Aya is a loud, fun loving teen, who has just turned sixteen along with her twin brother, Aki. They are told to attend their grandfather’s house for a family meeting on the eve of their birthday. When they get there, they receive a macabre gift in the presence of the entire family – a mummified hand. The next thing Aya knows, blood fills her vision and she is overcome by a strange power. When she comes to her senses, Aki is slumped on the table, bleeding, and her grandfather is threatening to kill her. Aya must escape the Mikage family residence, and is aided in her escape by a mysterious (and good looking) stranger named Tōya, and another young man called Yūhi. She discovers that she is possessed by a mysterious celestial being, who is hell bent on destroying Aya’s family – including her beloved brother Aki. Aya is thrown into a world that she doesn’t understand, and has only the sympathy of Tōya, Yūhi, Suzumi and Mrs. Q as she tries to get her old life back again. However, it is soon clear that Aya’s life has changed forever…
‘Ceres’ is the second series to be published in English from the manga artist and writer Yû Watase. She’s been a shôjo fan’s favourite since the extremely popular series Fushigi Yûgi was released in the West, both as an anime title and as a manga serialised in Animerica Extra. Fans of ‘Fushigi Yûgi’ will not be disappointed with Watase’s new offering – although there are considerably less male characters in this one! Aya is a worthy heroine – possibly even more likeable than Miaka due to the fact she’s less whiney and naive. The familiar theme of being pitted against a loved one is back – but this time it’s a twin brother rather than a best friend. There’s plenty of comic interludes, mostly from Yūhi and Mrs. Q., and as you would expect, a few dilemmas as Aya finds herself falling for Tōya – who is working for the Mikages and is Aya’s enemy.
Watase’s work is as beautiful as ever, and her sidebars make an excellent accompaniment to the manga. Even if you’ve already seen the anime series, you might want to check out the manga just to see Watase’s comments – how she arrived at the idea, research she did, and so on.
Writer/Artist: Yuu Watase