Fushigi Yuugi


Reviewed by: Minnie

January 26, 2008

Rating: four-point-five

I consider this to be a very good anime that everyone should have a look at.

Plot

Background

'The Universe of the Four Gods' was a combination novel and sutra translated from Chinese in the 1920's by Japanese author Einosuke Okuda. It was a mysterious book whose story is itself a magical spell, which had the power to make the reader the main character of the story as soon as they begin to read. As the heroine of the story, the reader could use the same power to make her wishes come true. The truth, however, was that it was a heretical spell which required the live sacrifice of a young girl in order to summon the god beast in the story.

Two fifteen years old girl named Miaka and Yui found the book in a library and were transported into ancient China...

In this world, there were four kingdoms, each protected by a god: Suzaku from the South, Seiryu from the East, Genbu from the north, and Byakko from the West

It was believed in ancient China that a heavenly king ruled the sky. There were 28 'star houses' which ran the circumference of the sky. (Star house is the Chinese term for Constellation) The heavenly king divided the sky into the northern, southern, eastern, and western quadrants, with each quadrant ruled over by a god beast. These gods were Suzaku, Seiryu, Genbu, and Byakko.

-Suzaku guarded the stable land of Konan.

-Seiryu guarded the warlike land of Kutou.

-Genbu guarded the mountainous Sairou.

-Byakko guarded the desert-like Hokkan.

In this era, it was believed that when the country was threatened by destruction, a priestess would appear from another world to save it. The priestess would summon the god-beasts and use their power to grant three wishes.

When Miaka and Yui were transported to this place, they were saved, by a stranger, from some crooks. Yui teleported back while Miaka was left behind. She was later brought to the palace. The king believed that she was someone very important who would save his kingdom of Konan. Through some trials, she turned out to be the priestess of Suzaku!

Her mission was to find the seven warriors that had the mark of Suzaku and summon the phoenix Suzaku.

The seven Warriors were:

Tamahome- a miser who loves Miaka very much

Tasuki- a hotheaded bandit who ends up liking Miaka more and more each day

Hotohori- the king of Konan who loves Miaka till the day of his death.

Chichiri- the optimistic monk who guards Miaka all the way

Nuriko- a cross-dresser who loves Hotohori and first but ends up loving Miaka

Mitsukake- a healer who is affected by his love's death

Chiriko- a child prodigy

During Miaka's journey, Yui was reading the book from the real world all along. She was transported into the book again. She immediately went to look for Miaka. However, she was captured by a group of men and was knocked out. When she woke up, a man named Nagako told her that she was raped. Furthermore, he persuaded her that it was all oh her friend's (Miaka) fault. Feeling sad and betrayed, Yui decided to become the priestess of Seiryu so she could become Miaka's rival. Day after day, the hatred in her heart grew and she was partially responsible for many deaths later on.

This is the basic premise of the story. I wouldn't want to spoil anything from this point.

Analysis

This was an excellent anime by Yu Watase. It had one of the most beautiful animations I've seen so far. From the details of the faces, costumes and to the details of the scenery of the four kingdoms, everything was richly illustrated.

What I love most about this anime was its plot and character development. The plot may seem confusing at first but it was solid and well structured.

Every character had his/her own past, story, and ambitions that were well developed. As a result, I felt sympathy towards every character, including the 'bad' guys. There were many emotional scenes that made my cousin cry, if I recalled correctly. (She wasn't the daily emotional person either = ) Don't kill me if you are reading this! )

Annoying factors

I loved all of the characters except Miaka and Yui. Miaka was a very weak female lead. It was cute to see her pigging out all of the time in the first couple of episodes, but it got too tedious and annoying later on. Her naive character didn't make her innocent but bothersome to me. Also, when things went wrong, the only thing she could scream was 'tamahome this and Tamahome that'. Good Grief! In addition, almost every Suzaku warrior fell for her! This was disappointing because I thought that they should know better.

Yui was another annoying person. She was completely insensible. Of the years that she grew up with Miaka, she couldn't acknowledge that fact that Miaka had nothing to do about her mishap. It wasn't Miaka's fault for her own misfortune.

My final complaint is the love story. It was cute what Tamahome and Miaka had, but it got a little sappy at some parts. The question that bothered me was: how did they fall in love with each other in the first place? Sure there were scenes where they confessed their love, but I felt that this love story was too rushed in the beginning and draggy at the end.

Final Verdict:

This anime is very a good and a true anime freak should have a look at this if they already haven't.


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