Fushigi Yugi OVA 1 Anime Review
US Release By
Fantasy Melodrama / Romance
3 25-minute episodes
1996-10-25 - 1997-02-25
Suzaku has been summoned, and Miaka and Tamahome are living happily in this world. However, one day while visiting the grave of Takako, the former priestess of Genbu, the grave starts to disappear, and then Tamahome collapses and disappears. Now, as Miaka, Keisuke, Yui, and Tatsuya try to figure out what's going on, Tamahome wanders through the Universe of the Four Gods, lost and confused. When he is deflected from the Temple of Suzaku, he flees to Mount Taikyoku, only to be called Nakago by a strange girl! What can possibly be going on?
When I saw the first episode, I was sure I had a winner on my hands. Tamahome is Nakago? Nakago was Tamahome? I was intrigued to say the least. Then, after that first episode, everything fell apart. It had a simple case of the Akira syndrome - too much plot stuffed into too little space. I tried desperately to pick the plot apart, but to no avail. Heck, even Yuu Watase herself couldn't pick it apart! It was simply too muddled and compressed. It was a crying shame, too, because this had so much potential. Had it just been given more time to develop, it could have been great.
Another negative is that nearly all the major characters from the TV series show up, even the dead ones. Normally, that would have been great - my favorite part of the TV series is the characters - but they seem to serve no purpose, except to make the viewer go, "Oh my God! It's (fill in favorite character here)! Yay!" And while I did do that, from a critical point of view, it's not a good thing.
Okay, enough with the negative - now for the positive! The first positive point is the pure nostalgia factor for fans of the TV series. Now, I loved the TV series, so other than a little thing called plot, this was a wonderful experience. Other than the animation, which is of higher quality, of course, everything, from the art to the music to the characters to the setting was the same distinctive style as the TV series. It was great to be able to see everyone again. One scene really struck me - while in Konan, Tamahome hears a shout of "REKKA SHINEN!" He turns around and sees two little boys playing with a paper harisen.
Another thing is the bus omakes, in which the Suzaku and Seiryuu seishi take a trip to an all-woman's hot spring, in separate busses. It's downright laugh-out-loud hilarious, and where else will you get a chance to see Nakago, Tasuki, and Tamahome in drag?
As I said before, the music and art are fairly standard Fushigi Yûgi fare - great if you're a FY fan, but nothing special. The same goes for the dubbing. Sean Barker is, as always, great as Tamahome, Miaka's voice is still mildly irritating, and Chichiri's "no da"s have once again been odiously replaced with "y'know."
All in all, Fushigi Yûgi OVA 1 has plenty of positive qualities, but none of them can make up for the complete failure in the plot department. Still, I would recommend this to Fushigi Yûgi TV fans, even if it is just to see all of the things they loved about the TV show.
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Notes and Trivia
This series is the sequel to the TV series, but is really more of a "filler" between the end of the TV series and the beginning of the second OVA series, since the plot of the TV version differed somewhat from Yuu Watase's comic story.
US DVD Review
Pioneer (now Geneon) has a spiffy box set that combines this and the six-episode OVA series that follows it in a stylish black package that matches the two earlier TV series box sets. It includes Japanese and English stereo audio and an English subtitle track.
About in the 13-up range.
Violence: 1 - Nothing of note.
Nudity: 2 - A girl takes off her clothes and requests Tamahome to sleep with her, but he refuses.
Sex/Mature Themes: 2 - See above.
Language: 1 - Nothing of note.