Sunday, April 14, 2013

Manga Review: Ceres: Celestial Legend, Volume 1, by Yuu Watase

Rating (Out of 5): ~3
Publisher: VIZ Media (Shojo)
Volumes: 14
Spoilers?: Some, somewhat minor
Buy it here: (My edition is out-of-print) Amazon. Book Depository. Barnes and Noble.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Aya Mikage is a seemingly normal high school student until her 16th birthday, when her family imprisons her twin brother and attempts to kill her. She learns she carries the blood of the tennyo (heavenly maiden), and when upset, she will transform into the goddess Ceres. If she is allowed to live, she will bring ruin upon her family.


I ended up getting the whole set of this series for a really good deal online. So, you know what that means? That I will be reviewing all of the volumes as I read them. I’m not sure how quickly that will go by, but either way, it’s happening.
This first volume was alright (aside from the fact that the first page in my copy was missing: ugh!). Not amazing, not horrible, but I’m sure it will only get better from here. I have read several other series by Watase, and am also very slowly reading Arata right now, although that one might be on a somewhat hold because of this series (even though it has already been going at a very slow pace for me).
Also, my copies of the first four volumes are the first edition, big, read the English way, manga, which sucks. I hadn’t realized it, not that that would have changed my mind in buying them. Still, they don’t match the rest of the books, and they are not nearly as nice. I am so glad that VIZ changed the format. Also, and I hope it’s only in this format, but there is a huge amount of italics used. There is generally at least one italicized word in every sentence in this book; it’s ridiculous and rather annoying. I hope it slows down in later books.
Upon starting the volume, we are introduced to Aki and Aya Mikage, twin brother and sister, whose sixteenth birthday is coming up (and we know how big a deal that number is, right?). They’re planning to hang out with their mutual friends, as the twins get along really well, but their parents tell them that they have to visit their grandpa, and also the rest of their family (mostly aunts and uncles). Before that, Aya almost gets killed by falling off a bridge and almost getting hit by a car, but somehow floats and gets saved by this weird guy with long hair and sunglasses who disappears right after (it’s obvious right away that he’s the main love interest; much too obvious).
When Aya and Aki go to the ‘birthday celebration’ which actually looks like a funeral, they’re shown a mummified hand, which causes Aki to get stabbed or something, and Aya to get some glowy power overload and her clothes to rip (something that happens every time she gets a power overload, which happens several times—it’s very cliché and a bit eye-rolling worthy). Aki passes out and Aya is told that she is going to be killed. Aya fights and runs off, the guy with sunglasses and long hair, who works for her family and is also trying to kill her, finds her.
Another girl, Suzumi Aogiri, though, also has some of the same powers and can feel Aya’s presence, and her and her brother-in-law, Yuhi Aogiri, come and save her. From there, we find out that Aya is descended from some ancient powerful girl named Ceres, who set out to kill the Mikage family, so they plan to kill all others like her, testing each daughter in the family when they turn sixteen. It also turns out that she has more power than most other descendants.
Aya is hiding out from the Mikage’s, her family, who are out to kill her. Aki is still hurt, which means he also has powers but of a different kind, and is being isolated in some room in some big business-y building. The guy with sunglasses and long hair, Toya, has been told to kill Aya, although he hasn’t done anything to harm her so far (that’s not true, actually—but nothing bad enough to kill her).
Several other things happen in this volume, none of which are good, including a cliffhanger, but I’m not going to spoil anything more.
Aya is alright. I like her and Aki’s relationship. I also like Aki, and am looking forward to seeing what happens with him. I like Yuhi enough at the moment. I’m intrigued by Toya, but I’m very annoyed with the fact that Aya, after seeing him once and then about three other times in this volume consisting of very little talk and then mostly of her family wanting to kill her, is saying that she’s in love with him, and she’s going to fight whatever is happening with her so she can be with him. I mean, I’ve read insta-love in other books, but not this fast or abrupt or obvious before. It’s done ridiculously badly in this book.
They keep trying to push this book off as horror, and I just don’t agree with that. I mean, it says it on the back of the book, and the author mentions it in the side panels. I do agree that there is much more gore and death in this volume alone than is usually in Watase’s books, but there’s also a lot of humor. And I would agree that it has the element of horror, but I can’t call it horror when, right after a big gory scene happens, as in a page after it, there’s yelling and hitting for comedies sake. That just doesn’t work for me.
This book did not start off with a very big bang for me. It was rather mediocre, even. But I do hope that it gets better, am sure that it will, and am looking forward to reading more of it.

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