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Fushigi Yûgi (Japanese: ふしぎ遊戯, lit. "Mysterious Game"), also known as Fushigi Yûgi: The Mysterious Play or Curious Play, is a Japanese shōjo manga series written and illustrated by Yuu Watase. It 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 Diet Library. It is essentially based on four mythological creatures of China. Shogakukan serialized Fushigi Yûgi in Shōjo Comic from December 1991 to May 1996 and later compiled the manga into eighteen tankōbon volumes.
|Genre||Fantasy, isekai, romance|
|Written by||Yuu Watase|
|Original run||December 1991 – May 1996|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Hajime Kamegaki|
|Written by||Yoshio Urasawa|
|Music by||Yusuke Honma|
|Original network||TV Tokyo|
|Original run||April 6, 1995 – March 28, 1996|
|Original video animation|
|Directed by||Hajime Kamegaki|
|Written by||Genki Yoshimura|
|Music by||Yusuke Honma|
|Released||October 25, 1996 – August 25, 1998|
|Runtime||25 minutes (each)|
|Written by||Megumi Nishizaki|
|Illustrated by||Yuu Watase|
|Original run||January 30, 1998 – September 26, 2003|
|Original video animation|
|Fushigi Yûgi: Eikoden|
|Directed by||Nanako Shimazaki|
|Written by||Hiroaki Sato|
|Music by||Ryo Sakai|
|Released||December 21, 2001 – June 25, 2002|
|Runtime||30 minutes (each)|
Studio Pierrot adapted it into a fifty-two episode anime series that aired from April 1995 to March 1996 on TV Tokyo. The anime spawned three original video animation (OVA) releases, with the first having three episodes, the second having six, and the final OVA, Fushigi Yûgi: Eikoden, spanning four episodes.
A thirteen-volume Japanese light novel series, written by Megumi Nishizaki, followed Fushigi Yûgi. Shogakukan published the novels from January 1998 to September 2003. Watase also released two prequel manga series: Fushigi Yûgi: Genbu Kaiden, which ran from March 2003 to February 2013, and Fushigi Yûgi: Byakko Senki, which began serialization in August 2017.
The series describes the various trials of Miaka Yuki and Yui Hongo, two middle-school students. While at the library one day, Miaka and Yui encounter a strange book known as The Universe of the Four Gods. Reading this book transports them into the novel's universe in ancient China. Yui is transported back to the real world almost immediately, but Miaka finds herself the Priestess of Suzaku. Miaka is destined to gather the seven Celestial Warriors of the god Suzaku in order to summon Suzaku and obtain three wishes. She falls in love with the Celestial Warrior Tamahome, who eventually reciprocates and Miaka's desire to use a wish to enter the high school of her choice begins to shift towards finding a way to be with Tamahome. Yui is also drawn into the book when she tries to help Miaka to come back to the real world; becoming the Priestess of Seiryuu, working against Miaka out of jealousy over Tamahome and revenge for the humiliation and pain she had suffered when she first came into the book's world.
Written and illustrated by Yuu Watase, Fushigi Yûgi originally appeared in serial form in the semimonthly manga magazine Shōjo Comic. It premiered in the January 1, 1992 (No. 1) issue, released in December 1991,[a] and ran for over five years, ending in the June 5, 1996 (No. 12) issue, released in May 1996. 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 her request. 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. 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 2009 and 2010, Viz re-released the series as part of their "VIZBIG" line, combining three individual volumes of the original release into each single, larger volume.
Produced by Studio Pierrot, the fifty-two episode Fushigi Yûgi anime series premiered on TV Tokyo on April 6, 1995. The series aired weekly, until the final episode that was aired on March 28, 1996. The series was licensed for English-language release to Region 1 DVD and VHS format by Geneon Entertainment, then named Pioneer, under the expanded title Fushigi Yûgi: The Mysterious Play. It has been suggested that Geneon chose to license the series based on its popularity among the fansub community. The main series was released in eight individual volumes and as two box sets, the Suzaku and Seiryū sets. Media Blasters license-rescued the series, and released the first season to DVD on June 19, 2012. Season 2 was released on February 12, 2013.
Original video animationsEdit
Following the anime adaptation, three original video animation (OVA) works appeared. The first, spanning three episodes, takes place a year after the events of the main series and has no ties to the original manga. It was released to DVD on October 25, 1996. The second OVA, which has six episodes, animates the last four volumes of the manga series that had been left out of the main series. The episodes were split across two volumes, with the first released May 25, 1997, and the second coming over a year later on August 25, 1998.
The final OVA, Fushigi Yûgi: Eikoden, spans four episodes and is based on two of the light novels written by Megumi Nishizaki. Released on December 21, 2001, it focuses on a new character, Mayo Sakaki, a sixteen-year-old girl who attends Yotsubadai High School. Upon finding The Universe of the Four Gods in a trash bin at the park, Mayo soon discovers that the story remains incomplete. In the unfamiliar world of the book, Mayo must come to terms with her own life and the unhappiness within it.
Geneon Entertainment also licensed the OVAs for Region 1 DVD release. The first two OVAs were released together in a set titled Fushigi Yûgi: The Mysterious Play, while Fushigi Yûgi: Eikoden was released as a single disc volume. The OVAs were released with similar packaging as the main series, to give them a consistent look. All three OVA series have also been re-licensed by Media Blasters.
Over a series of five years, Megumi Nishizaki (西崎めぐみ, Nishizaki Megumi) wrote thirteen Japanese light novels based on Fushigi Yûgi. Illustrated by Yuu Watase, Fushigi Yûgi Gaiden primarily explores the lives the various Celestial Warriors before they are seen in the manga. The only two novels to be set after the manga, Eikō Den (Jōkan) and Eikō Den (Gekan), later became the basis for the third Fushigi Yûgi original video animation, Fushigi Yûgi: Eikoden. Originally published by Shogakukan, none of the novels have been licensed for English release.
|1||Transcription: "Genrō Den" (Japanese: 幻狼伝)||January 30, 1998||978-4094207736|
|Details Tasuki's life between joining the Mt. Reikaku Bandits and Miaka's appearance.|
|2||Transcription: "Shōryū Den" (Japanese: 昇龍伝)||July 23, 1998||978-4094207743|
|Chichiri's life shortly after the accident when he loses his eye to his first meeting with Miaka.|
|3||Transcription: "Yuki Yasha Den" (Japanese: 雪夜叉伝)||February 2, 1999||978-4094207750|
|Details how Nuriko became a cross-dresser and entered the imperial harem.|
|4||Transcription: "Ryūsei Den" (Japanese: 流星伝)||April 23, 1999||978-4094207767|
|Details Amiboshi and Suboshi's tragic past.|
|5||Transcription: "Suzaku Hi Den" (Japanese: 朱雀悲伝)||July 1999||978-4094207774|
|The story of emperor Hotohori, his brother Tendō and their relationship with Hōki. This story is later told by Hōki herself to Mayo Sakaki in the Eikoden OVA.|
|6||Transcription: "Seiran Den" (Japanese: 青藍伝)||December 1, 1999||978-4094207781|
|Details Nakago's past and his rise to power within the Kutō army.|
|7||Transcription: "Eikō Den (Jōkan)" (Japanese: 永光伝(上巻))||February 1, 2000||978-4094207798|
|Set ten years after the final events in the manga, Mayo enters The Universe of the Four Gods. Unhappy with her own life, Mayo wants to achieve a storybook ending with Taka, whom she has a crush on.|
|8||Transcription: "Eikō Den (Gekan)" (Japanese: 永光伝(下巻))||March 1, 2000||978-4094207804|
|Continues Mayo's story as she is tricked by a false Suzaku, and saved by Miaka.|
|9||Transcription: "Shugyoku Den" (Japanese: 朱玉伝)||December 21, 2001||978-4094207897|
|Tamahome's life from his training under Tokaki to when he first meets Miaka and Yui. This novel also tells Miaka's backstory and her connection with Tamahome during the years of the manifestation of his powers.|
|10||Transcription: "Hōmei Den" (Japanese: 逢命伝)||March 1, 2002||978-4094207903|
|Details Mitsukake's romance with Shōka.|
|11||Transcription: "Yūai Den" (Japanese: 優愛伝)||April 26, 2002||978-4094208214|
|Recounts Chiriko's whereabouts before he joined the rest of the Suzaku Warriors.|
|12||Transcription: "Sanbō Den (Jōkan)" (Japanese: 三宝伝(上巻))||July 1, 2003||978-4094208221|
|Explains how Tenkō used his powers to influence people to do his bidding to break the seal the Four Beast Gods placed on him, as well as to gather the Shinzaho of Genbu, Byakko, Seiryuu and Suzaku. The two main characters are Chichiri and Tasuki.|
|13||Transcription: "Sanbō Den 2 (Gekan)" (Japanese: 三宝伝(下巻))||September 26, 2003||978-4094208238|
|Continues story from part 1.|
Idea Factory created a Sony PlayStation 2 video game based on the Fushigi Yûgi series called Fushigi Yûgi: Suzaku Ibun (ふしぎ遊戯 朱雀異聞). It was released in Japan on May 29, 2008, in both regular and limited editions. A Nintendo DS version of the game was released in Japan on June 25, 2009, bundled with another game, Fushigi Yûgi: Genbu Kaiden Gaiden – Kagami no Miko, based on the prequel manga series Fushigi Yûgi: Genbu Kaiden.
Amipro produced three stage plays based on the Fushigi Yûgi manga. The first, simply titled Fushigi Yûgi, was staged at The Pocket theater in Nakano from October 20 to October 24, 2010. The second, Fushigi Yûgi: Suzaku-hen (ふしぎ遊戯～朱雀編～), was staged at the Theater Sun Mall in Shinjuku from March 30 to April 3, 2011. The third, Fushigi Yûgi: Seiryū-hen (ふしぎ遊戯～青龍編～), was staged at the Hakuhinkan Theater in Ginza from April 25 to May 2, 2012. All three plays were written and directed by Shintarō Sugano and starred Mao Miyaji in the lead role.
A fourth play, produced by Nelke Planning, was staged at the Shinagawa Prince Hotel Club eX venue in Tokyo from March 19 to March 29, 2015. It was written by Keiko Ueno, directed by Naoyoshi Okumura, and starred Golden Bomber band member Yutaka Kyan in the lead role of Tamahome. The play aimed to depict a "new version of Fushigi Yûgi through the eyes of Tamahome".
A live-action 2.5D musical stage adaptation, Fushigi Yûgi: Ake no Shō (ふしぎ遊戯～朱ノ章～), ran at the Owlspot theater in Tokyo from April 8 to April 17, 2016. It was produced by Amipro and written and directed by Kōtarō Yoshitani. The cast featured former Morning Musume member Reina Tanaka as Miaka, Ryō Hirano as Tamahome, Juri Aikawa as Nakago, Takahisa Maeyama as Hotohori, Mao Miyaji as Nuriko, Yoshikazu Kotani as Tasuki, Eiji Takigawa as Mitsukake, Tatsumaru Tachibana as Chichiri, Tsubasa Hattori as Amiboshi, Daiki Tomida as Chiriko, Mina Kuryū as Shouka, Zendō Ware as Eiken, Shiori Sakata as Yui, and Jun Fujimiya as Taiitsukun.
A sequel, Fushigi Yûgi: Ao no Shō (ふしぎ遊戯～蒼ノ章～), ran at Zenrosai Hall Space Zero in Tokyo from October 13 to October 21, 2018. It was also produced by Amipro, but written and directed by Sayaka Asai. Several cast members from the 2016 musical returned to reprise their roles, including Reina Tanaka as Miaka and Ryō Hirano as Tamahome. New cast members included Rina Miyazaki as Yui, Yoshiki Tani as Hotohori, Ken Ogasawara as Mitsukake, Subaru Hayama as Chichiri, and Kunta Yamasaki as Tasuki.
An art book, Fushigi Yūgi: Watase Yū Irasuto-shū (不思議遊戯：渡瀬悠宇イラスト集), was published by Shogakukan in May 1995. It was licensed in North America by Viz Media under the title The Art of Fushigi Yûgi and published in October 2006.
In a column for Anime News Network, writer Jason Thompson called Fushigi Yûgi a "great mix of monsters, magic, fighting and the more typical Shōjo Comic material, romance." In his expanded review of the series for Manga: The Complete Guide, Thompson further praised it as "one of the best 'schoolgirl in a strange land' shōjo fantasies." He singled out Watase's writing, which he believes "successfully balances" romance, action, comedy, and cliffhangers, as well as the series' compact supporting cast full of "strong personalities".
THEM Anime Reviews preferred the manga to the anime, criticizing the latter's production values, repetitious dialogue, and reuse of footage in flashback episodes. DVD Verdict criticized the "convoluted" plot and "nonsensical" dialogue. Another review noted that although Miaka "makes out with her boyfriend quite a bit", the climax is "of the heart and soul", despite the many battles that the characters go through. Her strength and belief in herself give her the strength and courage to change the world. Patrick Drazen, author of Anime Explosion!, considers the humor in Fushigi Yûgi to be based on super deformed caricatures and therefore strange to Western audiences. Anime News Network argued that the show is "always entertaining throughout," while CBR criticized that Nakago is a pretty character even when "committing horrendous crimes like mass murder and sexual assault."
Winnie Chow of Animerica was disappointed by the ending of the anime adaptation, finding the final battle that resolves the series to be "lame at best" that left her cheering more for Nakago than the "good guys". Throughout the series, she notes that the scenes between Miaka and Tamahome became "increasingly sickening" and "overdone".
Fushigi Yûgi: Eikoden was panned by THEM Anime Reviews, which considered the animation to be its only strong point. In particular, the reviewer found the new main character to be unlikeable.
- To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Shōjo Comic, Japanese news website Comic Natalie documented the magazine's serializations from 1968 to 2018. Comic Natalie listed Fushigi Yûgi beginning in 1991 and included a scan of its debut on the cover of the January 1, 1992 (No. 1) issue. Magazines are often published in advance of their cover dates; January issues may be published in the previous year.
- "The Official Website for Fushigi Yûgi". Viz Media. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
- Loveridge, Lynzee (August 20, 2017). "8 Anime That Were Isekai Before It Was Cool". Anime News Network. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
- Thompson, Jason (2007). Manga: The Complete Guide (Kindle ed.). New York: Del Rey Books. p. 116. ISBN 978-0-345-53944-1.
- Fushigi Yugi: The Mysterious Play THEM Anime Reviews
- "Curious Play". Animax Asia. Archived from the original on September 7, 2011. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
- Sho-Comi50周年特集、50年の歩みを年表で振り返る. Comic Natalie (in Japanese). June 5, 2018. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
- 金爆・喜矢武豊：バンド踏み台にハリウッド進出 音楽に未練なし「今までも“役者”」. Mantan Web (in Japanese). The Mainichi Newspapers Co. March 19, 2015. Retrieved January 19, 2021. Original text: 「『ふしぎ遊戯』は、『少女コミック』（小学館）で1991年12月～96年5月に連載された渡瀬悠宇さんの人気マンガが原作。」 Translation: "Fushigi Yûgi [the stage play] is based on a popular manga by Yuu Watase, which was serialized in Shōjo Comic (Shogakukan) from December 1991 to May 1996."
- 春宵余話 [Rambling on a Spring Evening]. 凜花 [Rinka] (in Japanese). No. 9. Tokyo: Shogakukan. January 14, 2010. p. 579. ASIN B00320OFSI. In an interview with Yuu Watase in the ninth issue of Rinka, the magazine's editorial staff described Fushigi Yûgi as "a manga that was serialized in Shōjo Comic from '92 issue 1 to '96 issue 12".
- 少女コミック[SHO-COMI]1996年12. Media Arts Database (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved January 28, 2021. The cover date for the 1996 No. 12 issue is listed as June 5, 1996.
- "Viz Builds Strong Shōjo Slate". ICv2. September 6, 2001. Retrieved February 23, 2008.
- Watase, Yû. Fushigi Yûgi: The Mysterious Play. Volume 1: Priestess (contains content from Animerica Extra from Volume 1, Issue 1 through Volume 2, Issue 4). Second Printing, May 2004. p. 202.
- Lavey, Megan (April 13, 2004). "Fushigi Yûgi (Shōjo Edition) Vol. #01". Anime on DVD. Archived from the original on April 18, 2008. Retrieved February 4, 2008.
- "Viz Announces Release of Second Edition Manga Titles" (Press release). Viz Media. March 18, 2004. Archived from the original on December 30, 2009. Retrieved February 23, 2008.
- "Amazon: Viz Adds Gaba Kawa, Heaven's Will, Oishinbo". Anime News Network. February 24, 2008. Retrieved February 24, 2008.
- ふしぎ遊戯 (in Japanese). Pierrot. Archived from the original on June 5, 2012. Retrieved January 3, 2020.
- "Pioneer, USMC announce new DVD titles". Anime News Network. November 3, 1998. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
- "Review: Mysterious Play (Fushigi Yugi)". Anime News Network. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
- Of Otaku and Fansubs: A Critical ^·^ Light of Current Issues in Copyright Law
- "Media Blasters Reveals Fushigi Yuugi Boxset for April". Anime News Network. January 12, 2012.
- "Sailor Moon Explained, Plus Fushigi Yugi, Cardcaptors, More". ICv2. August 12, 2001. Retrieved February 23, 2008.
- Note: ISBNs for all of the novels have been retrieved from Amazon.co.jp. Kanji and rōmaji titles were retrieved from Webcat Plus Archived 2008-02-01 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Fushigi Yuugi: Suzaku Ibun". GameFAQs. Retrieved February 6, 2008.
- "Fushigi Yûgi: Suzaku Ibun". Idea Factory. Retrieved April 28, 2010.
- ふしぎ遊戯DS. Nintendo DS (in Japanese). Retrieved January 28, 2021.
- Loo, Egan (July 29, 2010). "Fushigi Yûgi Manga Gets Stage Play Green-Lit". Anime News Network. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
- Luster, Joseph (July 29, 2010). "Fushigi Yugi Adapted into a Stage Play". Otaku USA. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
- 劇場でミラクル・ラー再び！舞台「ふしぎ遊戯」再演が決定. Comic Natalie (in Japanese). December 22, 2010. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
- 舞台「ふしぎ遊戯」完結へ、4月から「青龍編」を上演. Comic Natalie (in Japanese). January 31, 2012. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
- Loo, Egan (January 26, 2015). "Fushigi Yugi Gets Stage Play Starring Golden Bomber's Kyan". Anime News Network. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
- 「ふしぎ遊戯」鬼宿目線で舞台化、主演はゴールデンボンバー喜矢武豊. Comic Natalie (in Japanese). January 26, 2015. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
- Pineda, Rafael Antonio (November 22, 2015). "Fushigi Yugi Gets 1st Stage Musical Starring Former Morning Musume Reina Tanaka". Anime News Network. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
- Sherman, Jennifer (January 9, 2016). "Fushigi Yugi Musical Casts Sailor Moon Musical's Shiori Sakata". Anime News Network. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
- ミュージカル『ふしぎ遊戯-蒼ノ章-』田中れいな、平野良らキャラクタービジュアルを公開. Enterstage (in Japanese). August 12, 2018. Retrieved August 12, 2018.
- Sherman, Jennifer (February 14, 2018). "Fushigi Yugi Stage Musical Gets Sequel in Tokyo in October". Anime News Network. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
- Mateo, Alex (August 12, 2018). "Fushigi Yūgi Stage Musical Sequel's Cast Photographed in Costume". Anime News Network. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
- 不思議遊戯：渡瀬悠宇イラスト集. NDL Online (in Japanese). National Diet Library. Retrieved May 3, 2021.
- "Viz to Publish Art Books for 2006 Holiday Season" (Press release). Anime News Network. September 12, 2006. Retrieved May 3, 2021.
- Thompson, Jason (July 29, 2010). "Jason Thompson's House of 1000 Manga – Ceres: Celestial Legend". Anime News Network. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
- Fushigi Yugi: The Mysterious Play – The Return Home (Volume 2) Archived January 24, 2008, at the Wayback Machine DVD Verdict
- "the new stereotypes of anime and manga". Archived from the original on May 11, 2008. Retrieved April 27, 2008.
- Drazen, Patrick (October 2002). Anime Explosion! The What? Why? & Wow! of Japanese Animation. Berkeley, California: Stone Bridge Press. pp. 281–282. ISBN 1-880656-72-8. OCLC 50898281.
- "Mysterious Play (Fushigi Yugi) [Review]". Anime News Network. July 22, 2017. Archived from the original on July 15, 2014. Retrieved February 17, 2021.
- Gramuglia, Anthony (April 6, 2020). "25 Years Ago, Fushigi Yuugi Created One of Anime's Best Worst Villains". CBR. Archived from the original on April 7, 2020. Retrieved July 13, 2020.
- Chow, Winnie (November 2000). "Best of the West Reviews: Fushigi Yūgi: The Mysterious Play, Vol. 16: The Last Page". Animerica. San Francisco, California: Viz Media. 8 (10): 71. ISSN 1067-0831. OCLC 27130932.
- THEM Anime Reviews 4.0 - Fushigi Yugi: The Mysterious Play: Eikoden
- Official Viz Media Fushigi Yûgi manga website
- Official Studio Pierrot Fushigi Yûgi anime website (defunct; link via the Wayback Machine) (in Japanese)
- Official stage play websites: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015 (in Japanese)
- Official stage musical websites: 2016, 2018 (in Japanese)
- Fushigi Yûgi (manga) at Anime News Network's encyclopedia