Review

by Bamboo Dong, Mar 30th 2002

Ceres, Celestial Legend

DVD 7 - Requiem

Synopsis:
Ayashi no Ceres DVD 7 - Requiem
In the second to last volume of Ayashi no Ceres, the C-Project reaches new heights as the celestial robe is almost reconstructed. While turmoil rips Aya's friends apart, she decides to turn herself in, believing it to be the best way to help her friends and family.
Review:
As Ayashi no Ceres nears completion, the story continuously reveals itself further, making it unbearably hard to wait for the next volume. With only three episodes on one disc, Pioneer has implemented a surefire way of forcing all fans of the series, known in North America as Ceres: Celestial Legend, to shell out the money to buy the next volume. Upon picking up this DVD, viewers will automatically know that it will be a tearjerker. In fact, the name of one of the chapters even mentions the death of a certain character. This is rather inconvenient for people who hate spoilers as the tragedy of the person's death is now something to be dreaded, rather than something tragic and unexpected. Nevertheless, even though viewers are told in advance of the tragedy in one of the episodes, nothing can prepare them for the absolute heart wrenching events that take place. Undoubtedly it's one of the most tear-inducing volumes in the whole series. Characters that have just started to warm in viewers hearts are wrenched away cruelly in scenes that are both deeply depressing, and just painful to watch. It's a volume that can definitely not be missed, as all of the subdued emotions hidden in the series now come gushing out in a matter of three episodes.

Included along with the three episodes, the disc also includes a few fun, but unspectacular extras. Among them is the character gallery that comes standard with all of the Ayashi no Ceres disc. It includes line drawings of all the major characters, as well as a short biography on the background, hobbies, and personal statistics about each one. Also included on this disc is a collection of production sketches. This section features line drawings for buildings and objects in the series. What makes this a somewhat cool feature is that it will show multiple views of a building or a room. However, this feature comes with a major downside. Unfortunately, the pictures are extremely small, and not too well defined, making it extremely hard to see the drawings clearly. The last extra on this disc is yet another version of the ending sequence. The song, “Cross My Heart,” sung by Daybreak is a nice one, though, so the extra is well welcomed.

In earlier episodes of Ayashi no Ceres, the music was cute, but nothing to get excited over. This volume, however, forces viewers to re-assess their previous opinions about the music, as it gets a sharp boost in these few episodes. The instrumentals that are played are lyrical and fit the tragic scenes quite well. There's a particularly nice harp piece that makes the soundtracks worth looking into. Also nice is a quiet guitar piece that plays during pieces of loss and sadness that heightens the emotional appeal of the already depressing scenes. In fact, one could even assert that without the music, the scenes probably wouldn't be as sad. As it is, the music is one of the most redeeming aspects about the series, and it blends well with the somber tone of the episodes.

Another nice aspect about the series is the art. When one thinks of shoujo manga or anime, oftentimes the first things that come to mind are cute girls, pretty boys, and plenty of fluff enough for the most jaded shoujo enthusiast to choke on. These preconceived notions are precisely what make series like Ayashi no Ceres and other works by Watase Yuu so radically different from the others in their genre. Watase has a talent for creating death scenes that are bloody, yet lack all trace of being gory. Her death scenes exude an air of drama, sadness, tragedy—the perfect embodiment of death without the gore in so many anime series. The disturbing and heart-wrenching death scenes are, in fact, one of the only examples of grace and tragedy that any viewer can ever expect to see from a gunfight in anime. The animation quality may be low, but the art is simply beautiful in the series. The only odd thing that sticks out is the color of the characters' hair. Like the other characters that Watase has ever created, the people in Ayashi no Ceres come bedecked in hair ranging from blondes, to purples, to lurid maroons. There's even a character that somehow has translucent hair that allows her eyes to be seen at all times. Aside from the unrealistic qualities of her characters, they are nevertheless beautiful, and personify the grace in the latter episodes well.

With only three episodes left to go in Ayashi no Ceres, the story becomes ever more exciting. For fans of the series that have not yet seen volume seven, they are missing out on one of the best set of episodes in the series. The story is both entrenching and deeply depressing at the same time. One can't help but to turn away in discomfort and pain, while still peeking at the screen with one eye. While fans of Watase's other works like Fushigi Yuugi may not find this series quite as nostalgic, it nevertheless provides much entertainment and should not be missed for anything.
Grade:
Production Info:

+ The music was really kicked up a notch
Who has translucent hair, anyway?

Director:Hajime Kamegaki
Series Composition:Yukiyoshi Ohashi
Script:
Yukiyoshi Ohashi
Sukehiro Tomita
Storyboard:
Saeko Aoki
Hajime Kamegaki
Jun Kamiya
Jyoichi Masuda
Susumu Nishizawa
Hiroshi Watanabe
Episode Director:
Saeko Aoki
Aki Hayashi
Johei Matsuura
Susumu Nishizawa
Takashi Takase
Music:Ryo Sakai
Original Manga:Yuu Watase
Character Design:Hideyuki Motohashi
Art Director:Shigenori Takada
Art:
Mio Isshiki
Takafumi Mizaki
Shigenori Takada
Sawako Takagi
Izumi Wada
Chief Animation Director:Hideyuki Motohashi
Animation Director:
Masayuki Hiraoka
Junko Matsushita
Hideyuki Motohashi
Sound Director:Hideo Takahashi
Director of Photography:Kazuyoshi Ishizuka
Executive producer:
Yuji Nunokawa
Shigeru Watanabe
Akito Yamashita

Full encyclopedia details about
Ceres, Celestial Legend (TV)

Release information about
Ceres, Celestial Legend - Requiem (DVD 7)

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