Fushigi Yuugi (The Mysterious Play): Where Fiction and Reality Collides

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         Almost all of the people I know, has seen or watch an animé in their lifetime. Whether it’s been played on a local cable TV or streamed online. We all have our favorites when it comes to anime shows or movies. We get so addicted in watching it, that it lets us wander into the world of fiction and makes us forget reality for a couple of hours. Drifting away in a world where we wish it existed in real life.

          The very first anime that I’ve watched was Fushigi Yuugi and at that time, I was only 9 years old. My memories of the show was pretty unclear back then and I was busy playing outside whenever I get the chance like a normal kid would. I also remember my best-friend in elementary getting hooked to the anime and I would just listen to her talk about the funny episodes during recess.

          Now that I’m in my early twenties, I’ve seen quite a handful of anime shows and movies, which made me realize that animé has been a big part of my life for some time now. I’m actually thankful that I found someone special, who also shares the same interests as I do when it comes to the animé world.

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          Fushigi Yuugi was published by Shogakukan in Shōjo Comic in its original serialized form from May 1992 through June 1996. Shōjo literally means “young girl”, it mainly targets teenage girl viewers or manga readers. Spanning eighteen volumes, Fushigi Yuugi tells the story of two teenaged girlsMiaka and Yui, who are pulled into The Universe of the Four Gods, a mysterious book at the National LibraryStudio Pierrot adapted the series into a 52-episode animé seriesThe animé series spawned three Original Video Animation releases, with the first having three episodes, the second having six, and the final OVA, Fushigi Yuugi Eikoden, spanning four episodesA thirteen-volume Japanese light novel series also followed Fushigi YuugiShogakukan published the novels from January 30, 1998 to September 26,2003.

           On October 25, 2003, Yuu Watase began releasing a prequel to the manga seriesFushigi Yuugi Genbu Kaiden, and ended in May 2013Another prequel to the manga series, Fushigi Yuugi Byakko Ibun was published in February 2015. It got popular in the Philippines when it was first shown and dubbed in Tagalog form by GMA Network in late-2000’s.

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             The animé series depicts the different trials of Miaka Yuuki and Yui Hongo, two Middle-school students. The show starts off when they went to the library one day. Miaka and Yui saw an interesting book known as “The Universe of the Four Gods”. Reading this book transports them into the novel’s universe in old China. Yui is transported back to the present reality very quickly, yet Miaka discovers herself as the long-awaited Priestess of Suzaku in the land of Konan. Miaka is bound to assemble the seven Celestial Warriors of the god Suzaku to summon Suzaku and get three wishes. Along the way, she falls head over heels in love for the Celestial Warrior, Tamahome, who in the end responds and Miaka’s yearning to utilize a wish to enter the secondary school of her decision starts to move towards figuring out how to be with Tamahome. Yui is additionally drawn into the book when she tries to help Miaka to return to their world; turning into the Priestess of Seiryuu from Kutuo, conflicting with Miaka out of desire over Tamahome and vengeance for the mortification and torment she had endured when she first came to into the book’s world.

              Anyone with an aversion or strong dislike for romance, melodrama, and the like, may want to think twice before considering this series. Since the show’s main protagonist is a girl, it usually entails romance with one of the characters. Miaka is your regular middle school girl who likes to procrastinate when it comes to studying for the secondary school placement tests. Of the all the seven celestial Suzaku warriors in the show, there are three people who really stood out for me and that is Tamahome, Hotohori and Nuriko. The remaining celestial warriors names are Chichiri, Tasuki, Chiriko, and Mitsukake. Miaka meets Tamahome first, experiences passionate feelings, and consequently, starts a long, difficult relationship with him which is the driving purpose of the entire series. Hotohori, the emperor of Konan, likewise becomes hopelessly enamored with Miaka, thus rises an affectionate love triangle.

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             Nuriko, was truly interesting and funny, her character has definitely made the show notable for her comedic approach on things while being obsessed with Hotohori. It takes an entire 52 episodes to tell Miaka’s journey with the Suzaku seven, and for otaku’s that appreciate the show, this is truly a gift. Since normally, an anime series only lasts 12 episodes per season, maximum of 2-3 seasons that sometimes rushes the storyline just to get to the ending, which unfortunately ruins it. A few parts of the series has some boring scenes, just like any other good anime shows out there. But overall, it’s truly one of the must-watch animés of all time. It may be a romantic series for some, but it could also be watched and enjoyed by other anime fans who loves action, mystery and magical powers.

I highly recommend this anime series for people who are just starting to watch their very first anime, or even for some who are already skilled in distinguishing a great anime show. I will cherish this series and remember it for the rest of my life and I hope you will too!

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