fushigi yugi 10 It’s been a while since my last impression. But I’m back with another one in the form of Fushigi Yugi’s volume 10. I really like the cover of this volume. It’s very pretty with the star-filled sky and lots of blue. Plus I like Amiboshi, so it’s nice to see him get his own cover.

Summary


Miaka is seemingly saved by Suboshi from a polecat, but it turns out it isn’t Suboshi, but Amiboshi! He survived his fall and is now living in the village. Miaka assumes he must have lost his memory because he isn’t attacking her, but it turns out he hasn’t. Instead, he deeply regrets what he did to Miaka and the Suzaku warriors before. He also tries to comfort the distressed Miaka, who still cannot come to terms with the fact that Nakago raped her.

Fortunately though, it turns out that Nakago wasn’t able to do anything to her because Suzaku’s barrier prevented him from touching her after Miaka fainted. Meanwhile, the Suzaku warriors are still trapped in Tomo’s illusion and he now plans to do the same to Tamahome. He also wants Soi to sleep with Tamahome (while making Tamahome believe it is Miaka) so that she can use her bedding technique to disrupt his chi.

Unfortunately for Tomo, Tamahome will not have sex with Soi (who he believes to be Miaka) because he still believes that she can summon Suzaku. This causes Tomo to break the illusion and try to take out Tamahome on his own. Meanwhile, Qu-Dong’s men have come for Miaka. They learned of her location when Amiboshi released his chi to save Miaka. Here she also meets up with Soi, who tells her she did not, in fact, sleep with Nakago. Overjoyed that she’s still a virgin, Miaka runs back to Tamahome.

Unfortunately, even with Amiboshi’s help, Tamahome is unable to kill Tomo and is seemingly killed. Tomo then traps Miaka in another, much more powerful illusion, where she forgets everything that has happened and thinks she is back home in her world. Here Tomo infiltrates her mind and makes her believe she is in love with him in order to take her virginity and prevent her from summoning Suzaku. Unfortunately for him, Miaka realizes it is all an illusion. With help from Amiboshi’s flute, she is able to escape the illusionary world. Unfortunately, she comes back unconscious and the only thing preventing Tomo from raping her is Amiboshi, who broke two of his fingers to escape Tomo’s illusion and is at a massive disadvantage. With that we end volume 10.

My Thoughts


 

Warning, due to the nature of this volume, I will be discussing rape and purity extensively.

Just like I called it last volume, Miaka wasn’t raped. In fact, the whole preoccupation with virginity in this volume really bothered me. I can swallow (suspend my disbelief) that she needs to be a virgin to summon Suzaku, but I find it hard to understand why she needs to be “pure” to marry and be with Tamahome. Ok, ok, she’s a 15 year old girl brought up in a patriarchal society, so it isn’t strange that she thinks this, but the manga doesn’t question it at all. It’s just left there as a fact that Miaka is correct in thinking she can only achieve happiness if she is a virgin. And she is rewarded for such thoughts when she only reunites with Tamahome after she learns she is still a virgin. Hell, even Tamahome doesn’t believe she has been violated (He “believes in her”). Come on! You know, I was complaining that he was too perfect last time because he knew exactly what to say to his girlfriend after she had been raped, but I’d actually prefer that over this unwillingness to accept that Miaka has been raped (even if he was right to think so). The line that especially bugged me was his “I believe in you Miaka” line; like somehow Miaka has control over whether she was raped or not. I know, I know, that’s not what Ms.Watase intended. She intended to make Tamahome come off as so exceptionally devoted to Miaka that he refuses to think everything is hopeless. But it just bugged me, personally. I’ll say it now: I really don’t like how rape is being used as a vehicle for the story here. It cheapens the trauma and emphasizes that the biggest harm rape causes is the physical loss of one’s “purity” (and not say, oh I know don’t, the psychological wounds of having someone disregard you as a person and use you as an object). Yes, Miaka is traumatized, but only in so far as she is no longer a virgin and cannot be with Tamahome. Furthermore, the moment she realizes that she’s still a virgin, all is well and good. Trauma? Nope. The only trauma is that her virginity is gone. And I find that very disturbing. There are ways to write around this too: for one, have Miaka focus more on how much it hurt her and not that she cannot be Tamahome’s bride anymore; or if you want to keep her “realistic” (in so far as she has absorbed patriarchal beliefs about female purity), undermine these beliefs by having her reconcile with Tamahome before realizing she hasn’t been raped. It’s not that hard to write it in a way that on some level rejects the notions of female purity, but nope, that’s not what happens this volume and it really bugged me.

And then we have Tomo’s attempt. Like it wasn’t enough that this whole volume’s drama and plot amounted to nothing more than, “oh no, I am no longer a virgin, therefore I am used goods and am no longer fit to be with Tamahome.” No, we had to have a second rape attempt by Tomo. Siiigh. I really wish authors would stop playing up rape as drama. If you aren’t going to use it in any meaningful way, just don’t do it, please. Yes, I wasn’t very impressed with this volume. I think it is safe to say it is one of my least favourite volumes to date.

Also, do we really need another guy to fall for Miaka? Nuriko was already pushing it, but now Amiboshi too? I guess he makes more sense than Nuriko, but come on! Why is every single nice and attractive guy falling head over heels in love with her? It would be one thing if it were used as some kind of romantic drama/tension like with most love triangles, but Miaka had made up her mind long ago. There is no way any other guy has a chance, so we don’t need her to have a massive harem pining for her but sorrowfully accepting that she is happy with Tamahome. Ok, I guess my issue here is that I’d like to see at least one guy helping out Miaka for reasons that do not amount to either them being sexually attracted to her, or duty bound as her warrior, or in most cases both. Couldn’t Amiboshi just want to help out Miaka because he has seen the error of his ways. Was a romantic element really necessary here? I really don’t think so.

That said, it was nice to see Miaka facing reality on her own. Amiboshi offered her the oblivion herb to make her forget everything to ease her pain, but for once she didn’t need someone to tell her that running away won’t help. Unfortunately, she still couldn’t face Tamahome after such a declaration, instead she intended to met up with Yui. That is, until Soi showed up and told her that she’s still a virgin. Then it’s ok to see Tamahome. Sigh. Yeah, I’m not too happy with Fushigi Yugi right now. I really hope volume 11 gets it together again or else I do believe it’s going on hold again.

–SW

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