Fushigi Yugi - The Mysterious Play Vol. #5 - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: A
  • Video Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: A-
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 24.98
  • Running time: 175
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Fushigi Yugi - The Mysterious Play

Fushigi Yugi - The Mysterious Play Vol. #5

By Mike Dungan     May 27, 2005
Release Date: March 15, 2005

Fushigi Yugi - The Mysterious Play Vol. #5
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.

What They Say
Tragedy after tragedy strikes our heroes increasing their resolve in summoning Suzaku. Now firmly on their quest, Yui challenges them by making the same quest. Now it becomes a race to find the Shinzaho to summon their respective gods. A race leading to a tragic clash that will change the Suzaku Seven forever!

As seen on the International Channel! Previously only available on VHS or in DVD boxed sets, this volume of this serial release will contain seven bilingual episodes! Animated by Studio Pierrot (Ceres, Yu Yu Hakusho), character design by Hideyuki Motohashi (Fushigi Yugi OVA, Fushigi Yugi Eikoden, Celestial Legend Ceres, Inu Yasha the Movie) and based on the popular manga by Yuu Watase (Ayashi no Ceres, Alice 19) which has been published by Viz.

The Review!
Volume 5 of Fushigi Yugi begins with tragedy and ends with tragedy with plenty of soul searching in between.

The sound quality is good, if not spectacular. Both the Japanese and English dubs are getting on in years, but they make up in charm what they might miss in technical sophistication. The Japanese dub sounds just a bit muffled, as if the audio came from a video tape. The English is clearer, probably due to its more recent vintage.

The video shake of the previous volume wasn't nearly as pronounced in this volume. The colors are beautiful and lush, employing a lot of softer earth-tones that illustrate the fantasy setting of this mythical ancient China very well. I did notice several instances of scratches or dust on the video, reflecting it's older age. It might bother viewers who are used to clearer video, but those of a more forgiving nature will hardly notice.

The cover features Nuriko in battle gear, dressed as a man for once. As with previous volumes, the image continues around to the back, showing the end of the spear he's wielding. The episode numbers and titles are listed in a sidebar as well as the story synopsis. The inside of the cover is a group image of Yui, showing plenty of leg, and the Seiryu Seven. The insert shows half of the image used on the inside of the cover, with Character information for Amiboshi, Suboshi and Ashitare on the other side. Open it up, and it shows the full cover image of Nuriko.

The menu is beautifully designed, making full use of the ancient China motif. Episodes are accessed right on the main page, with a scene access menu if one prefers it. There are no animations, making load time quick and painless. It's easily navigated and is an excellent example of less is more.

There are no extras.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As was seen in the last scene of the previous volume, Tamahome returned home to find his family killed. The murderer is still there, and targets Tamahome. It's Suboshi, Amiboshi's twin brother. He's seeking revenge for the death of his brother. Tamahome's rage and grief transforms him into something frightening, and nearly goes out of control. After burying his family, he continues on the journey to find the Shinzaho, the magical item that will allow Miaka to summon Suzaku. Tamahome has vowed to protect Miaka no matter what, so that he may never lose a loved one again. Miaka herself has made a vow. After what's happened, she knows she must steel her resolve to summon Suzaku. It's no longer just a book she's reading or a game. The very real consequences have caused her to lose much of the frivolity she's displayed up to now.
Nakago is able to use that to convince Yui that Miaka is determined to defeat her, which causes Yui to begin a quest to find the Shinzaho as well. Miaka's trip north by boat is interrupted by a freak storm caused by one of the Seiryu Seven, a beautiful young woman who can command electricals storms. Nuriko, Miaka and Tamahome are swept overboard, but find refuge in a small island with a cave in it. As Tamahome sleeps, Nuriko confides his history to Miaka. Despite the continued cross-dressing, he's acting more and more like a man. There's good reason for that, but he won't confide why to Miaka.
Back in present day Japan, Miaka’s brother continues to read the book, and finally decides to confide what is going on to a friend of his. The two of them begin to research the book and the person who brought it to Japan several years ago. They discover some very disturbing things, but are unable to convince Miaka to stop her adventures.
Once Miaka and the Suzaku Seven are back together, they scour the city they're in for any news of the Shinzaho. Tamahome comes face to face with Yui, who inadvertently lets slip a little piece of information that shakes Tamahome to the very core. Meanwhile, Miaka and Nuriko are attacked by another of the Seiryu Seven, Ashitare, a man-beast with extraordinary strength. They manage to drive him off, but the recent attacks are troubling. With a good lead on the Shinzaho, Nuriko heads up into the snow covered mountains, but is forced to fight Ashitare again, this time on his own.

In Summary:
Yu Watase's tale of romance and adventure in an ancient China that never was continues to impress me, even after all these years. This is the most tear-jerking volume yet. The tragedy of Tamahome's family is especially heart-breaking. It affects the tone of the show, making a slight but significant shift from romantic comedy to a serious drama with real consequences. That's not to say there isn't plenty of comedy, but it takes a backseat. Watching Miaka mature as a result of the tragedy is especially satisfying, because it's handled with such honesty of emotion. This volume is just as much about Nuriko as it is about Miaka and Tamahome, as the three of them become much closer as friends. If you're looking for a shoujo classic, you can't go wrong with Fushigi Yugi.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
NEC CT-2510A TV, Pioneer 440 codefree DVD player


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