Ayashi no Ceres
16 no Hoshi to Tsuki
(16th Star and Moon)
Copyright: ©2000, Yuu Watase
Length: 25 minutes
Rating: NR, Mature Audiences
Format: Original Japanese Dialogue (VHS, DVD)
Anata wo tasukeru unmei no deai ga matteimasu...
Mikage Aya and twin brother Aki are about to turn 16. Looking towards the future, Aya decides to get her fortune told by a fortune teller who is rumoured to be quite accurate. However, unlike expected, Aya's future is looking very dark indeed. The only positive point to her future is that life's fateful meeting is soon to happen, and that person will also help her in her upcoming troubles.
Seeing a purse snatcher, Aya tries to stop the snatcher, but in doing so, accidentally falls off a pedestrian overpass. However, despite falling from such heights, she escapes completely unharmed. Rather than falling, it looked more like she floated down to the road below.
On the day of their 16th birthday, despite having made other plans with their friends, Aya and Aki are told to go to their grandfather's home for a birthday party. However, rather than a small affair, it seems that the entire Mikage clan have gathered for their birthday. What could be happening? When Aki and Aya are presented with a present from their grandfather, Aya starts feeling very uneasy about what lies inside...
Based on the popular manga by Yuu Watase, this first episode tries to introduce the characters and story. Despite being filled with introductions, and happenings, the first half of the episode does a flip-flop between semi-serious to extreme silliness that is more than a little annoying. Aya's genki-ness aside, her almost extreme foolishness is rather off-putting and is not what would be expected of a 16 year old. Indeed her entire attitude is more akin to a 6 year old. While some of this might be forgiveable considering the change in atmosphere and story that should happen over the next while, there has got to be a better way to break up the tension in a series.
The depiction of Aya's grandfather's mansion and surrounding grounds makes one wonder as to just what sort of family the Mikage clan is. However, heavy use of superdeformed style animation as well as stills and pans, and limited shots make this a less than impressive start to the series as a whole. While there is some interesting computer graphics, it doens't make up for the overall lack.
Also particularly noteworthy in this first episode is the music. Or rather lack thereof. Other than near the opening credits, music was either not present or was completely unmemorable. It's not until things get started at the party that music becomes noticeable, let alone a part of the episode.
The voice acting in this series is also decidedly weak. While this is the first episode and as such the cast are going to be settling into their roles for the next while, the lines are very much just that, lines. In some cases combined with the scene, the acting combines to make for decidedly contrived if not over contrived scenes. Kakazu Yumi's depiction of Mikage Aya is annoyingly weak.
"Aki ga shinjau!" (Aki's gonna die!) Let him say I and put us out of our misery on this first episode. The only positive point to this first episode is the ending. And no, not just because it's over. They put the end of the episode at an interesting point as we get to wonder what's going to happen to Aya. So, despite the weaknesses to this first episode, we're left curious as to how things will go in the next episode. Onwards, but I don't have a great first impression so far...
- JYN, 2001.03.08
café rating (original japanese):
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