Ceres, Celestial Legend Vol. #2 (of 8) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Tuesday, September 04, 2001
Release Date: Tuesday, September 04, 2001



What They Say
Aya and her twin brother Aki's destiny is set into motion by the events that happened in the Mikage home on their sixteenth birthday and their live s will never be the same again ... for something called Ceres lies in Aya's consciousness and her family is determined to destroy it - even if it mean s killing her.

The Review!
There's a fair amount of things going on here in these three episodes, but the set up for the early part of the story continues to be the focus. On the plus side, it appears the real villain has finally stepped into view.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. Throughout the track we didn't notice anything in the form of an audio dropout or other distortions. Dialogue was nice and clean and while there was little directionality to it, everything sounded spot on. The music is the area where things come across really great with a nice full effect from the front soundstage with things like the ending song.

Video:
Much like the first volume, things are a bit of a mixed bag here, but overall it's a much better looking disc than the first one. Or my eyesight is worsening. The first and third episodes looked quite clean and clear with hardly any cross coloration to be found outside of a few edges here and there during camera panning sequences. The oddly colored background skies at night, such as the shades of green, looked quite good with only some very minimal artifacting. The second episode had more hair cross coloration that was still pretty muted but more noticeable than the other episodes. Colors in general look decent if a bit (intentionally) flat and "real world" looking. There was less that really bothered me here with this disc than the first one.

Packaging:
The manga style covers continue here with a very romantic-ish cover of Aya surrounding by men kissing her. It's quite pale looking and uses a lot of soft colors, but it works pretty well in catching the eye as something different on the shelf. Of course, it may turn away your average fanboy, but it'll likely grab an audience of some sort. The back cover has a very brief story summary and a few small pictures as well as the episode titles and numbers. There's also a sizeable amount of simply empty space, which is a bit odd. The insert is set up like the first disc with a gorgeous looking manga style foldout image. The back side of it contains the episodes and their respective chapter listings.

Menus:
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.

Extras:
There's a good amount of extras here but they're not without a few problems. The character artwork gallery contains some nice conceptual artwork pieces and the Legend section is just a 90 second or so clip from the anime with Aya reading what the legend of the celestial being is about. But it's the video interview with Yu Watase that's quite good and quite bad at the same time. Clicking on that option you're brought to a screen with roughly 10 questions or so. Each one brings up a brief answer clip from her. There is no Play All feature set for this, so you have to go into each one, listen for 30 seconds, repeat with the next one. The actual content is pretty good and she provides some interesting answers, but the layout just makes it annoying to go through. We skipped probably half of the questions because of this.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With only three episodes, we get a lot going on in a short period of time but not a lot really changing in the larger sense. Yet at least.

Things are happening fast with Ceres now back in the picture and in control of Aya's body. Through some surprisingly quick thinking on Yuhi's part, he manages to get her to change back to Aya. The trick? Why, nothing other than a simple lip to lip kiss! Ceres suddenly changes back to Aya, and Aya's none the wiser about what happened when she was Ceres. Well, except for the fact that Yuhi's got his lips plastered over hers.

Yes, you can easily visualize that face slap right now.

In all the confusion afterwards, Aya's mom is brought to the hospital that has a decent amount of secret security to it to protect her while Aya is brought to the place where Yuhi lives with his sister in law. Some basic information is traded among them, but the main goal of keeping her close is to get Yuhi to protect her. So close that he gets put in the room next to hers.

Aya's other half, her brother Aki, finds himself feeling well enough to venture around his Grandfather's house. His exploration leads him to eavesdrop on a conversation that has him and his sister never seeing each other again and the push for the elimination of Aya for the safety of the family in general. Though feeling better, Aki's still not in the best shape but he heads out in his pajama's to try and warn Aya. Thankfully Toya shows up and ends up helping him out, even though he's been given orders to bring Aki back and to take out Aya.

With Aki and Aya now back together, things seem happy for them as they have each other to hold onto. Of course, lurking beneath Aya's personality is the vengeful Ceres, who wants her celestial robe back so she can return home after killing the one who raped her and forced her to marry and have children with. That turns out to be Aki. Ain't families fun?

There's a lot of running around going on in these episodes and a lot of things are feeling pretty convoluted at times to a point where you're not sure whose who anymore. This may be part of the tension that Watase was trying to create, and if so, it's working. With the introduction of what appears to be the real villain with plans beyond the Mikage families plans, things are looking to get even more weird and twisted.

While this show is confusing us to some extent, we're definitely intrigued. And with Toya being Tamahome-hot according to my wife, it's something we'll be continuing to buy and watch. The plot is just a quarter of the way into the series, so there's plenty of room to grow and to see what happens, and we're definitely looking forward to it. Hopefully the next disc will have the songs subtitled as well, making it a pretty good release all around.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,The Legend,Yu Watase Video Intervie,Line Art

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.



Mania Grade: B
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: N/A
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