Fushigi Yûgi: The Mysterious Play (ふしぎ遊戯 Fushigi Yūgi?) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Yu Watase. Shogakukan published Fushigi Yûgi in Shōjo Comic in its original serialized form from May 1992 through June 1996. Viz Media released the manga series in English in North America starting in 1999. Spanning eighteen volumes, Fushigi Yûgi tells the story of two teenaged girls, Miaka and Yui, who are pulled into "The Universe of the Four Gods", a mysterious book at the National Library.
The series became very popular and was later adapted into a 52 episode anime series by Studio Pierrot. The series originally aired from April 6, 1995 through March 28, 1996 on the anime satellite channel Animax and the regular cable channel TV Tokyo. The anime series was followed by three Original Video Animation releases, with the first having three episodes, the second having six, and the final OVA, Fushigi Yûgi Eikoden, spanning four episodes. A thirteen volume Japanese light novel series also followed Fushigi Yûgi. The novels were published by Shōgakukan from January 30, 1998 to September 26, 2003. On October 25, 2003, Watase began releasing a prequel to the manga series, Fushigi Yûgi Genbu Kaiden.
Middle-school student Miaka Yūki is under a lot of pressure to pass the entrance exam for the competitive Jonan Academy. Her friends do not believe she will get in, but she is determined to because her best friend, Yui Hongo, has applied for the same school and she wants them both to go to the school together. While at the library one day, Miaka and Yui encounter a strange book known as The Universe of the Four Gods. As a result of reading this book, they are then transported into the novel's universe. However, Yui is transported back to the real world almost immediately. Inside the novel Miaka discovers that she is the Priestess of Suzaku and destined to gather the seven Celestial Warriors of the god Suzaku in order to summon Suzaku and obtain three wishes. She falls in love with the Celestial Warrior Tamahome, who eventually reciprocates and Miaka's desire to use a wish to enter the high school of her choice begins to shift towards finding a way to be with Tamahome. Yui, who is also drawn into the book when she was trying to help Miaka to come back to the real world, becomes the Priestess of Seiryuu, working against Miaka out of jealousy over Tamahome and revenge for the humiliation and pain she had suffered when she first came to the book world.
The series describes the various trials that teenagers Miaka and Yui face, both quest-driven and personal. Feeling betrayed, the two oppose one another as priestesses, bringing together their own respective warriors and vying for the chance to be granted three wishes by the gods whom they hope to summon.
Megumi Nishizaki gained the inspiration to write the novel Eikou Den after a meeting with Watase and hearing her proposal of a story-idea in which Miaka gathers the re-incarnated Suzaku Seven. However, Nishizaki regarded Miaka's story as complete, so she invented a new character, Mayo Sakaki, intending her as someone whom people love to hate and to whom they can relate. Many[who?] regard Mayo as an evil type of person, but she is very soft on the inside. Nishizaki felt that Mayo was a representation of all of the weakness in human character. She appears singleminded to the point of recklessness, impulsive, jealous, bitter - but at heart she is a good person. Nishizaki points out that due to all of the hardships she has faced, she's become a very jaded person and it takes meeting the Suzaku Seven to realize her innocence again.
Written and illustrated by Yuu Watase, Fushigi Yûgi originally appeared in serial form in the monthly manga magazine Shōjo Comic. It premiered in the May 1992 issue and ran for over four years, with the final chapter appearing in the June 1996 issue. The series was simultaneously published in eighteen collected volumes by Shogakukan, with new volumes being released on a quarterly schedule.
In 1992, Viz Media licensed the manga for an English language release in North America. The series was originally released in a flipped trade paperback format, starting in August 1998. Viz kept the original Chinese names of characters and places, at the request of Watase, causing some confusion for fans as the anime version uses the Japanese names. For example, in the manga, Hotohori's country is named "Hong-Nan" rather than the "Konan" found in the anime series. After eight volumes, Viz stopped publication of Fushigi Yûgi, reviving it in June 2003 when it released the first two volumes in unflipped standard manga size volumes. The remaining volumes were released on a quarterly schedule, including the remaining ten volumes. The final volume of the series was released in April 2006. In the table below, the dates and ISBN numbers given for the first eight volumes are for the second edition releases.
Viz also serialized Fushigi Yûgi in their manga anthology magazine, Animerica Extra, starting with the October 1998 debut issue and running until the December 2004 issue, the magazine's final issue. In January 2009, Viz is slated to re-release the series as part of their "VIZBIG" line, which usually combines two or three individual volumes of the original release into a single, larger volume.
Produced by Studio Pierrot, the fifty-two episode Fushigi Yûgi anime series premiered on Animax and TV Tokyo on April 6, 1995. The series aired weekly, until the final episode aired on March 28, 1996. The series was licensed for English-language release to Region 1 DVD and VHS format by Geneon Entertainment, then named Pioneer, under the expanded title "Fushigi Yûgi: The Mysterious Play." It has been suggested that Geneon chose to license the series based on its popularity among the fansub community. The main series was released in eight individual volumes and as two box sets, the "Suzaku" and "Seiryū" sets.
Original video animations
The anime adaptation was followed by three original video animation (OVA) works. The first, spanning three episodes, takes place a year after the events of the main series and has no ties to the original manga. It was released to DVD on October 25, 1996. The second OVA, which has 6 episodes, animates the last four volumes of the manga series that had been left out of the main series. The episodes were split across two volumes, with the first released May 25, 1997, and the second coming over a year later on August 25, 1998.
The final OVA, Fushigi Yûgi Eikoden, spans four episodes and is based on two of the light novels written by Megumi Nishizaki. Released on December 21, 2001, it focuses on a new character, Mayo Sakaki, a sixteen-year-old girl who attends Yotsubadai High School. Upon finding "The Universe of the Four Gods" in a trash bin at the park, Mayo soon discovers that the story remains incomplete. In the unfamiliar world of the book, Mayo must come to terms with her own life and the unhappiness within it.
Geneon Entertainment also licensed the OVAs for Region 1 DVD release. The first two OVAs were release together in a set titled "Fushigi Yûgi: The Mysterious Play OVA". Fushigi Yûgi Eikoden was released as a single disc volume. The OVAs were released with similar packaging as the main series, to give them a consistent look. As with the main series, the English releases of the OVAs are now out-of-print.
Script error Over a series of five years, Megumi Nishizaki wrote thirteen Japanese light novels based on Fushigi Yûgi. With illustrations by Yuu Watase, Fushigi Yûgi Gaiden primarily explores the lives the various Celestial Warriors before they are seen in the manga. The only two novels to be set after the manga, Eikō Den (Jōkan) and Eikō Den (Gekan), later became the basis for the third Fushigi Yûgi original video animation, Fushigi Yûgi Eikoden. Originally published by Shogakukan, none of the novels have been licensed for English release.
"Genrō Den" (幻狼伝)
|January 30, 1998||ISBN 978-4094207736|
|Details Tasuki's life between joining the Mt. Reikaku Bandits and the appearance of the Priestess of Suzaku.|
"Shōryū Den" (昇龍伝)
|July 23, 1998||ISBN 978-4094207743|
|Chichiri's life shortly after the accident when he loses his eye to his first meeting Miaka.|
"Yuki Yasha Den" (雪夜叉伝)
|February 2, 1999||ISBN 978-4094207750|
|Details of Nuriko becoming a cross-dresser and entering the royal harem.|
"Ryūsei Den" (流星伝)
|April 23, 1999||ISBN 978-4094207767|
|Amiboshi and Suboshi's tragic past.|
"Suzaku Hi Den" (朱雀悲伝)
|July 1999||ISBN 978-4094207774|
|The story of Hotohori, his brother Tendō and their relationship with Hōki. This story is later told by Hōki to Mayo in the Eikoden OVA.|
"Seiran Den" (青藍伝)
|December 1, 1999||ISBN 978-4094207781|
|Nakago's past and his rise to power within the Kutō army.|
"Eikō Den (Jōkan)" (永光伝(上巻))
|February 1, 2000||ISBN 978-4094207798|
|Set ten years after the final events in the manga, teenage girl Mayo Sakaki goes into The Universe of the Four Gods. Unhappy with her own life, Mayo wants to achieve a storybook ending with Taka, whom she has a crush on.|
"Eikō Den (Gekan)" (永光伝(下巻))
|March 1, 2000||ISBN 978-4094207804|
|Continues Mayo's story as she is tricked by a false Suzaku, and saved by Miaka.|
"Shugyoku Den" (朱玉伝)
|December 21, 2001||ISBN 978-4094207897|
|Tamahome's life from his training under Tokaki to when he first meets Miaka and Yui. Interestingly, this novel also tells of Miaka's backstory and her connection with Tamahome during the years of the manifestation of his powers.|
"Hōmei Den" (逢命伝)
|March 1, 2002||ISBN 978-4094207903|
|Mitsukake's romance with Shōka.|
"Yūai Den" (優愛伝)
|April 26, 2002||ISBN 978-4094208214|
|Chiriko's whereabouts before he joined up with the rest of the Suzaku Warriors.|
"Sanbō Den (Jōkan)" (三宝伝(上巻))
|July 1, 2003||ISBN 978-4094208221|
|Explains how Tenkō used his powers to influence people to do his bidding to break the seal the four beast gods placed on him, as well as to gather the Shinzaho of Genbu, Byakko, Seiryuu and Suzaku. The two main characters are Chichiri and Tasuki.|
"Sanbō Den 2 (Gekan)" (三宝伝(下巻))
|September 26, 2003||ISBN 978-4094208238|
|Continues story from part 1.|
Idea Factory released a Sony Playstation 2 video game based on the Fushigi Yûgi series called Fushigi Yûgi: Suzaku Ibun (ふしぎ遊戯 朱雀異聞). It was released in Japan on May 29, 2008 on the Playstation 2, and is available in regular and limited editions.
THEM Anime Reviews preferred the manga to the anime, criticizing the latter's production values, repetitious dialogue, and reuse of footage in flashback episodes. DVD Verdict criticized the "convoluted" plot and "nonsensical" dialogue. Another review noted that although Miaka "makes out with her boyfriend quite a bit", the climax is "of the heart and soul", despite the many battles that the characters go through. Her strength and belief in herself give her the strength and courage to change the world. Drazen considers the humour in Fushigi Yûgi to be based on super deformed caricatures and therefore strange to Western audiences.
Winnie Chow of Animerica was disappointed by the ending of the anime adaptation, finding the final battle that resolves the series to be "lame at best" that left her cheering more for Nakago than the "good guys". Throughout the series, she notes that the scenes between Miaka and Tamahome became "increasingly sickening" and "overdone".
Fushigi Yûgi Eikoden was panned by THEM Anime Reviews, which considered the animation to be its only strong point. In particular, the reviewer found the new main character to be unlikeable. Although the Animetric review brought up many of the same points, Animetric found Eikoden "fun".
- ↑ Note: ISBNs for all of the novels have been retrieved from Amazon.co.jp. Kanji and rōmaji titles were retrieved from Webcat Plus.
- ↑ Script error
- ↑ Script error
- ↑ Fushigi Yugi: The Mysterious Play THEM Anime Reviews
- ↑ Fushigi Yugi: The Mysterious Play...The Return Home (Volume 2) DVD Verdict
- ↑ the new stereotypes of anime and manga
- ↑ Script error
- ↑ Script error
- ↑ THEM Anime Reviews 4.0 - Fushigi Yugi: The Mysterious Play: Eikoden
- ↑ Animetric.com >> Anime Reviews >> Fushigi Yuugi: Eikoden (OAV series)
- Fushigi Yûgi
- Official Viz Media Fushigi Yûgi manga series site
- Official Studio Pierrot Fushigi Yûgi anime series site (Japanese)
- Fushigi Yûgi (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Fushigi Yûgi (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Official Studio Pierrot site for Fushigi Yûgi Eikoden
- Fushigi Yugi Eikoden (OAV) (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
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