires, Akari as a Prima will one day look at it with a junior employee of her own—at which time the palina will represent Akari as she is now. Akari replies that, no, Alicia is also part of the palina, and the original designer is as well.Watch Now:Amazon
During the annual flooding of Neo-Venezia, Akari is caught in a rain-shower away from home and shelters in her friend Aika's room at Himeya Company. Later, Aika gets in a fight with her strict mentor, Akira, and leaves to stay the night with Akari at Aria Company. In a flashback, Aika remembers her first meeting with Akari's mentor, Alicia, showing why she admires Alicia and wants to become an undine (gondolier).
When Akari gives a city tour as an undine under Alicia's supervision, her clients discover a flower garden she hadn't known about. After the tour, the three trainees search for more secret wonders of Neo-Venezia, during which Aika and Alice compete to show a wonder the other doesn't know. During that night's planned maintenance blackout, because Akari is afraid of the dark, Alicia sets out candles at Aria Company, turning it into 'another world', and offers to sleep in Akari's room. When Akari despairs about how little she knows and of ever reaching Alicia's level as an undine, Alicia tells a story of her own ignorance of the city when she was a Single, and a flashback shows Akino comforting her with advice on how to find hidden wonders in things held closely.Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
In the first half of a two-part episode, on a summer day hot enough to see mirages on the ocean, Akari goes shopping in the afternoon. Through the heatwaves, she sees the street suddenly empty of people and thinks she has wandered into a dream. She follows President Aria into a cool cafe where only iced milk is served, because it's a refuge for the city's cats where humans usually cannot go. When Akari leaves, she sees Cait Sith tip his hat to her, and then the cafe turns into a boarded-up building and the people return. In the second half, Akari buys a nightshine windchime, a summer specialty of Aqua with a noctilucent clapper. For the month its glow lasts, she takes it everywhere with her, and at night holds tea parties with President Aria in her gondola, using it as their light. When it begins flickering out, Alicia and Akari follow Neo-Venezian custom and row out into bay to let the clapper drop into the water when it dies.Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
During a routine inspection, Akari and Alicia are told that Akari's gondola is too worn-out for tourist service and should be sold as a freight hauler. When Akari asks to keep it just for training, she's told that the gondola would be happier if it were used daily instead of infrequently. At Alicia's suggestion, Akari takes the gondola on a "Goodbye, Gondola-san tour" of places where she has special memories it was involved in, shown in a series of flashbacks, including taking Akatsuki as her first paying customer and meeting Alice, ending with her retracing the route of her test for promotion to Single from before the series began. While descending a canal lock on her return, she falls asleep and dreams the spirit of the gondola appears and says it was fate that brought them together. As she returns to Aria Company, she is reminded of the first time she rowed the gondola.Watch Now:Amazon
A young girl, Ai, arrives at Aria Company and demands that Akari give her a gondola tour of the city of Neo-Venezia. When Akari protests that, as a single (journeyman), she is not allowed to guide customers without a supervisor, Ai insists she be taken as a "friend" instead of a "customer," and Akari gives in. As they tour the city, Akari realises from Ai's reactions that it is a miracle to like something you had previously disliked.
The next morning, Aika, Alice, and Akatsuki demand to know whether the news about Alicia is true, and Akari says yes, Alicia is retiring to get married and work for the Gondola Association. Alicia had delayed this until Akari became a Prima, and Akari blames herself for not becoming more reliable before now. Aika and Alice worry about Akari, but she says she'll be fine. The next several days are busy, as Alicia hands the running of Aria Company over to Akari. When Akari eventually breaks down crying, Alicia admits that Akari has long had the skills to be a Prima but she'd delayed the exam because she didn't want to leave Akari. Mr. Mailman, now retired himself, hires Akari for a tour, during which he offers to refer customers to her. At Alicia's retirement ceremony, all the undines of the city participate. The following morning, Akari sees Aria Company filled with memories of Alicia and her friends, then opens the reception-area shutter to let in her new beginning. In an afterword, Akari tells Ai what happens to the other characters—including Athena becoming an opera singer, leaving Akira the undisputed top Prima—ending with Ai's first morning as a new Pair for Aria Company.Watch Now:Amazon
During practice, Aika sees Akari chat easily with many acquaintances and Alice row with her exceptional skill, then watches Athena's singing make passers-by stop to listen and Alicia gracefully catch a hat blown by the wind. Alice calls their mentors' talents the sorts one can only be born with, which disturbs Aika. While helping Akira clean her room, Aika finds a photo of Akira as a Single with Athena and Alicia as Primas, and demands to know how she could smile despite being promoted last. Akira says that of course it was hard having such talented friends, and tells a story, shown in a flashback: After Athena's promotion, while worrying about being left behind, Akira unsuccessfully searches a clover bed for a four-leaf clover with the help a child who turns out to be Aika. The child then says if there's nothing there, you have to make up for it your own way and adds a rose petal to a three-leaf clover to make four leaves, and Akira concludes she has to make up for her talent through hard work. In the present, Akira gives Aika the clover keepsake as a good-luck charm for becoming a Prima, and Aika returns to practice with renewed determination.Watch Now:iTunes
During rowing practice on the first warm day of early spring, Aika, Akari, and Alice find a box in the base of a statue. Inside it is a note that sends them on a treasure hunt through the streets of Neo-Venezia. One clue leads them to Caffè Florian on Piazza San Marco that's the Venetian cafe (transported to Aqua) where cafe latte was supposedly invented, where Akari chats with a customer who calls himself an expert at enjoying the Piazza. After the shadow from the Campanile has moved far enough the three can find their next clue, he prays they discover a wonderful treasure. Their final clue leads them to a beautiful hillside view of Neo-Venezia, described as a "treasure in your heart". When they return the clues, so others can find this treasure for themselves, they notice marks indicating they are not the first to do so. Back at the Piazza, Alicia introduces the man as the cafe's owner, and he greets Akari as an "Expert in Happiness." In response to Akari's e-mail about the day, Ai calls Neo-Venezia a big treasure chest.Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
In the first half of a two-part episode, after Akari suggests that between the stairs might be a gate to a parallel world, President Aria squeezes through and finds himself in world where the other characters are of the opposite sex. When he realizes what has happened, he begins crying and runs back to Aria Company to try to return home through the stairs. The male Alicia finds him there and tries tossing him in the air to cheer him up, then the female Woody takes him up in her air-cycle, but drops him. When President Aria comes to, he is back home. In the second half, Akatsuki tells Alicia and Akari a story, seen in a flashback, about his younger brother as a boy, when he pretended to be an artificial human who was the "protector of Aqua".
Near the end of summer, Alicia (assisted by Akari) gives a tour to an older couple celebrating their wedding anniversary. The husband turns down his wife's suggestion of visiting Piazza San Marco after lunch and orders her to meet him at the harbor later in the afternoon. Later, Akari, Aika, and Alice meet him having an argument with a man who won't rent him the bucintoro boat for the "Marriage of the Sea" ceremony (performed in Neo-Venezia by the mayor instead of the Doge of Venice), which his wife has long wished to see. Akari offers to help the couple, using her gondola as a substitute, and the three trainees decorate it to the best of their abilities. Aika finds a volunteer band to play the music, and as they start the ceremony, Alicia, Akira, and Athena's customers ask to watch. Because the husband forgets to bring the ring, they use one bought by the wife that afternoon.Watch Now:Amazon
As Akari eats lunch alone on a hot midsummer day, she is joined by Akira, then Akatsuki, and then Al. As Akatsuki bickers with Akira, Al claims he was always hotheaded like that, and tells a story about Akatsuki, Woody, and himself when they all were boys, shown in a flashback: one time in a playground, they don't let two new kids play with them, but when one jumps off a swing further than Akatsuki can, he challenges that kid to a slide race, during which Akatsuki crashes and concedes defeat. Back in the present, Alicia (who overhears the story) says it brings back memories, and reveals the two kids were Akira and herself. Akari says that it's nice, the way the lives of the other four circle around and meet again, inside the large circle that is Aqua, and that she feels left out because she's been in Neo-Venezia for only a short time. Akari reassures Akari that she's already inside their circle of friends, at the center.Watch Now:Amazon
When Ai visits Akari for Neo-Venezia's Carnevale, she helps out at Aria Company. Before the festival starts, she sees President Aria leave by himself, and Akari tells her he'll be gone for the duration. On the first day of celebrations, Akari and Ai meet Casanova, the mysterious masked master of ceremonies of the Carnevale named after the historical figure. Later, on Ai's last day on Aqua, while talking with Aika and Alice they spot one of Casanova's attendants. They chase after him but Akari and Ai get separated from the others. Eventually they confront Casanova, who invites them to join his cheering procession for a while. When he eventually stops them from following any further, he gives them each a jasmine flower before revealing that President Aria is one of his attendants, and that he is Cait Sith, the legendary king of Aqua's cats. When Aika and Alice finally find Akari and Ai, they claim that Casanova is a fairy.Watch Now:iTunes