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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Fushigi Yûgi: Genbu Kaiden Vol. 1 by Watase Yuu 
8th-Jan-2007 11:59 pm
Random Query: Is there anyone who only reads my LJ's manga review filter? If you exist (and I don't know if you do), you may wish to note that I also have a separate light novel filter which might interest you also. We do all know what light novels are, right? ^^;

Watase, Yuu. Fushigi Yûgi: Genbu Kaiden. Vol. 1. Trans. Lillian Olsen and Shaenon Garrity. San Francisco: VIZ Media, 2005.
          Summary: Takiko's mother is dying of consumption, the guy she loves is already married with child, and her father is off in Cathay on an expedition to find a book called The Universe of the Four Gods. When he does return, basically too late to make peace with his wife, Takiko, rightly furious, snatches up his precious book--and finds herself sucked into its world! Once there, she meets the Celestial Warriors Limdo and Chamka and resolves to become the Priestess of Genbu and save Bêi-Jîa from the menacing Qu-Dong.
          Comments: Nobody does Asian-flavored shoujo fantasy like Watase Yuu, and it's a pleasure to see her breathe new life into her all-time greatest hit Fushigi Yuugi...albeit sans the heroine that her readers loved to hate--Miaka. It's likewise a pleasure to see a mangaka learn from her mistakes; the stoopid, cutesy shoujo heroine whose first priority is her stomach simply wasn't and isn't right for an epic fantasy action-adventure. So, instead, we get the more-perfect-than-thou shoujo heroine archetype in Takiko, and boy oh boy what an improvement! She's smart, pretty, athletic, and resourceful. Heck, I could almost believe that she'd survive to become a Joan of Arc of sorts in a war-torn China.
          Moreover, the story provides the perfect backdrop for the perfect heroine. Watase is a veteran storyteller, and it shows. The series is tightly written, well-paced, and exciting. Not to mention that the romantic hero of the piece, Limdo/Uruki, gives a whole new meaning to the androgynous shoujo manga leading man. Some have suggested that, in their androgyny, these heroes represent the best of both worlds. Well, take that to the literal extreme here. "He" can be a "she" as well! Ah, think of all the potential for fun in bed and elsewhere! What's not to love?
          Notes: ~B6 paperback, first American edition, 1st printing; first published in Japan in 2004
          Rating: 7/10 - Fushigi Yuugi is on its way to becoming an authentic shoujo classic, and this new installment is arguably better than the original series.
9th-Jan-2007 05:35 pm (UTC)
Someone intelligent and discerning defending Yuu Watase! Thank you!
9th-Jan-2007 06:03 pm (UTC)
I suppose Watase's a favorite target of mangadom faux-intellectual scorn?
9th-Jan-2007 07:13 pm (UTC)
Well, yes and no. Most people with a clear head for manga critique don't mind her, but a lot of seasoned manga readers find her an easy target. Most people don't realize what she did for shoujo readers...although they might if they heard that she runs in a magazine that otherwise makes its money selling softcore rape fantasy porn to teenage girls.
9th-Jan-2007 07:50 pm (UTC)
*laughs* I've never really seen Watase Yuu as an innovator--she's just happens to do the shoujo manga genre very well. (Though Fushigi Yuugi spawned hordes of "other world" imitators, she wasn't the first there, either. Neverending Story, anyone?)
10th-Jan-2007 04:45 am (UTC)
I abhorred Miaka throughout Fushigi Yugi--if you check out my Memories I have an extensive rant about the show--it is good to know that Watase is capable of creating strong heroines. I was rather fond of Aya from Ayashi no Ceres, she was a bit arrogant and did typical teenage rebellion shit, but at her core she was strong and sincere. Miaka was just an idiot.
10th-Jan-2007 08:53 am (UTC)
Seems like EVERYONE hates Miaka. Every anime con I've gone to has involved a Miaka piñata for haters to abuse. ^^;;;
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