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Fushigi Yuugi (OVA)
Reviewer: Rowena Lim Lei 11/16/2001

Synopsis:
The Fushigi Yuugi OAV series is divided into two arcs:
Part 1 (3 episodes): Miaka and Tamahome have gone against all odds and successfully crossed the border that divides two worlds. Now living happily in modern day Japan, it seems that their wish of being together forever has finally been granted. But a visit to the Byakko and Genbu priestesses' grave sites somehow triggers a reaction in the other world, causing Tamahome to disappear without a trace! Miaka goes back to the "Universe of the Four Gods", but Taiitsukun tells her that it is impossible for her and Tamahome to live in one world...

Part 2 (6 episodes): Tamahome is reborn in modern day Japan as Taka Sukunami, and once again he finds his way to Miaka. Taka doesn't have any recollection of Konan and his life as a celestial warrior, but he does have a lot of strange dreams that seem to point to his sealed past. Taka's memories as Tamahome have been dispersed into several "jewels of memory". The problem is, if Taka doesn't recover the jewels of memory, he'll disappear for good. Taka and Miaka must once again go back into the book and face their greatest trial yet.
 
Review:
If you haven't seen the Fushigi Yuugi TV series, do not pick this title up. Fushigi Yuugi OAV series does not work as an independent piece because it is a continuation of Fushigi Yuugi TV, and it resumes exactly where the other leaves off. I had been hearing a lot of negative feedback with regards to the Fushigi Yuugi OAVs even before I watched it. Many say it's a far cry from the original and that it's not as good as it should be. I beg to differ. True, it's not quite as impactful as the TV series, but it still had enough power to keep me glued to the screen.
 
Although the OAVs are divided into two parts, the plots are more or less along the same lines: Tamahome / Taka can't seem to fully incorporate himself into Miaka's world and the lovers face the possibility of separation. Part 1 whizzes by fast, and just when you think that everything's fine and dandy, Part 2 proves otherwise. Part 2 spans several episodes because each jewel of memory that Taka must recover is in the possession of a fellow Suzaku seishi. He can get the jewels from the live seishi easily enough, but it's the dead ones that pose a bit of a challenge. Taka ends up helping his live and dead comrades’ tie up some loose ends, giving more character background to the Suzaku seishi. We meet people like Hotohori's wife and child, Nuriko's older brother, and Chichiri's best friend. Fushigi Yuugi fans are in for a real treat because even the dead Suzaku seishi pitch in to help Taka and Miaka overcome various obstacles.
 
The main flaw I find in this series is the excessive use of the "Taka and Miaka are going to be separated" storyline. The novelty wears off quickly, and the two parts share similar gists -- which makes me wonder why they even bothered to split them up. While the overall tone is somber, humor is amply provided in the form of brief comedy segments after each episode. In the first half, you'll see the whole Fushigi Yuugi gang headed for a hot springs resort on two buses - one for the Suzaku team and one for the Seiryu team. The producers are supposedly happy with their performances and are rewarding them with a vacation. It's totally hilarious, and I found myself looking forward to these short skits after every ep. After the Fushigi Yuugi vacation mini-series, the comedy segment features equally funny outtakes.
 
The art and animation are superb, as is the case with the TV series. Miaka and Yui look markedly more mature this time -- conveying the passage of time nicely. I should also mention that this series features a whole new batch of wonderful songs for your listening pleasure. To sum it up, what the Fushigi Yuugi OAV series does is assure you of the happy ending that the TV series promised. It's unnecessary, but it's quite an experience nonetheless.
 
Miscellanies:
The Fushigi Yuugi OAV DVD set comes sparsely loaded with extras. You get a full-color booklet with various Fushigi Yuugi images, episode descriptions, and credits. The in-disc extras include only an image gallery with anime as well as original Yuu Watase artwork, and DVD credits.

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Fushigi Yuugi (OVA)
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Review Title:
Fushigi Yuugi (OVA)
Alternative Titles:
Mysterious Play OVA
Type:
OVA
Episodes:
9
Duration:
270 Minutes
General Rating:
4 out of 5 stars
Aired:
1996-1998
Suitable For:
Teens
Genres:
Adventure, Drama, Fantasy,
Martial Arts, Romance, Shoujo
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