Fushigi Yugi Suzaku Box Set (Mania.com)
Review Date: Saturday, February 16, 2002
Release Date: Friday, November 26, 1999
You know what? I've been waiting for this damn box for over a year now! You know what else? It's been WELL worth the wait! Let me start out by saying that Fushigi Yuugi was the title that convinced me to take the plunge into DVD rather than putting my money into LD's. When Pioneer announced they had picked up Fushigi Yuugi at AX in July of 1998 (I believe) and that it was likely coming to DVD rather than LD, I decided then and there I was going to buy a DVD player. My obsession with Fushigi Yuugi began back in January 1998 when I started complaining to a friend about lack of originality in anime (note that at this time I had only seen the first volume of Evangelion). I felt that there was nothing new, it all seemed to repeat itself over and over again. The only remotely original titles that I had seen recently was Escaflowne and I had already finished that up. I needed something new. And so my friend told me I had to check out a series called Fushigi Yuugi.
So, I went down to my local anime store which uh, just happened to rent out fansubs and got the first 13 episodes or so. After watching the first volume (about four episodes) I was less than impressed with the series and to be honest, considered it to be utter-crap. My friend convinced me to continue watching, so I did. By the time I was up to about episode 8 I was completely hooked; and so I continued to watch Fushigi Yuugi and finished the TV. Series about mid-summer.
The DVD itself is a dream come true! If you had my fansub copies, you'd be more than grateful for this set! The picture is beautiful with no breakup or pixalation in site! The audio is presented in a standard stereo mix with nothing that's going to blow your speakers away, but it is crisp and clean on both English and Japanese tracks - which brings me to the English dub. I really, really had high expectations for the Fushigi Yuugi dub. In fact, I decided when Pioneer announced they were picking up Fushigi Yuugi I wasn't going to rent or download any .wav files of the English track - I was going to wait for the DVD to hear it. My wait was in vein; Fushigi Yuugi is one of the worst English dubs of all time! While Yui and Nuriko were all right, Miaka, Tasuki, Tamahome, Hotohori, Mistukake and Chiriko are all pathetic! Strangely enough, Nakago sounded all right, as well as Amiboshi and Suboshi. The English track was interesting to hear, but not something I'll be going back to often which is usually the case with dubs for me.
Now, let's talk about packaging. This is something I was really worried about, but ah, good ol' Pioneer has done it perfectly! I honestly expected a rather big package... not something that was going to fit in my mailbox, but it was in the mailbox (from Amazon.com)! The front of the box is beautiful, with a slide off cover (the cover has Fushigi Yugi - The Mysterious Play written on the front). You can slide off the cover, which leaves the beautiful box with Suzaku on the front. The box folds out to reveal a nicely done 16-page booklet, which includes episode information as well as Suzaku Seishi profiles. Fold it out a bit more and you find four shimmering dual layer discs! It's just so beautifully done and to me shows that Pioneer actually cared about the fans of Fushigi Yuugi.
Enough about the discs lets talk about the show itself. The story centers around YUKI Miaka, a young Jr. High School girl who's life changes when she and her best friend HONGOU Yui are sucked into the book known as "The Universe of the Four Gods". In this new strange world based on ancient China they face the adventure of their lives. The story goes from Miaka and Yui being best friend to opposing forces, to competing for the affection of the same lover (Tamahome).
There's no way you can sum Fushigi Yuugi up in one review, but here's what I feel FY is about: friendship, betrayal, a dash of comedy and most of all, love. Fushigi Yuugi became my favorite anime because it was so original and also because it never sticks to one element but jumps around so you rarely lose interest (although the Miaka and Tamahome scenes get a little old after a bit).
This is what Japanese Anime is about folks. FY has its "erghs", but what anime series or movie doesn't? All in all what anime fandom (to me) is about is the anime itself and it doesn't get any better than this! You have your Gundam's, you have your Escaflowen's, you have your Ranma's, you have your Evangelion's, you have your Sailormoon's, you have your Dragon Ball's and while I love all these animes I've just named (minus the Sailormoon), to me, nothing is better than Fushigi Yuugi. If you buy one title this year, make it Fushigi Yuugi. I promise that you won't be disappointed!
Mania Grade: A+
Audio Rating: A+
Video Rating: A+
Packaging Rating: A+
Menus Rating: A+
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
Running time: 650
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Fushigi Yugi - The Mysterious Play