Fushigi Yugi: The Mysterious Play

Fushigi Yugi: The Mysterious Play is an anime series
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Fifteen-year-old Miaka accompanies her friend Yui to Tokyo's national library, where the girls find an ancient Chinese book called The Universe of the Four Gods. They are transported to the world of the book, though Yui is soon thrown back to Earth, leaving Miaka temporarily stranded. Miaka finds herself in a fantasy version of ancient China, where she is rescued from slavers by the handsome Tamahome and becomes a ward of the emperor. The land of Konan ("Southern Scarlet," as it is called) is threatened by invaders from Kotuo, and Miaka volunteers to be the long-awaited priestess of Suzaku ("Vermilion Sparrow"), who will assemble the legendary heroes known as the Seven Stars of Suzaku and save the world.

Though Yu Watase's original manga in Flower magazine dated back to 1992, Fushigi Yugi was swamped by the later success of the superior Escaflowne, making FY look like a lackluster copy. This anime's problems include an intensely irritating heroine, Miaka, with all the charm of a spoiled child, conspicuously cheap animation that often has to resort to static pans, and a forgettable plot assembled from off-the-peg clichés. The Emperor Hotohori falls in love with Miaka, but she loves Tamahome, a predictable love triangle which causes a falling-out with her friend Yui. Nevertheless, FY clearly struck a chord with an audience too young to remember The Neverending Story or the Wizard of Oz, and the series gained an enthusiastic fan following in both Japan and the U.S. The second season (episodes 27-52) changes slightly, with the death of one of Miaka's guardians, the removal of some of the risqué humor that occasionally lightened the first season, and an endless succession of arbitrary magical obstacles to stretch out Miaka's journey.

Two TV specials were little more than clip shows of the highlights of the first 33 episodes, but a true sequel soon continued the series on video. The first video series was set a month after the close of the TV version, with the events in Konan returning to haunt the cast back on Earth in both serious and parody versions on the same tapes. Looking suspiciously like a third TV season consigned to video after falling ratings, 1997's second "video" series plunged the cast into a new conflict over the mystic Jewel of Memory. A later Yu Watase work, Ceres: Celestial Legend, soon followed in both Japan and the U.S.

A four-part video sequel, FY: Universe of the Four Gods (FY: Eikoden, 2001), was directed by Nanako Shimazaki, which threatens the happily-ever-after of the original by introducing a love-rival for Miaka, who enters the fantasy world determined to overthrow her and win her man for herself.

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Original US Poster Art

General Information Edit
Name Fushigi Yugi: The Mysterious Play
Romaji: Fushigi Yugi
Publisher ?
Start Year 1995
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Aliases Mysterious Game
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