Fushigi Yuugi (ふしぎ 遊戯, Fushigi Yūgi, lit. Mysterious Play) also known as Curious Play is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Yuu Watase. It was originally serialized in Shōjo Comic from May 1992 through June 1996. The manga series was given an English language release in North America by Viz Media, which started in 1999. Spanning eighteen volumes, Fushigi Yuugi tells the story of two teenaged girls, Miaka and Yui, who are pulled into "The Universe of the Four Gods", a mysterious book at the National Library.
The plot revolves around fifteen-year-old Miaka Yuuki, a typical high school girl whose main concerns are boys, food, and shopping. Living with her single mom and college aged brother, Miaka attends junior high school, barely passing her classes and being constantly reprimanded by her best friend and resident genius Yui Hongo. When Yui goes to the library one afternoon, Miaka tags along. In the restricted room of the library, the two girls come across a book titled, "The Universe of the Four Gods." They begin to read it, and magically they are sucked into ancient China. Eventually Yui is able to leave the book, leaving Miaka alone in a strange world with a greedy stranger known only as Tamahome. Miaka is then taken to the emperor of the empire she landed in and is told that she is the savior they've been waiting for, the Priestess of Suzaku who will summon the Beast God and save Konan. As it turns out, each Priestess has seven warriors that were born to protect her, Tamahome, and the Emperor Hotohori, being two of them. Now Miaka must embark on a quest to find the remaining warriors and then she can save the world
Naturally the road is never easy, and some fairly predictable situations occur. Love triangles, rivalries, concerned older siblings, and typical young love blossom through out the fifty-two episode series. Despite some standard clichés that come with the "teenaged girl saves the world" scenario, there are some moments of genuine, gut wrenching story telling. Each character has a very elaborate back story, and while not every character has tragic origins, each one is the way they are because of the events of their past. Only a handful of the back stories are told, some of them evoking pure emotional responses from the view. Other time it's not so much their past, as their present that makes the view reach for a box of tissues.
The anime only follows part one of Fushigi Yugi. Part two was covered in a series of OVAs (see below)
Cast and Characters
Main Article: Characters
Main Article: Manga
Written and illustrated by Yuu Watase, Fushigi Yûgi originally appeared in serial form in the monthly manga magazine Shōjo Comic. It premiered in the May 1992 issue and ran for over four years, with the final chapter appearing in the June 1996 issue. The series was simultaneously published in eighteen collected volumes by Shogakukan, with new volumes being released on a quarterly schedule.
In 1992, Viz Media licensed the manga for an English language release in North America. The series was originally released in a flipped trade paperback format, starting in August 1998. Several characters have both Japanese pronunciations and Chinese pronunciations. In 1998 Watase visited the United States and met with Viz staff members at their San Francisco headquarters. Viz kept the original Chinese names of characters at the request of Watase. Bill Flanagan, the editor of the English version, asked Watase if he should use the Chinese names for popular characters such as Tai Yi-Jun (Taitsukun) and she also asked for the Chinese names to be used there. The characters with names remaining in Japanese in the English version are the characters such as Tamahome who have Japanese pronunciations of ancient constellations; there was never any intention of them having Chinese names.
This caused some confusion for fans as the anime version uses the Japanese names. For example, in the manga, Hotohori's country is named "Hong-Nan" rather than the "Konan" found in the anime series.4 After eight volumes, Viz stopped publication of Fushigi Yûgi, reviving it in June 2003 when it released the first two volumes in unflipped standard manga size volumes. The remaining volumes were released on a quarterly schedule, including the remaining ten volumes. The final volume of the series was released in April 2006. The dates and ISBN numbers given for the first eight volumes in the table on the link above are for the second edition releases.
Viz also serialized Fushigi Yûgi in their manga anthology magazine, Animerica Extra, starting with the October 1998 debut issue and running until the December 2004 issue, the magazine's final issue. In January 2009, Viz is slated to re-release the series as part of their "VIZBIG" line, which usually combines two or three individual volumes of the original release into a single, larger volume.
Main Article: Anime
The series became very popular and was later adapted into a 52 episode anime series by Studio Pierrot. The series originally aired from April 6, 1995 through March 28, 1996 on the anime satellite channel Animax and the regular cable channel TV Tokyo. The anime series was followed by three Original Video Animation releases, with the first having three episodes, the second having six, and the final OVA, Fushigi Yuugi Eikoden, spanning four episodes. A thirteen volume Japanese light novel series also followed Fushigi Yuugi. The novels were published by Shōgakukan from January 30, 1998 to September 26, 2003. On October 25, 2003, Watase began releasing a prequel to the manga series, Fushigi Yuugi Genbu Kaiden.
Main Article: Light Novels
Fushigi Yuugi's "Light Novels", known originally in Japanese as "Gaiden"( 外伝 ), which can also mean "side stories", were written by Megumi Nishizaki and illustrated by Yuu Watase.There are thirteen of them and only nine describe the lives of the Celestial Warriors (All of the Suzaku and a few of the Seiryuu) before they were seen in the manga. Two are set after the manga, the 7th and 8th which are known as "The Legend of Eternal Light: First Volume" ((永光伝上巻） Eikouden Joukan) and "The Legend of Eternal Light: Final Volume" (( 永光伝下巻 ) Eikouden Gekan). The third OVA series was based on these two novels. The final two are known as "Sanbouden".
All were published by Shogakukan and not a single one has been liscensed in English.