Ceres, Celestial Legend Vol. #02 - Mania.com

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  • Art Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: All
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 15.95
  • Pages: 192
  • ISBN: 1-59116-040-5
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Left to Right

Ceres, Celestial Legend Vol. #02

By Mike Dungan     December 14, 2004
Release Date: September 01, 2002

Ceres, Celestial Legend Vol.#02
© Viz Media

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Yu Watase
Translated by:Lillian Olsen
Adapted by:

What They Say
Shoot For The Heavens. Yu Watase, the immensely popular writer/artist of the shojo (girls') fantasy smash hit Fushigi Yugi: The Mysterious Play, has turned her creativity and wry send of humor to the horror genre with her anime/manga hit Ceres: Celestial Legend! Aya thinks she is a normal high-school girl until she finds out that she can transform into a vastly powerful "heavenly maiden" named Ceres...but Ceres is furious and out for revenge! In The Line of Fire...And Brimstone. Yuhi is a relatively popular young guy at his school, but his life is interrupted by the ominous premonition of his beautiufl sister-in-law, Suzumi. Off goes Yuhi to rescue the spunky high-school coed Aya Mikage, who is under a death sentence by her own family! The rescue goes well, but soon Suzumi relegates Yuhi to protecting the high-spirited young girl. Little does Yuhi guess that two personalities dwell within Aya's body - herself and the legendary celestial maiden, Ceres! Although Yuhi complains about Aya all the time, why does he get so jealous when the handsome mystery-man Toya is around? It couldn't be that he actually has feelings for Aya, could it?

The Review
The Review: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
In the first volume, Aya has returned home to see her mother. Her brother is hospitalized with serious injuries, and her father died protecting her. She wants to see her mother, to make sure she's alright. Unfortunately, her mother believes Aya killed her father and attacks her with a knife. The attack allows Ceres to take over Aya and try to kill every Mikage she sees. Yuhi, the only person there who's not a Mikage, tries to find a way to make Aya come back to herself before she succeeds. He's successful, but how he does it comes as a surprise to everyone.

Aya returns to the Aogiri house, but in the meantime, her twin brother Aki escapes from the Mikages. Toya finds him and instead of returning him, gives him a chance to see his sister. It's a happy reunion, but after they go to sleep holding hands, Ceres manifests and attempts to kill Aki. Yuhi once again brings Aya back to herself, but now that Aki sees what is going on with Aya, he agrees to stay away from her. When he leaves, Aya takes off running after him, but Toya stops her. He brings her back to his apartment where he explains more about Ceres and his involvement with the Mikage family.

The next morning, she calls Yuhi to come and get her. He's not too happy about things, seeing how he feels about her and that she's just spent the night with Toya. But they uses the opportunity to follow Toya to the Mikage office building downtown. They want to know more about what's going on and manage to get inside. Aya is seperated from Yuhi and Mrs. Q, who have to find another way in. Once inside, Aya is confronted by Kagami, her cousin and second-in-command of the Mikage corporation. He is attempting to make Ceres manifest so he can use her for his own ends. He wants to gather all the descendents of the various celestial maidens to make the Mikage corporation even more powerful. He manages to make Ceres manifest, despite Aya's efforts to stop it, but Ceres is incapacitated. Yuhi finds her, though, and is able to help her escape.

Aya returns to school, but has a vision of a girl in flames. She's able to sense where she is and finds her. She's passed out, but she's otherwise all right. They take her to the school infirmary, where the new school doctor is none other than Toya, who has been given the medical knowledge of a doctor to allow him to go undercover and keep an eye on her.

Yu Watase's Ceres: Celestial Maiden (Ayashi no Ceres) is a gothic horror tale turned on it's ear, featuring a modern ko-gal in present day Japan. The combination is excellent, though at first I found Aya a little hard to sympathize with. But her struggle to not let Ceres take over herself made her a lot more likeable. Watase has a great sense of humor, with plenty of gags spread throughout. The character of Mrs. Q, the Aogiri family's driver/maid/comic relief is a good example, proving herself useful in the strangest ways. Watase's art is familiar to just about everyone, with both Ceres and Fushigi Yugi being made into popular anime titles as well as being popular manga titles. She draws powerful action scenes, beatifully romantic scenes, and layers it all with a lushly rich story.

The volume I'm reviewing is the original printing of the book, in Viz's older-style $16 A5-sized book. As such, it collects several volumes of the the original comic book release from 2001/2002. This means all the art is flipped to read left to right, and all sound effects are translated and retouched into English. There is a full page summary of the previous volume, and a page of character profiles. In the back is a profile of the author. The English adaptation reads well. A couple of Japanese pop-culture references have been changed to make them more accessible to American readers, but there is a small index that explains what the original references were and why they were changed. It all seems a bit unnecessary. You might as well just leave them as is if you're going to explain them anyway. The art reproduction is good, though not great. Some details are grainy, and moiring of screentones is prevalent. The cover is an image of Aya with her hair up and Yuhi, both in kimonos and looking slightly disshevled. It's set against a parchment-like background with the English logo written above it. The back cover has a small chibi image of Yuhi in the corner with a lot of text placed over the parchment-look background.

Ceres is a great story of love and mystery, horror and comedy. Watase's art is beautiful, and she knows just what heart-strings to tug and just how far to tug them. After a bit of hesitation, I found myself strongly sympathizing with Aya and her struggles, and each volume has been a great read. Now reprinted with unflipped art and and priced at only $10, it's an even better bargain.


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