Fushigi Yugi 3 (VizBig ed.)
June 2, 2010
Yuu Watase – Viz – 2009 – 18 volumes (this omnibus is volumes 7-9)
Oh, Miaka. Oh, Tamahome. Unfortunately, the last couple chapters in the last volume here featured a lot of those two shouting for each other, so that’s what I’ve got ringing through my memory right now. I still don’t like either of them, and again, that’s a bit of a problem for my enjoyment of the series. But it would be a shame to hate the entire series because of that, and there’s a lot of other stuff to like here. So I’m going to pretend that Miaka and Tamahome don’t exist, and I’m going to talk about everything else in these volumes.
I love how interconnected and well-developed the mythology is here. The Seriyuu celestial warriors are still being introduced one by one, and that does leave a lot of wildcards in the journey. The journey, in this case, is for the Suzaku warriors down to Genbu territory to retrieve an item that belonged to the former priestess of Genbu (poor Takiko). Ghosts of the Genbu warriors guard it, and there is another trial the Suzaku warriors have to face before they even get to the cave. The result of the latter challenge was the reason I stopped reading the series the first time, since… well, what reason did I have after that since it was Miaka and Tamahome’s show from there out? But the advantage is that most of the stuff after that is completely new to me, so now I’ve got stuff to look forward to.
There’s an awful lot of dark stuff going on here for a nice girls’ comic, too. Lots of murders, unpleasant sexual torture, manipulation, gore, and other things. Fushigi Yugi doesn’t pull any punches. On one hand, that’s a shame since it’s tone makes it more comfortable for an early teen set, but on the other hand, I’m an adult and love it when disturbing stuff like that enters a super-girly series like this.
In addition to Genbu’s trial, there are several challenges from Seriyuu, including Suboshi, Soi, and Ashitare. Soi’s first attack lands all the warriors on an island where they have to impersonate women or risk being chained up and used for “seed,” something I thought was pretty twisted. Nuriko gets an awful lot of character development in here, including some insight into why he cross-dresses and some maturation on his part as well. There’s also a lot of Yui, and she’s still hard to read since she’s been so thoroughly manipulated. There’s also some detail about the link between the book and the outside world, but I’m guessing we won’t find out too much about that until the very end.
Mostly, I enjoyed the strange Genbu scenes since I’d been reading Genbu Kaiden. Unfortunately, it’s been so long since I picked that series up that I couldn’t recognize or appreciate the characters in FY, but I still loved the link and that Watase decided to expand their story. It makes me more curious than ever about the ending of Genbu Kaiden. I maintain that is the better series, by far, but to be fair I believe it’s written in a magazine meant for an older audience.
FY is an undisputed classic of shoujo, and it’s hard not to like all its fantasy elements and wide variety of friends, enemies, mythology, and everything else that’s going on. On the other hand, it’s hard not to hate the main couple, and they figure largely in the story and events. But even they managed to make me sympathize with them a few times in these volumes (and with everything they go through, it would be scary if I didn’t). FY isn’t my favorite, but I am growing to appreciate it more and more.