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[ café reviews ]

[ Fushigi Yugi logo ]
Fushigi Yugi
(The Mysterious Play)

Episode 1: Densetsu Shoujo
(The Girl of Legend)

[ production info ]

Copyright: © 1995 Yu Watase / Shogakukan Shojo Comic / TV Tokyo / Studio Pierrot, © 1998 Pioneer Entertainment
Length: 25 minutes
Rating: PG-13, Parental Guidance Advised
Format: Japanese Language/English Subtitled (VHS)

Director: Kamegaki Hajime Original Story: Yu Watase Character Design: Motohashi Hideyuki Series structure: Urasawa Yoshio

[ plot summary ]

VHS jacket

Miaka Yuki is will be completing her third year of middle school this year, and plans to apply to Jonan Academy... as long as she doesn't keep daydreaming about food during classes. But Miaka wasn't expecting to be literally drawn into a story when she accompanied her friend, Yui Hongo, to the National Library. After all, Yui was only there to return a book!

But when Miaka follows the faint rustlings of a beautiful flame-red bird into the reference room, the pair discovers an ancient Chinese book -- a book whose first pages are the incantations of a spell that allows the reader to become characters in the story itself... and suddenly, Miaka and Yui find themselves within the story of Shijin Ten Sho, and into the heart of medieval China! Things get even worse when the first people they meet aren't members of the local tourist bureau, but are a pair of slave traders. But just when things look hopeless, a mysterious gentleman appears, rescuing them from their horrible fate... a man with the Chinese character for 'ogre' emblazoned on his forehead.

[ capsule review ]

The first thing that came to mind when I read the back jacket of the video was that this series would be an interesting take on The Never Ending Story, only with a Japanese twist. Well, aside from the book idea, FY shares little with the wonderful 1984 movie.

There are two things that you have to keep in mind when viewing this TV series. First of all, it's based on a shoujo manga series, so a lot of this won't appeal to the attention-deficit males in the audience. Secondly, it's aimed squarely at the junior miss group, so you can expect a lot of silliness. And silliness it has in spades. Liberal use of SD characters, not to mention Miaka's re-interpretation of the Japanese pro-wrestling circuit will keep the younger one's attention squarely on the tube, and leave older folks cringing in their seats. Definitely keep tongue planted firmly in cheek. Finally, it's a good idea to remember that this is just the first episode of an involved universe; there's a lot more material to come.

Characterisations are suitably "cute", and in the case of Miaka Yuki (played by Araki Kae), it's annoyingly cute. Music is a mixed bag -- the opening theme is catchy enough, but really doesn't do anything to showcase Sato Akemi's wonderful voice. Much of the rest of this first episode is heavily synthesizer-based; this is not a big-budget TV production. Similarily, animation is very limited, even by TV standards.

What I found most interesting about this series is the main plot device itself -- the ancient Chinese novel, Shijin Ten Sho, is a great vehicle which opens up all sorts of episode possibilities. It will be interesting to see how the series unfolds...
- AN, 1999.04.04

[ café rating ]

Original: Subbed: Dubbed:
Story: N/A 2 stars N/R
Direction: N/A 2 stars N/A
Acting: N/A 3 stars N/R
Animation: N/A 2 stars N/R
Music: N/A 2 stars N/R
Translation: N/A 4 stars N/R
Overall Rating: N/A 2 stars N/R

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Page last modified 1999.04.13