Fushigi Yûgi (Shojo Edition) Vol. #02 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Sunday, May 09, 2004
Release Date: Thursday, April 01, 2004
Translated by:Kaori Inoue
What They Say
Miaka Yuki is an ordinary junior high school student who is transported into the world of a book, "The Universe of the Four Gods." Exhausted by her adventures, she must go back to the real world, but the only one who can send her is the mysterious Oracle of Suzaku, Tai Yi-Jun.
The Fushigi Yugi manga is a work that continues to surprise me. While it is very similiar to its anime counterpart, there is enough of a difference that it makes it stand above its animated version.
Packaging: Blue is the predominant color on this cover, which features Miaka and Tamahome embracing with a crescent moon in the background. There are constallations around the moon, which I assume include some of the constellations of that are Suzaku. Again, the logo is poor, but the yellow doesn't clash against the cover as badly as you'd think it would. The back is a simple blue background with a small headshot of Hotohori next to the book summary.
Artwork: One of the things I've noticed about Miaka in this series so far is that she has her hair down a lot more than she does in the anime. it gives her a much softer appearance and makes her look very attractive. The big introduction here comes in meeting Tai Yi-Jun and visiting her mountain domain. The attention to detail here is very meticulous as always and really gives you a good sense of the setting.
Orientation/SFX: Unflipped and untranslated for the most part. There is still some SFX that is translated. A glossary is provided in the back for the untranslated SFX.
Text: Once again, the text is a fair read. I'm still wincing at some of the Americanisms here, though seeing Tamahome, Nuriko and Hotohori call Tai Ji-Yun the Wicked Witch of the West made me laugh. Seeing the original Chinese names of some of the characters still throws me, but it's not as jarring as it was. A glossary at the front let's you know what the Japanese words for those terms are, which is helpful to link them with their anime counterparts.
Review: While Miaka lies ill in Hotohori's palace, he, Nuriko and Tamahome fret over what to do with her. Tamahome blames himself, thinking it entirely had to do with Miaka's admission of love to him in the city, but it's actually a condition that's been building for awhile. Not knowing what else to do, the three Suzaku warriors decide that they need to send Miaka back to her own world, with the promise that she would return when she's better. They decide to take her to Tai Yi-Jun, the person who originally entrusted the "Universe of the Four Gods" to Hong-Nan.
They head out of the city and into the forest, where tensions among the four quickly arise. Through this, they are being watched in the mirror by a being who decides to put the team to a test. Miaka is lured through a mirror via a huge banquet and sits stuffing her face before she realizes that she's trapped. Looking out, she's stunned to find that a Miaka double is out trying to tear apart the loose bonds of friendship between the other Suzaku warriors, playing on their own desires and jealouslies to get them to turn on each other.
Meanwhile, Yui and Keisuke are still looking for Miaka. They part ways and Yui heads for home, when she suddenly hears Miaka screaming. She takes off toward the library.
At the same time, Hotohori sees through the trick and demands to know who the fake Miaka is. The girl replies that she is a manifestation of all of the deep desires that Miaka keeps in her heart. Miaka overhears this and decides in order to get rid of the double, she needs to kill herself. So, Miaka stabs herself with a piece of a plate she used to eat on.
Yui is stopped at the library entrance by a library worker and both are shocked when suddenly, she begins to bleed. The worker runs off, dropping the keys as Yui sinks to the ground. But, this enables Yui to get back into the library.
The warriors defeat the evil Miaka clone and realize that she is near death. Yui senses this as well, and through her link with Miaka, urges her to keep hold of life. Miaka decides that she wants to live and wakes up. When she does so, they are immediately pulled out of the forest onto a mystical mountain. This is Tai Yi-Jun's home and she was the one who came up with their test. Now that they've passed, Miaka can go home. But when she does, Yui winds up taking her place in the book...
One of the things that might turn readers off to this series is the amount of melodrama in here. And boy, there is a lot, especially coming from Tamahome and Hotohori. There's several times that I had to stop, roll my eyes, then keep going. Miaka isn't even really as bad as they are. It's good for a nice chuckle every now and then.
This volume gives a chance to move Yui into a position where she will take a bigger role in the later part of the series, providing more insight into her friendship with Miaka and how she worries over her. Keisuke, Miaka's brother, is also given a much bigger part and is also moved into the forefront a lot quicker than in the anime. Miaka's mom, also a bigger force here, refuses to give her daughter a break, forcing Miaka to flee once more.
It's an interesting study on how when reality gets rough, Miaka keeps seeking the solace of the book. Even before she discovered that Yui had gone into the book, she keeps daydreaming about it. While she is very head-on about facing situations when she is inside of the "Universe of the Four Gods," she runs away from the situations that reality gives her. This starts to change as she realizes that her actions caused Yui to be sucked into the book and she feels it is her duty to get her best friend back. Of course, she gets to see Tamahome as well, so it's not all work for her. Still, unlike Kagome Higurashi in InuYasha, Miaka does not attempt to keep up her obligations to her world when she's in Hong-Nan. It will be interesting to see if and/or when Miaka realizes that she has promises and duties to keep in her own world as well.
So far, this has been a really good series, and while it is melodramatic at times, it is not as bad as the anime can get. I still find Miaka a lot more likeable and I'm really warming up to Yui as well. With four warriors of Suzaku still left to search for, and now Yui too, you can tell that you've only reached the tip of the iceberg in this series. Recommended.
Mania Grade: B+
Art Rating: A+
Packaging Rating: B+/D
Text/Translatin Rating: B
Age Rating: All
Released By: Viz Media
Size: Tall B6
Orientation: Right to Left