Ceres, Celestial Legend Vol. #03 - 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: 1-56931-862-X
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Left to Right

Ceres, Celestial Legend Vol. #03

By Mike Dungan     December 26, 2004
Release Date: January 01, 2003

Ceres, Celestial Legend Vol.#03
© 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! Suzumi is a prim and proper instructor of traditional Japanese dance. But her seemingly demure exterior doesn't fool anybody. Suzumi is as assertive and tenaciously tough-as-nails as they come, and she also just happens to be a descendent of a tennyo (celestial maiden). Although her powers are nowhere near as powerful as Ceres' Suzumi proves to be one of Aya's most valuable allies. Sensing that Aya is a kindred spirit and that she is in mortal danger, Suzumi takes Aya into the safety of her own household. But what Suzumi doesn't realize is that now, she is in just as much danger as Aya!

The Review
The Review: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
On her way to her new school, Aya has a vision of a girl engulfed in flames. Believing it's real, she rushes to the doctor's office, where Toya is undercover for the Mikages, working as the school doctor. While there, the school nurse bursts into flames and dies on the spot. The whole school is shaken by the incident. Then Aya sees the girl she originally had the vision about, Yuki Urakawa. She's socially awkward and not terribly popular, but she has a secret that Aya discovers. She's dating Mr. Hayama, the school's physics teacher. It's a secret that Aya promises to keep, but when photos of Hayama and Urakawa together are spread around the campus, she blames Aya for betraying her trust. When Arukawa begins using celestial powers, Aya realizes she's a descendent of Ceres and is forced to allow Ceres out to fight her.

It turns out that Kagami of the Mikage family has a project he's implementing called the C-Genome project. It's his goal to find and harness the power of all the celestial descendents, using Aya's own blood as a catalyst. The only problem is that only some of the people who have the powers can handle it. Most don't even know they have the blood, and their power never manifests. But Kagami isn't concerned if hundreds of people die, as long as he can control the ones who don't die. Yuhi's father and brother arrive at Suzumi's house to visit him and check on his condition after the tragedy at the school. His brother is a self-important letch, and his father is a very busy and powerful man. The relationship between Yuhi is a cold and tense one. When they leave, Suzumi goes with them to explain about Aya and why she's there. One the way there, they are attacked by the Mikage's, and Suzumi takes the wheel to elude them. At the Aogiri estate, the Mikages attack and capture everyone. Aya and Yuhi go there to try to rescue them, but they're captured, too. Once again, Ceres is unleashed, but this time, Aya allows her to come out willingly.

Yu Watase's Ceres: Celestial Maiden (Ayashi no Ceres) shojo horror at it's best. Aya is a regular girl forced to deal with her own extraordinary powers, and the vast greed of her own family. Watase's stories move along at a rapid pace, holding the reader's attention, even when it's just exposition. She skillfully blends action and comedy with romance, making a story that's difficult to put down. Her art is beautiful, with strongly portrayed characters and excellent composition. She's not afraid of showing the horror in her stories, which can be quite gruesome at times. The characters are what make Ceres work. Aya is a strong lead character, and the two men who love her are both worthwhile suitors. Toya is the quiet, mysterious stranger with no past who works for her family, and Yuhi is a high-schooler like herself, with excellent martial arts skills and a great chef as well. Mrs. Q is excellent comic relief, showing up at just the right time to keep the story from becoming taking itself too seriously. Suzumi is the perfect Japanese beauty, but her inner strength and mischievous nature makes her much more interesting.

The volume I'm reviewing is the first edition, with flipped artwork and all sound effects translated and retouched into English. Viz has since reprinted Ceres in a smaller and less expensive format, with unflipped art and sfx in Japanese. This volume's cover shows a close-up of Suzumi in a kimono that appears to have flames leaping from it, as she partially hides her face behind a fan. The picture appears to be floating above a piece of parchment, and the English title is across the top. The back cover continues the parchment theme, with a small image of Yuhi in normal street clothes. The art reproduction average, with some moiring of screen tones. Some of the detail work and finer screen tones looks rather poor as well. This volume comes with a page of character introductions, and a story synopsis. All of Watase's little side-panel comments are included, as well as a page about DNA and how it relates to the story. There are a couple of extra pages of pinup art and an author's biography in the back.

I was initially rather cold to Ceres when it was being released in the monthly comic format, but I kept at it, and I'm glad I did. The story is very engaging, and the art is beautiful. If you're not put off by the horror scenes, you'll enjoy Ceres: Celestial Legend.


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