Ceres, Celestial Legend Vol. #4 - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Ceres, Celestial Legend

Ceres, Celestial Legend Vol. #4

By Chris Beveridge     November 20, 2001
Release Date: November 20, 2001

Ceres, Celestial Legend Vol. #4
© Viz Media

What They Say
There are pivotal points in everyone's lives when difficult decisions must be made. Despite insurmountable odds, Aya, Mikage has decided to fight against the 'C' Project conspiracy. Meanwhile, her twin brother Aki must decide if he can overcome his internal struggle against the persona of his ancestor trying to take over his mind and enigmatic Toya must choose between being with Aya or getting his memory back. Episodes 10-12: "Chidori's Flight", "Stir Of Emotions", and "The Silver Choker".

The Review!
The fourth installment of Ceres, which covers the end of the first half of the series, begins to feel like a couple of filler episodes but ends up setting up things more than I expected from the beginning.

For our primary viewing session, we watched this show in its original language of Japanese. The show continues to be very much dialogue driven, using the center channel with hardly any directionality across the front soundstage. Some of the action effects sounds make use of the the left/right speakers, but only sparingly. The music continues to be the main user of the stereo effect, to good effect at that.

More improvements are made here over the third volume with the cross coloration we'd seen in the edges of hair now essentially gone. In fact, we didn't notice any cross coloration at all, making this batch of episodes much more enjoyable to watch. Colors look good though the show is done in a fairly soft way, keeping things from getting too vibrant or sharp looking.

I have to admit, the manga covers are really starting to grow on me, especially with this gorgeous one of Ceres and Aya side by side in the black outfits. The contrasting colors and the tight linework looks wonderful and is definitely eye-catching. The back cover provides a couple of animation shots (and a chibi Yuhi head peeking out!) and a decent summary of the episodes. Episode titles and numbers are clearly listed and features and also nicely listed in a box. Of course, I dislike the lack of volume numbers, but am glad that the episode numbers are listed. The insert provides a picture of the symbol used on the previous releases while it folds out to reveal a couple of nice black and white manga pieces. The back side lists the chapters for each episode.

The menu layout manages to pull off the right balance of music, animation and design so that it accentuates the material and isn't overbearing or out of place for the show. Menu selections are quick to access and the language selection area shows easily what languages are set for default. Very nicely done.

Things are a bit slim but that's party expected as we get halfway through the series. The character profiles pages are pretty nice, with each character getting a couple pages of text and black and white conceptual artwork with them. The Japanese trailer shows two commercials advertising the VHS and DVD release of a couple of episodes. Amusingly, the region 2 discs had one more episode per disc and two discs less than the Viz release, which is a rare thing. Of course, they also paid near 60$ per disc.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Usually at this point in a given series we get some filler episodes, some fluff that the characters go off and do that may do a little bit more character development if we're lucky. The episodes here feel like that at first, but there's some interesting changes that start to become apparent here.

Yuhi and Aya read about an incident in Tochigi where a rare virus has cropped up and the entire area has been vaccinated with a gamma vaccine. There's suspicion from Suzumi that the Mikage are behind it as there are legends there of Celestial Beings as well. But the push to go visit doesn't become strong until someone comes to their door in the form of a young girl named Chidori.

And I'll admit it, I had bad visions of Chibiusa as soon as I saw her. She immediately latches onto Yuhi and proclaims some love for him, pointing out that she has a picture of him from a month ago when she had visited the area. Amusingly, it's a picture of him and Ceres flying through the city. She looks at Aya who she thought was Ceres at first, but then manages to belittle Aya nicely in the comparison.

We learn that Chidori is from the Togichi area and that its true that everyone's been vaccinated. Her brother is in the hospital due to a reaction to the vaccine along with another six people. Chidori has some good personal reasons for wanting Aya and Chidori to come to Togichi though, as we learn once she does get them there. Her hospitalized brother doesn't have use of his legs. Apparently in an accident two years ago, a bus skidded on a rain soaked road and their parents got him out of the way, but not before getting instantly killed themselves. His legs haven't worked since, and Chidori wanted Aya to take him flying, as his dream is to be an airline pilot.

Things then take a turn for the strange as a doctor turns the corner and we see that it's Toya under a fake name, working with a nurse. He essentially ignores Aya and Yuhi, but it definitely raises suspicions about the Mikage being here looking for c-genome types. Aya and Toya end up confronting each other a couple of times in different ways, especially since when Toya saw her for the first time here, Yuhi had his arm wrapped around him.

Personally, and I know my maleness is showing, I don't know what she sees in Toya. Go for Yuhi!

There's a good amount of light stuff to balance out these episodes with Chidori being the main thrust of it. She's almost always latched onto Yuhi, resulting in a lot of lolicon comments from those with him. Chidori manages to break my fear of her being a Chibiusa though when they reveal a couple of interesting facts about her and by the way they portray her as an actual caring character.

At the end of the three episodes, I found myself ready for more, which is a good indicator of how I feel about the series overall. It does feel weak and like it's missing something, but it is keeping me interested when I'm actually watching it. Which is why it's just becoming something of a guilty pleasure.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Character Galleries,Japanese DVD/VHS Commercials

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.


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