Manga Series Review – Ceres, Celestial Legend / Ayashi no Ceres

Written by Kei on April 27th, 2009

Ceres, Celestial Legend (Ayashi no Ceres /妖しのセレス)

Ceres, Celestial Legend, also known by its Japanese name, Ayashi no Ceres is a shojo manga (or shoujo manga) that progresses through normalcy and tragedy, then ending in romance. This series is written and illustrated by Yuu Watase, who also wrote and illustrated Fushigi Yuugi.

Summary:

Aya Mikage lived a normal high school life with her twin brother Aki until the day of their 16th birthday. When attending a family ritual for their birthday, a strange occurrence happens and Aya turns into Ceres, a Celestial Maiden. Ceres has vowed to destroy the Mikage family. The relatives turn on Aya/Ceres to kill her and stop the rampage, but Aya manages to slip away. Confused and conflicted, she determines to find out about Ceres, the Mikages, and how to save her twin brother.

Review:

At the start of the story, things look normal, but that changes pretty quick. The main character, Aya Mikage is thrown into chaos and confusion. The reader will definitely feel it as well. As the series progresses, you will find different bits come together to give the reader a general idea of what went on in the past and why events are shaping a certain way in the present. Unfortunately, towards the ending part of the series, the story starts displaying inconsistencies or forced connections to tie everything together. Though it did answer questions in the end, it wasn’t necessarily very satisfying. It seems they had to bend some of the connections introduced throughout the series in order to make things connect. I like keeping the continuity throughout a manga series, so this was sort of a downer for me. I’m not sure if the series started losing focus, but it seemed that the story started morphing into more of a love story than anything else. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it may not be what people sign up for when they start reading the story. It could be that the whole beginning half of the story was a stage for the romance in the later part of the series. Though the story is decent, the ending did leave a bad after taste when I put the final volume down. It almost seemed anticlimactic. Overall, the story had quite a few interesting points, but seemed to lose focus as it progressed.

The series description I saw, which I assumed was the official description, gave the impression that this was a romantic horror comedy. That’s not entirely accurate, but it’s not inaccurate either; let me explain a little more. Even though the description implies it has horror elements, it is a stretch to say it could qualify to be in the horror genre. There may be some elements that are a little disturbing, or other elements that are horrible, but I’m not sure if it really is enough to say it is part of the horror genre. The comedy is not overbearing, which for me is a plus. Most of the comedic situations were probably close to real life situations, but exaggerated a bit. As for the romance part, it isn’t one of those series where the main character could not settle on one person to love, so it wasn’t extremely painful to watch. Though the romantic part of the story got more attention towards the end, it wasn’t that bad. Be warned though, there are quite a few mature situations and subjects that are present, as well as some nudity and sex/sexual situations. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this series for just older teens and above, but I wouldn’t feel too comfortable telling anyone below the age of fourteen to read this.

The art is decent and seems to follow the typical shojo manga style. As mentioned, there is nudity, but it is not glaring. Most of the time, the important parts are covered. Even though there are sex scenes depicted in the story, it is not explicit or pornographic in nature. Surprisingly, it is used artfully to progress the story. The violence isn’t grotesque, but it does show digits and limbs being cut off quite frequently; there is also blood.

Overall, I thought it was an okay series. It had some interesting elements and tie ins. Plus it brought together mysteries from the past and situations in the present into a coherent story. The story flow did feel a bit unfocused or even rushed, but it wasn’t painful to read through. I must admit though, I was somewhat disappointed by the ending. Ceres, Celestial Legend / Ayashi no Ceres probably won’t be one of my favorite mangas, but it certainly wasn’t the worst I’ve read.

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