Also known as: Mysterious Play
Miaka was an average school girl lacking talent in any area other than eating. Her life changes when she and a friend find a strange book in the library written in old Chinese. Miaka is thrown back to ancient China where they believe she's a high priestess.
Miaka takes an interest in a guy named Tamahome, but is transported back just as things get interesting. From then on she travels back and forth between the present and past, and their relationship becomes strained. Her friend also journeys into the past, and the hardest part for Miaka will be her long time friend turning against her to become a formidable enemy.
Once upon a time, Fushigi Yuugi was crazy popular. It stood as the anime series with the most web pages about it, and even had fan sub groups fighting over it. Hype is one thing, but there was a noticeable gap between male and female interest. Girls went crazy over it, while guys ... not so much. Looking at the show now, it's apparent it didn't have much staying power. It's lost in the 1990s flood of "thrown into mysterious world" anime was saturated with.
This review is incomplete as it stands, because I never finished Fushigi Yuugi. Many told me "it gets better", but volume after volume I couldn't get into it. I decided that it just wasn't for me, but I cannot see this anime as anything above average. Progress (which I'm assuming eventually happens) is too slow, and it goes in a few dumb directions. I should go back and watch the whole thing, but I remember how long those first 12 episodes felt and I'm not eager to sit through 52 with that kind of start.
What do I think Fushigi Yuugi has to offer females, making them such big fans of this anime? Hope. Hope that if a girl as dumb as Miaka can have two hot guys fighting over her, it could happen to anyone. As far as anime girls go, Miaka isn't that bad - I'd do her, but this girl has no qualities to make her the object of rabid desire. I think the most interesting part about the Fushigi Yuugi is the friend becomes the enemy theme. I can see how this would resonate more with girls, because girls can get really vicious when friends turn on each other.
I think it's pretty mediocre, but I'm also a guy. I wouldn't recommend males watch this show, but girls into shoujo might find it appealing enough to get hooked on.
Screen Caps: >