“A Whole New World” – Fushigi Yugi: The Mysterious Play, Part 2 (manga) – 8/10 Streamers

Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead. The consciousness of loving and being loved brings a warmth and a richness to life that nothing else can bring. ~Oscar Wilde

Mangaka: Yu Watase

Genre: Action/Adventure/Romance/Supernatural/Fantasy/Shoujo

Review Status: Complete (18 Volumes/18 Volumes) – Part 1 of this review may be read HERE

Licensed: Currently licensed by Viz Media.

Art: Standard 90’s shoujo, with big eyes, pretty boys, and somewhat cluttered panels. The action is pretty well drawn and exciting to watch. There’s some great detail in the art.

Summary: Miaka Yuki us an ordinary junior high-school student who is suddenly whisked away into the world of a book, The Universe of the Four Gods. There she becomes the priestess of the god Suzaku, and is charged with finding all seven of her Celestial-Warrior protectors. (back cover of 1st volume- Animerica ed.)

Review: From this volume onward, this manga ramps up the intensity of the story. It goes from needing to find the companions that can help summon Suzaku into a desperate race to acutally summon the Gods- and Miaka faces off against her friend as they try to be the first. Yui still suffers from the belief that she had been abandoned, and Miaka’s attempts to reach her are increasingly desperate. At the same time, she remains drawn to Tamahome, and their relationship takes a turn for the serious when Miaka makes a dreadful mistake in trusting the wrong person.

All the various plot threads are drawn together in a very satisfying “ending”, but it’s not without it’s sacrifices. Anyone can die at certain points, and characters I would never have pegged for it are killed off. Some of them are near and dear to me, while others I didn’t feel any real connection to in the beginning. What’s nice is that even though they go, they’re still given some development in the story. Even though the plot threads are tied up very well, there are still some developments that seem to be plot devices for the second half of the story, such as Hotohori’s inexplicable marriage. It literally comes out of nowhere.

I put “ending” in quotations because the main story of Fushigi Yugi ends at volume 14. The other four volumes are a continuation of sorts, a brief foray back into the Universe of the Four Gods that addresses how it was possible to have Tamahome and Miaka be together, and how they deal with the various problems that presents. This is where the characters that are killed off really shine in ways that they weren’t able to in the first series, while ones that were get some excelent closure. What is a shame is that Watase couldn’t leave some things well enough alone (a love square instead of a triangle. Just lovely…), and the main bad guy also feels like more of an excuse to get them back for a sequel than an actual threat. But in some ways it works, because this manages to address issues left from the first volume that I wasn’t entirely aware of, and expands on the good things of the first part. The second half of the series manages to be even better than the first, something that really impresses me.

Overall, the good outweighs the bad, even moreso than in the first part. This story really ended up growing on me as it went on.

Recommended: 16+. There is some partial and full nudity, mostly undetailed, though the breasts tend to be detailed. There is the implication of rape (turns out to be untrue, but is ther), and the implication of sex. There is also some standard fighting and blood that occurs, some death on-page. The gore is minimal, though.

Other titles you might enjoy:

Fushigi Yugi: The Mysterious Play (anime)

From Far Away (manga)

Ayashi no Ceres (manga)

Red River (manga)

Sarasah (manhwa)

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. starsamaria
    Jan 21, 2012 @ 09:57:43

    I love the original ending of Fushigi Yugi (in volume 14) because it’s so bittersweet, although I don’t blame Yuu Watase for extending the series past it’s prime because it wasn’t her idea – it was her editor’s. Have you read the prequel series Fushigi Yugi Genbu Kaiden? I love the little nods it gives to the original manga, and as much as I love the original series, the heroine in Genbu Kaiden is much stronger than Miaka and the writing is definitely better.

    Reply

    • sweetpea616
      Jan 21, 2012 @ 10:15:20

      I have to agree- the second ‘ending’ was a little less… silly. I haven’t read the prequel, though!! But my library happens to have it, so that will be read very, very soon. I’m thrilled to hear such a strong recommendation for it. Thank you!

      Reply

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