Ceres, Celestial Legend Vol. #5 (of 8) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Saturday, December 22, 2001
Release Date: Tuesday, December 11, 2001



What They Say
"The Progenitor" - The progenitor of the Mikage clan, the man that originally stole Ceres' hagoromo, is starting to take over Aki's mind - causing him to begin lusting after Aya. Grandfather Mikage is overjoyed with the transformation...until Aki goes on a rampage! Meanwhile, Toya discovers a clue which could possibly trigger him to remember everything about his past. Episodes 13-15: "Relic of the Mikage", "The Return of the First" and "Toya's Past".

The Review!
Every time I expect the filler to actually arrive, they confound me and continue to bring new things to light. This disc is no different.

Audio:
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 left/right speakers, but only sparingly. The music continues to be the main user of the stereo effect, to good effect at that.

Video:
For the first two episodes, the transfer looks just about as good as the previous disc, which had cleaned up most of the problems we had with the earlier volumes. The third episode here though starts to show a few problems, but nothing major. If anything, the main issue with it is the growing amount of grain throughout it that's very noticeable. This leads to a bit of a return of the cross coloration along the hairlines, but not as strong as before. Otherwise, things look decent with good colors that are a bit soft if anything.

Packaging:
Definitely a very flowery cover, we get a great image of Aki with roses all around him and blood running across his fingers. It's definitely a twisted image once you realize what it represents in the show as it's quite a good looking image. The back cover runs similar to past ones with a couple of small animation shots and a larger background image. Episode numbers and titles are thankfully listed and a decent summary (though a bit hard to read) is given. The insert is like past ones as well that folds out to reveal some great manga color artwork. Someone tell me Aya wears that outfit in the anime before the series is over...

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:
The character profiles make another appearance here with its text and conceptual artwork. The nice addition to the extras for this volume is a textless version of the opening and ending. On the downside, and something that I've hated about every volume of Ceres, is that the songs aren't subtitled. I'd love to know what the lyrics are. But the inclusion of textless versions is appreciated. Just start subbing the songs!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After everything that's come so far, we start getting some more Aki-centric stories here. Well, sort of.

Things follow-up nicely from the previous volume with Toya now being at Aya's side and under the care of the Aogiri family after Yuhi brought him back to mend from his battle. Yuhi makes it perfectly clear though that he brought him back for Aya's sake and not his, and that if he does anything to hurt or make Aya cry, he's going to pay. It's nice to see some kind of backbone from Yuhi on this. Aya stands in the middle of all of this, but in the end, she does run back to Toya and takes care of him.

Suzumi even makes the effort to give Toya something of a new direction since he can't go back to the Mikage family by offering him a job. Presumably it's protection of Aya, something he'll do under his own style, which means he's going to keep his distance. He pulls this stunt pretty quickly while still healing and leaves the house, causing Aya and everyone else to go off and search for him.

While all of this is going on, Aki continues to fight against what he finds himself becoming more of. He concedes to his grandfathers wishes and returns to the mansion to see him as he's becoming more ill as time goes on. His grandfather insists on taking him to a section of the mansion that nobody goes to, leaving the others behind. Deep inside this room is something that's pretty surprising and none too pleasing - the decaying body of the Celestial Being.

According to his grandfather, the body took forever to decompose and the breasts were still giving milk months after she had died. The body is little more than a husk now, but the imagery of it crucified and nailed to the wall is haunting and eerie. The family apparently treats it with reverence. The grandfather talks of the past surrounding it when Aki suddenly begins to suffer the massive number of bloody body cuts again, causing him to crumple to the ground.

This turns into a crucial turning point. Aki finally succumbs during this and the Progenitor returns to life, taking over Aki's body and forcing him into the darkest recesses of it. And the progenitor only wants one thing right now, and that's his woman, Ceres. He pushes and sets off into the city with others from the Mikage family and begins to sniff out Ceres via Aya and leads to quick an interesting encounter.

This volume ended and left me really wanting more, just like previous volumes. With the episodes being a couple minutes shorter on average and only having three episodes a disc, it goes by fast and keeps my attention focused. As much as I try to not enjoy this, I find myself becoming more and more interested.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Character Profiles,Textless Opening,Textless Ending

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: 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