Originally posted: Tuesday, October 14, 2008 on Blogger

This volume is the second edition of volume 4 of Ceres: Celestial Legend, known in Japan as Ayashi no Ceres. The first edition is the same as the second, expect its paper quality was better, and it was bigger (both in terms of a sheet of paper’s length and width). It also had a different cover then the second edition (the order of the covers was mixed up in the first editions, but this was fixed with the second editions, which used the same covers as the corresponding Japanese volumes). The second edition is a few dollars cheaper then the first edition, due to the loss of paper quality and being overall smaller. The first edition is now very hard to find, as it has been out of print for a few years now.

Summary


Volume four begins with a conclusion to Suzumi’s predicament. Suzumi, who is still trapped, dreaming about her dead husband and child, eventually awakens when she hears Yuhi, and the manga then moves promptly to the next “arch”.

Not long after their ordeal with Suzumi, Yuhi hears about a mysterious pathogen in the Tochigi prefecture and a new vaccine that the health department is distributing there. As if fatally, a girl from that prefecture shows up at their house and demands that Aya fly around with her sick brother. She threatens to publish the picture she took of Ceres and Yuhi flying if Aya doesn’t comply. Aya and Yuhi cannot do anything but agree.

At the hospital, Aya and Yuhi meet Toya, who is serving as a doctor, since the Mikages installed into his head medical information. Yuhi is now convinced that the Mikages have something to do with the pathogen, and he continues to show Toya that he doesn’t like the fact that he is seeing Aya. Aya on the other hand, waivers between the two men, but ultimately runs after Toya and asks that he show her a more physical response to her love. Toya does nothing and tells Aya he cannot express his feelings; that they are too strong for such an expression. This only causes the bimbo, er- I mean Aya, to cry that she doesn’t understand, and she needs proof of his love. The two hug and kiss, but Toya soon has to leave because he is being paged.

Meanwhile, the little girl who blackmailed Aya, named Chidori, deciphers the relationship between Yuhi and Aya, and offers to date him instead. This running gag throughout the volume really lightens things up this volume, which would otherwise be dark and dramatic. Yuhi, poor man, keeps telling her that she is too young. ehehehe.

The next day, the group comes to visit Chidori’s brother again, and Aya overhears Toya say her name, and finally understands how he feels. While this happens, a few of the patients in the hospital begin to develop strange reactions, and Ceres starts trying to manifest herself in Aya again. Aya realizes that she has to accept herself, and that includes Ceres, and allows her to manifest. Just as Ceres finishes manifesting, Toya pulls her around. Ceres and Toya have a brief talk, which ends with Ceres giving Toya Aya’s chocker, and telling him to wear it if he wants to see Aya.

Meanwhile, Aki is continuing to sit under the experimental machine, in an attempt to remember his past life and where he hid the Hogoromo, so that he can tell Aya and free her from Ceres. But not everything is going as planned. Earlier in this volume, Aki met with Toya and stabbed the latter’s arm with the end of his handcuffs, while telling him that no one will have Aya but him. This only lasted a moment, and when Aki regained his sanity he apologized to Toya and told him he feels like he is becoming someone else lately. Something similar happens again, but this time, Aki sees an image of Ceres in Kagami’s office and goes up and kisses it. When he realizes what he is doing, he becomes ashamed. Kagami also happens to see him and is surprised.

Back in the hospital, four of the “special” pathogen patients have already died, or gone into critical condition, only three remain. Ceres now fulfills her promise to Chidori and takes her little brother, Shota, flying. But just as the two are coming back down to the hospital roof, another “special” patient reacts and releases a large amount of electricity that hits Ceres and causes her to drop Shota. Unable to stop his fall, Ceres acts as a cushion and hits her head which knocks her unconscious. Shota devastated that another person died protecting him, runs away just as another electrical discharge is released.

Thankfully, Shota has survived the blow and Yuhi volunteers to go get him. Both Shota and Aya regain consciousness, but Shota refuses to try and move away from the crumbling infrastructure because he thinks he is better off dead. This causes Chidori to feel tremendous guilt, as it was she who begged their parents to go to the threader on the day they died in the car accident which also left Shota in a wheelchair. Aya frustrated yells at Shota and the boy realizes that his words have hurt his sister and tries to move away from the crumbling infrastructure. But unluckily, the third patient shows up and grabs Shota, threatening to kill the boy if the others do not tell him who made his body react in such a painful way. The increasing emotional stress causes Chidori to awaken her tennyo powers and she undergoes “cellular transformation” like Aya, but unlike Aya, she remains with her own consciousness.

Meanwhile, Yuhi meets the one giving out the electricity, who also uses her powers on him without intending to, since she tells him she cannot control it. Just as Suzumi’s tennyo crest is about to be overcome by the patient’s power, Toya intervines and knocks her out. The two then rush to where Shota is, only to find Chidori transformed as she uses her power to throw the other patient away from Shota. Yuhi catches Shota and Toya captures Chidori with his chain, and tells the others that Chidori is coming with him. Aya tells him that if he is prepared to go that far to regain his memory, he should take her instead of Chidori. While Shota begs Toya not to take his sister. This stirs Toya’s sympathy and he releases Chidori and chases off the other Mikage agents before leaving. Chidori and her brother embrace and Chidori goes back to normal.

The scene switches to the patient Kumi, who gave off the electricity. She awakens somewhere and is told by a lady that she is special and doesn’t need to worry anymore because here she will be protected here. Once the woman finishes her chat with Kumi, she turns to Kagami and says that the six tennyo they captured may, with time, manifest as much of their powers as Aya and Chidori. Kagami just responds with a perhaps and affirms that those two will eventually be brought here too.

Meanwhile Aki recalls his conversation with Kagami, who with a smirk encouraged him to admit he has romantic feelings for his sister, and gave him video footage of his sister. As he lays in bed looking at the footage, he whispers to the Aya on TV that he is loosing his mind more and more, as a tear rolls down his face.

The volume concludes with Chidori announcing that she is coming with Yuhi and Aya. When the two refuse because she is in elementary school, she shows them her school ID, which states she is in highschool, to the utter bewilderment of Aya and Yuhi. As the two stare on, Chidori adds that in truth Yuhi can date her. LOL.

My Thoughts


I will begin by saying that I am not very fond of Aya, she comes off as selfish and naive. But I was pleasantly surprised in the latter half of this volume, when she showed some inner strength and maturity with regards to Toya and Chidori. With Toya, she finally understood why Toya acts as he does towards her (it was about time!), and with Chidori, she gave her some words of wisdom that I would not have expected the selfish and naive Aya to utter. She even encouraged Shota, and by the end of this volume, I warmed up to her a little. However, Ceres is still, by far, the superior leading lady. =P

This volume is appropriately named Chidori, since the majority of the volume is dedicated to her and her awakening as a celestial maiden. Chidori is a fun supporting character, and I am glad she was introduced this early into the manga. Her offer to date Yuhi adds much needed humor as does her child-like appearance in contrast to her tennyo transformation, in which she gains slender legs and a bigger chest. She is also a lot more emotionally mature then she first appears; throughout the majority of the volume she appears very child-like and innocently happy. But as we learn more about her and her brother, we see that she has been struggling with her guilt, and that her innocently happy appearance belies her inner turmoil. I really like that, I find it interesting when a seemingly innocent and happy character is actually the one with the most inner suffering. But since her inner guilt has been cleared up this volume, I am interested how Watase-san will develop her character.

As for the art, it is nothing but pleasant, Watase-san is a favourite of mine when it comes to art. Her art is top-notch, she uses a variety of perspectives and page arrangements. But best of all, her art flows, it feels cinematic, which is the mark of true ingenuity in combining both art and storytelling. To be able to make the drawings come to life and convey movements is truly a breath-taking feat. It not only improves the story-telling, but gives the reader lovely panels to look at. Watase-san is one of the few manga artists that keeps me captivated without establishing a connection between me and her heroine. This alone proves how good she is, because I will never read something unless I can establish a connection, some empathy towards the heroine/hero. With Ceres, it is not Aya and her story that keeps me coming back for more, but the general story, I am genuinely curious about how the conflict will be resolved; I am intrigued by Toya’s lack of memories, Kagami’s ruthlessness, and the whole tennyo, C-genome story that is unwinding before my eyes. Yes, it takes talent to draw me in, while at the same time without attaching me to the plight of the heroine.

Volume four has a simple, but enchanting cover. I can’t put my finger on it, but something about this cover draws me in. Maybe it’s Ceres’s emotionless face, maybe it’s the composition and colors, but whatever it is, I really like it.

All in all, volume four has reminded me why I liked Ceres: Celestial Legend in the first place; for one, Ceres is very interesting, and two the story in general has me hooked. I am without a doubt looking forward to volume five.

–SW

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