Sunday, January 19, 2003

Fushigi Yuugi OAV 2: Eikoden

Genre: Shoujo / Adventure / Fantasy
General Audience
2002 Watase Yuu, Megumi Nishizaki / Shogakukan, Pierrot, FCC, PEAJ

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Cover Description:
Miaka and Taka are now happily married and expecting their first child. Unfortunately, Mayo, a jealous young girl infatuated with Taka finds the Universe of the Four Gods and uses the power of Suzaku to steal their unborn baby! Now Taka must return to Konan to save his new family and save Konan from an unknown menace that threatens to destroy the book and all that live within.

DVD Extras: All 4 bilingual episodes on one DVD with removable English subtitles; 4 non-credit versions of Ending credits; Art gallery; A 28 page full color booklet. The limited edition version is packaged with a set of ten mini-pencil boards.

(4 episodes)

Please end it here. >>> by skysenshi
Yes, I know. This series has been milked for all its worth that I've grown sick of it. I can't even remember what transpired in the first Fushigi Yuugi OAV. They really have to end it here because it's getting old.

I'm sure many Fushigi Yuugi fans can recall what happened in the TV series. Friends Miaka and Yui get sucked into an old Chinese book; both became priestesses of Suzaku and Seiryuu respectively; and the rest of the episodes were spent looking for each of their guardian seishi. The goal: to save the world inside the book. Well, there you are. The basic formula for this new OAV. Need I say more?

Okay, I will say more. What they've added is in fact a new pseudo-heroine with an absolutely annoying clinginess (to Tamahome) brought about by her excess baggage. In short, there's a girl out there who wants Tamahome — oh, excuse me, his present-day name is Taka — so much that she's brought a lot of angst unto herself. The magnitude of her bitterness endangers not only Tamahome and new wife Miaka, but also the world we've known and loved in the TV series. What I couldn't understand was, how can a girl become so heartless just because her parents often fight or just because the love of her life got married? At least she doesn't live in a 3rd world country scurrying about in the streets in search of food or a place to stay. Tamahome isn't even hers to begin with! Really, one can only take so much teenage angst. I feel like the creators of Fushigi Yuugi just unloaded 4 seasons of Dawson's Creek into this installation. My gawd, please just stop! Stop!

I must comment about the English dub, too. I've seen both the TV series and the first OAV in its original Japanese format, aired by AXN-Asia a few years ago. Now, with the advent of the DVD, one can't help but be curious and check out how the English dub fares. Ick. Everyone's sentences ended with "my friend". If that's not bad enough, well then how about noticing how Chichiri ends all his statements with "you know"? To make things even worse, they all sound so painfully effeminate and whiny, save for Tamahome and Hotohori. Why, Nuriko, I never thought your influence could be that strong!

There are some good things that can be said about Eikoden, nevertheless. It's fun to watch our favorite seishi get reincarnated as children. Kawaii! Chiriko and Mitsukake of the TV series might as well not exist because their personalities weren't really defined in the first Fushigi Yuugi. Here, you'd see a lot of cute angles that only their child-like selves can project. There's also a little surprise for Nuriko fans out there, so I'm thinking they'd find this very interesting. I know I did. It's actually the reason why I bought this title despite having grown tired of FY's penchant for endlessly reincarnating itself.

One other bit I loved in Eikoden is that Houki, Hotohori's wife, ceases being the one-dimensional pretty face that she was in the first FY. You get to hear her side of the story, a welcome angle that is both touching and inspirational. It shows her strength both as a mother and a dowager queen.

The artwork and animation have improved, which is saying a lot because FY had great graphics to begin with. This time, however, they've incorporated 3D CG effects so don't be surprised if you see that Suzaku and Seiryuu now have more solid looking bodies.

Well, it's nice. Still, I keep my stand. Leave the extensions to fanfic writers and the overly dramatized shallow teenage problems to Dawson's Creek.

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 10; Story 7; Characters 9; Sounds 8

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