Fushigi Yugi Eikoden (of 1) (Mania.com)

By:Andrew Tei
Review Date: Tuesday, October 14, 2003
Release Date: Sunday, October 20, 2002



What They Say
Miaka and Taka are now happily married and expecting their first child. Unfortunately, Mayo, a jealous young girl infatuated with Taka finds the Universe of the Four Gods and uses the power of Suzaku to steal their unborn baby! Now Taka must return to Konan to save his new family and save Konan from an unknown menace that threatens to destroy the book and all that lives within. Discover the final conclusion to the highly popular Fushigi Yuugi anime series.

The Review!
Beating Pioneer?s release of Fushigi Yugi Eikoden by about a month, Odex releases all four episodes of this series on a single DVD. We return to Konan for one more adventure with the Suzaku Seven.

Audio:

The primary (and only) language option on this DVD is Japanese. It?s a simple stereo mix, which I find surprising for an OAV coming out this year. While yes, there isn?t a large amount of action in Fushigi Yugi, the few actions scenes could really stand out. Dialogue is clear, and I didn?t hear any distortions.

Video:

The OAV designs of Fusihi Yugi are just gorgeous, and I tip my hat to Studio Pierrot here. Miaka, Yui, Taka, Chichiri, and Tasuki get some really good character design updates to depict their age. Being an OAV, the level of detail is pretty high, which also unfortunately leads to line shimmering being present. Backgrounds are richly colored. I didn?t see any signs of mpeg artifacts, but some cross coloration does show up.

The subtitles are white, and big, so they are easy to read despite not being very pretty to look at. Since Singapore uses British English, there are some translation choices you might see that you normally wouldn?t, like fella. I also had problems with how Tatsuku?s Rekka Shien attack was translated, since they basically just made him curse. The opening and closing songs are not subbed at all, which I found very disappointing. I took a quick look at the Chinese subtitles, and they looked fine.

Packaging:

The cover is similar to the Region 2 Volume cover with Taka (Tamahome) holding Miaka in her arms, except the background is turquoise with a purple border. While the picture is great, I think a better choice for the background colors could have been made. The title is completely in kanji, as is the spine. On the back, the set up for the story is told with a picture on the side of Miaka. The silkscreen job on the DVD is beautiful though, featuring three images from the region 2 covers volume 1-3 and 3 images from the TV series.

Menu:

?Fushigi Yugi New OVA Curious Play ?Eiko den-? is displayed at the top of the menu. I was bewildered by the Curious Play bit, as I thought Mysterious Play was the official translated name. An image of Suzuka flying in the background while the opening music plays makes this one of the most beautiful menus I?ve ever seen. Three menu choices are available: Play All, Subtitles, and Chapter. Subtitles present include Chinese and English. In the Chapter Menu, you can only choose to start at the beginning of an episode despite chapter stops being present.

Extras:

None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)

I thought I was done with Fushigi Yugi, until I attended the Studio Pierrot panel at Anime Expo 2001 where it was announced that a Fushigi Yugi Gaiden novel would be animated. While I loved the TV series, I didn?t enjoy OAV series one and two very much, so I was wary of this release. To my surprise, I found myself enjoying myself for the most part watching Eikoden.

Three years have passed since we last visited Taka and Miaka, who are fresh off the heels of getting married. On the night of their honeymoon Miaka conceives a child, and we pick up the series three months into the pregnancy.

Mayo Sakaki is a young girl who?s completely unhappy with her life, much like Miaka and Yui were at the start of Fushigi Yugi. Mayo?s parents are divorced with new familes, and she doesn?t feel like a part of the new family she?s in. One more problem with Mayo presents itself; she?s completely infatuated with Taka.

The Universe of the Four Gods finds its way to Mayo though, perhaps sensing the state of mind she?s in. Especially, since she?s the perfect candidate for the evil brewing in the story. After opening the book once, the story flows into her and she realizes what happened in the TV series. She then uses this knowledge to get Taka for herself by transferring herself into the story and lures Taka inside by taking Miaka?s unborn child into her.

Taka realizes he must go back to Konan, and when he arrives he discovers the country is in horrible shape and ten years have passed since he left. Mayo is now the new Priestess of Suzaku and she lies immediately, telling everyone that she and Taka are married and that she?s carrying their child. Taka resolves to leave Konan Palace immediately and find the Suzaku Seven.

Taka joins up with the two other surviving members, Chichiri and Tatasuki quickly, and they set out to find the reincarnation of the other four. What makes this really challenging is they?ve all just been reborn so they are all children! Chiriko is still in diapers!

Mayo in the mean time meets with Suzaku, who tells her how she can keep Taka here by defeating the other members of the Suzaku Seven by basically giving into anger. She agrees with the plan, as she is completely selfish. Also, we still have a connection with Earth as Yui, Keisuke, and Tatsuya, try to help everyone in the book.

By the end of the third episode, all the children of the Suzaku are recovered and we?re ready for the conclusion. Mayo?s life force has been sucked away and she begins to fade from existence. The Suzaku Seven rush back to the Konan palace, to confront the evil that is there before the actual book of the Universe of the Four Gods is destroyed. I won?t give away the end, but we see that Miaka has a lot more brains in her head then before.

The pacing of the story bugs me a lot. I think they really needed one, possibly two, additional episodes to properly pace the series. During the series, wherever Taka goes he seems to find another member of the Suzuka Seven without any clue why he?s in the area he is, with the exception of finding Hotohori. I also missed having Miaka as the main character, as she?s always been my favorite. Mayo is hard to take as she?s completely unsympathetic to the viewer.

The journey of Fushigi Yugi is now over, and while there is more material that can be drawn from, I?m ready for the journey to end.

Features
Japanese Language,English Subtitles,Chinese Subtitles

Review Equipment
Panasonic Qube to a Toshiba 36? Cinema Series via s-video, Pioneer VSX-810S receiver via optical, Cerwin Vega front speakers, Pinnacle center and rears



Mania Grade: B
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: All
Region: 3 - Southeast Asia
Released By: Odex Private Limited
MSRP: S$19.90
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Fushigi Yugi - The Mysterious Play