Fushigi Yugi 4 (VizBig ed.)

September 10, 2010

Yu Watase – Viz – 2010 – 18 volumes
this omnibus contains volumes 10-12

My roommate is reading this at the same time I am for nostalgia reasons, since FY was one of his favorite anime series as it was being released on VHS. But even he has trouble with the manga, pointing out the flaw in Nakago’s rape-fest immediately. Why can’t they just kill her rather than passing her around to try and rape her? Why is rape attempted for almost two solid volumes? Putting aside how disturbing that is, I just got sick of hearing about it, too.

Maybe they can’t kill her, for the same reason they can’t rape her (“magic”). Or maybe they don’t kill her because they know it would make Yui angry. Even so, they could just… you know, accidentally do it.

Volumes ten and eleven are all about sex and rape (and nine, for that matter). Surprise, surprise, one of the characters isn’t actually dead, and they show up and offer a peaceful life to Miaka, who has decided that because she is “impure”, she can’t be the Priestess of Suzaku or Tamahome’s wife. But she can be someone else’s wife, and they almost consummate. Then she goes into a dream world and almost has sex with a Seiryu warrior, but in her defense, she was spelled into forgetting about Tamahome, and he was “dead” anyway. Meanwhile, Soi is trying to have sex with Tamahome. Later, Tamahome and Miaka almost have sex again, when “it doesn’t matter anymore.” In the in-between chapter parts, Tomo also has his way with Tamahome. As does Nakago.

This is why Sho-Comi can’t have nice things anymore. Of course, I haven’t read Sensual Phrase yet, so I may be in for more nonsensical sex later.

It’s not the sex that bothers me, or the rape (though I think that’s disgusting and difficult to read, so it does bother me), or the fact that this was written for girls in their younger teens (who I’m sure are fascinated by sex and ate this up with a spoon). It’s the fact that, even when sex is presented in a positive context, there is almost no romance. The romance in this series is just… really messed up. For instance, the mystery zombie in volume ten has apparently “always had a crush on Miaka.” And he’s right there, and convenient, so Miaka… gets caught up in the moment and decides, however briefly, that she can marry him because she’s had sex and can’t marry Tamahome? She also falls in love with a “mystery boy” quite fast, and decides to give it up equally quickly. Bah. It doesn’t help that Miaka and Tamahome, for how devoted they are to one another, break up about once per volume for some reason or other. In ten, it’s because Miaka has been raped. In eleven, it’s based on some random advice. In twelve… well, Tamahome runs off. It’s more of a fight, but even so. I am absolutely sick of hearing about how much those two love each other, then watching them mistrust and turn their backs all the time.

Putting that aside (which is difficult, because it’s a major part of the story), how is the rest of it? Pretty good. I forget that, putting all that emotional stuff aside, Fushigi Yugi is a pretty great story. Volume eleven did much to renew my faith in things, since much happens, and almost all of it runs contrary to what is expected. The Suzaku warrior’s role in things, the summoning, the reunion with Yui, the fate of several characters, all of it was different and wonderful, and I love that FY is good at going against expectations. The summoning in particular puts an interesting spin on things, and creates a far more interesting path for the story than the fact that Miaka and Tamahome may be separated by reality.

Volume twelve is just as interesting, with all the fallout from the summoning and an even more interesting twist… I knew that it would happen eventually, but the reason it happens, and the fact that other characters are involved, is pretty great. Not so great is that it is now something that apparently everyone can do, but I like the fact that some unlikely elements are leaking into other parts of the story.

Vague enough for you?

I do like the story. I like it a lot. I wish there were less plot conveniences (Oh no! The Shenso-Pao got stolen! Twice!), and I really wish the Miaka/Tamahome stupidity was toned way down, but overall there is a lot to like here.

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