Fushigi Yugi OVA Box Set - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: N/A
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: C/A
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 74.95
  • Running time: 295
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Fushigi Yugi - The Mysterious Play

Fushigi Yugi OVA Box Set

By Chris Beveridge     June 05, 2001
Release Date: June 05, 2001


Fushigi Yugi OVA Box Set
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
The mystical book, The Universe of the Four Gods, was finally closed when Miaka made her last wish, or so everyone had thought. But old enemies have returned from beyond the grave to claim their revenge, and this time it is Tamahome who is drawn into the book... to become one of the Seiryu Seven ?!

Now Yui, Keisuke, and Tetsuya must discover how the book was opened, while Miaka and Tamahome, now known as Taka, race to relearn how to survive in the Mysterious Play!

The Review!
Though it's been many months since I'd seen the ending of the Fushigi Yugi TV series, it's still stuck with me. Sliding the OVA series into the player, it felt like returning to old friends. While there's plenty of fun to be had, it's not exactly like it was the last time.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. As with the TV series, the best thing about the audio is the music. Familiar cues come up throughout the show (cheaper to recycle) but we get some great placement and the ending song for the OVA's is just fantastic sounding. Dialogue comes across nicely through the center channel and we noted no dropouts or other distortions.

Video:
There's some good and there's some bad here. With this being an OVA series, the animation quality itself is higher than the TV series, which was spotty in a lot of areas and had a lot of static animation shots. Things here have a great fluidity and more vibrant colors. There's little in the way of color bleeding or line noise as well as very little color banding. What does show up fairly prominently, much like the TV series, is the rainbows. They're very noticeable throughout segments of the endings and throughout the episodes in characters hair and in other places. The times when it proved to be bothersome is when the characters are further back and smaller, so there was less detail to a face, causing it to be more jittery and jaggie.

Packaging:
Having thoroughly loved the packaging for the two seasons of TV episodes that have been released, it should come as no surprise that not only does this two disc set replicate the same style in a black/charcoal box and slipcase, but that I love how this one looks as well. Opening up the case and folding it out, you get a nice brown background showing the countryside of Konan. A nice booklet is again included, listing the chapters for each of the episodes along with some great character artwork. It also lists many of the voice actor credits (matching actor to part for the Japanese) as well as the technical folks behind the show. Great package, one that compliments the first two perfectly.

Menus:
Also similar to the first two sets are the fairly weak and somewhat plain menus. The menus for each disc is identical, with the four symbols of the four gods spread about, each being a major selection. Access times for each of them is nice and fast and things are laid out simply enough. It does fall under the "keep it simple" method, but I almost wonder if something with character artwork would have been better suited.

Extras:
There's two ways to look at the extras here. The first is to go by what's actually listed in the extras section of the 2nd disc, which is the 16 page image gallery and the full translated credits for all of the OVA's. The other way to look at it is to consider the omake at the end of the episodes as extras, just placed where they were originally seen as opposed to being put in the extras menu. The omake are hilarious, especially the first three parts, detailing the entire gang as VA's going to a women's only hot spring. Far too funny, especially all of the Nakago lines and the torture they put Suboshi and Amiboshi through.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As mentioned before, returning to the world of Fushigi Yugi via these OVA's was like returning to a bunch of old friends you hadn't seen in awhile. There's some reminiscing, some similar fun and hilarity, but not quite the same as the first time, as if some very small magical part is missing.

But it's still a boatload of fun nonetheless. Things pick up not long after the events of the TV series, which means you must watch the TV series first otherwise all of this is spoilers. Spoilers are bad, and if I say spoiler one more time, you won't read any further if you haven't seen the TV series, which has spoilers.

With Tamahome now living in Miaka's world, everyone gets along pretty well, and they head off to offer remembrances to Tokiko's grave on her anniversary. While there, we see just how close Miaka and Tamahome have become, which in itself is a nice payoff from the series. But it's at this point where Tamahome suddenly feels himself being called, and then quickly finds himself back in Konan, once again inside the book of the Four Gods.

Miaka and her brother, as well as Yui and her hinted-at potential boyfriend, all start looking for a way to get the book back so they can go back to Konan to get Tamahome. But fate seems to have thrown things completely out of whack, as there was a huge fire in the building where the book was stored, with thousands of precious documents lost.

With Tamahome, he finds himself falling back into his Konan routine and heads off towards Hotohori's palace to figure out what's going on. But things appear to have changed, as Hotohori has died fifty years earlier, and his great-grandson is now running the show. And making things even more confusing, the shrine to Suzaku refuses Tamahome entrance. Tamahome is lashed and dropped off at the side of the road with the refuse, only to find himself being picked up by a servant of Seiryuu, one who looks at Tamahome and only seems him as Nakago... and having the same symbol on his head as Nakago only serves to confuse him more.

This is just scratching the surface of the first couple of OVA's, as saying much more really will spoil the beginning layers of this new series. There's some fun twists, the characters are great to be around again and the production values are slick. This is a great addition to the Fushigi Yugi storyline, even if it is one that the original author didn't originally plan on. While it does have a tacked-on feel at times, it adds some closure to the series in having Miaka and Tamahome, as well as Yui, all interacting in their regular daily lives and being happy for the most part.

If you loved the TV series, you're likely to enjoy this for the same reasons I did, if not more. If you hate the TV series, you won't find this to be a retelling or alternate universe as many OVA's are of TV series. I'm quite happy to have this, especially with all the omake. Great stuff. Very recommended.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Image Gallery,Complete Credits

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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