Fushigi Yugi: Eikou Den Vol. #4 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: C
  • Age Rating: All
  • Region: 2 - Japan
  • Released By: Bandai Visual
  • MSRP: ¥4800
  • Running time: 30
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Fushigi Yugi - The Mysterious Play

Fushigi Yugi: Eikou Den Vol. #4

By Chris Beveridge     July 20, 2002
Release Date: June 25, 2002


Fushigi Yugi: Eikou Den Vol. #4
© Bandai Visual


What They Say
In addition to everybody's favorite characters like Miaka, and Suzaku Shichiseishi, this "Fushigi Yugi" OVA introduces great new characters. This is volume 4 (of 4). Includes English audio tracks and optional Japanese subtitles. Sleeve cover illustrated by Yu Watase. A booklet ("Fushigi Yuugi Isekai no Tebiki") included.

The Review!
The final installment of the Eikou Den OVA series brings things full circle, but not without trying to get you to completely change how you feel about one main character.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in English. That still sounds weird. To help facilitate the release times between regions, Pioneer USA has worked to have their English language track ready alongside the Japanese track and the animation. To the surprise of many, the English track was also included in the Japanese release, which was the main reason I ended up snagging it. On both tracks, dialogue is nice and clear though the show is still essentially a stereo mix.

Video:
Freshly animated, this is just gorgeous looking. Taking the designs used in the previous OVA series and bumping the characters ahead in age by three years, the designs are slightly different but still recognizable. The animation style is pretty similar to the OVA's though with what seems to be a bit better budget or at least a much more vivid color palette. The cross coloration we noticed with the last volume is pleasantly absent here, giving this a very solid look and feel.

Packaging:
The final cover for this series ends just right, with the entire cast of the Suzaku Seven there with Miaka. It?s covers like these that remind you just how pretty the men in this series are, and how her artwork really pushes that well. The back cover provides a few animation shots and a brief summary of the final episodes plot. Production and technical information are also clearly listed. According to CD Japan, a booklet was supposed to be included, but none was in my package.

Menu:
If there's one area where the Japanese releases tend to truly underwhelm me, it's the menus, and this release is little different. Using the character artwork from the cover, we get a nice simple static image of the cast to the right while selections are listed along the left. Since there's not much here, you get the individual scene selections listed here as well as a play-all feature and access to the language and extras menu. It's a nice looking menu, but the lack of music or anything else to just makes it bland.

Extras:
There's really only one extra included, though I'll make mention of a second one. The main extra is the character profiles section that is broken up into five characters, each presenting one still page. You get a nice standalone piece of character art as well as a shot from the animation, the characters stats and then a little bit of background on them. The second extra that's not really an extra is two pages of English language credits for the show that list all the people we've seen many times over the past couple of years from Animaze, ZRO Limit and Pioneer USA. Voice actors are also listed but not with their respective roles.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After all the heartache and pain inflicted upon the viewer during the past three episodes, especially in watching Miaka?s and Taka?s life take this drastic turn, and having their unborn child transported into Mayo?s body in Konan, the writers do the one thing that should have been done at the beginning and played throughout the series so far. And that?s to make Mayo a sympathetic character. Introducing her troubled home while alternating it with a very happy childhood doesn?t work quite as well here at the very end. Perhaps in something longer, but in as such a short a time as this series plays out, it feels forced to have it all occur right at the outset as she tries to drown herself.

But her life force is very much tied to the life of Konan, so she?s quickly rescued, but continues to still fade away. As the Suzaku Seven continue to transform into their original selves, the ideas and story of what has happened surfaces. We learn of how the stories of the book of the Four Gods is all finally told, and the book itself is looking for a new story to keep on existing, while another force is anxious to simply eat up the book and all of its existence. These revelations on push the forces behind the evil to work faster. In a rather well done moment, as the world begins to fade, the book in the real world simply turns black, page after page, in the holders hands.

Of course, there?s one last trick to be played, as we learn of just how cunning Miaka really is, and that plays out into the final battle. I?ll not give that away, suffice to say that the moments were done well for it and it fit with the revelations of this episode, but I have a hard time balancing it against the previous three episodes. There?s something that just smacks wrongly here in how things are scripted. It?s definitely entertaining, but there?s a lack of continuity, at least in my memory, of how this all comes to end.

I?ve enjoyed Fushigi Yugi in its various incarnations, from the TV series to both of the OVA series now and even the manga. But hopefully this will finally close the door on this story, and let a new book be picked up to be read and experienced. The final sequence, post-credits, sets a perfect amount of closure for it in my mind.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,Japanese Subtitles,Charater Profiles

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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