Monday, October 15, 2001

Ayashi no Ceres (Ceres, Celestial Legend)

Genre: Drama
Parental Guidance Recommended
2000. Yuu Watase (original story). Studio Pierrot. WOWOW.

Screenshots courtesy of Ryeka.

Ayashi no Ceres DVDs
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Everything Ayashi no Ceres

Cover Description:
It is said that one day, the Tennyo came down from the sky and a man stole her hagoromo (feathered robe) so she cannot go back to the her home in the heavens. The legend of the Tennyo (heavenly maiden) is known to be a legacy of the Mikage family. A dark legacy such that divided fraternal twin brother and sister Aki and Aya Mikage.

When the Mikage realize that the Tennyo named Ceres's power manifests within Aya, a member of her family named Kagami quickly leads on to protect Aki, now known as the Mikage's chosen descendant and at the same time, take down Ceres because she seeks revenge on those who have stolen her hagoromo.

In all these struggles, Aya meets Tooya, a emotionless man with no memories, working for Kagami and the Mikage. Tooya has a special power, one such that makes him invulnerable even to Ceres's power. But if he is the enemy, why is his attachment to Aya growing? Is his special power a threat to Aya and Ceres?

This is one thing Yuuhi Aogiri, Aya's appointed protector by his sister Suzumi, also a woman with Tennyo powers, would not risk. The question remains: How far would the Ceres go to retrieve her hagoromo? What happens to the Tennyo legend that exists all over the world? And what mystery is there that binds Kagami, Aki, Yuuhi, Tooya and Aya together?

(24 episodes)

Still Magical yet more Mystery, more Suspense >>> by firesenshi

Yuu Watase, creator of Fushigi Yuugi, returns with another shoujo fantasy about another mystical legend. The story itself is so intricately woven, as in Yuu Watase style, where there are plots and twists here in there. I actually have a bit of trouble condensing my synopsis of the story above because the story does not only involve the legend of the Tennyo. A scientific aspect of why the Tennyo exists and has supernatural powers is also added to the story. In fact, you could say, this is somewhat like X-Men. X-Men? Yes, X-Men only in the regard that the supernatural powers have a scientific basis especially those of the same gene pool. Ayashi no Ceres however, is more intricately wrapped in legend. This aspect relates to a great part of the plot why Kagami Mikage wants to capture the Tennyo aside from the revenge aspect of the story with Ceres hunting the man who stole her hagoromo. This is actually JUST THE BACKGROUND story that the characters revolve around. The real suspense happens in the various struggles around between Aya and her alter, Ceres; Aya against Aki; Tooya against Yuuhi; and of course, Kagami against Aya and the other Tennyo. Other Tennyo, you ask? Yes, there are others. And their sub stories retold here are just as interesting.

As to the character design, as much as there are a lot of characters, I think that the character design is better in Fushigi Yuugi. It's just that FY has more variety in their characters, considering of course that each seishi there has their own personality and power. There are two bishounen here and I think you'll equally love them! Tooya and Yuuhi are two opposite sides of the coin, really, in their personalities. The differences in their personalities and roles in this anime add to the tension especially in their relationships with Aya. I just have one rant: Why Yuu Watase loves to put Hotohori (character from FY) type characters here is a downside for me. While I know this is shoujo anime which deals so much so with relationships, I'd rather she'd leave those types of things already.

The magical aspect is still pretty much shown here. However, there is more mystery, since the character designs of Aki, Aya and their alter-egos, especially that of Ceres, are revealed bit by bit in flashbacks. Actually, there is more action here than magic compared to FY. You see a lot more of Tooya running and slashing with his sword and Yuuhi defending Aya more than the magical transformations. At least, that's what I notice more. And as in the tradition of FY, you'll crave more after each episode because it leaves you hanging. What a refreshing thought though to creatively make the opening and ending credits where the song segways (slowly fuses) into the scenes. That's very good! Another warning though... there are a lot more bloody scenes here. The characters, upon looking at all the blood, say, " Hidoii..." (Terrible.) It is. I thought that almost nothing can shock me, having seen anime bloodier than this. But then I know this is shoujo. Don't worry, nothing too much to handle, but it is gorier with some deteriorating flesh scenes here and there than in FY.

Is this faithful to the manga? I believe it is. Of course, there are slight differences. If you condense like 14 volumes of manga into a 24 episode anime, you'll expect the story to be more fast paced and dialogues cut but I think it is totally faithful. Like literature translated to film, there are things you can do on screen that you can't do on paper. One is in the flashbacks. In the manga, the scenes there are cut into panels where one panel could only contain some few flashback drawings. In the anime, these can easily be executed by various cutscenes so you see more images in flashbacks. A lot of crucial scenes in the flashbacks I saw more in the anime than in the manga.

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 10; Story 8; Characters 9; Sounds 9

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