Known in the United States as Ceres: Celestial Legend, Ayashi no Ceres is a tale of trust, betrayal, false pasts, and a legend that has suddenly come true. Wrought with romance and angst, Ayashi no Ceres is similar to its predecessor, Fushigi Yuugi. What makes it more intense is the element of mystery and creepy occultness associated with it. In the first episode on the disc, Aki is led to a secret vault within the Mikage mansion to view the family heirloom. When the relic is revealed, though, the viewer is in for a surprise as the sheer presence of it there on the screen is enough to make one's skin crawl. It is freakish things like the Mikage "relic" hanging on the wall that makes the whole series so suspenseful. The downside with the series is that the plot gets a tad confusing after awhile. The objective behind the allusive C-Project gets a little blurred, and with so many Ceres look-alikes running around, the viewer is left wondering what exactly is going on. Undoubtedly though, the fuzzy plot line is probably due to the process of cramming a manga series into a short animated series. Regardless, Ayashi no Ceres is still enjoyable to watch and keeps the audience on the edge of their seats.
Along with the three episodes, the disc also includes a few extras. On the disc is the character gallery that comes standards with all of the Ceres DVDs. It features line art of each character, as well as a short description of the person's background and motivations. Also on the disc are textless versions of both the opening and ending theme sequences. This comes as a wonderful surprise for fans of the music, as the opening theme is a lyrical ballad that is nearly impossible to forget. Sung by Iwao Junko, who is also the voice actress for Ceres, the opening theme is also used throughout the series to signify sad or dramatic scenes. The ending theme, sung by Daybreak, is also a nice song, though not nearly as memorable as the opening. Either way, the textless sequences are a blessing for those who enjoy the music in the series. Interestingly, the meaning behind the art in the opening sequence is revealed in the next volume, and gives the art all the more meaning.
The Japanese voice cast continues to perform magnificently in this volume. Even the difference between Tooya's personality before he allegedly confronts his memories and afterwards is reflected in the tone of his voice. In fact, all of the actors and actresses effectively show the varied range of emotions of their characters, and the effect is that their personalities seem real. The English voice actors, on the other hand, do a decent job, but they could use a little work in portraying real emotions in their lines. For the most part, the lines are lifeless and flat, and even though Tooya's nature is radically different before and after his run in with Miori, no changes in his voice can be detected through the English dub. The casting was also a bit off, as some of the voices just didn't fit the personas of the characters.
Ayashi no Ceres is one of the most powerful series to flow out of Watase Yuu's pen, and thanks to Pioneer and Viz, fans of Watase's works can now view this series in North America. With three episodes on one disc, the series is affordable to collect, though not the cheapest. Despite the price tag on the complete series though, Ayashi no Ceres is a must-see for all fans of Watase's works, and all fans of shoujo in general. Even though it is defined as shoujo anime, with its suspenseful action and comedic flashes, Ceres also has aspects that will appeal to male viewers. For those that want to immerse themselves in an exciting, engrossing series, it's definitely time to step into the myth of Ceres.