Originally posted: Monday, December 27, 2010 on Blogger

I realize that my summaries are much too long and detailed, so I honestly will cut them back this time! However, there will still be plenty of spoilers, especially in the “My Thoughts” section, so read at your own discretion as usual.

Summary


Miaka and her warriors find themselves on an island with an oppressive matriarchy that gorges out the eyes of all men and enslaves them.

Thankfully they all manage to escape before anything happens and finally make it to Bei-Jia and eventually the capital. On the way there, however, Tamahome confronts Miaka and she promises to stay with him in the world of the book.

Once in the city, the warriors split up to look for clues, while Nakago sends Ashitare to kill Miaka. Tamahome, Miaka and Nuriko make one group and they discover a monument with Genbu’s picture. Tamahome decides to take up the offer of a shady character, who claims his father knows what is written on the monument. While Tamahome gathers info from the thugs, Nuriko and Miaka are attacked by Ashitare. Nuriko manages to scare him away by shooting their signal flare at him.

When Tamahome returns, he brings back vital information, namely, that the Shentso-Pao is located in some dark cave. The three of them decide to split up again with Nuriko going on ahead to the cave and Miaka and Tamahome searching for the others to tell them about the location of the Shentso-Pao. Meanwhile, Nakago whips Ashitare for failing his task and sends him out again. Ashitare follows Nuriko’s scent and a battle ensures. While Nuriko manages to kill Ashitare, he is also fatally wounded and dies beside Miaka and Tamahome, who came running because they felt something terrible had happened. Finishing off volume 8 on a rather sombre note.

My Thoughts


I really like this volume’s cover; the soft pastel blue and pink look very nice together. And as usual, the art in Fushigi Yugi is stunning. Tasuki got his own chapter cover too, which is nice since usually it’s either a group picture or one of the main three: Miaka, Tama, or Hotohori.

I thought the evil matriarchy was a bit silly and overdone, mainly because every time there is a matriarchy, it’s an evil empire/kingdom hell bent on exterminating or enslaving men. Maybe I’m watching/reading the wrong stuff, but I have yet to see a positive depiction of a matriarchy. It’s not really important and Fushigi Yugi isn’t here to break any new grounds in the story elements department, but it is just frustrating to see this trope so much; as if the idea of women being in charge was utterly preposterous and dangerous. I don’t think it was Watase-san’s intention here, but I don’t doubt the birth of this story element was based on the idea that women ruling would lead to hell in general and in particular for men. What makes this even more funny is that patriarchy has been doing this to women for hundreds of years in varying degrees, yet that’s seen as perfectly normal (i.e. it’s not utterly ridiculous or destructive when males rule). Go figure!

Miaka was actually ok in this volume. Although, her decision to remain inside a book with a fictional character was rather haste and thus unrealistic. Usually when one is torn between two equally important people, the choice isn’t so easy to make. Although, if this decision was another form of her “running away” I wouldn’t be surprised.

Strangely enough, Yui acts rather odd this volume. Tamahome confronts her and tells her that she really wants Miaka, not him, which she doesn’t deny, but rather seems to confirm by saying it’s too late to be friends with Miaka again. Then later, she bitterly states that she won’t let Miaka find happiness. I was rather puzzled by this. I mean if she loves Miaka as a dear friend, why is she still unable to let go of the bitterness of her rape? How can see resent the very person she supposedly deeply loves? Or does she resent the fact that she cannot have the love of her friend back? Maybe that’s it….maybe.

And just when I was finally warming up to Nuriko, he’s killed off. I’m not angry at Watase-san, just disappointed to see one of my favourite characters go. It’s always sad seeing personal favourites either killed or put on the back burner. I mean most of my enjoyment in reading stories comes from the characters I personally love and grow attached too. An interesting story is important too, but I do believe the characters are the heart of a good book. Overall though, volume 8 was one of the better volumes and I really enjoyed it.

–SW

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