Hello, hello you lovely people!~ I’m back with a non-Real-People-Stuffs post! I was put in charge of today’s Throwback Thursday post. I have to admit it took me a while to think of what to pick. After some thought, I settled with one of the series I remember watching a hella long time ago. And that series is Fushigi Yuugi.
Fushigi Yuugi (ふしぎ遊戯), also known as “The Mysterious Play”, was a series by Watase Yuu. Let me state that Watase Yuu is probably my favorite mangaka. Her beautiful art is what drew me to so many of her different works. Anyway, Fushigi Yuugi was originally published between 1992-1996. The anime was released under Studio Pierrot and had 52 episodes that aired from 1995-1996. It also spawned 3 sets of OVAs. The first OVA had 3 episodes, the second OVA had 6 episodes, and the third OVA Fushigi Yuugi Eidoken had 8 episodes. A prequel to the manga called ふしぎ遊戯 玄武開伝 (Fushigi Yuugi: Genbu Kaiden), or “The Mysterious Play: The Legend of Genbu”, was published between 2003-2013. There was also a one shot prequel called ふしぎ遊戯 白虎異聞 (Fushigi Yuugi: Byakko Ibun) in 2015. This led to full serialization of the prequel ふしぎ遊戯 白虎仙記 (Fushigi Yuugi: Byakko Senki) in 2017.
Yuki Miaka is an average 15 year old junior high student who has to worry about high school entrance exams. She’s a glutton and not exactly the smartest kid. However, she is naive, outgoing, optimistic, and sentimental. Miaka and her best friend, Hongo Yui, go to the library. The girls come across a book. It’s an ancient Chinese novel called, “The Universe of the Four Gods”. As they open and read it, they get sucked into the novel’s world. Miaka is thrown into a universe in Ancient China, but it seems she’s separated from Yui. In this world, there are four gods: Genbu (Black Tortoise of the North), Byakko (White Tiger of the West), Suzaku (Vermilion Bird of the South), and Seiryuu (Azure Dragon of the East). Miaka seems to be the legendary Priestess of Suzaku. She must find and gather the seven Celestial Warriors of Suzaku in order to summon Suzaku himself. Each warrior has a character of one of the deity’s constellations on his or her body. Once summoned, Suzaku will grant her three wishes that will be used to save the country and people of Kounan. Only then will she be able to return home. Miaka also soon finds herself falling for Tamahome, one of the Celestial warriors. However, there’s a big problem. Yui has become the Priestess of Seiryuu under the country of Kutou, Kounan’s enemy. The best friends become enemies, and so begins the race and battle to summon the god that will determine the universe’s fate.
Map of all the countries and gods in ‘The Universe of the Four Gods’.
It’s an old magical girl and shoujo series from the 90’s. So it’s been a hellaaaaaaaaaaaa long time since I’ve watched it. I had the manga and complete box set back in the day, but I literally haven’t touched it in over a decade. So it’s been interesting to re-watching a few episodes and re-reading a few chapters after such a long time (since the details are hella fuzzy for me). I do remember the anime felt kind of lackluster compared to the manga series that I liked so much. Of course I don’t exactly remember why, and so here I am re-watching some of the episodes. What I do remember was that I did like some of the characters, and I loved the music. Also to note, I only sped watched a few of the episodes and skimmed through the first volume of the manga for this post.
[Some Spoilers Ahead]
Okay…there are a hellaaaaaaaa ton of characters, so I’m going to try not to go into depth this time. None of us would have the time for that. I’m just going to try to keep it as simple as I can.
Yuki Miaka is the Priestess of Suzaku. She’s a seemingly normal 15 year old girl who gets transported into a universe set in Ancient China. She has to summon Suzaku in order to save the northern country of Kounan and return home. To do so, she needs to find the seven Celestial Warriors of Suzaku. She ends up falling for Tamahome, one of the warriors. I get she’s the heroine, but sometimes she’s hellaaa dumb (not that she was that bright in the first place) and annoying. But, I get she’s a good person and all despite all of her flaws. I felt like the anime version of Miaka was more aggravating than the manga version. I suppose when I was younger, I could let it slide…but as an adult, I found myself being like, “Miaka…plz…stahp…” And of course most of the guys fall for her, because shoujo and reverse harem logic. She’s that typical not so smart, always needing help, always a damsel in distress, but has a good and pure heart kind of character. Also known as the typical helpless shoujo heroine trope. Of course Miaka does have some strengths about her too, but I just can’t sometimes…
I will say that I can relate to her as a glutton too though, because I’m a fatty.
Miaka and the seven Celestial Warriors of Suzaku. Clockwise starting at the bottom left of Miaka: Chiriko, Chichiri, Tamahome, Hotohori, Nuriko, Tasuki, Mitsukake
Tamahome, also known as Sou Kishuku, is the Celestial Warrior with the character “Oni”, or “Ogre”. A poor commoner who seems greedy for money. Immature, but a big brother type due to having 4 younger siblings. He’s a sincere dude who doesn’t back down from enemies. Hella strong and adept at martial arts, street fighting, and more. In love with Miaka.
Hotohori, the Celestial warrior with the character “Star”. He’s actually the Emperor of Kounan. Hella beautiful looking and narcissistic. Sheltered and seems a bit cold, but is a warm and caring person. He’s a powerful swordsman. Has a hella soft spot for Miaka since he’s in love with her. He’s always envisioned the legendary of Priestess of Suzaku as his first love, believing she would love him for more than his looks.
Nuriko, also known as “Korin”, has the character “Willow”. Nuriko seems to be one of Hotohori’s consorts. Nuriko is seen a beautiful woman in love with Hotohori. Turns out Nuriko is actually a guy who’s been cross dressing to keep the memory of his late sister, the real Korin, alive. Initially, he doesn’t get along with Miaka due to being jealous of her closeness to Hotohori and Tamahome (mostly Hotohori). Seems to be interested in Tamahome for a while, but does it to piss off Miaka and make her jealous. Also ends up realizing that as a man, he’s in love with Miaka.
Chichiri, a wandering monk with the character “Well”. The oldest and wisest of them all. He seems zen and super light-hearted, however, he does have moments where he’s suddenly very serious and grim.
Tasuki, a leader of a group of mountain bandits. He has the character “Wings”. Seems angry most of the time and claims to hate girls, but he’s a brave and kindhearted dude. He possesses inhuman super speed, use talismans, and has a fan that shoots flames.
Mitsukake, a former doctor with the character “Chariot”. He was a former doctor who lost his lover. He has healing abilities, although it is limited. He can only heal one person a day.
Chiriko is the youngest of the group. He was born with the character for the “Extended Net” constellation. He’s a genius and was aiming to become a government official. He can use a leaf whistle against his opponents.
Not going to lie…getting lazy now. So please excuse my laziness for the rest of this post…
Left to Right: Miboshi, Suboshi, Nakago, Yui, Soi. Amiboshi, Tomo, and Ashitare
Hongo Yui is the Priestess of Seiryuu. She’s Miaka’s best friend. She’s a beautiful, intelligent and mature girl for her age. Yui follows Miaka’s story by reading The Universe of the Four Gods. By doing so, she also ends up falling for Tamahome. She ends up back in the book while trying to save Miaka. She ends up being manipulated into going against Miaka by becoming the Priestess of Seiryuu. She basically thought all the bad things that happened were because of Miaka, and that Miaka had betrayed her.
Nakago, is the leader of Seiryuu’s Celestial Warriors. He is Kutou’s highest ranking general, and is merciless and charismatic. He’s a dick and manipulates people for his personal gain. He manipulated Yui in turning against Miaka.
Okay…I admit that I’m just lazy now…plus who cares about the evil side right…?
Amiboshi and Suboshi. They twins. They hella close. Amiboshi’s weapon is his flute. Suboshi’s weapon is his Ryuseisui (double meteor bell?). Suboshi had a thing for Yui.
Soi. The pretty female warrior. Hella devoted to Nakago. In love with him despite knowing that he’s only using her. Dislikes Yui, and jelly of Tamahome and Miaka. She’s not really evil, but fights for Nakago and for her country. She has Feng Shui related abilities.
Tomo. Looks like he’s a part of a Beijing opera group. He enjoys torturing people. He’s an illusionist.
Ashitare. He’s basically half man and half wolf.
Miboshi. Apparently his actual body is basically dead, but his spirit took over some shrine priest or something. He can control people’s bodies and is a spellcaster of sorts.
The opening is いとおしい人のために (Itooshi no Tame ni), or “For the Sake of My Beloved”, by Sato Akemi. Yes, it has that 90’s sound. But what I liked is how it had that mysterious vibe and elements that fit with the Chinese legend theme. The lyrics even incorporates a bit of Chinese (usage of “Wo Ai Ni”, aka “I love you”).
The ending is ときめきの導火線 (Tokimeki no Doukasen), or “The Fuse of Excitement”, by Konno Yukari. This one had that hellaaaaa early-mid 90’s sound/vibe. But I liked that it was just so upbeat and catchy.
[Warning – Some Spoilers Ahead]
Damn Mom…that’s hella harsh…
Story-wise, there were some changes and cuts here and there. It ultimately made the anime’s story and characters feel weaker when compared to the source material. I suppose it also just felt cheesier than the manga. Especially because of that jazzy saxophone background music. I kept wanting to laugh when it came on. Anyway, I mentioned it before…I found anime Miaka to be hella annoying at times. While I get that it’s the typical character trope, the anime version just seemed -TOO- extra at times. I could connect more with the manga version of Miaka. It’s clear off the bat that Miaka needs to focus on her high school entrance exams in the anime. But you don’t get as much of a feel of urgency or anything that important from it. It’s like she’s kind of whatever about it at first. In the manga, Miaka does feel somewhat burdened by the exams and the pressure put on her by her mother. Her mom wants and expects certain things for Miaka, but those aren’t the things that Miaka wants. These are things that Miaka is clearly concerned about right at the start of the manga. In the manga, Yui and Miaka actually make it back out of the book right after Tamahome saves them. However, Miaka gets into a fight with her mom when she first returns to the real world. The cause is that Miaka’s mom saw her diary entry about Tamahome. Mom flipped her shit and assumed Miaka was seeing a guy instead of focusing on her studies. Miaka loses it because she caught a glimpse of her mother with an unknown man. She ends up blurting, “Well aren’t YOU seeing a guy??” and gets slapped by her mother. This is the breaking point for Miaka and she runs off back to the library. She finds that what she thought was all a dream, was written into the book. And then she gets sucked right back in. Initially she doesn’t mind. In fact, she’s kind of happy since she won’t have to deal with exams, her mother, or any of her problems.
Miaka gladly jumps into the role of the Priestess of Suzaku in manga, while she’s a bit more hesitant in the anime. In manga, she does it because she wants to use her wish to get into her dream school. In the anime, she wants to use a wish to go home. In the anime, only Yui makes it out after Tamahome saves them. And in regards to Yui, she seems more serious in the anime version. In the manga she jokes around and teases Miaka quite a bit, which I feel like showed their close relationship a bit more. Because of that, the schism between Miaka and Yui (once Yui sides with Seiryuu) is felt much more. It’s just a few examples of changes and differences from the first few episodes. Ultimately, I felt that the anime version wasn’t as dynamic as the source material. I point out these kinds of changes because it changes the impact from the characters. It also adds a bit more depth to them. It truly shows the struggles and how much the characters grow throughout the series.
Miaka’s eyes always creep me out in this shot… She looks derpy and hella cross eyed…
Again, I remember enjoying the manga more than the anime. Over a decade later, this still seems to hold true. Although, I still enjoyed the opening and ending theme songs for the anime. I admit, the manga wasn’t perfect. Still, the art was incredibly gorgeous and the manga was still enjoyable. The anime’s art wasn’t awful, but I just didn’t feel as impressed as I was with the manga art. I know I’m being nit-picky, but I’m going to flat out say it…the anime didn’t do the original art justice. I’m reminded of it whenever the ending plays, since it’s like clips of the anime with the original art in the background. There was some change in terms of the art styles. It was made to be a bit more generic looking than Watase’s original art style. Sometimes the anime production just looked a bit off; Be it body proportions, or how things like eyes were drawn very awkwardly. Also I just felt like it wasn’t very consistent…and I’m not talking about episode 1 vs the last episode. It’s expected that art may change over time and the course of the series. But I’m the kind of person to notice even the little details, and I would notice things like eyes being drawn inconsistently in the -SAME- episode. There were times when the art looked exactly (if not pretty close) like Watase’s original art, and other times it was pretty meh. Miaka was the most noticeable one. I think she’s the one that I was just most bugged about for some damn reason. Like I think everyone else looked pretty spot on to the original characters, but something about Miaka seemed off for me. Although, I suppose this was also the case for Ayashi no Ceres, which was another series by the same author and Studio Pierrot. The Fushigi Yuugi anime had some fun moments, and it wasn’t really that terrible. I know I probably stand opposite of the majority here, and I might even get hate for it. Honestly, I’ve do enjoy revisiting some of my old favorite animes. However, I just didn’t feel as drawn to Fushigi Yuugi as I did before. After having grown up so much, I felt like the anime was just…alright. Though, I still enjoyed the manga as much as I did before. I suppose I just preferred the manga. Still, I enjoyed seeing the story and characters like Chichiri and Nuriko again. Plus, I got to jam to the opening and ending theme songs again~
Seriously though, the manga and Watase Yuu’s art was sooooo pretty. The anime art just paled in comparison.
Sorry this post is kind of disorganized and bleh. I’m hella sleep deprived and stressed. I tried to re-familiarize myself with everything as much as I could, but there’s so much info for this one since there are so many characters. And to be honest, I wasn’t really sure how to organize this post either, so I just kind of rambled instead haha. Please forgive me~ Anyways~ Who else has watched Fushigi Yuugi, or any series by Watase Yuu?~ Who are your favorite characters?~ Let me know your thoughts and opinions on this series~