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Fushigi Yûgi Genbu Kaiden, Volume 1

Review

Fushigi Yûgi Genbu Kaiden, Volume 1

Fushigi Yûgi Genbu Kaiden is a prequel to the classic Fushigi Yûgiseries that follows the story of Takiko Okuda, the girl destined to become the priestess of Genbu. Set 80 years prior to the original series, the part of this story that takes place on earth explains how a modern Japanese translation of “The Universe of the Four Gods” came to be.

In 1923, Takiko’s father, Einosuke Okuda, comes home from a year-long stay in China to work on a translation of an ancient scroll. Within it is the tale of “The Universe of the Four Gods.” If any virgin maiden were to read it, she could be drawn inside and forced to live out the tale as the heroine. Okuda returns to Japan upon the near completion of his work, only to find that his daughter resents him for his absence and his wife is at death’s door.

Infuriated with her father’s passive attitude toward his family, Takiko attempts to rip apart her father’s translation of “The Universe of the Four Gods.” But upon opening the book, Takiko is pulled inside, leaving only her hair ribbon and the book behind. Now those two objects are the only things connecting her with her home.

Takiko realizes quickly that she is inside the book, finding herself in the country of Bei-Ja as it sits on the brink of war with its neighbor, Qu-Dong. She helps save the life of a woman she finds chained to a rock, only to discover that she was a fugitive condemned to death. Much to her surprise, this woman is actually a man --- and not just any man. He is Limdo, son of the Qu-Dong emperor, as well as the Genbu celestial warrior Uruki. Limdo’s powers allow him to control wind, but only while in female form. He has no desire to fulfill his role as a celestial warrior. He even encourages Takiko not to take up the title of the Genbu priestess, for it would only lead to despair. Still, the chemistry between the two cannot be denied.

As in Fushigi Yûgi, Takiko hears about the legend of a girl coming from another world and decides to take on the responsibility of gathering the celestial warriors and summoning Genbu to save the country. Fushigi Yûgi Genbu Kaiden puts a new spin on the legend, or at least how the people perceive it. The priestess of Genbu is prophesized to appear at a time when the country is on the brink of collapse, so to some citizens, Takiko is a sign of impending disaster. Additionally, the warriors themselves have reservations about joining Takiko on her journey. They all have their own issues, from simply despising their fates to fearing their own powers and even dodging bounties on their heads.

Watase’s art style has clearly evolved between the original series and the prequels, but she still maintains her effortless grace. Also, much like the original series, Fushigi Yûgi Genbu Kaidenrequires a bit of maturity due to scenes that involve nudity and violence. Neither issue is taken for granted, nor have they ever been in Watase’s works.

One of this prequel’s perks is that the reader does not need to have read the original Fushigi Yûgi to understand Fushigi Yûgi Genbu Kaiden. Everything is explained. There are no references made to the priestesses of Suzaku or Seiryu from the original series. It appears that the story within “The Universe of the Four Gods” also takes place before the events Miaka and Yui experience in the original manga. This makes Fushigi Yûgi Genbu Kaiden easily accessible by almost anyone who wants to pick it up.

Reviewed by Courtney Kraft on June 22, 2005

Fushigi Yûgi Genbu Kaiden, Volume 1
by Yuu Watase

  • Publication Date: June 22, 2005
  • Genres: Manga
  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: VIZ Media LLC
  • ISBN-10: 1591168961
  • ISBN-13: 9781591168966