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

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Saturday, March 30, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, March 26, 2002



What They Say
C-Project is literally falling apart! Planning a quick getaway, Kagami takes Aya and the synthetically reconstructed hagoromo aboard Mikage International’s ship. Shuro Tsukasa, a pop-singer who happens to be a C-Genome, plans an act of revenge against the Mikage and the walls come tumbling down.

Adding to the chaos, Aki makes a complete physical transformation into the Progenitor. In the climactic conclusion to the series we find out what really happened to Ceres’ hagoromo!

Contains the final three episodes in the Ceres saga!

The Review!
The final volume of Ceres brings the 24 episode series to its conclusion, and one that definitely falls in the unhappy ending category in a way. All told though, we’re pretty pleased by how it all unfolded.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. The show continues to have a good audio track with some nice bits of music and sound effects going to the rear speakers. The forward soundstage doesn't have much depth to it, but other than the couple of fairly brief action sequences scattered throughout, it's mostly either a dialogue driven show or one that has the music filling it nicely.

Video:
The transfer for this final volume is about on par for the series in total, which means we get some cross coloration in some scenes but others look nice and clean. The shows intentional soft look and color palette looks good here as well. The only little problem that we saw is the familiar jaggies when the camera pans slowly across some sequences. But otherwise, little variance from what’s come before.

Packaging:
The final cover is the perfect way to end the series, featuring Ceres in her celestial glory with all kinds of adornments on her. The manga style covers have worked quite well with this series and helped make it stand out against the usual animation captures. The back cover provides some minor animation shots and a decent summary of things. Episode numbers and titles are also listed in addition to the usual production credits and technical information. The insert opens up to provide a great image of Toya in tatters.

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 extras section again gives us something old and something new. The character gallery makes another appearance here, which is useful since it helps having it available on each volume. We also get a design gallery with line art as well as the next textless ending that takes makes its way into the series on this disc. We also get the last new openings and endings to the series. It’s worth noting that the audio on the ending contains part of a sound effect from the show (since it’s an extended part of the show as opposed to a real ending segment). It threw us at first because it sounded like a pop, but when you watch the ending in the show itself, it all makes sense.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Amazingly enough, the final three episodes of Ceres manages to pull off a good workable ending while tying up several loose ends and leaving things in a state where you don’t want to just kick the TV. It’s not a jump up and down going yippee kind of thing, but those are even more rare.

After the last discs situations, Aya finds herself deep within the Mikage C-Genome project and undergoing all the various tests that her cousin wants. It’s here that she begins to learn that many of the Ceres descendants are starting to die off and Mikage’s unsure why. This gets tied into the introduction of another Ceres descendant whose managed to escape Mikage’s clutches and is putting on a massive concert performance nearby. She knows that this is her last time to perform and seems to know her death is near. She uses this opportunity to define who she is and to fight back against Mikage and what he’s done to her.

The revelations here begin to impact Aya who realizes that she’s also susceptible to what’s killing off the other girls. She and Ceres begin to interact more about the Celestial Robe and put their own plans into motion. This coincides with new knowledge of people who’ve invested in Mikage’s program now wanting to get the data he’s acquired and move him out of the picture. The scope of this entire operation begins to get more clear about what the end goals were and what they’ll actually settle with. It’s all interesting, but it’s not really what the shows become, which is of course Aya and the men in her life.

Thankfully, this aspect of the show comes off nicely. Anyone who expected Toya to be dead after the previous volume hasn’t exactly been watching this series all that closely. His return to the scene here is tied to his true origin story, something that definitely moves into new territory and definitely feels like an American comic book origin story. It works in its own weird way with how the series has progressed so far, but I can see many Toya fans sort of ignoring big parts of this and just letting the story go on.

The entire relationship aspect of the series does work well here. Yuhi, who turned into something of a favorite of mine, manages to get some good nods here after the tragedy with Chidori. The part that sort of amerlioates Chidori’s ending in the previous episodes is the knowledge that she would have died along with all the other Ceres descendants eventually. The triangle aspect with Yuhi and the Aya/Toya couple also gets an interesting twist as things progress here as well.

The Ceres series has pretty much been one of those types that I love to hate. The episodes were designed with interesting cliffhangers that made me demand the next volume come out right away but I still had to wait the month or more. I definitely think this would have sold much better had it been a six volume release instead of eight. It’s a hard series to recommend for that alone, which is why I’d only really recommend it if you can find it on sale or managed to snag it with some good preorder discounts.

The other thing that I think hurt it to those who were actually buying it was the lack of subtitles for the songs throughout the series. Contrary to what some people may think, songs and lyrics often have a direct impact on the events playing out in the program. And the opening and ending songs are designed to bookend the episode by setting the mood. With these episodes missing the lyrics, I really felt like I was missing a lot and it continues to be my true major disappointment about this series release.

But barring that, this final volume met our expectations, threw in a few surprises and provided us with a good three episodes of anime fun and romance and action. Fans of the series should be pretty happy overall.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Textless Endings,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: 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