The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Ayashi no Ceres

Title: Ayashi no Ceres aka Ceres: The Celestial Legend
Genre: Romance/Drama
Company: Studio Pierrot
Format: 24 episodes
Dates: 20 Apr 2000 – 28 Sep 2000

Synopsis: Aya and Aki Mikage are average twin siblings who enjoy frequenting the karaoke lounge rather than at school. When their sixteenth birthday is approaching, they thought that it’ll be another ordinary celebration of their unknowingly ominous birth. What believed to be a normal happy event turns out to be one that will change their course of life forever and uncover an age-old vendetta between their ancestor and Ceres, a celestial maiden.

The Highlights
Music: Emotional, heartfelt and amazingly fitting of each setting.
Story: Solid foundation of an epic story but becomes inconsistent and incoherent.
Emotional impact: Poignant at certain times, melodramatic at others.
Amount of tears to anticipate: Bucket after bucket.

If you feel the sense of deja vu the moment you watch Ayashi no Ceres, it may be because it is directed by Kamegaki Hajime and is based on a original manga by Watase Yuu, which both of them are responsible for AnC‘s predecessor, Fushigi Yuugi. The former turns to be a cult hit because of its original story concept and mainly its emotional impact it has on its viewers. With this in mind, I initially have high hopes for this series but unfortunately, it encounters shortcomings which are easily avoidable.

The series sets off well enough, and the first episode ends with a bang by stating that this is no ordinary shoujo anime. Right from the first episode, one can tell that this will your tragic tale of love intertwined in a web of deceit, agony, sorrow and pain a la Romeo and Juliet. This alone is already a big plus for the series because like a typical building, a good anime must be built on a solid story foundation. The remaining construction to the top remains to be seen however, as the story dwindles into mediocrity due to the influx of unnecessary side characters and those who are short of exposure. The main reasons of these letdowns are due to the short format – a 50-episode format would have been better – and erratic story development to each event, something that Fushigi Yuugi avoided.

The music is a great success though, gracefully done by Sakai Ryo who also did the music for Kino’s Journey. The opening song, “Scarlet” by the immaculate Iwao Junko is phenomenal enough for me to know that there will be more coming… and it is true enough. Excellent songs such as “Condolence” and “Sinking Into The Deep Water”, both made up of piano tunes, are not only are pleasurable to the ears but further render different scenes of the series more emotional and affecting.

The emotional aspect of the series is frankly a mixed bag. Though there are a number of viewers who will perceive this series to be one of the most emotional they have ever seen, others will believe that it is just pure melodrama at its best. I myself have to admit that there are numerous occassions where I find myself grimacing at over-the-top scenes of Aya crying. Furthermore, these ‘overly-emotional’ scenes are unnecessary at times, where they are only there to fill up the plot holes in the storyline.

Ayashi no Ceres is eventually a series which will be perceived differently by each viewer. Some will say that this is an epic love novel full of pathos, while others say that this is simply a disjointed love story full of angst. I am one of those who is sitting on the fence but one thing is for sure: it could have been a lot better. I was expecting more.

The Rating: 6

Reviewed by: AC

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