Fushigi Yugi: The Mysterious Play: Eikoden
Miaka and Taka / Tamahome are finally married, and Miaka is pregnant with their new baby. Meanwhile, high school girl Mayo has a crush on Taka, and wants him to love her instead of Miaka. But how to do so? Mayo, in a very fortunate plot twist, manages to get her hands on the book "The Universe of the Four Gods", the same book Miaka and Yui went into years ago. There she is proclaimed priestess of Suzaku in an apocalyptic Konan, and now she and Taka are married! This starts messing with Miaka really badly, as she slowly begins to fade away in front of everyone's eyes back in the hospital! Only by getting together all seven of the original Suzaku Seishi can they save Miaka, and the fate of the universe inside the book!
Where do I even begin?
Fushigi Yugi Eikoden is like a laundry list of things not to do when extending a TV series into (another) OAV series (as if two separate OAVs weren't enough for Fushigi Yugi back in the late 1990s). Bitchy new female character? Check. Bad CG? Check. Convoluted plot devices? Check. Absence of the series' core villain, replaced with some no-name? Check. Attempt to jam in as many characters from the TV show as possible? Check and mate. In fact, like every OAV of Fushigi Yugi except for the second series, Eikoden adds absolutely nothing to the franchise. Nothing!
The blame game begins with new character Mayo. Yui might have been a jerk to Miaka in the TV series, but she looks like Honda Tohru compared to this wench. I'm sorry, but anyone who thinks she deserves to separate and / or manipulate a husband from his wife is a grade-A bitch in my book. It doesn't help that Mayo thinks that being a priestess is a game, generally acting like a jerk throughout the whole thing. She feels that she can just sail through life, husband and all. Of course, anyone who's ever seen the Fushigi Yugi TV series or read the original manga knows that Miaka's and Yui's roles as priestesses were far from easy. Miaka especially had to suffer a lot, losing her best friend and several of the Suzaku Seishi to Nakago and his crew. However, there's no Nakago here (another problem added to the pile of complaints this OAV has), so instead we get to see Mayo suffer from random pain through some crystal.
Even worse, everyone somehow manages to put up with Mayo, and at the end of the OAV..after she nearly kills Miaka..after nearly destroying the "Universe of the Four Gods" world...Miaka (along with everyone else) forgives her. I'm dead serious. Miaka apologized to someone who tried to kill her and take her husband away from her. Sheesh, with Miaka being that stupid, I'm fairly glad she barely plays any role in Eikoden until the final episode, while half the series focuses on reviving the dead members of the Suzaku Seishi.
This brings me to my next topic, about the old (and dead) Suzaku Seishi FINALLY being revived. While this sounds interesting at first, seeing Nuriko, Hotohori, Chiriko, and Mitsukake in different bodies with different names and personalities (Nuriko, for example, is now a little girl), the novelty quickly wears thin and gets stupid after a while. This is mainly because the whole reviving of dead characters sounds like some two-bit fanfiction idea, and not part of an OAV series animated by a major animation company. Sorry, Studio Pierrot, but there's Fanfiction.net for that sort of thing.
Speaking of animation companies, the art is probably the sole highlight of Fushigi Yugi Eikoden. Aside from horrible CG monsters later on, the backgrounds, colors, and characters just look so much better compared to earlier animated Fushigi Yugi works. Even the music, which in the TV series consisted of nigh insufferable jazzy 80s music that completely disregarded the mood of just about every scene it played in, is vastly improved. Junko Noda does an okay job voicing Mayo, though it's not too different of a role for the actress to really express herself or make the character hers, unlike some of the series' veteran seiyuu such as Seki Tomokazu, who is still recognized to this day for his role as Chichiri.
Fushigi Yugi Eikoden, for lack of a better term, is bad. Really, really bad. Even if you loved the TV series to death and both of the previous OAVs, you may still walk out disappointed from this fine-looking, but otherwise horrid series. It has none of the warmth, humor, tension, or romance the series has been acclaimed and beloved for, and instead comes off as some awful "what if" done by someone given way too much time and money to make it a reality. If you really must get your Fushigi Yugi fix and have already read / watched the original series, check out the manga sequel Fushigi Yugi Genbu Kaiden instead, and leave this crap in DVD form to rot in bargain bins and Ebay in peace.
This isn't even worth a free Netflix rental. Unless you're a die-hard Fushigi Yugi fan who must own / watch every bit of the series ever made, avoid this like you would allergies. — Tim Jones
Recommended Audience: There's language, and violence, and even a bit of angst here and there. No sex or nudity, but the slightly dark themes of this OAV series as opposed to usual FY fare make this only for teenagers and up.
Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD
Review Status: Full (4/4)
Fushigi Yugi: The Mysterious Play: Eikoden © 2002 Yuu Watase / Studio Pierrot
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