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Ayashi No Ceres
Oct 11, 2008 reviewed by ChocoMilkTea
Ayashi no Ceres presents a beautiful love story, which intertwined with great action and characters makes for a sad, yet heartwarming story that can grip your heart.
It starts off very peacefully, with Aya Mikage and her twin brother Aki spending time with their friends, celebrating the twins' 16th birthday. However, this peaceful day is interrupted by Aya falling off a bridge, down on the highway underneath. Miraculously, she lands without getting a scratch, and she's saved from cars on a collision course by a mysterious, red-headed man. And that day marks the end of the happy days for the two.
They are summoned to the family mansion to celebrate their 16th birthday, but instead, they end up being the victims of the Mikage family's gruesome rite of killing off female descendants with strong tennyo powers in them. Said powers suddenly awaken, preventing her from getting killed.
From here on, the story goes darker, deeper and angstier as we're thrown into the mess that Aya suddenly finds herself in, being hunted by her own family all of a sudden. She has to deal with the fact that her twin brother has turned into a reincarnation of an evil man from the past, and she has to make sure Ceres doesn't take over her body completely. This leads to some great action scenes, as Ceres emerges to fight the Mikage family from time to time, with her astounding powers.
And then there's the love, the beautiful, yet sad love that is Aya's and Toya's love - Toya is the guy who saved her, but also a Mikage henchman, which means he's out to get her. However, he slowly falls in love with her, and her with him, despite the two of them being enemies. Now they must find a way to live out their love without the Mikage family or Ceres, who has a vendetta against the Mikages, getting in the way. Of course, there's Yuhi, and there's actually some mutual love between Yuhi and Aya as well, creating a love triangle that can rip Aya apart.
The characters in the anime are all very realistically portrayed. From Toya's quest to find his place in this world to Aya's struggles to remain herself through all that happens around her. The love that slowly develops between Toya and Aya is never forced, and their relationship progresses nicely over the course of the series.
The side characters are all good too, and despite not having so major roles, they fulfill them excellently, and they are portrayed very well too. Most of the characters you will see have some depth to them, which causes your heart to be with them as well, and not only Aya and Toya.
I'm also fond of the character development that takes place during the course of the series - at the end I could see how much they had matured, obviously having learned a few things about life and love during the events that took place during the course of the series.
Studio Pierrot did a nice job on the animation, and despite it being a bit old, it's very good. The lighting effects are very well done, though the same can't always be said about the special effects - they had their moments they too, though. The overall detail is very good, but there's one thing that bugged me, and that was the fact that their hair seemed transparent when in front of their eyes. You can't see your eyes through a layer of hair >_<
There's one thing you should look out for though - there's some moments of nudity in the series, and I know that some people don't really like that. So now you've been warned.
The soundtrack fits right into the sad love tone of the series, with astounding and gripping piano pieces that amplify the sad mood, and the OP theme is one of the best I've heard. I didn't really like the ED themes; they didn't quite keep to the overall tone of the series. But all in all the soundtrack was astounding, and the only reason for you not to like it is if you don't like piano music.
All in all, Ayashi no Ceres is a sad yet heartwarming anime about love, with some great action intertwined into it, making for a blend that I found absolutely incredible. It had the characters and soundtrack to back it up, too.
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