Ceres: Celestial Legend / Ayashi No Ceres

Ayashi No Ceres or Ceres: Celestial Legend, as it is called in the United States, is a very interesting anime. It has twists and turns right from the start. If you liked Fushigi Yugi then you will like this anime. Story by Yu Watase is another using a legend from certain times and linking them to our current time. Two twins, Aya and Aki, have just turned 16 and have their lives changed forever. The legend that Aya heard as a child turns out to be a part of her family history. Hidden in secret from them until they are tested. It is one that will have you thinking and laughing at the same time. Wondering what Yu has thought up next for you.

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Ayashi No Ceres / Ceres: Celestial Legend - Similar Legends to the Story:

  • Legend of the Story
  • Segement from a play
  • Robe of Feathers
  • The Crane Maiden
  • The herd boy and the weaving girl
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    Legend Ayashi No Ceres is Based On

    In the village of Miho there lived a fisherman named Hakuryo. One day, Hakuryo was enjoying the view of the beach when he saw a beautiful feathered robe called a horogomo on the limb of a pine tree. No one was around so he decided to take the beautiful horogomo home as a treasure. The a tennyo, a celestial being or heavenly maiden appeared and told him that the feathered robe was hers. She implored him to return it to her. Hakuryo, however, had no intention of returning his newfound treasure. The tennyo pleaded with the fisherman and told him that without the horogomo, she would not be able to return to the heavens, and she began to shed tears. At this, Hakuryo began to feel pity for the weeping tennyo and told her that if she danced the dance of the heavens for him, then and only then, would he return the feathered robe to her. And so the angel danced the heavenly dance on the shores of Miho no Ura for the fisherman and she was able to return to the heavens.

    -Ledgend of the Horogomo (one of many versions)

    Segement from a play

    Now I have landed at the pine-wood of Mio and am viewing the beauty of the shore. Suddenly there is music in the sky, a rain of flowers, unearthly fragrance wafted on all sides. These are no common things; nor is this beautiful cloak that hangs upon the pine-tree. This surely is no common dress. I will take it back with me and show it to people of my home. It shall be a treasure in my house.

    --From Hagoromo, as traslated by Arther Waley in The No Plays of Japan (Charles E Tuttle C. 1976)


    The Robe of Feathers

    It was springtime, and along Mio's pine-clad shore there came a sound of birds. The blue sea danced and sparkled in the sunshine, and Hairukoo, a fisherman, sat down to enjoy the scene. As he did so he chanced to see, hanging on a pine tree, a beautiful robe of pure white feathers.

    As Hairukoo was about to take down the robe he saw coming toward him from the sea an extremely lovely maiden, who requested that the fisherman would restore the robe to her.

    Hairukoo gazed upon the lady with considerable admiration. Said he, "I found this robe, and I mean to keep it, for it is a marvel to be placed among the treasures of Japan. No, I cannot possibly give it to you."

    "Oh," cried the maiden pitifully, "I cannot go soaring into the sky without my robe of feathers, for if you persist in keeping it I can never more return to my celestial home. Oh, good fisherman, I beg of you to restore my robe!"

    The fisherman, who must have been a hard-hearted fellow, refused to relent.

    "The more you plead," said he, "the more determined I am to keep what I have found."

    Thus the maiden made answer:

    Speak not, dear fisherman! Speak not that word!
    Ah! know'st thou not that, like the hapless bird
    Whose wings are broke, I seek, but seek in vain,
    Reft of my wings, to soar to heav'n's blue plain?

    After further argument on the subject the fisherman's heart softened a little.

    "I will restore your robe of feathers," said he, "if you will at once dance before me."

    Then the maiden replied, "I will dance it here -- the dance that makes the Palace of the Moon turn round, so that even poor transitory man may learn its mysteries. But I cannot dance without my feathers."

    "No," said the fisherman suspiciously. "If I give you this robe, you will fly away without dancing before me."

    This remark made the maiden extremely angry.

    "The pledge of mortals may be broken," said she, "but there is no falsehood among the heavenly beings."

    These words put the fisherman to shame, and, without more ado, he gave the maiden her robe of feathers.

    When the maiden had put on her pure white garment she struck a musical instrument and began to dance, and while she danced and played she sang of many strange and beautiful things concerning her faraway home in the moon. She sang of the might Palace of the Moon, where thirty monarchs ruled, fifteen in robes of white when that shining orb was full, and fifteen robed in black when the moon was waning. As she sang and played and danced she blessed Japan, "that earth may still her proper increase yield!"

    The fisherman did not long enjoy this kindly exhibition of the Moon Lady's skill, for very soon her dainty feet ceased to tap upon the sand. She rose into the air, the white feathers of her robe gleaming against the pine trees or against the blue sky itself. Up, up she went, still playing and singing, past the summits of the mountains, higher and higher, until her song was hushed, until she reached the glorious Palace of the Moon.


    Source: F. Hadland Davis, Myths and Legends of Japan (London: G. G. Harrap and Company, 1913), pp. 127-129.

    The Crane Maiden

    In those ancient days when gods and men mingled, the daughters of gods used to come down to earth, and occasionally these Heavenly Maidens would marry mortal men.

    There was once a peasant by the name of Tian Kunlun, who was still a bachelor. Not far from his home there was a pool of very clear water, as deep and pure as green jade and shaded by beautiful trees. One day as he was passing by, Tian saw three beautiful young women bathing in the pool. This made him curious and he crept closer to the pool so that he could see better. As he did so, the three young women turned into white cranes and came skimming out of the water. Two of the cranes plucked up their bundles of clothes from beside the pool and flew off into the sky. But the third crane was not quite so quick and Tian reached her bundle of clothes first. The white crane fluttered around him and then went back to the pool, where once again she took the form of a beautiful young woman. She begged Tian to give her back her clothes.

    "I'll give you your clothes if you will tell me who you are," said Tian.

    "I am one of the daughters of the High God," the girl replied. "My father gave us these clothes so that we may come and go freely in Heaven and on earth. We were just bathing in the pool and did not see you. My sisters have gone back to heaven and I cannot follow them without my clothes. So please give them back to me. If you do, I shall willingly be your wife."

    Tian was delighted at this, but he thought that if he returned her clothes she might fly away like her sisters, never to be seen again.

    "I would like nothing more in the whole world than to have you as my wife," he said to the girl. "I shall give you my clothes so that you can come out of the pool and return home with me. I cannot give you your own clothes in case you fly off and leave me."

    The girl was unhappy at this, but she realized that there was no other way, and so she agreed. Tian took off his outer garments and gave them to the girl who dressed herself and came out of the pool.

    Tian and the girl went to his mother's house. She was delighted to have such a beautiful daughter-in-law and immediately prepared a feast, inviting all their friends and neighbors to join in the celebration. After the wedding, Tian and his wife lived happily together and before long they had a son whom they named Tian Zhang.

    Some years after the birth of his son, Tian was called away to serve as a warrior a long way from home. Before he went away, he took his mother aside and showed her his wife's heavenly clothes, which he had kept hidden. He told his mother not to let his wife find them in case she should put them on and fly off to Heaven.

    Together they made a hiding place amongst his mother's boxes, and Tian went away. When he was gone, the crane maiden asked her mother-in-law every day if she knew where her heavenly clothes were, begging her for just a glimpse of them.

    "If you will allow me just one look at my clothes, I shall be happy," she said.

    At this the old woman took pity on her daughter-in-law and fetched the heavenly clothes from their hiding place. The crane maiden wept to see her clothes and took them in her arms. Before the old woman could stop her, she had put the clothes on, and in an instant had flown out of the window. The old woman rushed to the window, but her daughter-in-law was already just a small speck far away in the sky.

    When Tian returned, he and his mother wept but there was nothing they could do to bring the crane maiden back. The little boy Zhang longed for his mother and searched the fields for her, weeping and calling. His cries were heard by a wise old man, who knew the cause of his tears and also knew that his mother would not have forgotten her son. "Go to the pool near your home," he told Zhang, "and wait for three beautiful women dressed in white silk. Two of the women will look at you curiously, but the third one will pretend not to see you. That woman will be your mother." Zhang did as the old man told him and went to the pool to wait.

    Meanwhile the crane maiden was very unhappy in Heaven. She had thought she would be happy to be back with her heavenly family, but everything reminded her of the little son she had left behind on earth and she wept all day long. Her sisters laughed at her for being so silly, but they felt sorry for her, too, and promised that they would all go down to earth to see that her child was all right.

    When the three sisters arrived at the pool where they had once bathed, Zhang was already waiting as the wise old man had told him. He saw the three women in white and went straight up to them. Two of them looked at him and smiled, saying, "Sister, sister, here is your son." But the third woman looked down and pretended not to see him. When he saw this, Zhang ran to her, calling "Mother, mother!" She could not help taking him in her arms and crying tears of joy. They hugged each other for a long time, till one of the two sisters said, "We must go back now. If you cannot bear to be parted, we had better take your son back with us to Heaven."

    Between them they lifted the little boy and flew off with him to the house of the High God. The High God was delighted with his grandson and took him into his care, giving him books and sharing with him all his knowledge. The child learned quickly and after four or five days the High God gave him eight books to take back to earth, saying, "It is time for you to go. Take these books and study them well, for you will derive great benefit from them."

    Zhang left his mother and went back to earth with his grandfather's books. Although he had been in Heaven for only four or five days, on earth he had been away for about twenty years. His grandmother was dead and he could not find his father, but his new-found knowledge made him independent and he reached a high position at the imperial court. Whenever the emperor asked for his advice, Zhang would consult his heavenly books and what he said always proved to be right. And in this way he became famous.


    The herd boy and the weaving girl

    When the world was new and people first lived on earth, crops were hard to raise and there was never enough food for everyone. Seeing this, the High God sent the Ox Star down to earth as a messenger, to tell people to eat only one meal every three days, with an occasional extra snack. Unfortunately the ox was not very intelligent and he told people to eat three meals every day, with an occasional snack as well. When the High God realized that the ox had delivered his message wrongly and that now there would be even less food to go round, he was enraged.

    "As you have given people the wrong advice," he told the ox, "you had better go down to earth and help them put things right. You will become the people's servant, helping them to plough the soil and raise enough crops for their three meals a day, and their occasional extra snack!" The ox went sadly down to earth, and he and his descendants have been men's servants since that day. We do not know whether the Ox Star himself had to stay on earth forever, but he was almost certainly the means by which the herd boy met the weaving girl, another of the Heavenly Maidens.

    The herd boy was a young man who was liked by everyone for his hard work and honesty. When his parents died his two older brothers decided to divide up the property and go their separate ways. As they were older and more cunning, the two brothers succeeded in claiming the best land and the best animals, leaving the herd boy with nothing but an old ox and the poorest piece of land. He led the ox to his land, built a rough shelter, and together they worked hard and managed to make a modest living. Being an honest, industrious young man, the herd boy never resented or tried to cheat anyone.

    One evening, exhausted from his labors in the fields, he sat beside the ox feeling lonely and sad. For though his hard work had brought him a reasonable life, he had no one to share it with apart from the ox. Then suddenly the ox spoke: "Please don't be so sad, master, for I can help you."

    The herd boy was astonished to hear the ox speak. "Who are you, and how can you help me?" he asked.

    "I am the Ox Star, and I really belong in Heaven," replied the ox. "I was sent here to work hard as a punishment. But you have been a very good master to me, and so I will help you to find a wife who will make you happy. Not far away from here there is a clear pool shaded by trees and plants. Go there tomorrow and wait for the Heavenly Maidens to come and bathe in the pool. Whilst they are bathing, steal one of the girls' clothes, so that she will not be able to fly up to Heaven. Then she will be your wife."

    The herd boy did as the ox said and waited beside the clear pool. Soon a crowd of beautiful Heavenly Maidens came down from the sky, shed their bright clothes like plumages and left them on the bank before stepping into the water. The herd boy waited and, as they came out of the water again, he sprang from his hiding place and seized one of the piles of clothes. The girls were startled and, snatching their clothes, they flew off into the sky. Only one girl was left and the herd boy came to the edge of the pool and spoke to her gently, begging her to be his wife. His soft words persuaded the girl and she agreed. Taking off his outer garments, the herd boy wrapped them round the girl and took her home.

    When the Heavenly Maiden and the herd boy were married, she told him that she was the weaving girl from Heaven. She was indeed the Goddess of Weaving and her skill with all kinds of cloth stood them in good stead. Before long the income from her weaving gave them an easy, comfortable life. They were very happy together, and the weaving girl gave birth to a son and a daughter. But the gods regretted the loss of their Weaving Goddess and were anxious to have her back again in Heaven. When her grandfather, the High God, discovered that she was living with the herd boy, he thought that she was far too good for him and sent his guards down to earth to bring her back to Heaven by force.

    The weaving girl's husband and children were helpless against the guards, and they watched weeping as she disappeared into the sky.

    Suddenly there was a bellow from the stall: "Herd boy," said the ox, "I will do you one last act of kindness. I shall die here before returning to Heaven. As soon as I am dead, take off my hide and put it round you. Then you will find your wife." When he had finished speaking, the ox dropped down dead. The herd boy was sad to lose his dear friend and adviser, but he did as the ox had said. He wrapped the ox hide round him and put a carrying pole across his shoulders, with a basket at each end. Then he put his son in one basket and his daughter in the other and, as the little girl was smaller than her brother, he also put a ladle in her basket so that it would balance.

    When this was done, he took his staff, left his house and found that he flew up into the sky just as his wife had done. It was not long before he could make out the figure of the weaving girl far away in the distance.

    The High God was very pleased to see the weaving girl return, but he was horrified when he saw her husband following close behind. So he stretched out his hand and drew a line across the sky. This line became the Milky Way and formed a wide river which the herd boy could not cross. He stopre it and gazed at it helplessly, till his little daughter said, "Father, we can scoop the water out of the river with our ladle. Then we shall be able to cross." The herd boy set to work at once, and the children helped by scooping out the water with their hands. But hard though they tried, they could not empty the river.

    When the gods saw that the herd boy and his children did not give up, they were deeply moved. The High God decided that the herd boy could visit his wife once every year. He decreed that on the seventh day of the seventh month each year, all the magpies on earth would fly up into the sky and form a bridge across the water so that the herd boy could cross. When the weaving girl met her husband, she was so happy that she would sometimes cry and on that night the earth would receive a gentle shower of rain. Then all the mothers on earth would say to their children, "Poor weaving girl, she is crying again."

    The herd boy and the weaving girl were in the sky for so long that finally they turned into stars. When we look up at the sky, we see a bright star on one side of the Milky Way in the constellation of Vespa: this is the weaving girl. On the other side we see another bright star (Aquila) with two small stars beside it: this is the herd boy and the two children. There are three other stars near the weaving girl and it is said that these are the crooked staff for herding cattle which the herd boy threw to his wife. Near the herd boy are four more small stars which people say are the shuttle which the weaving girl threw to her husband. It is said that during the long days and nights they are apart, the couple hang messages on the staff and shuttle and throw them across the river. Looking at these distant stars, all parted lovers remember the herd boy and the weaving girl and gain courage from their example of faithfulness.

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    Image from ayashi.net

    Aya Mikagi

    Aya was a perfectly happy and bright girl until the her sixteenth birthday when she and her twin brother, Aki are brought to a nightmarish birthday party that they'll never forget. When it was discovered that she had a tennyo named Ceres inside of her, the Mikage family sought out to destroy her. Even as the story changes, Aya is forced to run away from her once beloved twin brother who is now possessed by her obsessive ancestor. Aya is strong willed girl and is a bit athletic.
    Image from ayashi.net

    Ceres

    < Ceres is the tennyo who occassionally takes over Aya's body. Her powers are incredible and even Suzumi has admitted that. She has a grudge against the Mikage family whose ancestor stole her horogomo (feathered robe), preventing her from returning to heaven. Ceres is beautiful and powerful and very angry. She seems to have special feelings towards Yuuhi, who is protecting Aya.
    Image from ayashi.net

    Aki Mikagi


    Aki is Aya's twin brother. Before that fated birthday party Aya and Aki were very close and he loves his sister dearly. When he realizes that something is wrong with him he tells his sister to kill him when he turns evil. Aki is a real sweet heart (not to mention a real hottie.)
    Image from ayashi.net

    Shisho/ Mikagi

    He is the ancestor of Aya and Aki. Long ago, Shisho stole the robe from a tennyo and hid it away. When she could not leave to go back to heaven he took it as an opprotunity to marry her. Now he's obsessivly searching for his WOMAN who just happens to be inside of Aya. Despite the fact that Ceres is in the body of Aki's twin sister he agressivly searches for her. He's not too happy with Tooya who seems to be taking his woman from him and is hell bent on destroying anything in his way.
    Image from ayashi.net

    Tooya

    Tooya is a mysterious man who rescues Aya at the beginning of the series. His origins are mysterious even to himself. Tooya was hired by the Mikage's to kill Aya but then was told by Kagami to save her instead. He doesn't say much but boy, does this guy kick some major bootie. He has some real interesting powers (it kinda has something to do with his origin) such as creating a (rather impressive looking) dagger from his wrists.
    Image from ayashi.net

    Suzumi Aogiri

    Suzumi is a decendant of the tennyo's like Aya. She has powers of her own but they are not as impressive. She is the one who relays the ledgend of Aya's particular tennyo to a not too happy Aya and convinces her to stay. Suzumi is very cool and calm personality.
    Image from ayashi.net

    Yuuhi Aogiri

    Yuuhi is the brother of Suzumi's deceased husband. He is a master chief who is good with martial arts. He uses steel chopsticks to complement his martial arts skills when in combat and becomes Aya's protector. A kiss from Yuuhi can change Ceres back into Aya.

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