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Ayashi no Ceres

Written by: Luz Lopez

My first manga review! *cheers* Ayashi no Ceres is written by Yuu Watase. You may recognize her other works, like Fushigi Yuugi and Alice 19th. I didn't get interested in Ayashi no Ceres until I saw a music video called Paranoid Rebirth from Temple of Trunks. Since they didn't have the manga at the Suncoast in my city, I decided to go online for the manga. It took me 2 days, but I eventually found all 14 volumes of it. I downloaded the entire manga (I downloaded, like, 3-4 volumes per day) and read it.

The story centers around a girl named Aya Mikage and her twin brother, Aki. The manga starts with them hanging out with their friends when they decided to go to a fortune teller. The fortune teller gave Aya a warning:

"In the future, you will fall under the control of the star of darkness. I see blood, anger, and sadness. The destruction of the equilibrium of everything in this world. On the day when the 16th star and moon come around, the fated time shall come to pass."
Aya didn't believe her, and shruged it off. Unfortunately, she was unaware that the prediction would come true.
While Aya and her friends walk home across a bridge over an intersection, a man steals a purse from a woman in front of them. Aya quickly runs to the man and snatches the purse back, but in the process she falls off the railing of the bridge over the traffic and begins to plummet towards the street. Images suddenly appear before Aya as she falls and unknowingly, her fall suddenly slows and she lands on her feet(?!?!) Trying to figure out how she floated in the air, she failed to notice an oncoming car until it was too late to move. For that quick second, a man came to her rescue and ran to the curve with Aya in his arms. *Luz-chan faints* Aya's taken back with her handsome savior until she turns away when she hears Aki running towards her. When Aya turns back around to introduce her twin brother to her savior, the man is mysteriously gone.
At home, Aya wonders about her savior and the images that came to her head when she fell. She confides in Aki that she actually found the events interesting because her daily life was dull and repetitive. When the twins walk into the living room, their father informs them their grandfather is holding their 16th birthday party for them the next day in his mansion.
The next day as they walk towards their grandfathers home after school, Aya and Aki notice all their relative's cars going towards the mansion. They wonder why all their relatives would suddenly come to their birthday party. When they reach the Mikage estate, Aya and Aki are taken into a room with a long table, with all their relatives sitting at the sides. Their grandfather takes his place at one end of the table and Aya and Aki take their place at the other end. The twins are confused at the security officers surrounding the outsides of the room and their family's uneasy silence. Aya and Aki are handed a box and are told to open it. With every move being watched by their family and being recorded with the hidden cameras in the room. Aki warily opens the box, revealing a mummified hand resting on a cushion inside. Aya suddenly has a flash of images before her once more, just as when she fell off the railing. She trembles as the images keep flashing and suddenly the stone hand shatters inside the box. Aya opens her eyes, wondering how she had done that and turns to Aki to ask what happened. Aki is hunched over in pain as slashes and cuts suddenly appear on his body and blood splatters on Aya as she holds him, trying to help him. Screaming for help towards her relatives to call for an ambulance, her grandfather interrupted her pleas. He informed her that Aki will not die, in fact, he will eventually become head of the Mikage household. Then he tells Aya that she will be the one to die.
Aya is the direct reborn descendant of a Tennyo (nymph) from long ago that is intent on destroying the Mikage family. In order to prevent the Tennyo from doing so, they must kill Aya.
*The reason Ceres wanted to destroy Mikage is because Mikage (his first name was Shiso) stole her robe while she was bathing. Without the robe, she couldn't return to her home in the heavens. Mikage took Ceres in as his wife, and she bear his children as time went on.*

The characters in Ayashi no Ceres are sort of like the Fushigi Yuugi characters: Aya is like Miaka (a "damsel in distress"), Yuuhi Aogiri (Aya's "protector" by force because of his sister, Suzumi---she's a descendant of Ceres) is like Tamahome, Tooya (Aya's mysterious savior) is like Hotohori, only with short, dark red hair, etc. etc. It also have its funny points, especially when it involves Aya and Yuuhi. However, this story may be considered too mature for children. Unlike Fushigi Yuugi, Ayashi no Ceres has lot of violence, some blood, sex scenes, little cursing here and there, and 2 or 3 attempted rapes. There's also some deaths, like the death of the grandfather in the hands of Aki, and Aya's father died when he was trying to protect her. Mrs. Mikage was placed in the coma(you'll have to read the manga to see why). Not only that, but there was something mentioned about an experiment. Kagami, Aya's cousin, is gathering "C-genoma", descendants of Ceres, in order to capture Ceres. There were some C-genoma introduced, like Chidori, a really short high-schooler, and Shiro(I think that's her name), a singer who was raised like a boy. The ending was very sad, in my opinion. I might go online to buy some Ayashi no Ceres DVDs. For anybody interested in reading the manga online, here's the link where I got them from: Sen Yatsuko: Mangi. Feel free to e-mail Luz-chan.

Update: Ayashi no Ceres has been brought by Viz, so if you want to own the manga, check them out at your local bookstore.