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Fushigi Yûgi: The Mysterious Play
Fushigi Yugi, Japanese Volume 1.jpg
Cover of the first edition of the first volume of Fushigi Yūgi, published by Shogakukan on May 26, 1992
Genre Fantasy, Romance
Author Yuu Watase
Publisher Shogakukan
English publisher United States Canada Viz Media
United Kingdom Gollancz Manga
Singapore Chuang Yi
Australia New Zealand Madman Entertainment
Demographic Shōjo
Magazine Shōjo Comic
Original run May 1992July 1996
Volumes 18 (List of volumes)
TV anime
Director Hajime Kamegaki
Studio Studio Pierrot
Licensor Canada United States Geneon
Network Animax, TV Tokyo
English network United States International Channel
Original run April 6, 1995March 28, 1996
Episodes 52 (List of episodes)
Original video animation
Director Hajime Kamegaki
Studio Studio Pierrot
Licensor Canada United States Geneon
Released October 25, 1996
Runtime 75 minutes
Episodes 3 (List of episodes)
Original video animation
Fushigi Yūgi OVA 2
Studio Studio Pierrot
Licensor Canada United States Geneon
Released May 25, 1997August 25, 1998
Runtime 150 minutes
Episodes 6 (List of episodes)
Light novel
Author Megumi Nishizaki
Illustrator Yuu Watase
Publisher Shōgakukan
Original run January 30, 1998September 26, 2003
Volumes 13
Original video animation
Fushigi Yūgi Eikoden
Director Nanako Shimazaki
Studio Studio Pierrot
Licensor Canada United States Geneon
Released December 21, 2001
Runtime 120 minutes
Episodes 4
Anime and Manga Portal

Fushigi Yûgi: The Mysterious Play (ふしぎ遊戯 ?) 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 Yūgi 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 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 Yūgi Eikoden, spanning four episodes. A thirteen volume Japanese light novel series also followed Fushigi Yūgi. 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 Yūgi Genbu Kaiden.



Middle school student Miaka Yūki is under a lot of pressure to pass the entrance exam for the competitive Jonan Academy. Her friends do not believe she will get in, but she is determined to because her best friend, Yui Hongo, has applied for the same school and she wants them both to go to the school together. While at the library one day, Miaka and Yui come into contact with a strange book there, known as The Universe of the Four Gods. As a result of reading this book, they are then transported into the novel's universe. Inside the novel she discovers that she is the Priestess of Suzaku and 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, who is also drawn into the book, becomes the Priestess of Seiryuu, working against Miaka out of jealousy over Tamahome.

The series describes the various trials that teenagers Miaka and Yui face, both quest-driven and personal. Feeling betrayed, the two oppose one another as priestesses, bringing together their own respective warriors and vying for the chance to be granted three wishes by the gods whom they hope to summon.


Megumi Nishizaki, was inspired to write the novel, Eikou Den after a meeting with Watase and hearing her proposal of a story-idea in which Miaka gathers the re-incarnated Suzaku Seven. However, Nishizaki felt that Miaka's story was done, so she created a new character, Mayo Sakaki as someone she felt the readers could feel closer too. She felt that Mayo was a representation of all of the weakness in human character. She appears singleminded to the point of recklessness, impulsive, jealous, bitter - but at heart she is a good person. Nishizaki points out that due to all of the hardships she has faced, she's become a very jaded person and it takes meeting the Suzaku Seven to realize her innocence again.



Written and illustrated by Yuu Watase, Fushigi Yūgi was originally serialized 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.[1]

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.[2] Viz kept the original Chinese names of characters and places, at the request of Watase, causing 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.[3] After eight volumes, Viz stopped publication of Fushigi Yūgi, 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. In the table below, the dates and ISBN numbers given for the first eight volumes are for the second edition releases.[1][4]

Viz also serialized Fushigi Yūgi 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.[2] 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.[5]


Produced by Studio Pierrot, the fifty-two episode Fushigi Yūgi anime series premiered on Animax and TV Tokyo on April 6, 1995. The series aired weekly, until the final episode 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 Yugi: The Mysterious Play." It has been suggested that Geneon chose to license the series based on its popularity among the fansub community.[6] The main series was released in eight individual volumes and as two box sets, the "Suzaku" and "Seiryū" sets.

Original video animations

The anime adaptation was followed by three original video animation (OVA) works. 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 6 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 Yūgi 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 release together in a set titled "Fushigi Yugi: The Mysterious Play OVA". Fushigi Yūgi 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.[7] As with the main series, the English releases of the OVAs are now out-of-print


Over a series of five years, Megumi Nishizaki wrote thirteen Japanese, light novels based on Fushigi Yūgi. With illustrations by Yuu Watase, Fushigi Yūgi 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 Yūgi original video animation, Fushigi Yūgi Eikoden. Originally published by Shogakukan, none of the novels have been licensed for English release.

Volume Title[8] Release Date ISBN
1 "Genrō Den" (幻狼伝)  January 30, 1998 ISBN 978-4094207736
Details Tasuki's life between joining the Mt. Reikaku Bandits and the appearance of the Priestess of Suzaku. 
2 "Shōryū Den" (昇龍伝)  July 23, 1998 ISBN 978-4094207743
Chichiri's life shortly after the accident when he loses his eye to his first meeting Miaka. 
3 "Yuki Yasha Den" (雪夜叉伝)  February 2, 1999 ISBN 978-4094207750
Details of Nuriko becoming a cross-dresser and entering the royal harem
4 "Ryūsei Den" (流星伝)  April 23, 1999 ISBN 978-4094207767
Amiboshi and Suboshi's tragic past. 
5 "Suzaku Hi Den" (朱雀悲伝)  July 1999 ISBN 978-4094207774
The story of Hotohori, his brother Tendō and their relationship with Hōki. This story is later told by Hōki to Mayo in the Eikoden OVA. 
6 "Seiran Den" (青藍伝)  December 1, 1999 ISBN 978-4094207781
Nakago's past and his rise to power within the Kutō army. 
7 "Eikō Den (Jōkan)" (永光伝(上巻))  February 1, 2000 ISBN 978-4094207798
Set ten years after the final events in the manga, teenage girl Mayo Sakaki goes into 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 "Eikō Den (Gekan)" (永光伝(下巻))  March 1, 2000 ISBN 978-4094207804
Continues Mayo's story as she is tricked by a false Suzaku, and saved by Miaka. 
9 "Shugyoku Den" (朱玉伝)  December 21, 2001 ISBN 978-4094207897
Tamahome's life from his training under Tokaki to when he first meets Miaka and Yui. Interestingly, this novel also tells of Miaka's backstory and her connection with Tamahome during the years of the manifestation of his powers. 
10 "Hōmei Den" (逢命伝)  March 1, 2002 ISBN 978-4094207903
Mitsukake's romance with Shōka. 
11 "Yūai Den" (優愛伝)  April 26, 2002 ISBN 978-4094208214
Chiriko's whereabouts before he joined up with the rest of the Suzaku Warriors. 
12 "Sanbō Den (Jōkan)" (三宝伝(上巻))  July 1, 2003 ISBN 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 "Sanbō Den 2 (Gekan)" (三宝伝(下巻))  September 26, 2003 ISBN 978-4094208238
Continues story from part 1. 

Video game

Idea Factory is developing a Sony Playstation 2 video game based on the Fushigi Yūgi series that will be called Fushigi Yūgi: Suzaku Ibun (ふしぎ遊戯 朱雀異聞). It has a projected release date in Japan of May 29, 2008, and will be available in regular and limited editions.[9][10]


THEM Anime Reviews preferred the manga to the anime, criticizing the latter's production values, repetitious dialogue, and reuse of footage in flashback episodes.[11] DVD Verdict criticized the "convoluted" plot and "nonsensical" dialogue.[12] 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.[13] Drazen considers the humour in Fushigi Yūgi to be based on super deformed caricatures and therefore strange to Western audiences.[14]

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".[15]

Fushigi Yūgi 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 unlikeable.[16] Although the Animetric review brought up many of the same points, Animetric found Eikoden "fun".[17]


  1. ^ a b "Fushigi Yuugi (manga)". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2008-02-03.  
  2. ^ a b "Viz Builds Strong Shōjo Slate". ICv2. 2001-09-06. Retrieved 2008-02-23.  
  3. ^ "Fushigi Yûgi (Shōjo Edition) Vol. #01". Anime on DVD. 2004-04-13. Retrieved 2008-02-04.  
  4. ^ Viz Media (2004-03-18). "Viz Announces Release of Second Edition Manga Titles". Press release. Retrieved 2008-02-23.  
  5. ^ "Amazon: Viz Adds Gaba Kawa, Heaven's Will, Oishinbo". Anime News Network. 2008-02-24. Retrieved 2008-02-24.  
  6. ^ Of Otaku and Fansubs: A Critical Look at Anime Online in Light of Current Issues in Copyright Law
  7. ^ "Sailor Moon Explained, Plus Fushigi Yugi, Cardcaptors, More". ICv2. 2001-08-12. Retrieved 2008-02-23.  
  8. ^ Note: ISBNs for all of the novels have been retrieved from Kanji and rōmaji titles were retrieved from Webcat Plus.
  9. ^ "Fushigi Yuugi: Suzaku Ibun". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2008-02-06.  
  10. ^ "Fushigi Yūgi: Suzaku Ibun (ふしぎ遊戯 朱雀異聞)". Idea Factory. Retrieved 2008-02-06.  
  11. ^ Fushigi Yugi: The Mysterious Play THEM Anime Reviews
  12. ^ Fushigi Yugi: The Mysterious Play...The Return Home (Volume 2) DVD Verdict
  13. ^ the new stereotypes of anime and manga
  14. ^ 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.  
  15. ^ 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.  
  16. ^ THEM Anime Reviews 4.0 - Fushigi Yugi: The Mysterious Play: Eikoden
  17. ^ >> Anime Reviews >> Fushigi Yuugi: Eikoden (OAV series)

External links

Fushigi Yūgi

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