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[ café reviews ]

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

Episode 2: Suzaku no Miko
(The Priestess of Suzaku)

[ 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

Unaware that her friend Yui has already returned to the library, Miaka finds herself on a desparate hunt for the mysterious man who might hold the key to the whereabouts of Yui. But Konan is a large place full of people, and it seems that there are slave traders everywhere. Luckily for Miaka, the mysterious man finds her...

But Sou Kishuku (Tamahome), bearer of the oni character on his forehead, doesn't offer much consolation -- it appears that he is somewhat of a mercenary, and wants to be paid for his services... and to make matters worse, he claims to have absolutely no idea where Hongo Yui might be.

Yet as chance would have it, a royal procession carrying the Emperor of Konan passes by them, and in a fit of inspired recklessness, Miaka decides to ask the Emperor himself for one of his crown jewels, in order to pay for Tamahome's services. Not unexpectedly, her attempt fails, and Tamahome finds it necessary to try to extricate them from yet another situation. As "payment" for his services, he exacts the prices of a kiss... but when he lands a gentle kiss on Miaka's forehead, a bright red glow eminates from her, and Miaka momentarily disappears. When Miaka returns, the Emperor of Konan orders their capture, and the two find themselves in the royal dungeon.

But fate often has a strange way of righting things that are wrong... or at least making things more complicated than you'd want. And Miaka finds herself in just such a situation: on the run from the imperial guards, lost in a great courtyard deep inside the palace grounds, separated from the one person she knows in all of Konan... and being appointed the Priestess of Suzaku by the Emperor himself???

[ capsule review ]

Why had I not paid attention to this series earlier? I found myself in uncontrollable fits of laughter through much of this episode, and in continual denial that I'm enjoying something so obviously targeted at a young age group.

Despite its low production values, the incredibly well-timed use of SD characterisations, slap-stick comedy and right-on-the-mark delivery made this one of the most enjoyable shows I've watched this year. I haven't had so much fun with a TV series since Slayers. And that's no mean feat. (There are some very important lessons contained in this episode: for example, two ways how not to address royalty, and an inventive use of gum that would have made even McGyver proud.)

Fushigi Yugi has one advantage over Slayers, however -- while our cute story of the cute sorceress with the not-so-cute attitude had a rudimentary story, it's very apparent that FY is going to introduce us to quite an assortment of characters, and a fairly involved universe. (For example, we get introduced to the four protectorates: Seiryu to the East, Genbu to the North, Byakko to the West, and Suzaku to the South.) That's a good thing, since story, characterisation and direction is about all that this TV series seems to have at this point. Animation is very crude, but the directors make the best of the situation by liberal use of slapstick moments during key points in the story.

This is one episode that really works best if you understand Japanese -- and if you don't understand it well, don't worry. The language level is really easy, so you should be able to follow it without much difficulty. Otherwise, reading the subtitled dialog will do nothing other than make you miss all the good lines. I still can't believe that I had ignored this series for so long!
- AN, 1999.04.13

[ café rating ]

Original: Subbed: Dubbed:
Story: N/A 3 stars N/R
Direction: N/A 4 stars N/R
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 4 stars N/R

[ café trivia ]

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Page last modified 1999.05.19