Fushigi Yûgi (Shojo Edition) Vol. #03 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, August 03, 2004
Release Date: Tuesday, June 01, 2004
Translated by:Yuji Oniki
What They Say
What they say: Miaka Yuki is an ordinary junior high student who is suddenly transported into the world of a book, The Universe of the Four Gods. Surrounded by enemies with mystic power, she can only rely on her Celestial Warriors and a mysterious monk, a disciple of the oracle, to help her fufill her quest! Miaka's best friend, Yui, also enters the book, but suffers a fate much crueler than Miaka's.
This is a mediocre cover at best, and with the expansive selection of gorgeous artwork available for this series, I think that the portrait of Hotohori and Nuriko selected is a poor choice. The picture itself is pretty, but the colors chosen to go with with - sea green bars, a dark green logo and a neon pink subtitle, clash against the picture and causes it to look ugly. The back has a simpler presentation, keeping the color scheme down to the sea green, black and white, with a picture of Nuriko tucked under the summary.
The art is still high quality Yu Watase, but Fushigi Yugi tends to have busier panels than some of Watase's later works, such as Alice 19th and Imadoki!. The characters have rounded faces and Miaka has very chubby cheeks in several panels. Watase is still establishing her style here, and sometimes the characters tend to look like generic shoujo characters. But, the lush scenery that the story is placed in makes up for this. Watase captures the feel of old China extremely well, and I feel like I'm drawn into an ancient, illustrated fairytale.
For me, this volume shows a remarkable improvement in translation, as Chichiri is introduced and a lot of the localization is dropped. Though, some of it does remain (ie., random Friends reference.) One of the most endearing things that Viz does is to retrain Chichiri's "no da" at the end of his sentences. However, one of the more unusual things that is done is that Tamahome's father addresses him by his Japanese name rather than his Chinese name - yet the other Chinese names are retained.
Content (MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS):
Miaka, after being saved by an odd monk, discovers the reason why Tamahome is saving money - for the sake of his family. While this is accompanied by the typical "attack Miaka of the week" moment, we get to see a much softer side of Tamahome. His interaction with his siblings is incredibly sweet and endearing. This also gives us a chance to have a formal introduction to Chichiri.
We also get a second dose of Miaka sacrificing herself to save everyone else. While the act was endearing the first time, it starts to get old the second time - and the subsequent times that she chooses to do this. She allows her emotions to get in the way of reason, and because of this, she is able to be manipulated easily - as Chichiri demonstrates in this volume. My hopes for her is that she will grow out of this "everything is my fault" phase, but I have a feeling that it will take awhile.
For those who've followed along with the anime, there's a slight difference to Miaka's reasoning for taking off when she flees Tamahome's home. In the anime, she simply wants to protect his family and to find Yui while in the manga, she realizes that if Yui becomes the priestess of Seiryu that they'll become enemies. To Miaka in the anime, Yui becoming the priestess simply comes out of left field while she is aware that this could happen in the manga. Once more, this shows how much of a ditz the anime made Miaka out to be, when she's really very smart. It also gives her more credabilty to this bout of running away syndrome.
Miaka's reunion with Yui and the introduction of Nakago pretty much follows the anime storyline, but with Miaka revealing to Yui the knowledge that they'll become enemies if she becomes the Priestess of Seiryu. The pacing of this sequence, especially when Yui discovers Miaka and Tamahome, is much faster than in the anime.
We also get more from Keisuke as well. Since his role as keeper of the book is introduced earlier here, we see him deal with what's happened to Miaka as he reacts to her getting injured thanks to Yui. It gives a much-needed reminder of the modern world and how that, and the book world, are linked through Miaka's ribbon. Yui's tale of what happened three months earlier is the same, but we see more of the emotional effects of Miaka's "betrayal" has on Yui. The result is a more sympathetic look at Yui rather than just seeing her as cold-hearted. But, her hurt feelings cause Nakago to demand Tamahome for her.
One of the things that's always bugged me about this series is how easily Yui breaks off her friendship with Miaka. Granted, Nakago's manipulation played a part in this, but she needed to have more faith in Miaka. For all of the endless harping from Miaka on this, I've never gotten the impression that Miaka and Yui are really that close. They're good friends, but not as close as I think they should be. If they were, the trust between them would not break so easily.
Fushigi Yugi continues to be an enjoyable tale, but there's some things about it - Miaka's tendencies to run away and blame everything on herself - are starting to grate on me some. However, she continues to be a bit smarter than her anime counterpart while Yui is more sympathetic. We also get a new warrior and see Tamahome's family. A lot happens in this volume, but Miaka's repetitive behavior is starting to wear me down some.
Mania Grade: B
Art Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: C
Text/Translatin Rating: B+
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: Viz Media
Size: Tall B6
Orientation: Right to Left