I've been really enjoying the ARIA the ANIMATION DVDs. One of the really nice extras is two sets of interviews with the voice actresses - one with the actresses for the main characters (the apprentice Undines) and one with the supporting characters (the Primas).
The Primas interview mentioned that the actresses all received complete sets of the manga when they were cast in the roles. It is clear from the discussion that this is not normal practice - apparently "buy your own" and/or photocopies seems to be more common.
It struck me that this may be why, to me at least, ARIA the ANIMATION has such a soul. The creators of the anime were seeking to capture the spirit of the manga and wanted the cast to share it before the recording started.
And it started me wondering: what other little things did the creative team do behind the scenes that I'll never see, never know about, but that nevertheless contributed to that sense of wonder that, in the words of one of the Primas, "heals the soul"?