Originally posted: Monday, August 17, 2009 on Blogger

I found volume 7, so I picked it up. I’m not a big fan of Fushigi Yugi, but I like it enough to keep reading and buying the volumes. I’m going to try and keep the summary short, here goes….

Summary


After failing to perform the ceremony for Suzaku properly in volume 6, Miaka and the Suzaku warriors are told that there is one other way to summon the god, and that is to travel to the northern country of Genbu, Bei-Ja, and recover the Shentso-Pao. Miaka agrees to go, but she isn’t too sure about how she will be able to fight against Yui again.

On top of that, she finds out that in order to summon Suzaku using the new method, she must remain a virgin and cannot have any intimate relationships with any of her warriors. Determined to summon Suzaku, she tells Tamahome that it was all a fling and he means nothing to her, just as he asks her to marry him.

Later the group decides to enjoy their last night in Hong-Nan at the star viewing festival. It is there that Tamahome corners Miaka and asks her to be truthful with him. She finally decides to tell him the truth. Tamahome is shocked at first, but declares that once the ceremony is performed, he will make Miaka the happiest bride on earth. A joyful Miaka agrees.

Before the warriors leave, Hotohori gives Miaka his sword, and tells Tamahome that he will give his family a crown paid residency for their hospitality towards him. Tamahome is overjoyed and he, Miaka, and Nuriko go to tell his family the good news. However the three of them aren’t greeted by Tamahome’s happy family; instead they see his whole family slaughtered. Just as a very familiar melody plays. Miaka runs to see who it is, knowing that Amiboshi cannot be alive. It turns out to be his twin brother Suboshi and he has come to get revenge. Since the Suzaku warriors killed his only family, he determined he would do the same to Tamahome. Just as Suboshi is about to kill Miaka with his attack, Tamahome comes to her rescue and easily overpowers Suboshi in his rage. Thankfully for Suboshi, another Seiryu warrior, Soi, saves him by preoccupying Tamahome with an injured Miaka, and the two of them make their escape.

When Miaka wakes up, she finds Tamahome at the graves of his family, crying uncontrollably. He tells her to leave him alone, and unable to help him in any way, she runs away from him. She and Nuriko spend the night alone, but are shocked to see Tamahome back to normal in the morning. The group returns to the capital, where Miaka informs Hotohori of the tragedy and the Suzaku warriors (excluding Hotohori) and Miaka finally sail away to Bei-Ja. Miaka realizes that Yui would never have allowed the tragedy to happened, and knows it must have been the fault of the cruel Nakago. She decides she must stop the summoning of Seiryu at all costs, even if that should mean going up against Yui.

Meanwhile, Miaka’s brother Keisuke is still researching The Universe of the Four Gods. He meets up with his friend and the two discover that the translator for the Japanese edition of The Universe of the Four Gods is not credited with the book’s translation, nor is there an entry for it in the Japanese publications catalog. Even stranger is the fact that this translator killed his own daughter and then committed suicide. But worsted of all, Keisuke discovers a reference book about the Universe of the Four Gods where it states that in ancient China there was a sect that worshipped these four beasts, but were pronounced heretics because the ritual to summon the god beast required a maiden as a sacrifice.

Worried about his sister’s safety, Keisuke contacts her via the ribbon, telling Miaka to come back home with Yui because the book is dangerous and both of them may be killed. Miaka is momentarily torn between listening to her brother’s advice and Tamahome’s dependence on her. However she decides that she cannot go back yet, and asks Tasuki to burn her ribbon. Before the ribbon is burnt, Keisuke tells her not to summon Suzaku, no matter what. Miaka isn’t too sure what to make of this last warning, but before she can ponder it much longer, the boat is hit by a massive storm cause by the powers of the Seiryu warrior Soi. Keisuke, on the other hand is completely annoyed by his sister’s idiotic behaviour and vows to get to the bottom of the mystery involving the Universe of the Four God’s translator.

Due to the storm’s volatile nature, Tasuki accidentally falls overboard and he cannot swim. Miaka jumps in after him, but also cannot swim, so Tamahome jumps in after her. Nuriko, the only sensible one, throws a rope across to Tasuki, however the waves pull him over as well, just as Tasuki manages to climb back aboard. The intensity of the waves separates Nuriko, Miaka, and Tamahome from the boat, and the three of them find a small cave to hide in.

During their stay in the cave, Nuriko opens up and tells us that he too is afraid of losing someone close to him and that is why he started dressing like his dead sister, so that she would continue to live inside him. The chat is cut short however, when a bolt of lighting destroys the cave and it starts flooding with water. Miaka loses her balance and Tamahome tries to save her, but he falls into the hole as well. Thankfully Nuriko grabs his arm, yet Nuriko is at the limit of his power as he tries to push back the rushing water and at the same time tries to pull up Miaka and Tamahome. Lucky for the three of them, the bracelets he got from Tai Yi-Jun turn into bracers and give Nuriko the extra strength he needs to pull Miaka and Tamahome out before some lightning strikes them. The others find them soon after, and Miaka with her warriors are now adrift and land on an island far off from Bei-Ja. The good new is that the storm stopped; the bad news, that there is a dead Hong-Nan solider on the beach…this ends the seventh volume.

My Thoughts


Not much happens this volume, yet quite a bit does happen. I know that sounds contradictory, but it’s very true. The plot doesn’t progress at all, but we have a lot of build up with many things happening at once (Miaka-Tama mini-break up, Murder of Tama’s family, Departure from Hong-Nan). All these incidents don’t have much impact on the plot, but they do set up the next arc of the story so that the plot can progress in the next volume. For example, the mini break up and murder didn’t change anything, but they, one, created a new reason for Maika and Tamahome to have their awkward romantic moments, and two, gave Miaka a goal to strive for and a very passionate reason to strive for it. Thus setting up the next part of the story where more romantic entanglements happen and where Miaka has a reason to fight against Yui. The departure, on the other hand, was simply a transitory tool used to make the shift between the first arch (aka gather the seven constellations and summon suzaku) and the next arc (aka find the sacred treasure). Everything done in this volume has a future aim making this volume feel a bit filler-ish. Thankfully, not to make it feel too filler-ish, there are also a lot of revelations made in this volume like the origin of the Japanese translation of the Universe of the Four Gods, as well as Nuriko’s past.

Speaking of Nuriko, the guy is really growing on me. At first he was just this annoying vain man in drag, but he has grown and now he is a dependable and empathetic Suzaku warrior. He is still used in comic relief, but he now comes off as goofy rather than annoying. His story was also tender, albeit a little too simple and underdeveloped. I also quite like Tasuki because he acts so tough yet he is a big teddy bear (not to mention he is used very well in comic relief). Actually, all the Suzaku warriors are likeable, all except Tamahome. I swear, with each passing volume, he becomes more and more cheesy and dumb. I kept rolling my eyes every time he told Maika that he still had her and would protect her no matter what. I mean how cheesy can you get?! Not to mention he does some pretty stupid things when Miaka is involved (like saving her every single time she does something stupid, often resulting in himself becoming injured)

And Miaka, why do I feel that every time she takes one step forward, she takes two steps back? Every time I grow even the tiniest empathy for her character, she goes and does something really stupid, making me loath her once more. I’m not talking about her stupidity in the comic relief sections (eating a whole bowl of soup, jumping in the water when she can’t swim, ect), which I find quite funny and really enjoy. I’m talking about how she couldn’t tell Tamahome about the virgin deal in the first place. How she broke the poor guy’s heart right when he was spilling it out to her. Seriously! I DO NOT UNDERSTAND why she thought it was a good idea to pretend to be toying with him. Every single time she tries to act strong (trying to deny her emotions), she comes off as weak and immature. It really boggles my mind. Oh and don’t get me started on her supposed guilt to Yui. She seems to remember that “guilt” whenever it is useful, and whenever it’s not, she doesn’t.

Ok, on to more positive things…I love Watase-san’s humor and I really appreciate it. It gives Fushigi Yugi a much needed diversion from all the intense drama. I think the little comic scenes here and there really help me enjoy the manga and story. If there was no comic relief and only constant drama, I think it would eventually wear thin on me. I really do think so, because even Tamahome’s family slaughter didn’t raise any empathy from me. Rather I was thinking, ‘how much more drama can this manga pile on?’ and I felt that it only occurred so that Miaka could have a reason to really fight tooth and nail with Yui, aka more drama to come. Luckily, the little bickerings and funny responses from the characters made me chuckle and reminded me that I really like the story, even when the drama gets to be a bit too much.

The art is, as usual, gorgeous, but who could expect any less from Watase-san. Overall, this was one of the weaker volumes so far. It wasn’t bad per se, just the plot was non-existent in this volume, and because plot is the main reason I read Fushigi Yugi, I ended up enjoying this volume a little less then the previous ones. Nevertheless, little moments of comic relief and revelations did keep me happy. Not to mention that I got to see a lot of Nuriko this volume, and he is easily becoming my favourite character in the whole series, with Tasuki in a close second.

Drama was pretty high in this volume, but Watase-san knows that her little wacky characters and interesting story keep us fans coming back for more. Too bad the main leads are so unlikable, if they were portrayed in a more mature and intelligent manner, Fushigi Yugi would become a really good read. Right now, it’s just a good/ok read. The bottom line, it’s still worthy of more investment and I will be continuing with the series; it is just not at the top of my priority list at the moment.

–SW

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