This is another series I watched some time ago when I was first getting into anime; comments r-posted, cleaned up, and added-to from Dueling Modems.

This was adapted from a manga by Yu Watase, who also wrote Fushigi Yugi, Imadoki!, and many other series. I haven't read the manga, and would be interested to hear from anyone who has, especially if they've also seen the anime and can comment on their relative quality.

Aya and Aki Mikage, twins in contemporary Japan, are invited to their grandfather's ancestral mansion for their sixteenth birthday party. To their surprise, the entire (huge) family is there, including the sinister grandfather. He gives them a box. As everyone watches, they open it. It contains a statue's hand. Aya is momentarily possessed, the hand explodes, wounds open up all over Aki's body, and he collapses. When Aya tries to help him, the grandfather orders her father to kill her. She becomes possessed again and teleports out.


It turns out that ages ago a member of the Mikage family stole the robe of a celestial maiden. This gave him power over her, and he forcibly took her to wife and made her bear his children. Generations later, the family has grown rich and powerful due to the infusion of celestial blood. But every now and then Ceres, the angel, is able to incarnate in a daughter, and then she seeks her robe and revenge. In this case, she's after Aki, who looks like his ancestor who raped her.

Aya's on the run, Aki's trying to figure out where he fits in, and an amnesiac bishonen named Toya alternates working for the Mikages, who have promised to help him recover his memory, with helping Aya, who he may have fallen for. Meanwhile, a woman who also has celestial blood has enlisted her brother-in-law to help out. He's just an ordinary guy, but since he's not a Mikage, Ceres doesn't automatically hate him for being a man.

This is an intriguing cross-genre series with the genres in question being fantasy/fairy tale, sf, and horror.

It's a Japanese version of the selkie legend re-interpreted as sf in which various characters are possessed by their older reincarnations and an evil corporation tries to use them for a creepy eugenics project. Especially toward the end, blood splattered in a way that suggested that this was not going to be shown on American TV any time soon.

The anime is quite gripping, oddly so considering that the story kept teetering on the verge of incoherence. (Note to writer: the third-to-last episode is not the time to introduce an entirely new character with her own irrelevant plot.) It's all over the place, bouncing from star-crossed lovers to backstory in heaven to evil corporate plots to mutant children to amnesiac toughs on the run, and sometimes half the characters seem to be possessed by different spirits or former reincarnations. While all these ideas are interesting, the way the script keeps dashing madly from one to the other leaves an overall feeling of attention deficit disorder. This unfocused quality also hurts the theme, which starts out as an exploration of gender roles, sexual warfare, and love vs. revenge, and ends up not saying much of anything.

The characters, unfortunately, are less interesting than the story. Aya is frustratingly passive, and while Toya's background and the mysteries surrounding him are fascinating, his personality is lacking. (There is a reason in the story why he's something of a blank slate, but that doesn't make his blankness less blank.) The supporting characters are better, but I missed the charming eccentricities of Fushigi Yuugi seven seishi.

Though the series is very flawed, it does have that DVD-inserting quality, and that's strong enough that I rented all eight DVDs, and watched three of them in one night. And despite the messiness of the story, it still finds time to create touching moments of loneliness, tenderness, and all the myriad types of love.
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From: [identity profile]

Eheh, a friend of mine had been telling me I needed to see this series ever since she learned I liked FY... I finally saw the anime this summer, and, well, I started buying the manga, although I'm only at the third volume, since the un-flopped edition of the fourth hasn't been released yet. My friend's main selling point was that she made her boyfriend read it, and he actually liked it (as a story, not necessarily for the characters - he violently disliked Touya), so it had to have something going for it.

Um... I was amazed that they managed to cram the entirety of a 14 volume series into one season, and I suspect the cramming is why the pacing of the anime is rather whacky (as far as I can tell, the irrelevant character in episode 22 is introduced halfway through the manga, which probably makes her a bit less of a bizarre throw-in). I did like the anime despite it all, although the hicky thing I just found kind of... weird. In the manga, Aya is a bit more pushy when it comes to Touya - she does the neck-sucking first, which doesn't make it less middle-school for me, but at least it's a bit more on the female empowerment side. I guess.

Ah, that's all I can remember at the moment, and the electricity is starting to go off and on. This is what I get for living in the boonies...

From: [identity profile]

I thought the manga was much better than the anime, because the pacing is much more coherent, there are more complete explanations, and the anime was terribly miscast vocally. However, the US translation of the manga is annoying as all hell. If you read Japanese well enough, or French, I'd recommend that route.

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